How to Become an Electrician in 4 Simple Steps

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What is an Electrician?

Electricians are trained professionals who specialize in maintaining and installing electrical systems in commercial and residential buildings. Keep reading and learn how to become an electrician.

The daily duties of an electrician include:

  • Determining the locations of panel boards, outlet and circuits.
  • Connecting wires to switches, transformers.
  • Reading blueprints.
  • Complying with state and local building codes.
  • Repairing lighting and electrical control systems
  • Diagnosing malfunctioning electrical systems with the use of hand tools and test equipment.
  • Inspecting electrical systems

Electricians need to have strong troubleshooting and critical thinking skills as they need to diagnose problems and find the best way to fix them.

Strong communication skills are also necessary as they come in touch with people daily and need to answer their questions in a professional manner.

If you are thinking to follow the road of self-employment, business skills are also required, as you will need to manage payroll, assign projects and keep track of inventory.

The majority of electricians work full time with a lot of this time being on afternoons and weekends. Depending on the specialization an electrician can work at construction sites, factories and residential areas.

The average salary of an electrician is $51,110.
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What is an Electrician

Becoming an Electrician

Step 1: High School Preparation

High School Courses for Electricians

Math courses

Take all the advanced math classes you can like, algebra calculus, geometry.

As an electrician you will use math every day. Whether you are measuring the voltage required for a room or a building, measure a hole you need to cut, you need to perform math calculations accurately and quickly.

Science courses

During your training as an electrician you will need to learn electrical circuitry theory.

Electrical circuitry theory is a part of high school physics. So take at least a class of physics as it will help you with your later coursework either at a vocational school or during the apprenticeship.

Practical Courses

If your school offers courses in electronics or any shop class related to electrical systems, it is a good idea to take it. It will help you to become familiar with electrical devices and circuits.

Physical courses

Electricians’ work is very physical and demanding. You will need to carry heavy weight and work long hours.

English Courses

This is maybe sound a bit odd, as the majority of electricians’ tasks are done on the field but writing reports and reading blueprints is also part of their work.

English courses will not only help you with report writing but also with email responding and communicating with suppliers and clients, especially if you are thinking to become self-employed.

Step 2: Get Electrician’s training

Electrical technology Certificate Program 6 months to 1 year

Electrical technology certificate programs are 24 to 41 semester credit hours programs offered by state universities and technical schools.

They are offered mostly on-campus as there are a lot of practical lessons you will have to complete.

It is relatively easy to get accepted to an electrical technology certificate program as you will only need a high school diploma or a GED.

Curriculum

  • Survey of Electrical Trade
  • Introduction to Electricity
  • Intro to National Electrical Code
  • Blazing Your Trail
  • Electrical Applications I
  • Residential Electricity
  • Electric Motors & Control
  • Occupational Health & Safety
  • Workforce Leadership and Critical Thinking Skills for Student Success
  • Industrial Mathematics
  • Introduction to Electrical Safety and Tools
  • Basic Electrical Theory
  • National Electrical Code I
  • Residential Wiring
  • Residential and Light Commercial Blueprint Reading
  • Programmable Logic Controllers
  • Commercial Wiring
  • National Electrical Code II
  • The Service Entrance and Electrical Panels
  • Grounding and Wiring
  • Electrical Wiring Protection Devices
  • Electrical Boxes, Receptacles and Switches
  • Installing Lighting, Ceiling Fans, and Appliances
  • Wiring a Residence to NEC and IRC Codes
  • Conduit Work
  • Electrical Equipment for Commercial Installations

The cost of an Electrical technology Certificate Program is relatively low and ranges from $800 to $6,500.

When deciding which college or university to attend, we strongly recommend contacting them for further information and details.

Click the button below to get free info about accredited Electrical technology  certificate programs near you.
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Associate’s Degree in Electrical Technology program 2 years

These are 60-70 semester credit hours programs offered by community colleges and technical schools offered mostly on-campus.

In order to get accepted you need a high school diploma or a GED. Some Universities ask to have completed certain high school courses like 2 years of algebra and 1 year of physics.

Curriculum

General Education Electives (12 credits)

  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Industrial Psychology
  • Economics 1
  • Art Appreciation
  • Music Appreciation
  • Introduction to Literature

Core Courses (42 credits)

  • Basic Skills Assessment
  • Orientation to Engineering Technology
  • Foundation Skills in Math
  • Foundation Skills in Writing
  • Essential Computer Skills
  • Introduction to Technical Drawings
  • Physical Science
  • Electricity Fundamentals
  • AutoCAD
  • Electronics Fundamentals
  • Intermediate Algebra
  • English Composition
  • Electrical/Electronic Instruments and Measurements
  • Electronic Circuits
  • Precalculus
  • AutoCAD® Applications—Electrical/Electronics
  • Resident Laboratory Training

Technical Electives (6 credits)

  • Interpreting the National Electrical Code
  • Electronic Process Controls
  • Electric Motors and Control
  • Basic Industrial Computer Systems
  • Electrical Installations
  • Pulse Circuits
  • Digital Electronics
  • Programmable Logic Controllers

The cost of an Associate’s Degree in Electrical Technology program ranges from $9,000 to $49,000.

When deciding which college or university to attend, we strongly recommend contacting them for further information and details.

Click the button below to get free info about accredited Associate’s Degree in Electrical Technology programs near you.
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Step 3: Complete an Apprenticeship

One of the most crucial steps of an aspiring electrician is to complete an apprenticeship sponsored by a contractor association or a union. The admission requirements vary among associations and unions but the most common ones are:

  • Be at least 18 years’ old
  • Have a high school diploma or something equivalent like a GED
  • Have completed one year of algebra classes
  • Pass a substance abuse test
  • Pass an attitude test

These apprenticeship programs last four or five years. In these years you are required to complete 144 hours of technical training and 2,000 hours of on the job paid training.

The most common courses that you will have to complete during an apprenticeship are:

  • Electrical code requirements
  • Electrical theory
  • Blueprint reading
  • Safety practices

If you would like you can choose to have specialized training in areas like:

  • Fire alarm systems
  • Elevators
  • Soldering
  • Communications

Step 4: Become a Licensed Electrician

Most states require electricians to get licensed in order to practice this profession.

While the licensing requirements vary from state to state, in most cases you will need to pass a written test where you will get examined in areas like: local electric and building codes, National Electrical Code and electrical theory.

We strongly advise you to contact your local state’s board of licensing and learn in detail the requirements.

Cost: $45

How Long Does it Take to Become an Electrician and How Much  Does it Cost?

Option 1: Certificate

Degree Time Cost
Certificate 6 months to 18 months$800 - $6,500
Certification 1 month$45
Total 6 months to 18 months$845 - $6,545

Option 2: Associate’s Degree

Degree Time Cost
Associates Degree2 years$9,000 - $49,000
Certification 1 month$45
Total 2 years & 1 month $9,045 - $48,045
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Electrician Training Video


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