Electrician Training Programs and Requirements
Electricians work in the construction, maintenance and manufacturing industries and are responsible for installing, repairing and maintaining electrical systems and equipment. Electricians must understand state and local building codes and be able to read technical diagrams.
Electrician Training Requirements and Recommendations
Aspiring electricians can complete a 4-year apprenticeship program that incorporates didactic instruction with paid on-the-job training. They can also complete an associate's degree program at a vocational school or community college. Full apprenticeship programs are sponsored by various professional electrical worker associations or private companies, including the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA.). Most graduates are prepared to work in both the construction and maintenance industries.
Before beginning formal education, aspiring electricians must complete high school or earn a GED. They are typically required to be at least 18 years old before the start of a program. Those hoping to work as supervisors, managers or product developers in the industry should consider pursuing an associate's degree. The curriculum for all electrician training programs is guided by the National Electric Code (NEC) and OSHA safety requirements.
Electrician apprenticeship programs include a minimum of 144 hours of instruction in the classroom each year. Classroom topics include blueprint reading, math, code requirements, electrical theory and safety. Students learn about special systems such as fire alarms, elevators and communications. Soldering techniques are also introduced.
Associate of Science in Electrical Technology
Associate's degree programs usually include the same hands-on and classroom training as apprenticeship programs. However, general education requirements in the humanities and sciences must be met for degree completion.
Electrician apprentices or students must complete 2,000 hours of on-the-job training each year, for a total of 8,000 hours. Skills learned include the design, fabrication and installation of conduits, wiring, switches and outlets. An electrician must also be able to draw a diagram for a comprehensive electrical system.
Licenses and Certifications
Licensing is required for electricians in almost every state. Requirements generally include a specified number of hours of classroom and on-the-job training plus completion of a written examination. In order to maintain licensure, most states require at least seven hours per year of continuing education classes. Some states have approved online training to meet these requirements.
Workshops and Seminars
A national convention and numerous regional meetings are sponsored each year by NECA and its chapters. There are numerous trade shows available to keep electricians up-to-date on current trends, new products and other developments within the field. Many of the courses offered through workshops can be used to meet continuing education requirements.
Additional Professional Development
Frequent changes to law and new technologies require electricians to take continuing education classes in order to stay up-to-date. Additionally, courses in labor relations and project and business management are useful to those seeking advancement to a supervisory or managerial level.
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