Electricians install and repair electrical systems in homes, businesses, buildings, and other structures. Their work includes wiring, circuits, outlets, and lighting. It also includes testing and maintaining these systems to ensure safety. They may specialize in a particular area such as commercial, residential, or industrial. They are commonly called on to install or repair power lines and related equipment, but they also may work on communication cables and data lines.
The path to becoming an Electrician is not as long or difficult as many people think. The first step is to earn a high school diploma or GED certificate. While in high school, students should take courses that will help them become an electrician. These include math (i.e., algebra and trigonometry), English, and shop classes. It is also helpful to take physics and engineering classes, as these will help you understand the principles behind the electrical industry.
Next, find a vocational or trade school that offers an apprenticeship program. These programs are typically a mix of on-the-job training and classroom instruction. They usually last four years and pay hourly wages. They are available through independent electrician contractors, Associated Builders and Contractors, or through the Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committees. Some community colleges offer a program that combines coursework with an apprenticeship, which can reduce the time it takes to complete the certification process.
Once you’ve completed your apprenticeship, you can apply to be a licensed journeyperson electrician in your state or municipality. The requirements for licensure vary from state to state, but you’ll likely have to prove that you have on-the-job experience and classroom training. Additionally, you’ll need to pass an exam that covers electrical concepts and safety practices.
If you wish to be a master electrician, you’ll need more years of experience and an education in a specific field. You’ll also need to pass an extensive background check and submit a portfolio of your work to the electrical licensing agency in your state or municipality.
Whether or not you need to be licensed, most electricians must obtain insurance. These policies cover property damage, bodily injury, and public liability. Some companies specialize in providing these policies to electrical contractors, which can be a good option for those who want to be insured without having to deal with multiple insurers.
Some states require that all electrical workers be licensed. Others only require licenses for master electricians and above, while still others have different requirements for apprentices and journeymen. In addition to meeting licensing standards, all electrical workers should maintain a current knowledge of the National Electrical Code. They should also participate in ongoing educational opportunities to keep abreast of changes and updates to the code. For more information about becoming an electrician, visit the website of your state or local licensing authority. You can also use the tool on The National Occupational Licensing Database to check your specific region’s requirements. This site provides a search function that allows you to enter your location and the type of work you do to see what steps are needed for licensure.