A career as an electrician involves installing, maintaining, and repairing electrical equipment. These essential skills help the modern world function efficiently.
Working with electrical power requires extensive training to meet strict qualifications. You can combine your training with experience and licensing to become a journeyman electrician. Then, you may decide to work your way up to a master electrician or independent electrical contractor. You might specialize as a residential, commercial, or industrial electrician as well.
Follow these guidelines to start your career as an electrician
Earn Your High School Diploma
The academic concepts you learn in school are essential. Pay close attention to the following subjects:
- Algebra, trigonometry, and other math skills are required to determine wiring lengths, calculate the force of electrical currents, and measure the angle of a circuit.
- Physics is helpful for understanding basic scientific concepts to complete electrical work.
- English is beneficial for reading technical documents.
- Shop and mechanical drawing classes are helpful for designing electrical systems in structures.
Secure an Apprenticeship
You must complete an apprenticeship to become a licensed electrician. You may need to do the following to get started:
- Complete an aptitude test for reading comprehension and math skills
- Participate in a job interview
- Take a drug test
- Meet specific physical requirements
You can land an apprenticeship in multiple ways:
- Trade schools usually offer apprenticeships and job placement opportunities.
- The Joint Apprenticeship & Training Committees (JATC) can place you with a local union The JATC typically facilitates and hosts classroom and lab-based technical training at its local office. You must join the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) to secure a union apprenticeship.
- Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) or Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. (ABC) can place you in an apprenticeship with non-union electrical contractors in major cities.
Register as an Electrician Apprentice
Determine whether your state requires registration as an electrician apprentice before working on job sites. Follow all relevant laws and regulations.
Finish Your Apprenticeship
Most states require 4 to 5 years of classroom instruction, on-the-job training, mentorship, and supervision before taking the electrical apprentice exam. You likely will learn about the following topics:
- Understanding technical diagrams and construction blueprints for electrical plans
- Installing, maintaining, and repairing electrical wiring and electricity-distribution equipment
- Completing work in compliance with local, state, and national regulations
- Using devices to test and inspect electrical systems for potential issues
Become Licensed or Certified
Research your city and state requirements for electrician licensing and certification. Ensure you fit the qualifications before applying.
- You must show you finished your apprenticeship to become licensed or certified.
- You may need to pass an electrical exam to become licensed.
- The exam tests your understanding of the National Electric Code, safety protocols, electrical concepts, and building codes.
Ready to Start Your Career as an Electrician?
CCS Construction Staffing has entry-level roles to help start your career as an electrician. Visit our job board today.