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. To learn more about the requirements and options available in electrical apprenticeship programs, read on.

Program Options

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). Apprenticeship programs can also be found at technical and community colleges, usually resulting in an associate's degree or a certificate. 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.

Program Requirements

Electricians will need at least a high school diploma or GED prior to enrolling in an electrical apprenticeship program. According to the U.S. Department of Labor (www.doleta.gov), apprentices usually need to be at least 18 years old, although some might be able to start as young as 16 years old.

Additional requirements for apprentices will be outlined by their sponsor. For example, some sponsors look at a student's grades, aptitude test scores and prior work experience before admitting them into the program. Apprentices might also be required to fill out an application and interview for the program, a process similar to that of being hired 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 include electrical theory, state and national codes, safety, blueprint reading and power controls.

General Duties

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.

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