How long is electrician school? It can be as short as 9 months or as long as one year or more. However, even after graduating from electrician school, you cannot just go ahead and start working independently as an electrician. You first need to complete your apprenticeship which can take four to five years.
Below, you will discover all the important stuff you need to know about becoming an electrician.
How long does electrician training take?
While electrician school can take as little as 9 months to complete, all electricians have to get further training through an apprenticeship program. The program often takes 4 to 5 years to complete. It is after completing your apprenticeship that you can start working as an independent electrician.
While electrician apprenticeship often takes between 4 to 5 years to complete, there are some circumstances under which you may qualify for a shorter apprenticeship experience.
First, you may qualify for a faster/shorter apprenticeship if you have prior construction experience or you are a veteran. Second, you may qualify for a shorter apprenticeship if you have an associate degree or trade school experience related to electrical stuff. Lastly, you may qualify for a shorter apprenticeship if you enroll in a registered electrical contractor training program.
How to become an electrician
To become an electrician, you need to follow the steps below:
Graduate from high school
You must have a high school diploma to apply for electrician school. If you do not have a high school diploma, you must have a GED diploma. It is important for you to successfully complete and graduate high school because if you do not, you will find it difficult to get accepted into any legit electrician school.
If for some reason you did not graduate from high school, you can sit for a GED exam and use its results to apply for electrician school.
Join an electrician school
You need at least 100 classroom hours to start your journey toward becoming a professional electrician. And you can only get 100 classroom hours by joining an electrician school or program near you. Most electrician schools teach kind of the same thing. The very best ones focus on mainly using the classroom hours to teach students about safety practices, electrical codes, and how to read blueprints.
While you may get classroom training /education in some apprenticeship programs, it is rare. Therefore, you have to attend electrician school to gain all the classroom knowledge you need to be an electrician.
Apply for an apprenticeship
Once you’ve successfully completed electrician school, you should apply for an apprenticeship. You can do this through various professional organizations. The very best ones are the Association of Building Contractors (ABC), Independent Electrical Contractors (IECC), AND International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).
While the above organizations are among the best, you normally need to sit for and pass a test and an interview to get a chance to land an internship.
Once you get an apprenticeship, you can start earning some income. This is because most firms that offer apprenticeships do pay their apprentices.
To qualify as a general electrician, you need 8,000 hours as an apprentice. Many people who work full-time as electrician apprentices often manage to clock 8,000 hours within four years.
Take the journeyman exam
You qualify as a general electrician after your apprenticeship. To be able to work independently, you need to take your state’s journeyman electrician exam.
The exam will assess your mastery of topics such as safety issues, electrical theory, wiring method, and so on. If you pass the exam, you will get a license that will allow you to work on almost any type of electrical work.
While the thought of taking an exam might make you shiver if you do not like tests, it should not. If you go to a good electrician school and you take your apprenticeship seriously, you should be able to easily pass your state’s electrician licensing exam.
With a license, you can work just about anywhere you want in your state. You are now an electrician.
Renew your electrician license
Once you get your license, you can go to work anywhere. However, the license will reach a point where it expires. Your license as an electrician will most probably last for three years. This is because most states have set three as the minimum number of years for their licenses. When your license expires, you should not take any new job. You should renew it immediately. This will help you avoid being on the wrong side of the law.
Summary of requirements to be an electrician
- A high school diploma or GED
- A minimum of 100 hours of in-class learning and training about electrical work
- An apprenticeship lasting at least 8,000 hours
- Passing a state licensing board exam
How much can you earn as an electrician
Electricians earn a lot of money for doing wiring and other electrical work in industrial buildings, commercial buildings, warehouses, schools, and homes. In terms of hourly pay, licensed electricians earn about $27 per hour. The more experienced a licensed electrician is, the more he or she can expect in terms of hourly pay. Some highly experienced and sought-after technicians get paid as much as $47 per hour.
In terms of yearly pay, electricians normally earn about $56,000. However, as mentioned above, more experienced electricians usually earn more. It is not rare for highly-rated electricians to earn as much as $70,000 or $80,000 a year.
Electrician average pay varies from region to region
It is important to note that the average pay for electricians varies from state to state. Electricians receive above-average pay in states such as Alaska, New York, California, Illinois, and DC. While electricians in states such as Nebraska, Nevada, and Mississippi often receive average or below-average pay.
So if you want to earn more you should definitely move to a state that pays average or above-average pay if you do not already reside in one. And please note that when you move to another state, you will most likely need to do another exam to get that state’s license. So be prepared to do that should you decide to move.
Electrician pay for apprentices
As mentioned earlier in this post, electrician apprentices get paid. While the pay is almost always not as much as that of licensed electricians, it is usually enough to survive on.
The average pay for apprentices is something between $15 and $20 per hour. If you combine this pay with the pay from a second job, you should be able to survive before you get your license and finally start making good money.