Students who are interested in beginning their career as an electrician must consider an electrician apprenticeship, where students are taught on-the-job skills by veteran Electricians and make money while they learn. This training is required to learn various technical and physical skills related to an electrician job such as wiring, installing, using power tools, lifting, working in cramped regions, crouching, etc. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US, for the next ten years there will be ample opportunity for new Electricians to join the industry.
What Does an Electrician Apprentice Do?
The job of an electrician trainee is to gain experience under the observation and guidance of a well-qualified Electrician and maintain or install various approved methods of wiring for distribution of power, electrical light, radio, heat, and other utilizing systems for signals.
The job is carried out in new or existing residential buildings, commercial or industrial buildings, which include highway and street lighting, outdoor below and above grade installations, traffic signals, etc.
The actual assignments of an electrician also involves in various environments such as:
- High noise levels
- Exposure to various temperatures outdoors
- Extensive travel at times
- Overnight schedule
- Exposure to high voltage
- At times perform tasks underground
- Various terrains, which include sand, water, or dirt
- Work in panels; pull wire, run conduit, etc.
- Lift, pull, and push weights
- Stand for long hours
- Manipulation and grasping of various tools
What Are The Qualifications And Skills Required To Become An Electrician?
When you apply for an electrician training program, you must be over 18 years and must possess a GED or high school diploma. You must be physically fit to perform all the tasks of the trade. You must also possess one year or two semesters of high school level algebra with at least a grade C or equal. Some of the programs also demand a driving license.
You may also have to meet other requirements such as clearing a test, etc.
Skills required for an electrician trainee include a good coordination of the hand and eye, good manual dexterity, physical fitness, and a high sense of balance. In addition to all these, you must be capable of solving math problems accurately and quickly along with possessing a good color vision to identify wires of different colors.
Steps to Become an Electrician
During the apprenticeship polishes your skills on all required aspects required for an electrician career. A complete knowledge and on-the-job exposure are provided under the supervision of experienced professionals. There are various specialties within the jobs of electricians which can include either to perform tasks for an organization or to be self employed.
Step 1: Apply
Apply with the NECA or National Electrical Contractors Association, which is the national representative of the electrical industry. Here, an electrician trainee can earn a wage as he is gaining knowledge and skills to meet the industrial standards. During the electrician education program, one can learn how to measure, lay, or install conduit wires for testing as well as installing switches and outlets. Towards completion of the electrician training program, one will also learn to install low-voltage data devices and video systems.
Step 2: Pick a Specialization
Since NECA is associated with various regional chapters that offer electrician programs, which is organized by the NJATC or National Joint Apprenticeship and Training. Once you locate the local chapter and research the offers, you have to pick the specialty of your interest in the electrician training program, which include outside lineman, VDV installer technician, inside lineman, or a residential wireman.
Regardless of the specialty you pick, the electrician apprenticeship program would involve a multi-layer undertaking, which combines extensive on-job experience and theory classes. The majority of the electrician training programs involve at a minimum of 2,000 hours on-site each year and a minimum of 144 class hours.
Step 3: Procure Electrician License
Every state has a different set of requirements for the electrician license to become an electrician professional. This requires you to clear a license examination. However, the majority of the states require you to clear the journeyman electrician examination or demand successful completion of electrician apprenticeship, based on the state boards of licensing.
Once you acquire the license, you have the chance of furthering your training to upgrade all your skills in various areas such as telecommunications, fiber optics, programmable logic controls, safety, National Electric Code, etc.
Electrician Apprentice Training
The electrician program generally varies between 4 and 5 years, during which you are given an extensive training both theoretically as well as practically in the field. In theory classes, you learn about blueprint reading, mathematics, safety practices, code rules, along with training in communications, soldering, alarm systems, heavy equipment, etc.
Whereas; practically, you learn how to drill holes, attach conduit, set anchors, and other low-level activities to begin with. As the course advances, you will also learn how to install conduit, prepare conduit, test the electrical wiring, connect or install wiring, etc.
The electrical training programs also prepare you to draw various circuit diagrams for the whole of electrical systems and know to lay out. Ultimately, as an electrician, you must possess the mastery of all electrical tools as well as work practices.
There are various technical schools that offer the electrician training, and these are in affiliation with contractor organizations or local union of electricians.
Electrician Apprentice Salary
The approximate annual wages of an electrician trainee are as follows:
- 1st year – $41,000
- 2nd year – $45,000
- 3rd year – $50,000
- 4th year – $52,000
However, these figures can vary from region to region and may change depending on the availability of positions.
There are various job opportunities for individuals who have completed an electrician apprenticeship program. You can further your career as an electrician under a local contractor or just decide to further your education in Business management skills and start your own business as freelance electrician.
Few people choose to be employed as helpers of electricians, which is involved in gathering materials, setting up task locations, or even doing various non-electrical assignments before joining the electrician training program.
In spite of the consistent trade available for electricians, one must successfully complete the electrician apprenticeship, acquire the license, and constantly evolve and progress on the required skills to succeed in their career as an electrician.