Associate's degree programs for aspiring electricians often award graduates an Associate of Applied Science in Electrical Trades Technology or an Associate of Applied Science in Electrical Construction. Students learn how to wire and route electrical circuits for commercial and residential buildings. The only prerequisite for this program is a high school diploma or equivalent.
After earning an associate's degree and completing 8,000 hours of practical experience, students may be qualified to earn Journeyman Electrician Certification and gain full-time employment in the field once they have satisfied licensure requirements.
Electrician Degree Program
Coursework in an associate's degree program for aspiring electricians includes classroom lectures and hands-on experiences. Students learn how to read blueprints, understand electrical codes and fire alarm systems and perform testing of instrumentation. Courses included in such a program should meet the National Electric Code (NEC) standards. Topics addressed in the program include:
- Mathematics for electricians
- National electrical codes
- Physics theory for electricians
- Fire alarm systems
- High voltage testing
- Electrical grounding
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 628,800 electricians employed in the U.S. in 2014. That number is expected to increase by 14% between 2014 and 2024, which is faster than the average employment growth for all occupations (BLS). Electricians will be in demand to wire new buildings. The BLS reports that as of 2014, about 10% of electricians were self-employed. The median salary for electricians in 2015 was $51,880, per BLS figures.
Nearly all 50 states require that electricians gain licensure in order to work legally. Each state has its own set of licensure requirements, but most dictate that individuals complete an apprenticeship program or an electrical trades degree along with several thousand hours of practical experience. They are also required to have a thorough understanding of the National Electrical Code, state electrical codes and electrical theory. Many states offer additional licensure for Master Electricians, and the most common requirements for this credential include seven years of experience or a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering.
Aspiring electricians can seek apprenticeships as well as associate degree programs as a way of entering the field. These programs typically combine lectures on various aspects of electrical science with hands-on experience. Most states require electricians to attain licensure before working in the field.