If you’re technically minded, enjoy working with your hands and enjoy problem-solving, an electrician career could be right for you! To become a licensed electrician there are requirements you must meet and a process you must follow to be properly certified. For example, a basic requirement is a high school diploma or an equivalent. It is also recommended, but not required, that you complete a training program for electricians at a local technical, trade or vocational school. You’ll also participate in an apprenticeship as an electrician, and in certain states, it is required that you register as a trainee or apprentice. Apprenticeships should last for four or five years. Finally, if it is required in your state or municipality, you should get an electrician license or certificate. The following are in-depth guided steps to preparing for an electrician career.
Whether it’s a local trade school or the U.S. Department of Labor, there are many resources to help electricians-to-be learn about the electrical industry and the requirements that must be met in order to succeed in the field. There are many local and national programs that exist to help potential electricians jump-start their careers. Future electricians should consider becoming involved in industry related clubs or events!
Meet Minimum Requirements
People seeking an electrician career must be eighteen years old, have a high school diploma or an equivalent and be able to see color. (The latter is because in the field you must be able to distinguish between wires of different colors.) Those still in high school can choose their courses carefully to prepare for their eventual electrical career. Algebra and trigonometry are important, as math is utilized by electricians in measuring wiring lengths, determining a circuit’s angle and calculating an electrical current’s force. Students can choose to pay particular attention to such subjects as Physics and English. Mechanical drawing and shop classes are also useful. A career as an electrician requires knowledge of basic scientific concepts and ability to read technical documents.
Residential electricians are required to perform duties that involve heavy lifting, squatting, bending, squeezing into tight spaces and climbing ladders. Staying in good shape will help you on your way to success in an electrician career. You want to be able to keep up with the pace of other coworkers and stay safe along the way.
Consider a Pre-Apprenticeship
A pre-apprenticeship can help you decide if you want to pursue electrical work in your career and offer on-the-job experience. Its often easier to learn the basics of electrical work when you aren’t employed as an apprentice and you don’t have to worry about your work performance. A pre-apprenticeship is a more relaxed introduction to the trade and can help potential electricians gain fundamental expertise necessary to be successful. In a pre-apprenticeship, you will learn the National Electric Code, electrical theory, workplace safety and other subjects to get a head-start on the competition. Programs that involve hands-on training offer valuable experience that will be useful when joining the electrician career workforce.
Apply for an Apprenticeship
If you are looking to join the electrician career field, you should research apprenticeship opportunities and apply once you’re ready. There may be competition for the positions, so it is best to not waste any time when applying. As a portion of the application stage, a basic aptitude test may need to be passed. Generally, such an exam will gauge reading comprehension as well as the ability to perform basic arithmetic and basic algebra. This is typically followed by an interview. Specific physical requirements may also be established at this point such as a drug test and evaluation of certain mechanical proficiency. This is why a pre-apprenticeship can help you be competitive.
Register if Required
Some states, including Texas and California, require electrician apprentices to register prior to being permitted to work on real job sites. This step is generally very easy as it only consists of filling out forms and sometimes paying small fees. Every state has its own requirements for joining an electrician career, so be certain to check with your state’s department of labor, licensing or consumer affairs to ensure a smooth transition.
Complete an Apprenticeship
Completing your apprenticeship is the most important part of your electrician career preparation. Your apprenticeship will likely be comprised of a combination of on-the-job training and courses either in a classroom or online. You will be supervised and mentored by a master or a journeyman electrician over the course of four to five years of extensive training. At this point, you should earn an hourly wage.
Along the way, you will study important concepts and receive more practical experiences on job sites. These experiences can include reading construction blueprints and technical diagrams regarding electrical plans, as well as installing, repairing, and maintaining electrical wiring, various control systems, and lighting fixtures. You will make sure that all your work is in compliance with the National Electrical Code (NEC), in addition to local and state regulations. You will also be expected to use special tools to inspect various electrical systems.
Check Local Licensing Requirements
One aspect you must keep in mind as you are on your way to your electrician career, is that each state has its own requirements and standards when it comes to licensing electricians. This where you must plan ahead. Most states do not require a license to be considered a qualified electrician. Others, such as Pennsylvania and Illinois, do not license at the state level but have cities and towns with municipal licensing requirements. It is important for future electricians to, at the proper time, contact state and municipalities in which they desire to work to ask if a license is necessary.
Reviewing and following these steps will prepare you for a career as an electrician! The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the demand for electricians will increase by 9% by 2026. Many positions are available for electricians across the country, with not enough qualified people to fill them. Now is an ideal time to join the electrical field!
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