How to Make a Career as an Electrician


Individuals who wish to make a career as an electrician must first finish high school or obtain a GED. Subjects taught in high school become of great help as the individual moves forward in their training. For example, electricians use math to calculate wiring lengths and measure the angles of circuits. The English they learn is needed to read technical documents, and mechanical drawing classes become of help when designing electrical systems. Once this early education is complete, what steps must be taken to become a licensed electrician?

How to Make a Career as an Electrician

Consider Trade School

A person doesn’t need to attend trade school to become an electrician, but there are valuable skills that can be obtained by taking this path. In fact, people discover everything you need to know to be an electrician will be covered in the classes. Individuals who attend trade school take part in lab-based and classroom training. In addition, they get on-the-job experience. With this schooling, a student has the foundational tools and knowledge of basic electrical principles that will help them as they advance in this process.

A student may substitute up to two years of their schooling for on-the-job training. In addition, some schools now offer a complete journeyman program that complies with local licensing requirements. Students who complete these programs are approximately halfway through the process of becoming licensed journeymen when they graduate.

Apply for an Apprenticeship

Every individual wishing to become a licensed electrician must complete an apprenticeship, even if they attend trade school. There are several ways to find an apprenticeship. Trade schools typically work with students to help them find jobs as electrician apprentices.

Unions are another great resource when looking for an electrician apprenticeship. Contact the Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committees to find a position with a local union employer. However, to go this route, the individual will need to join the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Non-union apprenticeships are also available. Many people go through either the Independent Electrical Contractors or the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc.

Regardless of where an individual chooses to seek an apprenticeship, they will probably be asked to take an aptitude test to ensure they have the necessary reading comprehension and math skills. In addition, they will need to complete an interview and successfully pass a drug test.

Complete the Apprenticeship

Certain states require apprentices to register before working on job sites. Learn whether this is the case before proceeding. During the apprenticeship, the individual discovers how to read technical diagrams and blueprints. They also learn how to install, maintain, and repair electrical components and test and inspect electrical systems. As they do so, they will be supervised by a master electrician and mentored by those with more experience.

Most apprenticeship programs require the student to take part in up to 1,000 hours of classroom training, although some states only require 576 hours. A minimum of 8,000 hours of on-the-job training is also mandatory, with some states requiring 10,000 hours. The student must know what is required in the state where they plan to seek a license.

Becoming Licensed

Each state establishes its requirements for a person to become licensed as an electrician. In fact, some cities add additional requirements. To secure this license, the applicant may need to pass an electrical exam, which tests their understanding of the National Electric Code, safety protocols, and more.

Becoming an electrician takes time and effort. However, people who stay with the program find this to be very rewarding work. They solve problems and help people every day, which leaves them feeling great about themselves and the work they do.


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