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Starting an Electrical Training Program: What You Can Expect Before, During, and After

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Did you know that electricians must pass a color test? They also provide a wide range of functions that need problem-solving skills. There are many other exciting facts about electricians.

But if you’re interested in becoming an electrician, you already know quite a few of them, if not all. But, now that you’ve decided to pursue your dream, do you know where you should start?

To be an electrician in California, you must obtain your license to work as a licensed electrician. You can attend many electrical training programs to earn your certificate, receive your Electrical Trainee Card, and after the required hours in the field, test and obtain your license. There are various schools and apprenticeship programs that can provide you with a completion certificate and help you achieve your career goals.

You can complete some certification programs in less than a year, or it can take up to two years to complete. An electrician certificate from an approved school prepares you for entry-level employment. It allows you to become an electrical trainee. You can work under a licensed electrician until you have completed the required work hours necessary to apply for your license with the State of California. Remember, you must attend only California state-approved schools or apprenticeship programs; otherwise, you may not be permitted to work in the field.  

However, before you start any electrical training program, you should clearly understand what an electrician does and their specialty areas.

What Does An Electrician Do?

An electrician is a tradesman with the ability and training to design, install, maintain, and problem-solve electrical wiring systems. All residential, commercial, and industrial projects need electrical wiring systems. 

An electrician ensures that many essential items function without any issues. These include televisions, lights, and appliances. They also work on certain types of larger equipment and machines.

Some electrical careers can usually fall into the following categories: 

  • Installation – involves lighting, fitting of power systems, fire protection, and residential and commercial data network and security systems.
  • Maintenance –  involves checking for the efficient and safe running of electrical systems.
  • Electro-technical Panel Building – involves fitting and assembling control panels that run electrical systems.
  • Machine Repair and Rewind – involves servicing and repairing electric motors and machinery such as transformers.  

How to Become an Electrician

Once you choose the area you wish to specialize in, you need a few requirements before enrolling in an electrical training program.

You must have a high school diploma or the General Education Diploma (GED) to enroll in any electrical training program. This is important as it provides training on some of the basic principles used on the job. Some colleges will accept you without a high school diploma or GED, provided that you attend an accredited high school program while attending your electrical training program.  Some schools will help you find a GED testing center or will assist you in enrolling in an accredited high school program while attending the electrical training program.  Students of the electrical training program could earn a high school diploma simultaneously.  

Some of the high school courses are helpful because the coursework you took will prepare you in the following areas:

Math – at least one year of high school algebra with at least a ‘C’ grade.

Physics – You should have a basic understanding of the physics of electrical currents.

Practical Courses – automotive mechanics, electronics, or woodshop provide an opportunity for you to work with your hands. These can help build your confidence in this area.

Once you have your high school diploma or GED, and you are 18 years or older, you can choose to enroll in an electrical training program with a California-approved institution or pursue an apprenticeship.

InterCoast offers students an opportunity to obtain a high school diploma while attending the Electrical Programs! Call for more information at 1-877-227-3377 *some restrictions may apply.

An apprenticeship involves working with an established electrician at various job sites. During an apprenticeship, you will practice electrical skills with these professionals. The apprenticeship programs will often take between three to four years to complete. The training will include similar coursework, including learning the National Electrical Code (NEC).

You can also choose to do an apprenticeship after your electrical training program, although not required. This will allow you to gain hands-on experience with a seasoned professional arranged through the apprenticeship.  Or, once you graduate from a California-approved school, you can work under a qualified licensed electrician to gain valuable work experience that will apply to your license requirements.

What an Electrical Training Program Entails

An electrical training program aims to have participants earn an electrician’s certificate. This will allow you to work in the electrical trade or other related areas under a licensed electrician.

It is a great way to refresh your technical skills and knowledge if you are already in the field. Earning a certificate allows you to show potential employees evidence of your skills and complete an approved electrical training program. An electrical training program provides participants with an overview of skills needed in various electrical occupations.

Coursework will cover several areas, including:

  • Basic trade Math
  • Fundamentals of electric and power distribution
  • Commercial, industrial, and residential electrical wiring requirements
  • National electrical code requirements
  • Safety and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards
  • Other motor control fundamentals.

Benefits of Completing an Approved Electrical Training Program

Attending an approved electrical training program will help get you hired for various entry-level industry positions. These include positions for residential and commercial electrical trainee positions as well as jobs in the solar industry. It’s a career that will bring many benefits because it:

Interesting – The great thing about working in this field is that you will never be bored. The work is interesting, challenging, and sometimes unpredictable. It is typically not described as monotonous as you will be exposed to new things frequently, as every job is different.

Has Earning Potential – Working as an electrical trainee after graduation will give you pay while gaining hands-on experience. You will continue your learning under a licensed electrician who will support your on-the-job training and employment growth. Many electrical trainees receive competitive wages and even get benefits, in some cases. It’s a great way to pay off any student loans you may have.

Can Pay Well – There is a steady demand for the services of electricians. Attending the State of California-approved school for electrical trainees and accumulating your work experience hours can pay off. Your earnings and speed in accumulating your work experience hours can increase as you add overtime and weekends to your work schedule.

A study from US News ranked San Francisco, California, as one of the best paying states for (licensed) electricians, with an average yearly salary of $92,390. San Jose also ranked in the top five with an average salary of $79,010.  Now, this is an incentive to obtain your license! 

Meets California State Requirements –   California Department of Consumer Affairs, Division of Industrial Relations requires individuals who desire a career as an electrician to attend a state-approved program or state-approved apprenticeship.  You may have years of experience in the electrical field from another state and still meet California requirements.  It is best to verify what you need to do to work as an electrician in California.  

If you choose to enter the electrical training field by attending school, be sure you only enroll in a school approved to teach an electrical training program “the whole curriculum.”  Only students who attend whole curriculum training programs are eligible to apply for an Electrical Trainee Card through the State.  This “T-Card” provides students and graduates the ability to work as electrician trainees immediately after graduation.  Some students even go to work before graduation.

Is in Demand – Employment growth for licensed electricians, when compared to other occupations, will be faster than average in the upcoming years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, projections show a growth of 8 percent from 2019 to 2029. 

This is because electricians are in high demand. There is always a need for the installation of wiring and essential electrical components for homes and businesses. The opportunities continue to grow as you gain experience.  Once you have documented your work experience hours and have taken and passed the journeyman examination, you can work on your own as a licensed electrician!  Contact the California Department of Consumer Affairs, Division of Industrial Relations for the most updated information.  

Is a Well-Respected Trade – An electrician’s skills and knowledge are specialized. A good electrician not only requires technical ability but intelligence and problem-solving skills. They are also responsible for people’s safety.

Makes Starting a New Business Possible – An electrical training program can open up a world of possibilities for you. After you obtain your license, you can:

  • Start your own business.
  • Choose to specialize or offer general electrical services.
  • Work for a large electrical company.

The options are plentiful!

An Electrical Training Program that Works For You

It is crucial to find an electrical training program that works for you. It’s important to do the proper research to ensure you get the best training.

Intercoast Colleges provides a comprehensive electrical training program approved by California to offer its whole curriculum program. We also recently introduced a hybrid electrical training program.

We can assist applicants in getting their high school diplomas, and we also offer financial aid.  And, job placement assistance is available to qualified students after graduation.

Apply online today to be a part of our approved electrical training program!

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