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A Guide to Becoming an Electrician

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Most of us take electricity for granted. We flip a switch and expect the world to come to life and flood with light. The magicians behind this little trick are the heroes that keep our world running.

Career options such as those in the electrical field offer fulfilling and rewarding work. You get to work with your hands and bring the world to life simply because it’s your job.

So how does one become an electrician? What kind of career training do you need? 

Becoming an electrician requires time and focus, but it can be a short path to a new and fulfilling career. 

By the time you finish reading this article, you should understand the skills needed to become an electrician and the path you could take for career training in the electrical field. 

Skills Needed

To better understand how to become an electrician, you first must understand the skills you need and the things that an electrician does all day. Here are the basic skills you need to be an electrician. 

Physical Strength

You do not need to be a bodybuilder, but you should be able to move up and down scaffolding or a ladder several times daily. You may also need the ability to dig a trench since electricians do this occasionally to bring power to a building. 

Plan on either standing or kneeling for long periods. In short, you need to be in relatively good physical shape to be an electrician. 


Electricians rarely do the same work daily and from job to job. Therefore, you should be flexible with the needs of the job. On the upside, this job will not bore you. 

You may find yourself under a house one day and on top of a building the next. You may have to run conduit through an attic or dig a trench outside the building. You may also need the ability to climb high scaffolding and crawl into tight spaces, like under a sink. 

Manual Dexterity

Electricians are typically good with their hands. You may have to handle and manipulate small parts such as transformers, circuit breakers, and other electrical components. 

Social Skills

Social skills play a big part in building a business as an electrician. Electricians work with a variety of clients, as well as contractors and entrepreneurs that have electrical needs. Excellent verbal and written communication skills are also advantageous to compete for contracting jobs. 

Observation Skills

Electricians usually have excellent observation skills to detect hazards and defects before they step into a problem. Some electricians enjoy the mystery of figuring out an electrical problem, and they have excellent observation skills that help them solve these problems. 

Critical Thinking Skills

Electricians need excellent cognitive reasoning skills to pinpoint the best way to solve an electrical problem. You also need the ability to read and prepare a blueprint as you look at where equipment, outlets, fixtures, and wiring should be located. Such skills could help ensure you adhere to building codes. 

Electricians also need excellent decision-making skills. Your clients will present you with a problem, and you’ll need to weigh the costs and benefits of each option to figure out the most appropriate solution. 

Meet General Requirements

If you have these skills and the desire to pursue a career as an electrician, it’s time to look into career training. You need to meet basic general requirements as well. 

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Hold a GED or high school diploma.
  • Have generally good algebra and math skills.
  • Have reliable transportation.

You should also be in good physical condition and be able to work independently and as part of a team. 

Seek a Proper Training Certificate

Your career plans should start with a proper training certificate. The best schools will have programs that teach what you need to know without extra fluff. 

Seek out a program that teaches you the following skills: 

  • Basic trade mathematics
  • Fundamentals of power distribution and electricity
  • Residential, industrial, and commercial wiring requirements
  • National electrical code requirements

You may have additional control theories and requirements within the program, but a good program will have these fundamentals. You should be able to walk away with the confidence that you’re ready for an apprenticeship and on-the-job training. 

Some programs offer adequate on-the-job training, so you may not have to complete an apprenticeship program. You could receive the same training and skills from an apprenticeship program, but you may not have to complete this step. 

If you want a faster track, seek a program that seamlessly moves you from training to the journeyman’s test. 

Take Your Journeyman’s Test

To become a full-fledged electrician, you will have to pass the journeyman’s exam. You will have to study the NEC, or the National Electric Code, as well as principles of electrical theory to pass this important exam. 

Each state has a different format and content for the journeyman’s electrician license, so know your state’s requirements. The test will include questions specific to your state’s regulations and laws. 

At this point, get your hands on a copy of the most recent NEC handbook. Then, you can learn how to move through the NEC code book one chapter and section at a time. 

Make a plan to review one code a day. Then create flashcards to help yourself learn the code. Brain science has proven that repetition is a key component of learning and remembering over time. 

Individuals who take the InterCoast Colleges’ Electrical Training Program may be qualified to sit for the Journeyman examination. After students complete their courses, they should be able to qualify to take the exam and then complete their required hours. Once they’ve done this, a student qualifies to apply for their electrical license. 

The Short Steps to Becoming an Electrician 

Becoming an electrician takes time and concentration. With the right program, you can find yourself with a new, rewarding career. Some shorter programs offer the appropriate basic classes.

You can shift your career plans today. Assess your personal skills and abilities, find the right program, and begin studying today. 

Are you interested in a career change? If so, contact us. We offer quality programs that may give you the edge to start your new career as an electrician. 

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