It takes a lot of time and hard work to become an electrician. It may not be as difficult as a bachelor’s degree, but learning this particular skilled trade would require your 100% dedication.
How long is electrician trade school training? How much money do I need to complete the course and what are the basic requirements that I need to accomplish? These are only some of the questions that we will answer in this article. If you plan to pursue a career as an electrician, we listed down some of the basic information that you need to know about this.
How Long is Electrician Trade School? Electrician trade school will take on average 24 months to complete and cost as much as $20,000. After completion, you will unlikely be fully qualified and will need a number of years of on-the-job experience before you can be considered a competent electrician.
The path of becoming an electrician doesn’t start with the trade school, and it doesn’t end there. Before enrolling in trade school, a student should have already done four years in school to get a high school diploma (or have at least a GED).
Trade school specifically can be done in less than a year, even though someone wishing to become an electrician can follow an alternative path and get an associate degree in electrical technology, which is two years long.
After trade school, it is necessary to complete an apprenticeship registering through a professional organization that will certify the end of the internship. Typically, an entrance exam is required, and the internship is supposed to be done for 8000 hours if a student wishes to become a general electrician.
Most people can do 2000 hours a year, which means that the apprenticeship can last four years for those working full-time. However, a part-time internship can take longer. Without including high school, a person needs between 5 to 6 years to become an electrician.
In summary, the steps to be done to become an electrician are the following:
- High school diploma or GED
- Trade School or Associate Degree in Electrical Technology
- Get the state license
After the apprenticeship is completed, a person can now do the test to get the state license. The requisites to access the test for licensing are proof of apprenticeship completion and proof of enough experience as an electrician.
Once the examination is passed and the license is received, a person can start working as a journeyman electrician. At the examination, a student has to show an understanding of basics electrical concepts, electrical knowledge, electrical safety, national electrical code, and local laws.
How Much Is Electrician School?
Electrician trade schools can cost anything between $5.000 to $15.000. However, some trade schools can be more expensive and cost up to $ 30.000.Trade school is often the most costly route to train as an electrician but is the fastest route for starting work.
Community colleges cost around $ 1.500 to $ 11.000 per semester, but it takes two years to complete the school.
Suppose the apprenticeship is done through a school. In that case, there are additional costs that can go between $ 200 to $1500 per year and should include 2000 hours of work and include things like electrical codes, mathematics, first aid, safety, and mathematics.
This amount is multiplied by four since it takes around four years to do the required hours for the license. Thus, at the very end, apprenticeship costs vary between $800 to $6000.
Students attending electrician school are supposed to provide for their textbooks and all the materials that can add to the costs between $ 400 to $ 1200. Finally, the licensing exam has a price that varies depending on the state, and it costs between $60 to $370, including fees.
When all costs are added, the final price can range between $3000 to over $30.000.
Do Electricians Make Good Money?
Electrician salaries vary depending on the state and the specialization and skills of the electrician. However, electricians are ranking in the top places as far as the highest-paid trade jobs are concerned. Electrician salary can vary between $ 43.000 and $80.000.
According to BLS, the average annual salary is around $60.000. Therefore, the location has a great deal of importance when it comes to wages.
An electrician working in New York can get around $80.000 per year, while another living in Arkansas would get around $43.000 per year. The type of specialization also has a significant impact on the average salary.
Here are the types of electricians that earn the most:
- Automation Technician: it has to do with electrical systems that guide and control automatic systems in private houses and at the industry level.
- Substation Technician: it has to do with electrician monitors and maintenance of substations responsible for powering homes in a specific area.
- Solar Installer: It can also be called a solar technician or PV installer. In actual fact is an electrician that installs and maintains solar panels and photovoltaic systems. Solar systems are becoming widely used, and the demand for them is going to increase.
- Industrial Electrician: it has to do with maintaining and repairing electrical equipment in commercials and manufacturing environments. It is a specialized work required in places such as oil rings where the salary is exceptionally high.
Common Tasks of Electricians
In general, the main job of electricians is to install, plan, and maintain electrical wiring systems in different environments. It might be in a residential or commercial setting or possibly on industrial machinery.
The main tasks of electricians differ depending on the specific circumstances of their job. If you’re maintaining the wiring systems of a commercial building, your tasks would be more complicated compared with electricians who are dealing with residential wirings. But, there are a few things that all electricians will be able to experience no matter what type of job they choose:
- Testing, repair, and maintenance of electrical equipment
- Installing motors, switchboards, automated electrical controls, and voice and data cabling
- Identify the right equipment for a certain task
- Install lights, power outlets, cable trays, conduits, circuit breakers, emergency lighting, and more
- Reading electrical, mechanical, and architectural drawings and diagrams
- Planning of layouts for wiring systems
- Understanding electrical specifications and theories depending on the job
How Long is Electrician Trade School Training?
To answer the question directly, it would take around five to six years to become a fully certified technician. You might get overwhelmed because it takes more time to become a professional compared with a bachelor’s degree. Before you change your mind, here are a few important things to know if you want to be an electrician.
Get a High School Diploma
The most basic requirement to become an electrician is to finish high school or get a GED, which is a high school equivalency. As long as you have one of these two, you can already apply to a trade school offering electrician training.
Aside from having a diploma, you should also take specific courses to help you with the training. Take note that these courses are not required, but it would give you an edge over the others:
- Mathematics: As an electrician, you need to learn how to determine proper wire lengths, electrical currents, and voltage requirements. You need a solid background in mathematics to make sure that all your computations are accurate.
- Physics: The electric circuit theory is usually a part of high school physics so you should focus on this as well.
- English: The work of electricians is usually hands-on, but it doesn’t mean that it’s the only type of work you’re going to do. Depending on the type of job you have, you might be expected to create reports and communicate with other professionals, which is why this subject is very important.
- Electronics: Most high schools teach the basics of electronics. It is mostly about the introduction of basic electrical currents, soldering wires, and building circuit boards. This is a good start if you want to be an electrician.
You’re not required to pursue an associate’s degree or a postsecondary certificate. However, doing this will give you an overview of how electricians work.
By getting an associate degree, you will know advanced knowledge on wiring techniques, electrical theory, and safety practices. Colleges and trade schools can even offer hands-on training, which will give you an edge over the other aspiring electricians, especially once you find an apprenticeship.
It would take around one to two years to complete an associate degree, but it’s totally worth it.
Apply for an Apprenticeship
The next step is to apply for an apprenticeship. Some states would require you to register first before you start the apprenticeship program so it’s better to ask around your area if you still need to register.
During an apprenticeship, you will be doing the tasks of a licensed electrician. You will have to resolve a few electrical problems with the assistance of a master or journeyman electrician. Don’t worry because you won’t be working for free as you will be paid for your time. It’s practically the same as an on-the-job trainee.
This phase would take about four years to finish and you need to do at least 8,000 hours of on-the-job training and 144 hours of classroom lessons.
If you plan to apply for an apprenticeship, here are a few professional organizations that you can consider:
- Association of Building Contractors (ABC)
- International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)
- Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC)
Get a License
Even if you have all the knowledge in the world, you will not be allowed to work as a certified electrician without a license. Most states would require electricians to pass an exam to get a license. This is done to assess your skills as an electrician and the knowledge that you acquired during your apprenticeship.
To pass the exam, you need to understand the following:
- Basic electrical concepts
- Electrical safety
- Local laws and building codes
- The National Electrical Code
- Electrical theories
Renewal of License
Getting a license is not the end. Although you will become a certified electrician, it will only be used for a few years depending on the state where you got your license. You will have to renew your license periodically to make sure that you can still work legally as a professional electrician.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Do Electricians Do?
Electricians can work in private, commercial, and industrial environments to repair, install, and maintains electrical systems. They fix everything that has to do with power, lighting, and communication systems.
Electricians can install new wiring systems and repair them. They are proficient in using tools such as voltmeters and ammeters, inspecting circuit breakers, replacing electrical components using the right tools, and knowing all the rules and regulations to maintain safety.
Is Becoming An Electrician Hard?
Becoming an electrician is not hard, the school is not too long, and one can do a lot of practice. But, becoming an electrician will require many years of apprenticeship and a final examination to get the license.
It, not a short journey. It requires persistence and good manual skills. It is physical work and can be hard on someone’s body. It is not a sitting job, and it can lead a person to be exposed to dirt, sun, chemicals, and various dangers.
Is Electrician a Dying Trade?
It is predicted that electricians will be scarce in the future and that there will be an increase of job openings of 10% until 2028. Not everyone is ready to do a manual or physical job, and many have given it a negative thought due to this specific reason. Skilled people who can do highly specialized work as an electrician are going to be in high demand.
Pursuing a career as an electrician is not as easy as you think. The number of hours that you need to complete during your apprenticeship is extremely difficult to accomplish, especially if you still work part-time.
If you want to pursue a career in this field, take note of all the important details mentioned in this article to help you plan ahead.