Electrician Degree Programs and Career Options
Degree programs for electricians are designed to offer instruction in electrical wiring and maintenance, power restoration and the general transfer of electricity from point to point. Many community and technical colleges offer 2-year associate's degree programs for individuals interested in electrical technology.
The electrical industry covers the installation, repair and maintenance processes of electrical systems. Many degree programs include apprenticeship components that provide aspiring electricians with extensive work experience. Program curriculum also covers the National Electric Code, which is necessary to pass the mandatory electrician licensing exam. Residential, commercial and industrial electrical settings are covered.
- Program Levels in Electrical Technology: Associate's degree, vocational certification programs
- Program Length: 2 years
- Online Availability: There are schools that offer online training programs for electricians
- Other Requirements: Apprenticeships offered through most programs
Associate's degree in Electrical Technology
Class lectures offer information on technical knowledge and theory. Most programs also contain computer programs for calculating circuits, and a training component for students to get hands-on experience. In order to earn an associate degree, students must also complete general education courses, in addition to courses such as circuits and wiring, electrical code and theory, and reading blueprints. Common course subjects are:
- Analyzing electrical systems
- Electrical code and theory
- Installation planning
- Motor and power controls
- Preventing accidents
- Transformers and lighting
Popular Career Options
Once an electrician has completed training, required supervised work hours, and obtained his or her license, there are many career paths that he or she may follow. Some careers may require additional training and licensure. They include:
- Electrical contractor
- Inspector (code compliance)
- Estimators (electrical projects or electrical construction)
- Project managers
- Electrical serviceperson
- Wiremen (commercial or residential)
Continuing Education and Licensing Information
Graduates of an associate degree program need to complete 8,000 hours (approximately 4 years) working as an electrician supervised by a licensed journeyman electrician. This can be accomplished by either finding a licensed electrician to work under or by entering an apprenticeship. Once training and work experience hours are completed, one may apply for a license. Electrician licensure is awarded at the state level. Exact requirements vary by location. Students' knowledge of local electric and building codes, the National Electrical Code, and electrical theory are tested.
Continuing education coursework must be completed every few years, according to the state regulations. A licensed electrician may become an electrical contractor, which requires additional work experience (total of seven years) or an electrical engineering bachelor's degree.