Electrical Technology Certificate and Electrical Technology Diploma Programs generally take up to two years to complete. These programs offer studies in circuits, currents, wiring, blueprint reading and national code standards and can help aspiring electricians prepare to take the national exam for licensure. Lab exercises could accompany classroom learning in some programs; others might offer apprenticeship opportunities.
SAT/ACT scores and prior secondary level coursework in math and science are sometimes prerequisites for entrance into these programs.
Electrical Technology Certificate Programs
An electrical technology certificate program might last 2-4 semesters and covers theoretical concepts through class lectures and technical skills through hands-on training. Some schools offer programs in partnership with nationally approved apprenticeship programs. Other schools might provide graduates with assistance acquiring apprenticeships upon completion of the program.
Most programs combine courses on electrical theory with laboratory components that allow students to gain hands-on experience with electrical tools and techniques. Topics covered include:
- Electrical theory
- Circuits and currents
- Commercial and industrial wiring
- Motor controls
- Job safety
Electrical Technology Diploma Programs
Similar to certificate programs, diploma programs in electrical repair require 1-2 years of study to complete and provide students with training in both electricity theory and technical skills. Students are prepared to enter into apprenticeship programs or entry-level positions in electricity repair. Electricity repair diploma programs are similar to certificate programs; however, diplomas tend to be awarded more at technical or vocational schools than at community colleges.
Unlike degree programs, diploma and certificate programs focus solely on the knowledge and skills needed for electricity repair; general education courses are seldom required. Courses might include:
- Blueprint reading
- Electrical construction
- Electrical controls
- National Electrical Code
Popular Career Options
Electricians can work in maintenance, where they repair and replace existing electrical components, or in construction, where they install new systems and components. Some electricians do both. Popular job titles for electricians might include the following:
- Electrical technician
- Quality control technician
- Industrial electrician
- Construction electrician
- Motor control electrician
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Although employment of electricians is sensitive to the state of the economy, 14% job growth during the 2014-2024 decade is expected, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Jobs in electricity maintenance may be steadier than those in construction. The average annual salary for electricians was $51,880 in 2015, according to the BLS.
Continuing Education Information
In most states, electricians must pass exams that demonstrate their knowledge of theory and electrical codes in order to become licensed electricians. Continued education is necessary to keep current with changes in the National Electrical Code. Electricians might also be required to complete safety programs.
Job opportunities, according to the BLS, will be especially good for electricians with a wide range of skills. Electricians might consider taking additional courses in technologies such as video, voice and data systems or on alternative energy systems. Additionally, electricians can take courses to become contractors.
Individuals interested in electrical repair and maintenance can enroll in a certificate or diploma program in electrical technology to take courses that specifically focus on the knowledge and skills they will need to succeed in entry-level positions or for an apprenticeship. Aspiring electricians will also be prepared to take the licensing exam.