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Online electrician diploma programs are available, although they primarily teach the academic principles of the electrician career rather than the hands-on aspects. These programs typically have no admission requirements, but a high school diploma or the equivalent may be preferred.
Electricians are often trained through formal apprenticeships, and training through a technical school or other institution may provide credit toward that apprenticeship. Licensing, rather than professional certification, is required in most states; check for state-specific requirements.
Online electrician diploma programs provide some tool instruction but mostly cover the academic side of electrician training. Students learn categories of electrical wiring systems, electrical industry practices and procedures and distinctions between residential, commercial and industrial electrical installations.
There are no explicit academic or experience requirements for admission to an electrician diploma program. However, candidates with a high school diploma or GED may be better prepared for academic study.
Information and Requirements
Some course materials for an online electrician diploma program are accessed online through a school's website. Others, such as tools and sample electrical components, are sent via mail. Finished assignments and exams are submitted online. Interactions with instructors and other students are conducted through e-mail and phone. Participation in an online program requires a personal computer and Internet access. An electrician diploma can be earned in under six months.
Online diploma programs are tightly focused on electrical principles. On-campus programs may provide the option to take general education courses either in class or online.
This course surveys electrical current generation methods, devices that control or use electricity and mathematics useful in electrical work. Specific topics include generators, alternators, motors, transformers, inductors, circuits and basic trigonometry.
Wiring and Circuits
Students in this course learn common configurations of electrical devices and how to connect them safely. Wiring materials and methods, splicing, branch circuits, electrical loads and fixture installation are among the topics covered.
This course focuses on the symbols used in blueprints and how to read a blueprint wiring diagram. Course content touches on outdoor wiring, pole transformers, grounding, clearances, multi-phase systems and overcurrent protection.
Students learn the parts of a motor and specific types of motors in this course. Course work also covers starters, starting current, motor controls and motor control circuits, power factors and control circuit diagrams.
Career Information for Electrician Graduates
Because electricians typically work an apprenticeship along with their academic studies, people who only complete an online electrician diploma program have only half the training they need to become electricians. Graduates arrange an apprenticeship with trade organizations such as the Independent Electrical Contractors Association or the Associated Builders and Contractors.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), employment of electricians should increase 14% over 2014-2024, faster than the average for all occupations. However, employment is sensitive to economic trends in the construction industry. As of May 2015, the average annual salary of electricians was $55,590.
Continuing Education Information
Most states require electricians to be licensed, which usually entails passing an in-person exam proving a candidate's knowledge of electrical codes, building codes and electrical theory. Master electricians need seven years of experience, a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering or a degree in a related field. Electrical engineering bachelor's degree programs are available online.
Electrician diploma programs are available online, but much of the experience comes through hands-on apprenticeships. Common courses include topics related to motors, blueprints, and circuitry.