Electrician Career Information
Electricians are responsible for installing and and repairing a variety of electrical systems and devices, including those used for lighting, power, and communications. They may also be responsible for performing general electrical maintenance and troubleshooting electrical issues using appropriate testing devices. Since the required training and testing for this position requires a physical presence, this career can be relatively difficult to prepare for online. See more details about this career in the below table.
|Required Skills||Troubleshooting, problem-solving, critical thinking, customer service, color vision|
|Job Growth*||10% for 2018-2028|
|Median Salary (2018)*||$55,190 per year|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Steps to Becoming a Licensed Electrician Online
This career typically requires on-the-job training and passing a license exam, which must be done in person. However, prospective students can complete online training programs and prepare for their test online.
Step 1- Consider Vocational College or Trade School
While education beyond high school is not a mandate for electricians, training at a technical school can help prepare aspiring electricians for future apprenticeships and employment, as well as help them stand out amongst the competition. Online diploma programs are available from some colleges and technical schools. These programs usually take less than one year to complete. Once enrolled, the students get to study various aspects of electrical work, such as electrical code standards and theory. Courses commonly include instruction in circuitry and electrical safety, among other subjects.
Step 2- Complete an Apprenticeship
Electricians typically gain experience hands-on through an apprenticeship which provides an education and a monetary stipend. The National Electrical Contractors Association and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers jointly offer training programs through the Electrical Training Alliance; apprenticeship programs are also offered by the Independent Electrical Contractors and professional trade associations.
These apprenticeships can last for around four to five years. During this time, you will need to complete 2,000 hours of on-the-job training each year, as well as 500 to 1,000 hours of classroom education total over the course of the apprenticeship. Under the supervision of a licensed electrician, apprentices learn to use a variety of tools and many aspects of the trade, such as reading construction blueprints, installing, repairing, and maintaining various control systems, testing and inspecting electrical systems, and much more.
Step 3- Earn a License
To become licensed, electricians need to pass an exam designed to measure the electrical knowledge and skills learned through apprenticeship. The exam ensures that the appearing candidates have knowledge related to local regulations and the National Electrical Code. Testing requirements vary from state to state; however, most states require proof of work experience (such as during the apprenticeship) and a minimum of hours of classroom instruction. Online resources are available from a variety of websites to help you prepare for the license exam. These include study guides, practice tests, videos, and other tools.
Step 4 - Complete Continuing Education
Typically, an electrician's license must be renewed every three years, but states can vary. Licensed journeyman electricians should make sure to keep track of any upcoming and relevant license renewal information. Many states require electricians to complete continuing education courses as part of the renewal requirements, and many of these courses can be taken online. Online CE courses could cover topics in wiring methods, special occupancies, and code updates.