Apprenticing to Become an Electrician
Every state has its own guidelines and laws for the training and licensing of electricians. If you are considering becoming an electrician, make sure you know what your state requires. Generally, you can expect to go through some kind of
How an Electrical Apprenticeship Works
An apprenticeship is a kind of training used in several types of careers, including electrical work. There are many skills, as well as foundational knowledge, that you need to do this job. Because there are potentially dangerous consequences of not being prepared to do electrical work, being taught in a hands-on way by experts is the best way to learn how to be an electrician.
To become an electrical apprentice you will need to either apply to a union or non-union apprentice program or find a master electrician willing to hire you for training. Applying to a program is the most popular way to access and complete an apprenticeship. Most programs last four to five years, but you will be earning a salary while you train and learn. Electrician apprenticeship programs include full-time work and training as well as several hours per week of classroom learning.
Electrical JATCs can be competitive, and the requirements for being accepted usually include a high school diploma or GED, a passing grade in algebra, a driver’s license and a passing score on a basic skills exam. Union apprenticeships usually include between 8,000 and 10,000 hours of job training and experience and 500 to 1,000 hours of classroom time.
If you are not interested in a union job, you can apply for a non-union electrical apprenticeship offered through a trade or professional organization: the
Post-Secondary Electrician Programs
Many young people hoping to become electricians go straight from high school to an apprenticeship program, but there is an alternative. You can choose instead to complete a certificate or two-year degree program in electrical technology at a community or technical college. This can give you the foundational knowledge and help you decide if a career as an electrician is something you really want to pursue.
If you do want to go ahead with it, you’ll still need to find an apprenticeship. With a degree or certificate and your classroom learning done it may be easier to find a master electrician to apprentice to without going through a union, IEC, or ABC program.
Electricians are in high demand right now, and will continue to be for years to come. It takes a lot of skills to be able to do this job safely, which is why the apprenticeship process is so important. Before you take the step to secure one, make sure you understand what it entails and that you are ready to commit to the four to five years it will take to complete.