Electrical Apprenticeship Programs: Options and Requirements
Electrical apprenticeship programs are available through private organizations and vocational schools. Students may receive entry-level pay while learning the skills required to become a licensed electrician.
Electrical apprenticeships are most commonly sponsored by electrical contracting companies, local International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) unions and local chapters of the Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC), the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC).
Technical and community colleges also offer apprenticeship programs that lead to a certificate or an associate's degree. Students can enroll in a general electrician apprenticeship program, or one that focuses on a specific area of electrical work, such as an industrial electrician apprenticeship program.
Electricians need at least a high school diploma or GED to enroll in an electrical apprenticeship program. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, apprentices usually need to be at least 18 years old, although some may be able to start at 16 years old.
Additional requirements for apprentices will be outlined by their sponsor. Sponsors look at a student's grades, aptitude test scores, and previous work experience before admitting them into an apprenticeship program. Apprentices might also be required to complete an application and interview for the program, a process similar to applying for a job.
Minimum Training Hours
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, electrician apprenticeship programs include a minimum of 144 hours of classroom learning, along with 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training yearly. Classroom topics may include electrical theory, safety practices, blueprint reading, soldering and communications.
Under the supervision of a master electrician, apprentices perform a variety of tasks, including testing switches and outlets, installing and attaching conduit, connecting and testing wiring, drilling holes and setting anchors.