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 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), growth in the industry for electricians is strong with an expected 28-percent increase in positions between 2018 and 2028. 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. (The Colorado Electrical Board is part of the Department of Regulatory Agencies. The Board also provides license search services for consumers). To begin your career as an electrician you will need to enroll in a two-year electrical technology degree program at an approved college or trade school 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. Your time in the classroom will get you familiar with the National Electrical Code.
The next step after education and apprenticeship is to become a licensed journeyman electrician. During this stage you continue your on-the-job training by working with master electricians. To qualify to become a journeyman electrician you need 288 hours of classroom time, which can be met through a two-year training 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 and build you own business in the construction industry, 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 electrician 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 (IBEW) and the National Electrical Contractors Alliance (NECA). Together these organizations created the Electrical Training Alliance which coordinate apprenticeships throught Joint Apprenticeship and Training Commmittees (JATC). These are located in Colorado Springs, Denver, Clifton and Pueblo. For more information see below. 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.
Electrician Schools in Colorado
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 trade 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. For the years from 2024 to 2028 there are expected to be an average of 2,570 annual job openings 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 $54,250 in 2019. Those earning the most, including contractors and those with years of experience, made an average of $96,580. These numbers compare well with the average salary in Colorado which was $57,690 for all occupations in 2019.
Salaries in Colorado by Occupation
|Occupation||Total Employment||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Wage||Annual Salary 10th Percentile||Annual Salary 25th Percentile||Annual Salary 75th Percentile||Annual Salary 90th Percentile|
|Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Commercial and Industrial Equipment||2,220||$29.77||$61,920||$40,950||$49,120||$73,860||$84,420|
|Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Powerhouse, Substation, and Relay||300||$42.44||$88,270||$70,530||$82,000||$98,200||$102,920|
|Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers||2,170||$38.36||$79,790||$47,040||$65,290||$96,890||$102,850|
Electrician Salaries in Colorado by Region
|Area||Total Employment||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Salary||Hourly Wage 10th Percentile||Hourly Wage 25th Percentile||Hourly Wage 75th Percentile||Hourly Wage 90th Percentile|
|Colorado Springs, CO||1,440||$24.27||$50,470||$15.55||$17.82||$29.08||$34.52|
|Fort Collins, CO||910||$27.74||$57,710||$16.91||$22.24||$33.84||$37.72|
|Grand Junction, CO||370||$28.63||$59,540||$18.23||$21.26||$36.00||$45.01|
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 on-the-job 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.
Organizations You Should Know
- IBEW Local 113, Colorado Springs
- IBEW Local 111, Denver and Grand Junction (formerly Local 969)
- IBEW Local 68, Denver
- IBEW Local 12, Pueblo
- Denver Joint Electrical Apprenticeship and Training Committee (DJEATC)
- Colorado Electrical Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (CSEJATC)
- Independent Electrical Contractors Rocky Mountain (IECRM)
- Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) – Rocky Mountain
1400 South Abilene Street, Aurora, Colorado 80012
Electronics Technology – Associate Program
The Associate’s degree program in Electronics Technology at Ecotech Institute is based at their campus in the city of Aurora, Colorado. The college has round 242 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools. Fees for tuition are about $37,402 for each academic year.
1860 Lincoln Street, Denver, Colorado 80203
Electrician Apprenticeship – Certificate Program
The Electrician Apprenticeship Certificate program at Emily Griffith School is based at their campus in the city of Denver, CO. This public college has about 4,144 students in total, with the majority of students on programs that last under 2 years. The college is accredited by the Council on Occupational Education. Fees for tuition are likely to be about $8,739 yearly. Learning materials may cost about $789, although this will vary with the program. Apart from this this electrician training course, the college offers a number of trade school programs such as Construction Essentials, Welding, Painting, Pipefitters, Plumber Apprenticeship and HVAC.
500 Airport Blvd, Aurora, Colorado 80011-9307
(303) 344-4910 x27734
General Electronics Technology – Certificate Program
The Certificate program in General Electronics Technology at Pickens Technical College is offered at their campus in the city of Aurora, CO. The majority of of the school’s 1,184 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Council on Occupational Education. The retention rate of full-time students at this college is over 80%. Fees for tuition for in-state students are likely to be in the order of $4,510 and for students from outside the state likely to be about $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. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Lakewood. Most 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. The cost of tuition for in-state students is around $4,008 and for out-of-state students in the order of $14,773 per year. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,800, depending on the program chosen.
Grand Junction, CO
2508 Blichmann Avenue, Grand Junction, CO 81505
The Electric Lineworker program at WCCC covers all areas of training needed for those who desire to become an apprentice electric lineman. Students learn the fundamental skills in the study of electricity, the basics of transformer connections and electric line work, and underground installation and repair. The Electric Lineworker program operates within an indoor and outdoor, hands-on electric training facility with classrooms on site.
* 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.
How much do electricians earn in the state of Colorado?
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, electricians in the state of Colorado made an average of $55,050 per year in 2019. Entry-level electricians earned around $33,140 and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $78,580.