How Much Does Electrician Training Cost?

Training in a trade is a great way to secure a potentially lucrative future, and the electrical trade is no exception. In fact, electrician careers are growing in the United States, with jobs expected to increase by 10.4 percent over the next 10 years, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). All in all, a career as an electrician is a logical choice for anyone who likes to work with their hands and travel locally. Find out here the cost of electrician school and other additional costs of training.

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If you want to become an electrician, you might be looking to find out more about your options for job training. Those considering training in a new career might be especially concerned about how much it will cost. In this regard, trades are unique, as new tradespeople generally learn through the completion of an apprenticeship.

Apprentices serve as assistants to a journey-level or master tradesperson, carrying tools and supplies to a job site and performing minor repairs. As such, they are part of the work crew and are paid for their work. This is a great way to become an electrician. Although this doesn’t mean there are no costs involved with training, the pay you earn while you are learning can help offset your electrician training costs.

How Long Do Electricians Need to Go to School and How Much Does Electrician School Cost?

There is more than one way to become trained as an electrician. Electrical training is usually obtained through participation in a training program at an electrician school, a local trade school or a community college. Electricians are also required to participate in an electrical apprenticeship, regardless of having acquired a certificate or associate’s degree. Many apprenticeship programs are actually self-contained and include classroom instruction, so it is possible to gain all of the training you need through an apprenticeship.

Although electricians don’t necessarily have to attend a training program at a trade school, participating in one can help you be more competitive and ultimately secure a better apprenticeship. Electrical training programs will help you meet on-site work demands with more preparation and knowledge. Classroom instruction should include an in-depth study of electrical theory, electrical systems and electrical technology. Training programs generally take anywhere from a few months to two years to complete.

If you are worried about the time it will take to begin training through an electrical training program, you will want to know that graduates usually receive credit toward their apprenticeship. In addition, a training program will likely include some form of on-the-job training. Many programs are also offered in the evenings, to allow students to work during the day, meaning you may be able to attend training and do your apprenticeship concurrently. 

So how much does an electrician school cost? It depends on where you enroll. Electrician training cost varies by the length and location of the program. However, in general, you should expect to spend anywhere between $1,000 and $11,000 to attend a training program. This sum may sound like a lot of money, but it’s important to remember that schools may have grants, loans and scholarships available to alleviate your electrician training costs.

Online electrician programs tend to be economical than campus-based training. Attending a trade school or community college will have other additional costs such as travel and perhaps accommodation.

Associate’s degree programs in electrical technology will cost more than a diploma program, that focuses on core training for electricians, such as learning the National Electrical Code, basic electrical systems and electrical theory. Both types of program will set you on course to becoming a licensed electrician. An associate’s degree program may open more doors later, as will a four-year bachelor’s degree.

Electrician Apprenticeship Costs

Apprenticeships can be approached through a union or non-union training program. Union programs are conducted through a partnership with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA). Partnering with local contractors, these two unions form Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committees (JATCs), in a partnership known as the Electrical Training Alliance

IBEW Local 271 in Wichita, KS, estimates that training will cost an apprentice around $3,600 for tools, textbooks, electrical code books, licensing exam fees and instructional fees.

Non-union apprenticeships, also known as open-shop or merit-based apprenticeships, may be available through non-union electrical contractors in your area. You can also participate in an official non-union training program through one of two non-union trade associations: the Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) or the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC).

The costs of these programs should be similar to the cost of training through a union apprenticeship. In either case, training costs are offset by the wages you are paid for working as an apprentice.

Additional Costs for Electricians

As you progress through your career, you will need to earn credentials at each level. In most states, this will mean qualifying for a state-issued or a locally approved license, for which you will have to pay. To prove your qualifications, you will need to take an examination at an additional cost.

So, how does an electrician’s career typically develop? You begin your career as an apprentice, either directly or after having completed a training program. During your apprenticeship, you will be learning the trade while assisting on the job site. Apprentices work under strict supervision by a journey- or master-level electrician.

In most places, you will be required to spend four to five years working as an apprentice. Once you have completed your apprenticeship, you will be qualified to become a fully qualified journey-level electrician. To earn your credentials, you will need to pass an examination and apply for licensure as a journeyperson.

Once you have obtained your journeyperson license, you will not be able to apply for a master electrician or electrical contractor license for at least two years. Once the two years are up, you will once again have to pass an licensing exam to qualify. Licensing examinations are given either as written or oral exams and are based heavily on local building codes as well as the National Electrical Code.

Whether you are a journeyman or master electrician, maintaining your license is vital to your career because an unlicensed electrician cannot work in most places. You should expect to spend between $15 and $75 yearly for your license and between $30 and $75 for professional exams. For more specific information about licensing in your area, refer to the department of professional licensing in your state, city or county.

Potential Wages for Your Career as an Electrician

So how much money do electricians make? The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that electricians make an average of $39,530 yearly, with the highest-paid electricians in the field reporting an annual income of $56,910. However, data collected by the BLS includes apprentices, journey-level and master electricians, whose wages vary considerably.

Your qualifications will drive your earning potential, with your salary increasing throughout your career. For instance, as the least experienced electricians, apprentices make the lowest wages. According to, electrical apprentices can expect to make an average hourly wage of $15.43. There is also potential for bonuses, profit sharing and commissions, which could increase your annual income by up to $2,000.

Once you have completed your apprenticeship and qualified as a journeyperson, your wages will increase considerably. Journey-level electricians make an average of  $25.56 per hour, with the potential for around $6,500 in additional bonuses annually. Although, this is a large bump in your salary, you will have even more potential for earnings when you have met the requirements to become a master electrician or electrical contractor.

As a master electrician, you have reached the pinnacle of your career and your wages will reflect your expertise. Master electricians make an average hourly wage of $29.14, with a potential for up to $14,000 per year in bonuses. Additionally, master electricians are the only electricians who can operate a contracting company, meaning there is potential for even greater earnings as a business owner. Regardless of where you choose to work as a master electrician, reaching this level could help you finally earn the future you deserve.