What does an electrician do?
Electricians, in their workday duties, have the responsibility of installing, maintaining, and repairing electrical equipment.
What skills does an electrician need?
Electricians require many skills– a veritable toolkit– including specific technical skills related to the particular types of electrical systems they work with.
Electrical knowledge: Electricians need a strong understanding of electrical systems, including wiring, circuits, and electrical codes and regulations.
They must know how to read electrical blueprints and schematics and understand electrical theory and principles.
Problem-solving skills: Electricians must have good problem-solving skills to diagnose and fix electrical problems.
They must be able to troubleshoot complex issues and develop practical solutions.
Safety awareness: Electricians work with high-voltage electricity, which requires stringent safety protocols and situational awareness.
How to Become an Electrician
A high school diploma or equivalency is the minimum educational requirement to become a licensed electrician.
Whether you go to a four-year university to learn electrical technology or learn through a trade school and earn a career diploma, you can gain excellent theoretical knowledge and practical theory coupled with experience.
Plus, with extensive lab-based and classroom training, many people find that formal education, whether from university, community college, or vocational/tech, helps them gain confidence, credentials, and contacts.
Focus: Trade/vocational schools that offer hands-on training in specific trades, while universities provide more generalized academic programs.
Length: Trade school programs usually are shorter than university programs, ranging from a few months to a few years, while university programs can take four years.
Get in on the ground floor; the journeyman electrician is the basic electrician level.
To reach this goal, it’s necessary to complete your apprenticeship successfully.
Journeyman electricians can work unassisted but can’t train apprentices, pull permits for electrical work, or direct a job site.
After two years of on-the-job experience, a Journeyman can apply for master electrician status.
State by state, the precise requirements vary, but licensing usually requires that prospects pass an exam.
As a Master electrician, you can direct electrical teams, train apprentices, and lead jobs.
Vocational tech/trade school isn’t mandatory to become an electrician, yet it can offer valuable training and support students in gaining certification and job placement.
In addition to a solid introduction and foundation to basic electrical principles, applicants may find it advantageous when applying for apprenticeships.
Types of Programs
Trade school programs are generally less expensive than university programs; electrician training costs $1,000, and $11,000 for a training program.
There may be loans, grants, and scholarships available.
Associate’s degree programs in electrical technology will cost more than a diploma program, with core training for electricians.
An associate’s degree program may provide more vocational options, and this holds for the four-year bachelor’s degree.
The average annual cost for a 2-year institution is $10,300; in-state for a 4-year institution is $26,027 per academic year.
Online electrician programs are often more economical than traditional classroom-based programs.
They also allow you to study from anywhere, on your own schedule.
Remember that most states and licensing areas let students substitute some hours spent during their formal instruction for the job experience needed to obtain Journeyman licensing.
One year of formal education generally accounts for 1,000 hours of on-the-job experience.
Students can only substitute up to 2,000 hours or two years of training.
Depending on the vocational-technical school, they may offer a complete journeyman program to align with the local licensing requirements.
Many programs will provide 4,000 hours of on-the-job experience, roughly half of what is required to become a licensed journeyman.
Licensing and Certification
Requirements for certification and licensing vary — check the requirements for your city.
Note that the general exam is based on knowledge of the National Electric Code, electrical concepts, safety protocols, and building codes.
Many states require prospective electricians to complete an apprenticeship before they can work independently.
This is because electrician work requires specific training and skills, and learning from a more experienced electrician can help prevent accidents and improve the learning experience.
Check your state’s requirements to see if you need an apprenticeship to become licensed.
Whether attending a trade school for training or not, you must complete an apprenticeship to become a licensed electrician.
One of the most common ways is through a trade school, which often provides internship and job placement services and networking opportunities.
Register as an Electrician Apprentice
Some states require that electrical apprentices register before hitting the job sites.
Research is your friend in determining your state’s requirements.
The apprenticeship is the core training you need to become an electrician, forging classroom instruction with on-the-job training, plus the supervision and mentorship of a Master Electrician.
In most states, candidates to become an electrician need a minimum of four years of apprenticeship before taking the exam.
Electrician Licensure Requirements
576 to 1,000 classroom hours and 8,000 to 10,000 hours of on-the-job training can average out to four to five years.
Educational opportunities include trade/tech, online, Associate, and Bachelor’s degrees.
Licensing and certification requirements vary by city and state.
Candidates must complete an apprenticeship.