How to Become an Electrician in Colorado
If you’re interested in a career as an electrician and you live in Colorado, you are in a great position to take advantage of job opportunities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), growth in the industry for electricians is strong with an expected 45-percent increase in positions between 2014 and 2024. To get into this growing trade you will need to learn, train and go through the appropriate licensing stages from apprentice to master electrician.[En Español]
Requirements for Becoming an Electrician in Colorado
The state of Colorado licenses apprentices, journeymen, master and independent contractor electricians through the State Electrical Board. To begin your career as an electrician you will need to enroll in a two-year electrical technology degree program and complete 6,000 hours of on-the-job work experience, or enroll in an apprenticeship program that provides both classroom learning and hands-on training.
The next step after education and apprenticeship is to become a licensed journeyman electrician. During this stage you continue your training by working with master electricians. To qualify to become a journeyman you need 288 hours of classroom time, which can be met through a two-year degree program or an approved apprenticeship program. You will also need to have completed 8,000 hours of hands-on work experience if you went through apprenticeship, or 6,000 hours if you have a two-year degree.
With those requirements you can take the exam to become a licensed journeyman. The next step is to become a licensed master electrician. Qualifications for the master exam include four years of practical experience working as an electrician, two years working in industrial or commercial settings, 2,000 hours of experience in planning and supervising electrical installations, and a score of at least 70 percent on the journeyman exam. You may choose to become licensed in the state as an independent electrical contractor, which requires being a master electrician or hiring one and holding worker’s compensation insurance.
Electrician Apprenticeship Programs in Colorado
One way to start a career as an electrician is to enroll in an apprenticeship program, which will provide the classroom and hands-on requirements for licensing as a journeyman upon completion. In Colorado there are union and non-union programs that meet the requirements.
There are four union apprenticeship programs in the state, backed by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union and the National Electrical Contractors Alliance. These are located in Colorado Springs, Denver, Clifton and Pueblo. To qualify for these programs you must be at least 18 years old, have transportation, be physically able to perform job tasks, have a high school diploma or GED and be able to pass a basic aptitude test.
One of the largest non-union apprenticeship programs in the state is through the Independent Electrical Contractors Rocky Mountain Chapter. It offers a four-year program for future electricians that includes evening classes, transferrable credits and the required 8,000 hours of hands-on experience. Both union and non-union programs include paid apprenticeship work of about $13 to $20 per hour.
Colorado Schools for Electricians
An alternative to an apprenticeship program is to earn a two-year degree in electrical technology along with 6,000 hours of hand-on work experience. Electrical contracting companies in the state partner with vocational and career schools to help students get the required hours. Some examples of schools that offer electrical technology programs are:
- Red Rocks Community College, Lakewood and Arvada. Red Rocks offers a number of related two-year degrees, including construction electrician, industrial controls, power technology and maintenance electrician.
- Colorado Technical University, Aurora and Colorado Springs. The two-year electronics technology degree offered here allows students to begin a career as an electrician or to continue on to get a four-year degree and choose other career options.
- Pickens Technical College, Aurora. Pickens offers students a general electronics technology associate degree, which prepares students to get work experience to train to become a journeyman or to begin working as an electrical technician.
Outlook and Salary Expectations
The growth in the electrical industry in Colorado is very strong and much faster than job growth in general. If you choose to get into this career in the state you can expect a positive outlook and many job opportunities. By 2024 there are expected to be over 7,000 new positions available according to the BLS.
Additionally, salary expectations are high in the state for qualified electricians. Licensed electricians in Colorado made an average annual salary of $53,180 in 2017. Those earning the most, including contractors and those with years of experience, made an average of $77,300.
Salaries in Colorado by Occupation
|Occupation||Total Employment||Mean Hourly Wage||Hourly Wage 10th Percentile||Hourly Wage 25th Percentile||Hourly Wage 75th Percentile||Hourly Wage 90th Percentile||Mean Annual Salary||Annual Salary 10th Percentile||Annual Salary 25th Percentile||Annual Salary 75th Percentile||Annual Salary 90th Percentile|
|Electrical and Electronics Installers and Repairers, Transportation Equipment||**||$29.46||$15.77||$22.70||$36.71||$43.10||$61,280||$32,810||$47,220||$76,360||$89,660|
|Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Commercial and Industrial Equipment||1,830||$28.30||$18.47||$22.42||$33.60||$39.56||$58,870||$38,430||$46,640||$69,890||$82,290|
|Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Powerhouse, Substation, and Relay||190||$40.97||$31.76||$37.67||$46.62||$48.98||$85,220||$66,050||$78,360||$96,960||$101,880|
|Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers||2,450||$36.20||$19.12||$30.15||$44.72||$48.12||$75,290||$39,780||$62,700||$93,020||$100,100|
Electrician Salaries in Colorado by Region
|Area||Total Employment||Mean Hourly Wage||Hourly Wage 10th Percentile||Hourly Wage 25th Percentile||Hourly Wage 75th Percentile||Hourly Wage 90th Percentile||Mean Annual Salary||Annual Salary 10th Percentile||Annual Salary 25th Percentile||Annual Salary 75th Percentile||Annual Salary 90th Percentile|
|Colorado Springs, CO||1,500||$26.77||$16.10||$20.35||$30.89||$37.29||$55,670||$33,480||$42,320||$64,260||$77,550|
|Fort Collins, CO||700||$27.97||$15.56||$20.32||$33.68||$44.62||$58,170||$32,360||$42,270||$70,060||$92,800|
|Grand Junction, CO||340||$24.05||$16.05||$19.05||$28.55||$31.91||$50,020||$33,380||$39,630||$59,380||$66,380|
Working as an Electrician in Colorado
The job opportunities you can expect to have in Colorado in the coming years are numerous. Journeymen and master electricians are hired by electrical contractors, building contractors and developers. If you become an independent contractor you will have the chance to start your own business and to hire other electricians.
Choosing a career as an electrician is a big commitment that requires years of training and education as you work your way up from student to apprentice to journeyman and finally to master electrician. The path is well worth it if you want a career that is interesting, hands-on, stable and lucrative.
1400 South Abilene Street, Aurora, Colorado 80012
Electronics Technology – Associate Program
Ecotech Institute’s Associate program is offered at their campus in the city of Aurora. Most of the school’s 242 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools. Fees for tuition are generally around $37,402 annually.
1860 Lincoln Street, Denver, Colorado 80203
Electrician Apprenticeship – Certificate Program
Emily Griffith Technical College’s Certificate-level Electrician Apprenticeship program is offered at their campus in the city of Denver. The majority of of the school’s 4,144 students are on diploma programs of under two years. The college is accredited by the Council on Occupational Education. The retention rate of full-time students at this college is 86%. Fees for tuition are about $8,739 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $789, although this will depend on the program.
500 Airport Blvd, Aurora, Colorado 80011-9307
(303) 344-4910 x27734
General Electronics Technology – Certificate Program
The General Electronics Technology Certificate program in General Electronics Technology at Pickens Technical College can be taken at their campus in the city of Aurora, Colorado. The majority of of the school’s 1,184 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Council on Occupational Education. The retention rate of full-time students at this college is over 80%. Tuition fees for in-state students are around $4,510 and for out-of-state students approximately $7,990 yearly, while books and supplies may cost about $600, although this varies from program to program.
13300 W Sixth Ave, Lakewood, Colorado 80228-1255
Residential Construction Electrician Certificate – Certificate Program, Construction Electrician – Associate Program
Red Rocks Community College offers various Certificate program options for future professionals, a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are offered at their campus in the city of Lakewood, CO. The majority of of the school’s 7,789 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Fees for tuition for in-state students are likely to be in the order of $4,008 and for students from outside the state likely to be about $14,773 yearly, while books and supplies may cost about $1,800, although this varies from program to program.
* College accredition status and tuition fees and are, to our best knowledge, correct at the time of writing, and sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics (http://nces.ed.gov/). Check all details directly with college before applying.