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. 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.

Essential Information

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. Full apprenticeship programs are sponsored by various professional electrical worker associations or private companies.

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.

  • Program Levels in Electrical Technology: Apprenticeships, associate's degrees
  • Program Length: 4 years for apprenticeship programs, 2 years for associate's degrees
  • Prerequisites: Must be 18 years old


Electrician apprenticeship programs include a minimum of 144 hours of instruction in the classroom each year. Students learn about special systems such as fire alarms, elevators and communications. Soldering techniques are also introduced. Classroom topics include:

  • Blueprint reading
  • Math
  • Code requirements
  • Electrical theory and safety

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. Some course topics might include:

  • Residential wiring
  • Basic wiring techniques
  • Motor controls lab
  • Industrial controls
  • Electronic motor drive systems

Popular Career Options

Individuals who get into an electrician training program can go on to many different careers. Some job titles might include construction electrician, controls engineer and photovoltaic installation technician.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the BLS, electricians make a mean annual wage of $54,520. The job outlook for these professionals from 2012-2022 is expected to grow 20%, which is faster than average compared to all other occupations.

Continuing Education

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.

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 abreast of 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. 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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