How to Become an Electrician in Rhode Island
A great career choice for young people in Rhode Island is that of a licensed electrician. It takes a few years of training and learning to get into this trade, but with the right skills and qualifications you can become licensed, enjoy job security and have a great income. The growth in jobs for electricians is very strong in the state right now. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the growth is nearly 23 percent, much faster than average job growth.[En Español]
Requirements for Becoming an Electrician in Rhode Island
In Rhode Island, licensing for electricians is handled by the Department of Labor and Training. The path to becoming licensed in the state begins with training and education. This can be done through an apprenticeship program, which provides the required 576 hours of classroom time and the 8,000 hours of on-the-job training. Alternatively, you can complete an education program at a vocational or technical college and then find an electrician willing to take on an apprenticeship for the work experience hours.
Regardless of which path you choose, you will need to complete at least 576 hours of classroom learning and 8,000 hours of work experience to qualify to take the journeyman exam and to achieve that level of licensing. After working for at least two years as a journeyman you may choose to become licensed as an electrical contractor. This allows you to start a business, hire other electricians and offer electrical services.
Electrician Apprenticeship Programs in Rhode Island
There is one union electrical Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (JATC) in Rhode Island, the Cranston JATC. It is affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers local 99. This union apprenticeship program provides all the work hours and classroom hours needed to qualify for journeyman licensing upon completion. To enroll you must have a high school diploma or GED and a grade of C or higher in a year of algebra. Applicants also have to pass a general aptitude test. Those accepted can expect to spend five years completing the program.
There is also one non-union apprenticeship program in the state, run through the Rhode Island chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors. It has similar requirements for enrollment as the JATC and also offers all the classroom hours and work experience hours needed. Apprentices in both programs can expect to earn a salary while training.
Rhode Island Schools for Electricians
An alternative to the two apprenticeship programs is to complete a degree or certificate program in an electrical subject at a community or technical college. An educational program can provide the needed classroom hours, but students still need to find a position as an apprentice to get the work experience hours.
- Community College of Rhode Island. The electrical apprenticeship training program at this school provides all the needed classroom hours for journeyman licensing. Classes are held at Davies Career and Technical High School, which is located in Lincoln. It takes four years to complete this program, but students are expected to find and work in an apprenticeship program during the day while taking courses in the evening.
- Ridley-Lowell Business and Technical Institute. The electrical school at Ridley-Lowell is located in West Warwick. It offers coursework to meet the required classroom hours for journeyman licensing. It also prepares students to work in an apprenticeship position for hands-on training.
- New England Institute of Technology. At the East Greenwich campus, students can earn an associate’s degree in electrical technology, earning the necessary classroom hours for licensing. Graduates can seek entry-level electrical work or go on to an apprenticeship program to work toward electrician licensing.
Outlook and Salary Expectations
The growth in careers for electricians in Rhode Island is higher than in most states, at 22.8 percent between 2014 and 2024. The BLS reported that in 2014 there were 2,230 employed electricians in the state and that there will be 2,730 employed by 2024. Those positions will be filled by people who are training in the state right now.
The salary expectations are also high. According to the BLS, the average salary for an electrician in 2017 was $55,700, and the top 10n percent of earners in the field were making around $77,080 that year. This higher number reflects the opportunity to earn more with added experience, with specialties, or as a contractor and small business owner.
Salaries in Rhode Island 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 Repairers, Commercial and Industrial Equipment||90||$27.38||$20.12||$23.13||$32.86||$37.00||$56,950||$41,840||$48,100||$68,350||$76,960|
|Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers||**||$40.16||$28.73||$35.59||$46.36||$48.79||$83,540||$59,770||$74,030||$96,430||$101,490|
Electrician Salaries in Rhode Island 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|
|Norwich-New London-Westerly, CT-RI||800||$28.16||$16.05||$21.26||$33.35||$39.22||$58,580||$33,380||$44,220||$69,380||$81,570|
Working as an Electrician in Rhode Island
The opportunities for skilled and qualified electricians in Rhode Island are strong and growing. After completing an apprenticeship you can expect to be hired as a journeyman by electrical contractors, building contractors, industrial companies, building owners and even government agencies. Licensed electricians will be in demand in the coming years, so you can expect to be able to choose the position you want.
470 Bank Street, New London, Connecticut 06320
Electrical Systems Technician – Certificate Program
The Certificate program in Electrical Systems Technician at Ridley-Lowell Business & Technical Institute can be taken at their New London campus in the city of New London, RI. This private, for-profit college has about 255 students in total, with the majority of students on programs that last under 2 years. The college is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools. The retention rate of full-time students at this college is over 80%. Tuition fees for the Electrical Systems Technician program are around $15,425 yearly, while study materials may cost about $1,400. Usually, the program is completed in 9 months.
One New England Tech Boulevard, East Greenwich, Rhode Island 02818-1205
Electrical Technology – Associate Program
New England Institute of Technology’s Associate-level Electrical Technology program is taught at their campus in East Greenwich in Kent County, RI. This is a full, 4-year private college with 2,919 students, of which 96% are undergraduates. The college is institutionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. The cost of tuition is in the order of $28,656 for each academic year, while study materials may cost roughly $1,521, depending on the 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.