Most people wouldn’t think of blue-collar work as a lucrative job, but it can actually be a successful career path. One that provides someone a comfortable income for themselves and their families.
The electrician career path requires a couple of different steps. The process might seem overwhelming but it’s not. Following our guide will give you the information you need to take the plunge.
There are many fulfilling career options for electricians. You’ll definitely find a place in this industry.
If this seems like the path you’d like to take for your career, this article’s for you. Keep reading to learn how to become an electrician.
The First Step to Becoming an Electrician
The first step to becoming an electrician is figuring out what schooling you’ll need to get before even considering a career in the trade. In order to become an electrician, you’ll first have to finish high school or complete your GED.
Are you finishing up high school and know that you want to become an electrician? You might want to consider taking some advanced classes in algebra and physics.
These subjects are important for some of the electrical work you’ll be doing. This early preparation will help you once you start school to become an electrician.
If you never finished high school, you can still meet the requirement of completing your GED. Earning a GED is pretty straightforward.
The steps include researching the requirements needed. Then you have to take the classes to prepare for the exam. The next step is to register and complete the exam, and finally wait for your results.
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Research Available Programs
While you might know the basics of what an electrician does, it’s important to know what’s required of the job. Electricians have to be well versed in wiring and reading technical instructions. Some electricians specialize in certain industries like maintenance or system installation.
The degree to become an electrician requires you to enroll in trade school. While there you’ll get the proper training and gain the knowledge needed to enter the workforce.
It’s important that you research the available programs and choose the best one for your career goals. Check out our immersive 50-week electrical training program that will teach you the fundamentals needed to work in the field.
Most programs will teach you the National Electrical Code, the required math, wiring, and control theories. Most programs will also include hands-on instruction to better prepare you for when you’ll actually be working in the field.
Acquire an Apprenticeship
One of the most important steps after getting an electrician degree is acquiring an apprenticeship. Applying for an apprenticeship may require some additional testing. This will usually include a basic test of reading comprehension and math.
You’ll also need to interview for the position but don’t worry because your program will give you the necessary advice to landing your dream apprenticeship.
The great thing about an apprenticeship is the combination of the hands-on instruction with coursework included. You’ll work alongside an experienced electrician for up to five years and will be compensated for your work. This training will give you the experience you’ll need when entering the workforce after your apprenticeship.
Early in your apprenticeship, you’ll only get the chance to work on simple jobs but the more experience you gain the more complicated jobs you’ll be a part of.
Apply to Get a License
The most important step in your electrician career path is acquiring the appropriate licensing. This is what you’ll need in order to be able to work in your specific location.
The specific requirements to get licensed as an electrician will differ depending on the state in which you live but, usually, you’ll be asked to complete an exam that covers the topics you prepared for in your training. The licensing exam will cover things like the National Electrical Code and state-specific building codes.
Although once you get licensed you’ll be all set to pursue your electrician career, you’ll still want to receive continuing education as National Code amendments have continued to change throughout the years. This is an exciting part of a constantly growing and changing field of work.
While you might be thinking all of this work might be too much for the career plans you had in mind, know that it’s completely worth the effort. There are so many great reasons to pursue a career in the electrical trade.
Electrical Work in Maintenance and Construction
Now that we’ve discussed the steps to becoming an electrician, let’s dive into the types of careers you can pursue in the electrical trade field. You have plenty of options!
One area you can work in is in maintenance and construction. Working in this sector is a pretty common career path for electricians. The most common parts of the job include wiring and working on repairs for residential buildings.
Working in maintenance and construction can be an exciting career path because you’ll always be working in different areas. You’ll also see new buildings come to life as you work with the construction team on the electrical side of things. Helping to bring a new structure to life by literally providing it with light is a great and rewarding job to have.
Working in an Industrial Establishment
This type of work will take you into other fields of work you might be curious to know about. While you won’t be directly working in shipyards or factories, you’ll be there working on the electricity for them. How cool would it be to work where ships are built and repaired?
The majority of your work will include installation and basic maintenance, along with any repairs that’ll be needed along the way. You’ll also get to work with some pretty unique and interesting equipment. You’ll be in charge of the installation and maintenance of things like switchboard meters, industrial storage batteries, and hydraulic electrical control units.
You can also expect to work in the more basic aspects of electrical work. You’ll be working on things like wiring, assembling fiber-optic cables, and installing and repairing light fixtures at these locations.
Becoming a Lineman
A lineman is usually who you think of when you think about an electrician. These are the electricians who work for your state and local power and light companies.
These workers are usually called out to your home when a storm or something else causes your electricity to shut off. Lineworkers also come to your home to fix downed power lines.
You’ll typically see these workers in a type of lift repairing a line and connecting it back from the electrical pole to your house. They can also work on the ground in trenches if it’s required.
Some of the equipment a lineman will have to work with includes transformers and traffic lights. This is one of the most common but rigorous types of electrical work.
You’ll typically have to work outside in potentially severe weather. If you want the challenge of working through hot summers, cold winters, or after big storms then this is the career path for you.
Specializing in Network Cabling
This type of career in the electrical trade can be really challenging and rewarding as you’ll be working in helping set up different types of communication systems. This can include working for internet providers to install and maintain data systems or in telecommunications to ensure proper video transmissions.
Learning the ins and outs of network cabling can be a challenge but it’s great to know you’ll help set up the systems that help transmit information from one place to another. This line of work will usually require you to maintain the communication systems of educational institutions and different industry offices.
Much of your work will include installing cable through buildings and working in people’s homes to install their CATV equipment. You’ll also be constantly working on system upgrades.
Work in Security System Installation
As an electrician, you can also work in security and fire alarm systems. You’ll be working to install these systems in people’s homes or workplaces. There’s nothing more rewarding than knowing you’ll be helping set up systems to keep a family or place of work safe from harm.
You’ll get to work directly with clients, installing these systems based on their needs and the requirements of their buildings. Some of your work can include installing sensors on doors and windows, as well as installing video cameras as part of a home’s security system. Another aspect of the job requires testing these systems to make sure they are working and fixing any errors they may have.
The Steps to Take on Your Electrician Career Path
The electrician career path requires educational training and lots of hands-on learning. This experience can offer you many different career options in the electrical trade. Some of the most common are listed above.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have about our program to become an electrician and the many career options available to you after your training.