Electrician certificate programs teach students the skills needed to work as an electrician, including how to choose the right insulators and conductors, read meters and set up rigging. They might study industrial and commercial wiring techniques as well. In addition to taking classes, students also participate in on-the-job training through apprenticeships. These programs may also offer specializations for such trades as inside electrician or manufacturing plant electrician.
A high school diploma or GED is usually required for enrollment, some programs also requiring a journeyman electrician card.
Most programs include basic math courses, especially in algebra. Some programs may also offer specialty courses in topics like fiber optics or security systems. Other topics include:
- National Electrical Code (NEC)
- Residential wiring and electrical circuits
- Industrial electrical concepts
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations
- Blueprint reading
- Voltage testing
Employment Outlook and Career Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), about 592,230 jobs were held by electricians in 2015. A faster-than-average increase in employment opportunities of 14% was projected for the 2014-2024 decade. This job growth was expected to come from new construction and the need to update electrical systems in older commercial properties and homes. Additionally, the increasing use of automated technologies was expected to aid job growth. The mean annual wage for electricians was $55,590 as of May 2015.
Licensing and Continuing Education Info
Most states require electricians to be licensed, according to the BLS. In some cases, applicants can be licensed as journeyman electricians after completing an apprenticeship program or acquiring at least four years of work experience. They must also pass a written examination. These professionals may perform electrical work without supervision.
With additional work experience or a bachelor's degree in a field such as electrical engineering, journeymen electricians can become licensed as master electricians. The BLS states that electricians who want to work as contractors may be required to hold this credential.
Electrical engineering bachelor's degree programs can include coursework in analog and linear circuits, calculus and control systems. Some programs may even offer specializations or focus areas in topics such as alternative energy systems, electro-mechanical systems, signal processing and electromagnetics.
Electrician certificate programs provide instruction in various electrical concepts, sometimes including hands-on training in the form of an apprenticeship. In most states electricians are required to attain licensure as journeyman electricians before practicing independently.