Preparing to Become an Electrician
Electrician apprenticeships can be your ticket into the rewarding skilled trades industry. By including an apprenticeship as part of your electrician training, you can gain on-the-job skills and knowledge under the direction of experienced professionals. Here is a comprehensive guide to pursuing an electrician apprenticeship:
Apply for an Electrician Apprenticeship
A common first step in becoming an electrician apprentice is to apply with the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA)—the national voice of the electrical construction industry, committed to bettering the industry through research, education, advocacy, and standards development. The NECA sponsors over 300 joint training apprenticeship programs, and can allow electrical apprentices to earn a wage while gaining industry-standard skills and knowledge.
Choose a Specialty and Complete Your Coursework
The NECA is associated with many regional and local chapters, which offer an electrician apprenticeship curriculum developed by their National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (NJATC). After finding your local chapter and researching their offerings, you may have the option of choosing a specialty for your apprenticeship, such as residential wireman, VDV installer technician, outside lineman, and inside lineman.
No matter which chapter or specialty you choose, your electrician apprenticeship will be a multi-year undertaking, combining theoretical classroom instruction with extensive real-life experience. Most electrical apprenticeship programs include at least 144 classroom hours, as well as an annual minimum of 2,000 hours spent on-the-job.
Pass the State Examination
After successfully completing your electrical apprenticeship program, your next step is to become an electrical journeyman by passing a licensing examination. Licensing requirements can vary by state, and multiple licensing examinations exist. However, most states have a minimum requirement of successfully taking the electrical journeyman's examination, administered by state licensing boards.
Once you have become a licensed electrical journeyman, you will have the opportunity to further your classroom training in order to upgrade your skills in the areas of fiber optics, telecommunications, safety, programmable logic controls, the National Electric Code, and more.
Research your Electrician Career Options
As a licensed journeyman, a variety of career options could be available to you. For example, you could choose to pursue an electrician position with a local contractor. The NECA website is a good place to start your job search, as they often post job opportunities with contractors.
If you are willing to continue your education in order to gain business and management skills, you could also prepare to start up your own business, working as a freelance electrician.
Take Action to Become an Electrician
Now that you have a better understanding of the necessary steps in completing an electrician apprenticeship, and reaching your goal of becoming a licensed electrician, you are probably ready to take action. This guide to electrician schools and programs can be a great place to begin your research!
Find electrician training near you.
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