How to Become an Electrician – In 6 Easy Steps

Electricians are needed in just about every area of construction and the number of positions is expected to grow as we move into solar energy.

Many trade schools offer programs to prepare you for entry-level positions in this exciting field that attracts those with a mind for detail and accuracy.

It can take anywhere from four to five years to complete your training and experience requirements, but it is well worth the time and effort. Let’s take a look at what this career entails.

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How to Become an Electrician

To become an electrician, you will need to first complete an apprenticeship, which often lasts four years before you take your licensing exam.

This experience can often be obtained while you are attending a trade or traditional school in an approved electrician program.

Let’s follow the path you must take.

1. Earn a High School Diploma or GED

While completing this requirement, you will want to make sure you have classes in algebra, trigonometry, physics, and mechanical drawing.

Your English skills must also be good as electricians require accurate communication skills.

2. Choose Your Education Path

You may want to go the trade school route, which is often a shorter program.

It will focus almost entirely on the skills necessary for an electrician and will prepare you for the basic skills necessary for residential and commercial electrical work.

College programs are much more intense.

They will include not only the basics but also classes in mathematics and English.

Many also include hands-on experience.

Some even offer apprenticeship opportunities.

Either way, check our list of the top electrician schools by state.

3. Apply For Apprenticeship

Depending on your time requirements, you may be able to work on your apprenticeship while gaining your educational experience.

You can find opportunities on job boards, with unions, and by networking with professionals in the field.

4. Register as an Electrician Apprentice

By registering, you ensure your time spent will be taken into consideration and you will allow yourself more job opportunities.

5. Complete Apprenticeship

Most states will require you to complete at least four years of experience as an apprentice before allowing you to sit for a licensing exam.

This time will be spent under the supervision of a licensed electrician.

6. Take and Pass the Licensing Exam and Get Certified

Once you complete your time as an apprentice, you can sit for a licensing exam given by your state.

What You Need to Become Licensed as an Electrician

Once you have completed your formal education and your four years as an apprentice, you will need to sit for an exam to demonstrate your knowledge of electrical systems.

This exam will cover general electrical knowledge as well as safety standards as set forth by OSHA.

You will cover planning, installing, troubleshooting, and repairing electrical systems.

Passing grades are normally at least 70 percent, you can practice using our free electrician practice test.

Most states also require you to complete additional training every year or two to keep your skills updated.

How Much Does an Electrician Make?

As with all occupations, the pay you get for being an electrician will vary from one state to another.

It will also depend on your level of experience and where you perform your work.

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the median income for electricians was $60,240 per year in 2022.

This breaks down to $28.96 an hour.

The highest-paid positions were in Illinois, with a mean pay of $88,900 a year.

The lowest pay was found in Arkansas, where electricians average $46,180 per year.

Online Electrician Programs

Online programs offer you a chance to access programs you might not otherwise be able to access.

They also can be designed to fit busy schedules.

Here are nine of the top online programs for electrician training.

Florida International Training Institute

This school is one of the top programs, and the $9320 per credit hour reflects that.

The program lasts 900 hours over 11–18 months.

These hours are split between 400 lecture hours and 500 lab hours.

The focus of this program is on residential and commercial construction.

Orleans Technical College

This school offers two programs, each 720 hours in length.

The day program can be completed in six months, while the night program takes 13 months.

You need 26 credits to graduate and the cost is $504 per credit.

The programs cover math, blueprint reading, wiring systems, and AC theory.

At completion, you will be prepared to sit for the National Occupational Competency Training exam as well as the OSHA 10-hr. safety certification.

Michigan State University

This major university offers a 15-month program that takes two to four semesters and a summer internship.

The cost for Michigan residents is $506 per credit and for out-of-state residents, it is $583 per credit.

In addition to the regular classes offered in an electrician program, this school offers classes in energy efficiency and conservation and a class in agricultural communication.

Paris Junior College

This 24-credit course takes ten months to complete and the cost ranges from $84 a credit to $184 per credit.

You will learn everything needed to test and maintain electrical systems.

You will also be trained to work on motors and transformers and learn how to read blueprints.

Irvine Valley College

California residents pay $95 per credit and out-of-state students pay $361 per credit for this 17-credit course.

The course will take one to two years, depending on which course you pursue.

The one-year course prepares you with all the basics to become an electrician trainee.

The two-year course allows you to specialize as a solar photovoltaic systems technician.

James Rumsey Technical Institute

The course offered by this school will take you 1,215 hours over 11 months to complete.

The cost is $7,532.

The program is small, admitting only 22 students per session.

Instruction includes learning the National electronic code, construction math, and the use of hand and power tools.

Experience is also part of the program.


This 8-9 month long program costs $15,375.

Unlike many other programs, however, the cost also includes toolkits, books, and uniforms.

You will be trained to plan, install, troubleshoot, and repair all manner of residential electricity.

Withlacoochee Technical College

Florida’s residents can get this 10-month course for $3504.

For those from other states, the cost is $14,052.

Instruction includes aspects of electrician businesses that other programs don’t.

In addition to normal skills, you will also be instructed in management and labor issues and financial aspects.

Graduates must pass a physical exam that includes the ability to lift fifty pounds.

Washburn Institute of Technology

The program at this school is unique in that it will accept high school students who pass the entrance exam free of charge.

Other students must pay $4560 for the 30-credit course that lasts a year.

Once you have completed the course, the school says you will be ready to pass certifications in OSHA-30, NCCER Core, NCCER Field Safety, and NCCER Level 1.

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