There are no strictly online programs that can lead to jobs as a master electrician because work experience and a license are both required. However, electrician diploma programs are available online and offer courses that may be compliant with the National Electrical Code (NEC).
Generally, four years of outside work experience are needed to qualify for designation as a master electrician. Individuals may earn this experience through apprenticeships. There are online electrical engineering bachelor of science degrees such as a BSE that are offered fully online.
Programs for Becoming a Master Electrician
A master electrician is involved in the supervision, as well as the design of electrical systems for homes, offices and manufacturing facilities. To become a master electrician, most students begin in an apprenticeship program after completing a diploma program. There are also specific classes that must be taken related to the principles of electricity.
Most electrician apprenticeship programs provide pay for the work that is done. Information on apprenticeship programs can be found at the National Electrical Contractors Association website (www.necanet.org).
Information and Requirements
An apprenticeship program usually requires four years of time spent on the job, as well as enrollment in a set of classes, while a diploma program can take as few as six months to complete. Students begin with simple construction tasks like drilling holes and completing simple wire attachments. Most programs require that applicants be 18 years old and have a high school diploma or a GED before being admitted.
Becoming an electrician requires knowledge and understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Mandatory classes cover that as well as the practical application and laws relative to receiving a license in a particular state.
Grounding and Bonding
An electrician must understand the concept of grounding in order to do the job safely. Grounding is the concept of connecting any electrical system to the earth so that built up electrical charges will be dissipated without being dangerous. Bonding is connecting the metal of any system to the established ground fault path.
An electrician must be able to do a load calculation so that electrical systems will perform efficiently. A load calculation is the concept that the electrical power provided matches the needs of the given environment.
National Electrical Code
Electricians are tested on their knowledge of the NEC. Classes are generally provided for test preparation and general knowledge of electricity.
Knowledge of building codes is essential and is part of the licensing exam to become an electrician. Each state regulatory agency has building codes for all construction to protect consumers. A building code is a master list of how a building should be constructed.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
OSHA is the federal regulatory agency that oversees worksite safety. OSHA has specific requirements that must be met; a journeyman or master electrician needs this information in order to effectively manage a worksite.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an electrician in 2015 had a median hourly wage of $24.94 per hour (www.bls.gov). An apprentice would begin work at 40-50% of that wage. The job field maintained a faster-than-average growth rate (14%) from 2014-2024.
Continuing Education Information
An electrician must update his or her license on a regular basis, which requires taking continuing education courses. As the NEC changes, ways to provide electrical service also change; electricians are required to learn about these new developments. Licensing is done by the state, each of which has its own requirements.
Experience and a license are both necessary for a master electrician and therefore only electrician diplomas are fully available online. Most programs require an internship. Core classes lead to a better understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC)