With standard four-year college degrees requiring 5 or more years to finish, fewer individuals are opting for trade schools or apprenticeship programs that prepare students for immediate work.
One of these possibilities is to become an electrician, which offers a good wage and a plethora of work prospects once you have your license.
Obtaining a license as an electrician is a difficult task. This article covers the fundamentals of electrical work as well as the processes required to become an electrician.
Understanding An Electrician
An electrician is a skilled laborer trained in supplying, installing, and maintaining electrical wiring systems in both residential and commercial buildings. Some electricians also work outdoors and, in the government, installing and maintaining electrical boxes and other peripherals that help ensure power in a community.
Facts About Electrician
According to a statistic, there are over 460,000 electricians currently employed in the US. Over 85% of all electricians are men and over 5% are women.
Electricians are in high demand. With statistics expect job opportunities to grow by up to 8% between 2019 and 2029. In particular, electricians specializing in solar power and other renewable power sources are likely to be in higher demand.
Electricians are paid an average of $49,775 annual salary with the average starting salary at $36,000. This amount depends on several factors such as area of specialization, years of experience, and the local or state area of practice.
5 Steps To Become An Electrician
Take these five steps to become an electrician:
1. Determine If You’re Qualified
To begin your road to becoming an electrician, you must first determine whether you are qualified for the position.
The following are the minimum requirements for working as an electrician:
- You must have a high school diploma or have taken the GED test
- 18 years old or older
- Be in decent physical shape
- Transport to job places that is reliable
- Possesses the required license
Other qualifications may be necessary depending on which state or municipality you live in.
2. Finish Relevant High School Courses
For high school students considering a career as an electrician, you need to take some courses that prepare you and offer some exposure to electrical principles including physics, mathematics, chemistry, mechanical drawing, and workshops.
Now, if you’re interested in setting up your own business, then you should consider courses in entrepreneurship, business and accounting as well. Joining an electronics club can also provide you with more knowledge and experience. You can also try gaining experience by volunteering for organizations.
Most local vocational schools and community colleges offer special programs exclusively for high school learners.
3. Get A Certificate Or Associate Degree
Technical schools and community colleges offer associated and certificate degree programs that will train you in the fundamentals of electrical power systems.
Depending on the program content, you should be able to learn about electrical theories, wiring techniques, electrical drafting, and the national electrical code through a mix of lab and classroom courses. An associate degree program may also include general education courses.
An associate degree can be earned in two years, while a certificate program can be completed in just a year or less.
4. Undergo Apprenticeship
An apprenticeship can take about 4 years to finish and often consists of 144 hours of classroom lessons or technical training. The credits you earned in an associate’s degree or certificate program may be applied towards the requirement.
In addition, you also need 2,000 hours of on-the-job training under the supervision of an experienced electrician. Tasks that you can expect to perform may include testing wires, drilling holes, and installing conduits.
Pro tip: Consider finding an industry-sponsored apprenticeship. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics lists 4 organizations— the Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC), The National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)— as sponsors for apprenticeship programs.
5. Take A Test
Most states will require electricians to pass a licensure test. You need to contact your local building official for the licensing requirement. Make sure to study well for the exam which may include a test on National Electrical Code and common electrical theory and knowledge.
Once licensed, make sure to take continuing education courses to stay updated with changes and additions in the National Electrical Code as well as new materials and procedures.
Electricians are highly skilled trade professionals. Not just because of the risks that come with their line of work, but because they handle a wide variety of jobs. And with the above guide, you should now be properly equipped on the necessary steps you need to take to become a certified and licensed electrician.