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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.

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Electrical apprenticeships are available through a variety of organizations. Prospective apprentices should consider application requirements and program curriculum when deciding whether to take on an apprenticeship.

Finding a Program

Electrical apprenticeships are most commonly sponsored by or offered through the following bodies:

  • Electrical contracting companies
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) union
  • Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC)
  • National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA)
  • Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC)
  • Technical and community colleges

When offered through technical and community colleges, apprenticeship programs can 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.

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Program Admission Requirements

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.

Apprenticeship Program Information

In total, apprenticeship programs usually last for 4 to 5 years. 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, under the supervision of a master electrician.

Classroom topics may include the following:

  • Electrical theory
  • Safety practices
  • Blueprint reading
  • Soldering
  • Communications

An apprentice's job duties vary based on the type of work, but can include the following tasks:

  • Testing switches and outlets
  • Installing and attaching conduit
  • Connecting and testing wiring
  • Drilling holes
  • Setting anchors

Aspiring electricians can get relevant academic and real-world career training by completing an apprenticeship in the field.

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