Electrician are tradespeople who install, maintain, and repair the electrical wiring and equipment that powers homes, businesses, and factories. Whether it’s a residential electrician who works on home wiring and fixtures, or an industrial electrician who repairs large motors and controls in a factory, this is a highly technical job that requires a great deal of training to be completed safely.
The demand for skilled electricians is strong, and many people who become licensed to work as electricians find that their career options are wide open. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the need for qualified electricians will continue to grow faster than the average occupation through 2024.
To become an electrician, you’ll need to complete a combination of education and on-the-job training. You can start this process by earning a high school diploma or a GED certificate, which is mandatory to be able to pursue most jobs in the field. You’ll then need to enroll in a vocational school or apprenticeship program that will teach you the skills necessary for the position. Electrician training programs typically cover topics such as electrical theory, interpreting blueprints and diagrams, conduit bending, and safety practices. They also usually include hands-on training and may require you to pass a state or national exam to gain certification.
After completing your pre-apprenticeship education, you’ll need to find an apprenticeship with a local union or non-union electrical contractor. Apprenticeships generally last four years and will provide you with classroom instruction as well as a paid on-the-job learning experience. This is a time-consuming and costly step, but one that can be worth the investment since most apprentices’ tuition fees are covered by their employer.
Once you’re an apprentice, you’ll learn on the job under a master or journeyman electrician and receive training in various types of electrical work. This is an essential part of your career because it will prepare you for a variety of scenarios and situations that may occur in the field. You’ll also have the opportunity to learn leadership skills as you manage apprentices and junior electricians on the job site.
If you want to specialize in clean energy, consider looking into a solar or wind energy technician training program. These specialized positions can lead to higher salaries and better job prospects in the future.
Having a high school diploma and pursuing an electrician trade school or apprenticeship are the most common ways to get started in the profession. You can also obtain a license by passing an exam that covers the National Electrical Code, various electrical concepts and practices, safety procedures, and your jurisdiction’s specific laws and requirements. Some states also require that you have a certain number of on-the-job training hours to qualify for licensure, so be sure to check with your state’s licensing, labor, or consumer affairs department before getting started.