Electricians keep the power on in homes and businesses all over the world and the career prospects for an electrician are still very good. Technology is booming and the demand for electricians is booming with it, especially if they have a good knowledge of voice, data and video wiring. The biggest question most people considering going into the field have however is what exactly does becoming an electrician entail?
Basic Steps to Becoming an Electrician
Those hoping to become licensed electricians have to begin with the basics – obtaining a high school diploma or a GED. Strength in math-based subjects is often a big help with some of the very technical aspects of the job.
Many people start on the road to becoming an electrician by attending a vocational college. Attending such a college is not by any means a requirement, but it does give the trainee electrician a solid foundation in the basics before they head out into the big wide world to pursue the most important part of their job training – an apprenticeship with a master electrician.
These vocational courses cover a wide range of topics including:
- Electrical theory
- Blueprint reading
- Electrical code and building code requirements
- Safety and first aid
- Best business practices
Becoming an Electrician – Getting an Apprenticeship
Obtaining an appropriate apprenticeship is an essential step for those hoping to become electricians. One of the other advantages of taking an electrician course at a vocational school is that the school is usually very helpful when it comes to finding students a good apprenticeship, something that may be challenging to do alone.
Before they can take their licensing test in most states an electrician must amass 2,000 hours of on the job training with a master electrician. That means that the average electrician’s apprenticeship lasts for about a year.
Becoming an Electrician – Getting Licensed.
The final and most crucial step to becoming a fully fledged electrician is to obtain one’s state license. Both State and local level authorities require electricians to demonstrate the mastery of their new trade through a series of written exams, although requirements vary from state to state. Legal aspects are crucial too, and if you’re interested in that line of work, learn more here.
The licensing exam tests a candidate’s knowledge of electrical theory, the National Electrical Code and assorted state and local building codes. There are special licenses available for some specialist electrician roles, such as public electricians, commercial electrical contractors, and electrical inspectors.
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Becoming an Electrician – Finding Work
The career options open to a newly licensed electrician are vast, to say the least. Many choose however to go into business for themselves after they have completed all their training. Although starting your own business is always a little risky the outlook for electricians is good.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics cites an estimated 12 percent job growth between 2008 and 2018 at a national level and with a median average salary for an electrician currently at around $55,000 it offers solid earning potential.