Every once in a while, people ask us about becoming an electrician.  So we thought we would share a few reasons you might consider becoming an electrician, and then how to go about making that happen.

Why Be an Electrician
There are a few reasons:

  • There is always a need for a good electrician (while “amateurs” are willing to attempt many types of do it yourself projects, they draw the line at electricity).
  • You can earn a good living.
  • It is relatively inexpensive to become an electrician (no mountains of student debt to pay off).
  • It is a respected profession (because people understand playing with electricity is dangerous and you have to know what you are doing).
  • It allows you to solve problems.
  • Because you have a marketable skill, you can start your own business and be your own boss.

Becoming an Electrician
The first thing you need to do is get formal training.  There are several options.

  • The union (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers).  The IBEW offers paid training for a limited number of candidates.  IBEW training is generally four years.
  • Non-union trade schools
  • The armed forces
  • Associated Builders and Contractors.  They offer a training and apprentice program that requires 8,000 hours of on the job training and verification that is recognized b y the Department of Labor.

Apprenticing
If you can find a company that will take you on as an apprentice electrician, that is the best.  Apprentices get on the job training on every aspect of an electrician’s job.  There is no substitute for that.  Plus, while you will be paying for your formal training, you most likely will be getting paid as an apprentice.

To become an apprentice, you must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED.  One thing which many people do not think of is you shouldn’t be color-blind, since you will be working with different color wires.

You should then join a certified apprenticeship program so that your time as an apprentice will be valid.  While there are non-certified programs out there, stick to the certified ones.

Electrical apprenticeships generally take four years, including 144 hours of class time and 2,000 hours of on the job training each year.  During class you will study fundamental electrical theory, learn about the National Electrical Code and become familiar with local rules and regulations.