How To Become an Electrician

Electricians are the unsung heroes of the night, bringing us electrical power to light the way, cook our food, and heat or cool our homes. They enjoy a well paid, highly rewarding career that allows them the flexibility to work for themselves or for a larger organization, to specialize or to remain general.  In order to become an electrician, take a look at the outline below:

  1. Study math and electronics in high school:  If you are still in school, focus your studies in these two subjects.  This will give you an edge later on, and possibly even credit toward earning your license.
  2. Enroll in a training program:  Formal training programs can be found through many avenues, like local vocational schools, community colleges, and even in the military service.  If you choose the latter route, you can even get paid for learning instead of the other way around.
  3. Find the local licensure authority:  This is an important step because they have all the information you will need to know about education, apprenticeship and licensing requirements, as well as examination schedules.  Be prepared to spend a few years as an apprentice electrician, as most states require that an electrician have upwards of 8000 hours of on-the-job training.  If you worked these hours in twenty-four hour shifts, you would work 333.3 consecutive days before ever setting foot in a licensing office.  That's on top of the 144 hours of formal instruction you have to receive.  The good news is that you will learn a ton of things working for an experienced electrician, things you will never learn in a classroom - so cherish the time you spend with a mentor.
  4. Get a license:  After completing the rigorous education requirements, you can sit for the licensing exam; this will cover practical applications, state and local laws concerning codes violations and more.  You can study for this exam by contacting the licensure office and obtaining a study guide.  This should help with remembering specific laws and numbers.

The average salary for a professional electrician with 1-2 years of experience is $40,000 a year.  Add 5 years' additional experience and that number shoots up to $55,000 per year.  Not a bad wage for a job without a college education.  Skilled electricians are in high demand in every industry, so finding a job will not be difficult after receiving your license.  Job postings can be found on every job message board and in newspaper classified ads all across the country.


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