Becoming an electrician involves more than being taken under the wing of an industry veteran. While an apprenticeship is important, modern day electricians must complete extensive educational and formal training requirements. Aside from obtaining a high school diploma or GED and being a minimum of 18 or 21 years old (depending on the state), there are other requirements to legally work an electrician. Let’s take a look at what it takes to become an electrician.
In order to qualify as a professional electrician, one must complete a diploma, a degree or a certificate program within the field. His course of study must include specialized coursework in both residential and commercial wiring. He also must exhibit compliance with what is known as the National Electrical Code. Additionally, a prospective electrician is required to complete an intensive and extensive apprenticeship program. This program typically lasts between four and five years. It provides prospective electricians with the opportunity to work with a master or journeyman electrician to learn the nuances of the trade. Most consider this apprenticeship experience to be the most important component of an electrician’s education as it provides him with the opportunity to perform real-world work on projects like home remodeling, the rewiring of electrical systems, switch lighting etc.
The requirements described above represent the bare minimum required to legally perform electrical work for homeowners, businesses and other parties. Specific employers will list even more detailed qualifications and requirements that are unique to each job opening. Oftentimes, some of the training required for an opening is performed while on the job. Yet to even be considered for such a job opening, an electrician must have a comprehensive knowledge of electrical theories and systems. He must also know how to work with an array of wire systems as well as fiber optic systems. He must also meet his jurisdiction’s specific requirements as well. Let’s take a look at what state governments require in order for an individual to become an electrician.
State Requirements and Licensure
Each state has a board that establishes different levels of formal education and training requirements for electricians. Prospective electricians must complete these requirements before beginning any electrical work. Once one fulfills these requirements, he can obtain his license. This typically occurs at the end of one’s apprenticeship program. The licensing exam is unique to each individual’s jurisdiction. Only those who have obtained a license can legally conduct electrical work for the public. In order to maintain one’s license throughout his career, he must also complete a specific number of continuing education courses as time progresses.
Other Requirements and Qualities That are Necessary to Become an Electrician
In addition to the criteria outlined above, electricians must also be skilled with mathematics. In general, an electrician must have a considerable mental and physical aptitude. This is a fairly difficult line of work that requires highly specialized knowledge. Electricians must also stay abreast of national electrical codes as well as safety measures throughout their career.