There are certain jobs that are recession-proof because, given our society’s infrastructure, we always need experts to keep things running. Being an electrician is one of those jobs. Anyone who owns a home or apartment or a business will eventually need some sort of electrical work done. If you’re looking for a skilled job that not only pays a good salary, but gives you ample opportunity to start your own business, take a look at what it takes to become an electrician.
Get Your High School Diploma or GED
“Before pursuing a career as an electrician, you’ll need to earn a high school diploma or the equivalent,” advises the experts at Indeed. “Though a majority of the job relies on specific skills related to the industry, there are plenty of academic concepts that electricians utilize daily.”
What school subjects specifically benefit becoming an electrician?
You’ll need basic math and physics skills as well as any shop classes that can give you some hands-on experience. Once you’ve finished all your classes and have the credits to graduate, you’ll be ready for a trade school or an apprenticeship.
Trade or Vocational School
You don’t have to go to college to become an electrician. Like many skilled jobs, it’s not about the classes you take, but the experience you have. Most trade or vocational schools will have labs and other hands-on workshops to give you some basic experience. These schools may also help you find an apprenticeship, which is the most important step to becoming a licensed electrician.
Before signing up for any electrician school, see what their placement opportunities are for apprenticeships. You should also follow up with business to confirm that this is the truth or not something that the school offered in the past.
Become an Apprentice
The best way to “do” is to learn from someone who is already “doing.” You can normally find an electrician apprenticeship via your trade school, a union such as the Joint Apprenticeship & Training Committees, or through non-union electrical contractors such as Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC). Before you’re accepted, you’ll need to pass an aptitude test along with a drug test and possibly a physical.
After you find an apprenticeship, you’ll have to register so that you can start working on the job. Each state has its own requirements, so you’ll need to do some research on what your work state allows. At the end of your apprenticeship, you’ll be able to:
- Decipher technical diagrams and construction blueprints for electrical plans
- Install, maintain and repair electrical wiring and electricity-distribution equipment
- Ensure that all work is done in compliance with national, state and local regulations
- Use special devices to test and inspect electrical systems for issues
You’ll also need:
- 576 to 1,000 hours of classroom work
- 8,000 to 10,000 hours (four to five years) of on-the-job training
Every state has different requirements to be a licensed electrician. But all will require you to show that you’ve completed your apprenticeship. Some will also require you to pass an exam. And finally, if you have dreams of starting your own business eventually, it’s also a good idea to enroll in some business classes.