With traditional four-year college degrees taking students on average 5.5 years or longer to complete, more and more people are opting to go to trade schools and apprenticeship programs that allow students to be employment-ready after training.
One of these options is becoming an electrician, which offers a competitive salary and many job opportunities once you get licensed.
Becoming a licensed electrician is no easy task, however. It requires studying, years of being an apprentice or attending school, and years of documented work experience in order to become licensed.
In this blog, we’ll discuss how to become an electrician, so you can take the steps to pursue your career dream.
How to Become an Electrician: 5 Steps to Take
Electrical work is hard and can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. This is why it’s so important to have extensive training and experience working under a licensed contractor before you can be licensed to work on your own. Here are the 5 steps you need to take to become an electrician.
- Make Sure It’s What You Want
It’s important that you thoroughly research what it means to be an electrician before you start on your journey.
The last thing you want is to spend years working towards your goal, only to discover that you don’t actually enjoy the work.
Talk to other electricians, shadow them if possible, and make sure it’s something you could see yourself doing for the many years to come.
- Are You Qualified?
In order to even start on your journey to becoming an electrician, you need to be sure that you’re qualified for the job.
Here are the basic qualifications for pursuing a career as an electrician:
– Be at least 18 years of age
– Have a high school diploma or GED
– Be in a good physical condition
– Have reliable transportation to school and job sites
– Able to work independently and in a group
– Able to follow instructions
Depending on which state you reside in, there may be other requirements you need to meet before starting your electrician journey. This article will provide information on how to become licensed in California.
- Apply For Trade School or Apprenticeship Training
Your next to becoming an electrician is to apply for your training. You have two options: trade school or apprenticeship.
Trade school is going to take place on a campus with labs to teach you hands-on skills and training. This is a great option for people who learn best from experienced teachers in a classroom setting and learning as they are doing the work alongside their instructors and peers. If you choose to enroll in a trade school, be sure the school you select is approved by the Division of Industrial Relations in California; otherwise, you will not be permitted to sit for your license examination and work as an electrician.
You can also opt to be an apprentice, which will still require you to attend classes for a period of usually three to four years. Apprenticeships are more difficult to get accepted since the programs include a combination of training and work experience and take years to complete. (Read more about IBEW and apprenticeship here)
- Study For the Test
Once you’ve completed your state-approved trade school program or apprenticeship, you will need to study the national code for electricians so you can take the test to become licensed.
Many trade schools will teach you the national code while you are in school so that you begin studying what is required for your licensure test even before graduation. Some opt to go straight to taking the test after completion of trade school training but still need to accumulate verified work experience in order to get licensed.
- Licensure Requirements
After studying thoroughly, you can now take and (hopefully) pass the state electrician exam. In order to be certified in California, you will also need to accumulate paid work experience in order to become a licensed electrician.
But, you may work with your “T-Card” while accumulating your hours. Once you are licensed, you can start working as an electrician unsupervised.
For More Information
A career as an electrician can be a great choice for all types of people, and although it takes a while to become licensed, it will definitely pay off in the end.
For more information on how to become an electrician, please contact us today.