Electrician Apprenticeship

Are you looking for a change of pace in your career? Are you interested in the home improvement field? Properly trained electricians are in high demand, and the first step to becoming one is an electrician’s apprentice.  This article offers you a crash course on what an electrician’s apprenticeship is and how you can go about acquiring one.

What exactly is an Electricians Apprenticeship?

An electrician apprentice is a student who works under the guidance of a trained and licensed electrician.  Some apprenticeships involve following or “shadowing” an electrician, while all involve taking courses at an accredited school. Some electrical apprentice programs involve both.

What Kind of Electrical Apprenticeship Should I Get?

There are four main types of electricians. Research which type of electrician you want to become before choosing your apprenticeship. The type of electrical work you want to do will determine what you study while working within your program. You can choose from:

  • Inside lineman (those who work with electrical units on the interior of the house)
  • Outside Lineman (those who work with electrical units on the outside of the house)
  • Installer Technician (those who work primary with electrical installations)
  • Residential Wireman (those who specialize in installing electrical circuiting)

What is Required as an Electrician’s Apprentice?

Each year as an electrician’s apprentice, you will need to acquire a minimum of 2,000 hours of training on the job and 144 hours of official coursework. These are required by the Department of Office of Apprenticeship. A good way to accomplish this is to enroll in an electrician apprenticeship program in your area. You can do a quick internet search to find electrician campus locations near you.

What Kind of Things Does an Electrician’s Apprentice Learn?

There are some things that are best learned while on the job. An electrician’s apprentice will learn first hand how to repair and install many of the common appliances and electrical setups that we use every single day. Some of the things you will learn as an apprentice are:

  • Learning how to install electrical outlets.
  • Learn how to install conduits (an electrical piping system used for protection and routing of electrical wiring).
  • Become familiar with wiring.
  • Learn the proper use of different types of wires and how to handle them safely.

Electrician’s Apprenticeship Classroom Training

The more technical aspects of electricity and electrician’s work should be learned in a more formal setting with manuals and trained professors.  Classroom training will allow you to learn things like the ins and outs of electrical theory and the legal aspect of being an electrician. Some of the things you will learn in your classroom training include:

  • Electrical Theory: There’s more to electricity than simply installing gadgets and repairing appliances. Electricity is a complex science involving equations and calculations. It’s important to understand the math and science behind electricity in order to best know how to use it.
  • Safety Regulations: Electricty, while useful, can also be very dangerous.   Handling it without proper safety instruction can prove very harmful. Learning how to properly handle electricity will prevent you from making mistakes on the job that could hurt or even kill you.  There are also regulations concerning the safety of the households you are working in. Making sure that everything is set up properly in the house you are doing electrical work in will ensure their safety as well.
  • Electrical Blueprint Reading- Most people are familiar with the basics of blueprints, but doing electrical work on a house requires a more thorough knowledge of the electrical aspects of those blueprints. Learning how to read these blueprints can make electrical repairs easier and more effective.

State Electrician’s License Exam

At the end of an Electrician’s Apprenticeship, you will be required to take a State Electrician’s License Exam. Each state has a different examination, so be sure to research how your state goes about administering the test. You should also familiarize yourself with what your state’s exam will test so you can prepare as much as possible.

Who Offers Electrical Apprentice Opportunities?

Some of the more popular organizations that sponsor apprenticeships are:

  • The National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (NJATC)
  • The National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA)
  • The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)

While these are the most popular electrician apprenticeship programs, your area may have more organizations that offer opportunities to work with electricians. Make sure before you begin working with any organization that they have the proper credentials and that their electrician apprenticeship program will lead to a license.  Ask electricians in your area how they acquired their license, or if they have any recommendations for electrician apprenticeship programs. They might also be able to help you find electrical apprentice jobs. They can be valuable assets in acquiring your own apprenticeship and license.

How Much Will I Earn as an Electrician’s Apprentice?

According to most sources, the average electrician apprentice salary is between $20 and $30 an hour.  Of course, as an apprentice you will not make as much, but you will be compensated for the time and work that you do while training. Your compensation will depend on the program you choose and the kind of electrician apprentice you choose to become.  Some electrical work requires more work and more risk and, therefore, has a bigger paycheck.

Requirements for Becoming an Apprentice electrician:

While each state has their own rules regarding who can work as an apprentice.  Some of the more basic requirements are:

  • One must be at least 18 years of age.
  • High school graduate or high school equivalent
  • At least one year of algebra
  • A high score on your preliminary aptitude test. You should study for the test as you would for any other test and make sure that you are well-prepared on the day of the test.
  • Be drug free and continue to refrain from drug use while apprenticing
  • Pay all necessary fees and tuitions for any apprenticing programs that you attend

You should look around electrician apprenticeship programs in your area. Once you begin your apprenticeship you’ll be on your way to becoming a full fledged electrician with the paycheck to match.  It is important to approach your apprenticeship seriously.  Training does not ensure that you will be a good apprentice electrician, you should be committed to your apprenticeship as well as your future career as an electrician.

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