What Education Is Needed to Become an Electrician?

In order to become an electrician, you will need to complete an apprenticeship or training program. You will also need to pass a licensing exam.

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Introduction

Electricians are trained professionals who work with electricity. They install, maintain, and repair electrical systems in homes, businesses, and factories. Electricians must have a high school diploma or equivalent and complete an electrician training program.

What Education Is Needed to Become an Electrician?

Electricians are highly skilled tradespeople who install, maintain and repair electrical power, communications, lighting and control systems in homes, businesses and industries. They work in a variety of settings, including residential, commercial, industrial and institutional. electricians must complete a rigorous training program and pass an examination in order to become licensed.

High School

You can begin preparing for a career as an electrician while you are still in high school. Take courses in mathematics, physics, and blueprint reading. A basic knowledge of computers will also be helpful, since more and more employers are requiring their electricians to be familiar with computer-aided design (CAD).

Many technical colleges, trade schools, and union apprenticeship programs require applicants to have completed a certain number of high school courses in order to be eligible for admission. For example, the National Apprenticeship Program sponsored by the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) requires applicants to have completed at least one year each of high school algebra and geometry.

High school coursework in mathematics and physics provides a strong foundation for the complex calculations electricians often need to make on the job. In addition, blueprint reading courses teach students how to read the diagrams that electricians use to plan and implement wiring systems.

Post-Secondary Training

Most electricians learn their trade through an apprenticeship program of four years, which combines on-the-job training with classroom instruction. Apprentices typically start out earning about 30% to 50% of what a journeyman electrician earns, and receive wage increases as they complete each year of the program. Many union programs and some non-union electrical contractors sponsor apprenticeship programs. Some technical institutes also offer two-year associate degree programs in electricity.

Apprenticeship

Most electricians enter the occupation by completing an apprenticeship program of four years (5,000 hours) total, with 1,500 hours of classroom instruction and 3,500 hours of paid on-the-job training. Apprentices must be at least 18 years old.

Apprenticeship programs typically are sponsored by joint committees composed of local electrical contractors and electric utility companies, and they include both classroom and on-the-job training in various aspects of electrical work.

Certification

Electricians must comply with the National Electrical Code (NEC) standards. The NEC is a row of guidelines enforced by the National Fire Protection Association that outlines best practices for electricians. All states have adopted the NEC, although some have made amendments to it. Most electricians are required to take a journeyman or master electrician exam in order to certify that they are familiar with the NEC and know how to properly apply its standards. Some states also require electricians to complete continuing education credits in order to maintain their licenses.

Conclusion

In conclusion, electricians need to have a high school diploma or equivalent, complete an electrician apprenticeship, and pass a licensing exam. Electricians must be able to read and interpret blueprints and technical manuals, use a variety of tools and equipment, and follow safety regulations. With proper training and experience, electricians can advance to become journeyman electricians or master electricians.

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