Electricians are tradespeople whose responsibilities are to design, install, maintain and troubleshoot electrical wiring systems. These systems can be located in homes, commercial or industrial buildings, and even machines and large pieces of equipment. Electricians work either inside or outside to make possible the use of all kinds of equipment that needs power; lights, televisions, industrial equipment, appliances and many other items essential to life. (Source)
Why should you consider a career in Electrical?
Today, electricians are in demand more than ever before. According to Angie’s List, electrical contractors have reported declining numbers of qualified workers. They say that many older electricians are nearing retirement and don’t have enough young electricians to replace them.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), demand for electricians will only grow in the future. The BLS estimates that electrician jobs will see a 20% increase by 2022. (Source)
If you choose to train as an electrician, you can work without a college degree so you avoid tuition costs by working through an apprenticeship program. Your apprenticeship program is often paid for by the contractor you work for, so you may end up only paying for textbook fees. You’ll even work as an electrician while you take classes-so you earn money while you study.
Additionally, you can progress in the industry quickly earning a comfortable salary in relatively short time. As an electrician, you also have the option to work wherever you choose to work as electricians are needed everywhere.
Your Career in Electrical Starts HERE.
|Average Electrician Salary|
|Apprentice (starting)||$15 – $20||$20,000 – $45,000|
|Journeyman||$20 – $30||$40,000 – $55,000|
|Master||$30 – $45+||$55,000 – $90,000+|
Set Your Foundation for Education
Earning your high school diploma or equivalent, such as a GED, is your first step on the path to becoming a professional electrician. Having a basic knowledge of reading, writing, science and math are critical to pursuing any career in the pro trade industry. For electricians, having an advanced knowledge of math and science are absolutely necessary since the work often involves making accurate measurements and making electrical theory calculations. Areas of your high school or equivalent education that will benefit you as an electrician include:
- Metric units of measure
Pro tip: Keep your record clean.
In addition to earning your high school diploma or GED, other factors that can impact your electrical career are your driving record, your criminal background and your ability to pass a drug test. Training programs and future employers might be deterred from working with you for safety and insurance reasons if you have:
- DUIs or DWIs
- Reckless driving convictions
- An extensive number of moving violations
- Certain misdemeanor offenses
- Felony convictions of any kind
- Failed a drug test
If you have a valid driver’s license, are drug-free and have a clean driving record and criminal background, then it will likely be easier for you to pursue an electrical career.
Enroll in technical courses
Once you’ve earned your high school diploma or equivalent, the next step is to enroll in technical electrical courses. Many states require a certain number of hours in the classroom in order to become a licensed electrician. Technical courses are offered by a variety of public and private schools and programs. Check out local community colleges, trade institutions, unions or professional electrical associations for information about electrical programs in your area. The curriculum will depend on your city or state’s requirements, but topics could include:
- National electrical code requirements
- Electrical conduit, wiring, and outlet installations
- Switch, receptacle, and lighting installations
- Wiring diagrams and electrical plan layout
- Electrical theory and calculations
Recommendation: Joining the Electrical Contractors Associations can help you grow your electrical career.
Find an apprenticeship
Depending on where you live, you will likely be required to work alongside an experienced electrician as an apprentice for a certain number of hours. The length of the apprenticeship will vary, but could take as long as two to five years. You might be able to complete your apprenticeship while you are enrolled in technical courses. In order to find an electrical apprenticeship, you can start by checking with the trade school or organization through which you are receiving technical training. If they do not offer an apprenticeship program, they will likely have information about where to find one.
Pro tip: You can also check with local electrical contractor to see if they are hiring apprentices. Not only will you receive valuable on-the-job training from a seasoned pro, but they might offer to pay you for the hours you work. This gives you the opportunity to earn while you learn.
Take the test
Certain areas will require you to pass a written exam, a practical test or both in order for you to earn your electrical license. If testing is required in your area, you will likely have to take it once you have completed your technical courses and your apprenticeship program. In general, you can expect the exam to be cumulative of what you learned on the job and in the classroom. Based on your state and local requirements, you might then be considered a licensed journeyman electrician once you pass the test. If so, then you might be legally allowed to complete electricl contract work without the assistance of another qualified electrician depending on where you live.