How to Become an Electrician

** Updated 7/2020 No matter where you live becoming an electrician is a solid career choice. Most licensed electricians earn over $50,000 and with increased construction throughout the US, this industry keeps growing. The hands-on nature of the job and client satisfaction are additional reasons people enjoy this work.  Did you know there are only a few basic steps to become a certified electrician? While each state has specific training and exam requirements, the general steps are the same.  Though electricians can train in as few as nine months to work as an entry-level technician, you will need to train for five to six years as an apprentice to earn journeyman status.  Detailed below are the six most important steps to becoming an electrician.

Earn a High School Diploma

A high school diploma — or equivalent — is the most basic educational requirement needed to become an electrician. Without completing a degree or earning a GED, it will be almost impossible to move forward in your training. While obtaining your high school degree or GED, remember to take classes relevant to your chosen profession. These classes include algebra, trigonometry, physics and English. These classes will give you the critical math and reading skills you need to work as an electrician. If your school offers shop or mechanical drawing classes, take those as well. They are great opportunities for practical application and learning hwo to read technical documents. 

Attend Trade School or Vocational College

Enrolling in an electrician program at your local community college will give you the foundational knowledge needed to move forward as an apprentice. In addition to the expertise you will gain in the classroom environment, you will stand out among your peers in a competitive job market.  It also makes securing an apprenticeship much easier than someone without your knowledge. In addition to classroom instruction, many programs offer hands-on training, which is invaluable.

Apply for an Apprenticeship 

Once you have finished your classroom training, you are ready to apply for an apprenticeship. You may be able to find apprenticeship opportunities through online job boards, newspaper classifieds or the United States Department of Labor. You might also find jobs through the various electrician networks, such as the Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) organization. Also, keep in mind that you may be required to take an aptitude exam, which is why vocational college is so important.


Once you have been hired as an apprentice, your state may require you to register as an electrical apprentice. Each state will have different requirements, so check with your state’s department of licensing to confirm any requirements.

Complete Your Apprenticeship and Obtain License

Completing your apprenticeship is the most crucial step in the process of becoming an electrician. Although the process might seem long, it is well worth it. Your apprenticeship will last for five to six years, during which time you will earn a wage and receive on-the-job training and education. A journeyman or master electrician will supervise you, and you will learn about the most important aspects of being an electrician. By the end of your apprenticeship, you should be capable of performing journeyman-level electrical work. Once your apprenticeship has ended, you will want to obtain your license depending on your state’s requirements. Contact your state to learn more about licensing requirements. Also, you might have to pass a national licensing exam that will test your knowledge of various laws, codes, safety practices, and electrical concepts. To take the exam, you may have to prove your training and education. While the road to becoming a certified, professional-level electrician may seem arduous, the years of education and training are worth the sacrifice. The job of an electrician is one of great importance, and your skills will never go unwanted.

Are you ready to take the next step in becoming electrical contractor’s license?

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