Are you considering becoming an electrician but wondering how long it takes to complete the necessary training?
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: electrician school typically takes between 6 months to 4 years to complete, depending on the program and level of certification.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive deeper into the different types of electrician training programs, the time commitment required for each, and what you can expect to learn along the way.
Types of Electrician Training Programs
Electricians are skilled professionals who install, maintain, and repair electrical systems in residential, commercial, and industrial settings. If you are interested in becoming an electrician, you will need to complete an electrician training program. There are various types of electrician training programs available, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Here are the most common types of electrician training programs:
An apprenticeship program is a structured training program that combines on-the-job training with classroom instruction. This type of program is usually sponsored by a union, trade association, or employer. Apprenticeship programs typically last four to five years, and apprentices are paid while they learn. Apprenticeships are highly-regarded in the electrical industry because they provide real-world experience and hands-on training.
Trade or Vocational Schools
Trade or vocational schools offer certificate or diploma programs in electrical technology. These programs typically last one to two years and cover the basic principles of electrical work, including wiring, circuits, and safety. Trade schools also offer hands-on training in electrical installation and repair. Trade schools are a good option for those who want to complete their training quickly and start working as an electrician right away.
Community College Programs
Community colleges offer associate degree programs in electrical technology. These programs usually take two years to complete and provide a comprehensive education in electrical theory and practice. Community college programs may also include general education courses in math, science, and English. An associate degree in electrical technology can lead to higher-paying jobs and opportunities for advancement in the electrical industry.
Some universities offer bachelor’s degree programs in electrical engineering or electrical technology. These programs typically take four years to complete and provide a deep understanding of electrical theory and practice. Bachelor’s degree programs in electrical engineering can lead to careers in research, design, and development of electrical systems and technologies. However, a bachelor’s degree is not typically required to become a licensed electrician.
Regardless of which type of electrician training program you choose, it’s important to choose a program that is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency. Accreditation ensures that a program meets high standards of quality and excellence. To find an accredited electrician training program near you, visit the website of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) or the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (NJATC).
Duration of Electrician Training Programs
Electricians are in high demand, and becoming an electrician can be a great career choice. Before starting your journey, it’s important to understand the different types of electrician training programs and how long each program takes.
Apprenticeship programs are a common way to become an electrician. These programs typically last 4-5 years and include a combination of on-the-job training and classroom instruction. During this time, apprentices work under the supervision of a licensed electrician and earn a salary while they learn.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, apprenticeship programs typically require at least 144 hours of technical training and 2,000 hours of on-the-job training each year.
Trade or Vocational Schools
Trade or vocational schools offer electrician training programs that can typically be completed in 1-2 years. These programs focus on the technical skills needed to become an electrician and include classroom instruction and hands-on training. Trade schools may also offer job placement assistance after graduation.
Keep in mind that trade or vocational schools may not provide the same level of on-the-job training as apprenticeship programs, so it’s important to research your options and choose a program that will give you the skills and experience you need.
Community College Programs
Community colleges offer electrician training programs that typically last 2 years and result in an associate’s degree. These programs include both classroom instruction and hands-on training, and may also include general education courses such as math and English.
Community college programs may be a good option for those who want to earn a degree while also getting the technical skills needed to become an electrician. However, keep in mind that community college programs may not provide the same level of on-the-job training as apprenticeship programs.
Some universities offer electrician training programs that can result in a bachelor’s degree. These programs typically take 4 years to complete and include both classroom instruction and hands-on training.
University programs may be a good option for those who want to earn a degree while also getting the technical skills needed to become an electrician. However, keep in mind that these programs may not provide the same level of on-the-job training as apprenticeship programs.
|Apprenticeship Programs||4-5 years|
|Trade or Vocational Schools||1-2 years|
|Community College Programs||2 years|
|University Programs||4 years|
Becoming an electrician requires a combination of technical skills and on-the-job experience. Consider your goals and research your options to choose the program that’s right for you.
What You’ll Learn in Electrician School
If you’re interested in becoming an electrician, you’ll first need to complete an electrician school program. These programs can vary in length depending on the type of program you choose. However, regardless of the program’s length, there are several essential topics that you’ll learn about in electrician school. Here are the key topics you can expect to cover:
Electrical Theory and Safety
The first thing you’ll learn about in electrician school is electrical theory and safety. This topic is critical because understanding electrical theory and safety is essential when working with electricity. You’ll learn about electrical principles, circuits, and safety procedures you need to follow when working with electrical equipment.
National Electrical Code
Next, you’ll learn about the National Electrical Code or NEC. This code is a set of safety standards for electrical installations, and it’s important to know because electricians must follow these standards to ensure that electrical systems are installed safely and correctly.
Reading Blueprints and Electrical Diagrams
Electricians must be able to read and interpret blueprints and electrical diagrams accurately. In electrician school, you’ll learn how to read and interpret these documents so that you can understand how to install and maintain electrical systems correctly.
Installation and Maintenance of Electrical Systems
Another critical topic you’ll learn about in electrician school is the installation and maintenance of electrical systems. You’ll learn how to install and maintain electrical systems correctly, including wiring, lighting, and other electrical components. You’ll also learn how to troubleshoot problems that may occur with electrical systems.
Troubleshooting Electrical Problems
Finally, you’ll learn how to troubleshoot electrical problems. This skill is essential for electricians because they must be able to diagnose and fix electrical problems quickly and efficiently. You’ll learn how to use troubleshooting techniques to identify the cause of electrical problems and how to fix them.
Certification and Licensing
In order to become a licensed electrician, you must first complete a training program and then pass an exam. The type of license you can obtain will depend on your level of experience and education. Here are the three main types of electrician licenses:
A journeyman electrician is someone who has completed an apprenticeship program and acquired a certain number of hours of experience in the field. The exact requirements vary by state, but typically a journeyman electrician must have between 6,000 and 8,000 hours of experience and pass an exam. Once licensed, a journeyman electrician can work independently but may not be able to pull permits or run their own electrical contracting business.
A master electrician is a journeyman electrician who has taken additional coursework and has more experience. The requirements to become a master electrician vary by state but typically include passing an exam and completing a specified number of hours of additional training. Once licensed, a master electrician can work independently, pull permits, and run their own electrical contracting business.
An electrical contractor is a business that employs licensed electricians to perform electrical work. To become an electrical contractor, you must have a master electrician license and complete additional coursework on business management and contracting. Once licensed, an electrical contractor can operate their own business and hire other licensed electricians to work for them.
It is important to note that licensing requirements vary by state, so it is important to check with your state’s licensing board for specific requirements. You can find more information on licensing requirements by visiting the National Center for Construction Education and Research or the National Electrical Contractors Association websites.
Job Outlook and Salary
Projected Job Growth
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for electricians is positive, with a projected job growth of 8% from 2019 to 2029. This rate is much faster than the average for all occupations. The growth is attributed to the increasing demand for alternative energy sources such as solar and wind power, which require skilled electricians to install and maintain the equipment.
Furthermore, the BLS also reports that the construction industry, which employs a significant number of electricians, is expected to continue to grow over the next decade. The need for new construction and renovations in both residential and commercial properties will require the expertise of electricians.
Electricians are a highly skilled trade, and their salaries reflect that. According to the BLS, the median annual wage for electricians in May 2020 was $56,900. The lowest 10% earned less than $34,060, while the highest 10% earned more than $98,720.
Factors that can affect an electrician’s salary include their level of experience, education, and location. Electricians working in metropolitan areas tend to earn a higher wage due to the higher cost of living. Additionally, electricians who specialize in a particular area such as industrial or commercial electrical work may earn a higher salary than those who work in residential settings.
It’s important to note that ongoing training and education can also increase an electrician’s earning potential. Continuing education courses can provide electricians with knowledge and skills in areas such as renewable energy, energy-efficient lighting, and advanced electrical systems.
Becoming an electrician is a rewarding and lucrative career choice, but it requires dedication and hard work to complete the necessary training.
Whether you choose an apprenticeship program or a formal degree, the time commitment can vary widely depending on your career goals and level of certification.
We hope this guide has helped you better understand how long electrician school takes and what you can expect to learn along the way.
If you’re ready to take the first step towards your career as an electrician, start exploring your training options today!