Studying to Become An Electrician at Irvine Valley College

Electricians play an integral role in making modern society work, harnessing the powerful and dangerous force of electricity to safely bring modern convenience to our homes and efficiency to our workplaces. This incredibly skilled role requires years of dedication to learning the trade, but at the end of your studies you’ll be able to earn an average annual wage of over $70,000 in a field where jobs are expected to grow by eight percent by 2029, which is faster than average job growth.

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How to Become an Electrician in California

To become an electrician in California, you’ll need to join a California state-approved training program and undertake about 144 hours of technical education per year, along with approximately 2,000 hours of on-the-job experience. At the end of your training, you’ll also need to pass a challenging State Certification Exam.

Electrician Courses at Irvine Valley College

Irvine Valley College is an ideal location to undertake your initial training—its high-quality electrical trainee program will get you well on your way toward a secure, well-compensated career as an electrician in California.

Based in Irvine, California, the college offers a state-approved certificate of proficiency for electrical trainees program which can be completed in 18 months to two years, and will set you up to move into a desirable and competitive apprenticeship. Courses required for the certificate of proficiency include two courses on basic electrical circuits, a thorough training course on occupational health and safety, and introductory courses on residential electrics and commercial and industrial wiring. These courses all include hands-on laboratory work as well as lecture-based teaching.

By the end of your program, you’ll be ready to register with the State of California as an electrician trainee. As a trainee working under experienced electricians, you’ll be ready to earn a decent wage while gaining the necessary work experience hours required to take the California electrician licensing exam.

Irvine Valley College also offers a program designed for people who are interested in becoming a solar photovoltaic systems technician. The certificate of completion program prepares students to become salespeople or installation apprentices in the booming field of solar panel installation.

Costs of Studying at Irvine Valley College

As a community college, Irvine Valley College benefits from low tuition fees, with help available from a broad variety of state and national financial aid sources. While tuition and health fees are currently a low $1,146 for the nine-month academic period in 2020-2021, books and other necessary supplies will cost about $1,000 for the year. Transportation is estimated at about $866 annually. The college also offers a helpful table with estimates of annual living costs for the average student, which would run to about $9,000 for someone living with family and about $17,000 for someone living alone.

Other Programs at Irvine Valley College

Another special advantage of Irvine Valley College is its commitment to general education. This means they believe learning is not just for career knowledge—anyone can benefit from the boost to critical thinking and understanding of society and the world that comes from a solid educational foundation. While you’re studying for your electrician trainee proficiency certificate, you can also take courses in other academic areas of the college such as the arts, business, humanities and physical science. Coursework taken at the college can count toward credit for a four-year undergraduate degree, particularly at University of California campuses.

Irvine Valley College students benefit from the accessibility of a small campus, but the college does not maintain dormitories or off-site accommodation. The student office can assist with finding suitable housing, and works with private companies that match students to host families and homestay experiences. This is of particular benefit to international students, who appreciate the language learning experience and local knowledge of host families.

Admission Requirements and How to Apply

To apply, you’ll need to have graduated high school or to hold a general equivalency certificate. The full admissions process takes about a month and has eight steps:

  • Complete the Irvine Valley College admissions form
  • Complete a guided self-placement survey to determine your English and mathematics competency
  • Submit your official high school transcripts if applicable
  • Attend online or in-person group advisement sessions to learn about programs that might be a good fit
  • Develop a plan for your first semester online or in a group advisement session
  • Attend your student orientation via a live online session or an on-demand online checklist
  • Complete your federal and state student aid applications
  • Register for classes

The admissions portal linked above has in-depth explanations of each of these steps including where some of them may be waived, such as for applicants who are still in high school or for students who have already completed some courses or gained equivalent experience through work.