When you have completed an associate's degree or other type of training program to become an electrician, you will need to apply for an electrician apprenticeship program so that you can become licensed in your field. Electrician apprenticeships are typically 8,000 hours in length and prepare students for a rewarding career as an electrician in the construction or maintenance field. When you enroll in an electrician apprenticeship program, you will be working under the supervision of a qualified and experience electrician and will be responsible for working on several different types of projects that may include residential and commercial building work, traffic signals and below-grade installations.
Ultimately, electrician apprenticeships provide you with extensive knowledge and skills in the field, and may also put you in an attractive position to apply for a job with the same company or individual that you are completing your electrician apprenticeship program with.
Applying for an Electrician Apprenticeship Program
When you are ready to complete an electrician apprenticeship program, it's important to seek out programs that are sponsored by national organizations such as the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (NJATC), the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). Some companies and schools also offer electrician apprenticeships, and you can find out where these are offered by contacting a local union or training center in your area.
You will need to meet a series of qualifications or requirements in order to apply for enrollment in an electrician apprenticeship program. These include:
- Be at least 18 years of age at the time of application
- Be able to physically perform the work of the trade
- Have a high school diploma or GED
- Have completed one full year of high school algebra and maintained a minimum of a "C" grade, or the equivalent of one semester of college algebra
- Have a valid driver's license at the time of application
Completing Electrician Apprenticeships
Electrician apprenticeship programs typically last between four to five years and require a commitment of at least 8,000 hours. Some states require the electrician to attend school for an additional 800 to 1,000 hours on top of the apprenticeship program within their training timeframe. It's important to note that many electrician apprenticeships are paid, and the apprentice will continue to earn an attractive salary after their electrician apprenticeship program is complete.
The classroom training component of the electrician apprenticeship program includes a series of courses in mathematics, safety and first aid practices, electrical code requirements, communications, fire alarm systems and crane or elevator operation. The hands-on portion of electrician apprenticeships may include measuring and fabricating circuits and wiring systems, installing conduits, testing wiring systems and setting up various outlets and switches. All apprentices work under the supervision of experienced electricians but may end up receiving manufacturer-specific training at some point in their careers.
Even after the electrician apprenticeship program is complete, the electrician must take continuing education courses that make sure they are up to date on the latest electrical code changes, and are able to maintain their skills and knowledge.