Electrical Trade Schools and Vocational Schools in the U.S.

Vocational and trade schools for electricians often combine hands-on with classroom work. Students interested in becoming an electrician should pay special attention to the hands-on learning opportunities offered by the school selected.

Electricians work installing and maintaining electrical and, sometimes, other power systems. Programs are available at the undergraduate level, and graduates are qualified for both electrical construction and maintenance positions.

10 Schools with Electrical Trade Programs

These schools offer programs for aspiring electricians.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Undergraduate Tuition (2015-16)*
Houston Community College Houston, TX 2-year, Public Undergraduate Certificate $1,632 in-district, $3,360 in-state, $3,756 out-of-state
Michigan State University East Lansing, MI 4-year, Public Undergraduate Certificate $13,560 in-state, $36,360 out-of-state
College of Southern Nevada Las Vegas, NV 4-year, Public Associate's $2,805 in-state, $9,450 out-of-state
American River College Sacramento, CA 2-year, Public Associate's, Undergraduate Certificate $1,104 in-state, $7,440 out-of-state
Salt Lake Community College Salt Lake City, UT 2-year, Public Associate's $3,569 in-state, $11,337 out-of-state
Tidewater Community College Norfolk, VA 2-year, Public Associate's, Undergraduate Certificate $5,171 in-state, $11,009 out-of-state
Palomar College San Marcos, CA 2-year, Public Associate's, Undergraduate Certificate $1,338 in-state, $7,078 out-of-state
Florida State College at Jacksonville Jacksonville, FL 4-year, Public Associate's, Undergraduate Certificate $2,830 in-state, $9,944 out-of-state
El Paso Community College El Paso, TX 2-year, Public Undergraduate Certificate $2,386 in-state, $4,042 out-of-state
Palm Beach State College Lake Worth, FL 4-year, Public Undergraduate Certificate $2,444 in-state, $8,732 out-of-state

Source: *NCES, American River College website

School Selection Criteria

Consider the following when looking for electrical trade schools:

  • Students who want to complete an apprenticeship should find out whether the school offers a program and what setting they would work in.
  • Because many courses involve hands-on work, students should find out about the lab facilities offered at a school and make sure that they contain industry-standard equipment.
  • Students who want to gain experience in particular areas of the field, such as green technology, should make sure that programs offer coursework in that subject.
  • Students may want to look at the licensure exam pass rates for students who graduate from the school.

Undergraduate Certificate Programs

There are two types of undergraduate certificate programs available for aspiring electricians. The first type is an apprenticeship program, in which students get four to five years of paid training under the supervision of an experienced journeyman. They also usually take supplemental courses through the school that facilitates the apprenticeship. Another certificate-level program in electrical technology provides three semesters of conceptual and technical coursework that can prepare students for the state licensure exam that they must pass in order to work in the field. Prior to graduation, students may be required to submit a capstone project.

Associate's Degree Programs

Associate's degree programs provide two years of basic training for aspiring electricians. They include both theoretical studies and lab-based training with electrical equipment. Students take a wide range of electrical technology-focused courses that prepare them for work in industrial, construction and residential settings. They must also fulfill general education requirements. These programs usually award an Associate of Applied Science (AAS), and graduates are eligible for state licensure exams. Graduates may find jobs as electricians, or they may pursue more specialized careers as construction consultants or contractors.

Many schools offer certificates and associate's degrees for electricians. Depending on what kind of educational experience you are looking for, you may want to look for a school with an apprenticeship program.

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