Are you ready to start an electrician apprenticeship program? These jobs are good choices because they pay well and offer a high degree of job security. Training for a career as an electrician or lineman takes a long time.
Thankfully, the training is traditionally done as an electrician apprentice. That means you can start working in the field and earning an income while you learn your skills. Usually all that is required for an electrician apprenticeship is a high school diploma.
Although a high school diploma is the minimum requirement, that doesn’t mean you don’t need a good head on your shoulders for a career as an electrician. You will be dealing with electricity schematics and formulas so you will definitely need good math skills. You should have good study skills overall because part of your electrician apprenticeship will take place in the classroom where you will learn from books.
The bulk of your education will actually be on-the-job training. The jobs you are allowed to do will grow as your skills grow. You won’t be turned loose on live high voltage wires right away. In fact, your electrical apprenticeship could last as long as five years. Only after that time would you be considered a journeyman electrician and be allowed to work independently.
Some of the classroom knowledge you will learn in an electrical apprenticeship includes how to read blueprints, electrical code requirements, electrical theory, math, first aid and safety. You will also learn about soldering, telecommunications, security systems and elevator operation.
Your on-the-job training will teach you how to set anchors, drill holes, attach conduit, install wiring, run electrical tests, install switches and outlets, and draw electrical systems diagrams. As an electrician, you are responsible for wiring all systems in a home or building like the lighting, air conditioning, heating, cable TV, phone systems, security systems, fire alarms, and LANs.
To do well at these tasks and excel in an electrician apprenticeship program, you should have good coordination, good balance and be physically fit. You also need color vision because your work will require that you identify wires according to color.
After you complete your electrical apprenticeship, you must get a license to practice in most states. If you want to work as an employee of a contractor all you need is an apprenticeship and basic test. However, if you want to advance to the level of an Electrical Contractor you must work towards the designation of a Master Electrician and obtain a more advanced license. In many states, in order to become a contractor and be a master electrician you must have seven years experience or hold a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering or related field of study.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 65 percent of electricians are employed by contractors; about 9 percent are self employed, and the rest work in other industries. The job outlook for electricians is expected to be good through the next decade. If you diversify your skills to include areas like data, video, and voice wiring your job prospects are even better.
Although your electrician apprenticeship may last only four to five years, you should be prepared for a lifetime of learning with a career as an electrician. Alternative energy sources like solar power are becoming more popular and people who switch their existing homes to these new types of power will need qualified electricians to install them. Technology changes rapidly and the future will bring many new innovations and job opportunities for those who keep pace with new advances in the industry.
A long and fulfilling career as an electrician begins with the first step, finding an electrician apprenticeship and getting accepted. You should apply for the apprenticeship with the same level of professionalism as you would college or a job. You’ll have a lot of competition so you should be prepared to put your best foot forward.
If you don’t have a high school diploma, you should get your GED before you apply. You may also be required to take a test to determine your aptitude for math, or a year of high school algebra may be required. If you didn’t take algebra in high school, arrange to take it at your local college and provide a copy of your transcript as proof. In addition, you may be tested to establish that you are drug free before being accepted into an electrician apprenticeship. Once accepted you are on your way to a great career.