Electricians by trade are individuals that provide electrical power to homes and businesses through the installation and maintenance of electrical wiring systems. Though electricians are most often employed by utility or construction companies, they can also work in factories or under government contracts. The general educational requirements for anyone considering a career as an electrician are as follows:
High School Diploma
Electricians generally should possess a high school diploma or an equivalent such as a GED. High school students interested in pursuing a career as an electrician should be sure to concentrate on subjects such as physics, math, and English.
Trade School or Vocational Training
It’s particularly helpful to obtain some fundamental training at a vocational school. There are many electrician courses available at career colleges or trade schools. They can be an ideal place to gain an introduction to the many facets of the career such as reading blueprints and installing and maintaining wiring and light fixtures. Some trade schools also offer the opportunity for hands-on training to help prepare for the next step of education: apprenticeship.
Electrician students should apply for an apprenticeship as soon as they’re ready to advance to the next level of learning. Most trade schools will offer assistance in applying for apprenticeship opportunities, but students can also find opportunities through organizations such as Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) or the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA). A physical examination and basic aptitude test are part of the apprenticeship application process. In some states, apprentices are required to register as a trainee, so students should be sure to check with their state’s requirements before beginning work at any job sites.
Although licensing for electricians vary throughout the United States, those states that do require licensing generally require registration as a trainee or apprentice, followed by a certain number of classroom instruction hours and then additional hours of supervised, on-the-job training and experience. A state certification exam may also be required.
The path to a career as an electrician can be both challenging and rewarding, and there is much to know before a serious student of the trade can begin working in the field. High school and trade school courses can provide the right foundation for a student, followed by apprenticeship and licensing experience. Like any other career choice, an individual seeking to become an electrician will benefit by learning all he or she can about the field before pursuing a vocational education.
Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Rachelle recommends HVAC Technical Institute for those interested in becoming an electrician.