Electrician Programs in the San Diego Area

If you’ve recently made the decision to become an electrician, you can rest assured that you’ve made a practical choice for your future. In fact, the electrician trade is currently growing in California, with Projections Central predicting an increase of 10.4 percent (or 74,100 new jobs) between 2018 and 2028. These data translate into more opportunities in the field for those who receive the necessary qualifications. In San Diego there were 7,640 electricians earning an average of $60,850 in 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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So, how should you get started in this exciting career? In California, you will probably want to seek a training program that has been approved as part of the state’s Electrician Certification Program. These programs will allow you to register as an electrical trainee in the state, setting up your future success in the trade. (See also electrician schools in Sacramento.)

Becoming a Certified Electrician in San Diego

Licensing for electricians in all California is overseen by the State of California Division of Industrial Relations. The process of becoming certified requires specific steps, as categorized below:

  • Register as an electrician trainee: You can qualify as an electrician trainee either by attending a state-approved training program or by working under the direct supervision of a certified electrician. 
  • Complete your training: Your training will need to include at least 720 hours of classroom instruction in an approved electrical program or apprenticeship and 8,000 hours of on-the-job experience, of which you will need to provide proof. 
  • Take the state certification exam: Taking the exam will require a significant amount of study, including gaining in-depth knowledge of building code regulations. More information on exam specifics can be found here.

ABC San Diego

The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) is a non-union trade organization, which offers training apprenticeships in many cities throughout the United States, including San Diego. ABC San Diego provides paid, on-the-job training for college credit in a variety of construction trades.

One of the most significant advantages of this type of training program is gaining the trade-related skills you need without incurring a large amount of debt. In fact, apprenticeship programs are known for paying a living wage, allowing you to support yourself while learning valuable career skills. 

The program, which consists of hands-on experience on actual worksites and associated classroom training, is a great way to experience the life of an electrician, allowing you to decide if the career will fit your lifestyle. Tuition for ABC apprenticeships is typically under $2,000, with some associated costs for books and supplies. Apprentices will need to provide their own housing and meet their own living expenses. If you are interested in an apprenticeship through ABC San Diego, you can request an application here

Western Electrical Contractors Association, Inc.

Western Electrical Contractors Association, Inc. (WECA) is another apprenticeship program, with five training locations in California and Arizona, one of which is in San Diego. The course takes three to five years to complete depending on specialty, and like most apprenticeships, apprentices are paid for their work. In addition, apprentices will be able to enroll in benefits programs for health and life insurance. 

Students in the program will need to provide their own housing; however, a living wage will help cover expenses. Tuition is paid by the employer, but there will be costs for books, tools and supplies.

Program offerings include Commercial Electrical, Low-Voltage Technician, and Residential Wiring.  If you are interested in an apprenticeship through WECA, you can apply here

San Diego City College

San Diego City College offers a wide variety of programs including courses in the arts, media, criminal justice, behavioral health, education, engineering, language, history, health sciences and trades. Their electricity program prepares students for careers as linemen, general electricians, maintenance electricians, electrical helpers and electrical motor repairers. Hands-on training and theoretical knowledge are the backbone of the program, which emphasizes electrical theory, installation and maintenance, electrical codes, blueprint reading and motor controls. The two-year program culminates in a Certificate of Achievement or Associate in Science Degree. 

The college’s current enrollment fee for 2020 is $46 per unit, with financial aid available for qualifying students. Students are also required to pay a health fee plus additional tuition fees for out-of-state-students. All books, tools and supplies needed for the program are also the responsibility of the student. 

Although on-campus housing is not available, the college has a plethora of on-site resources including a library, a fitness center, counseling and a student health center. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in athletic programs, join clubs and participate in on-campus activities and entertainment. Community programs include social justice, urban farming, Latinx resources, Black Excellence resources, and workforce initiatives. The college’s Give to City initiative provides student scholarships along with accepting donations to address food insecurity, clothing needs, books and computers.  If you are interested in San Diego City College, you can apply here or call the admissions office for more information.