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Electrician Apprenticeship Guide
This highly skilled and sought-after trade is always in demand and will open doors to bigger and better job opportunities. As an apprentice, you will learn skills that set the foundation for becoming a Journey Man or a Master Electrician. You may learn electrical theories, blueprint reading, electrical code requirements, best practices, and safety. If you are interested in a career path that will challenge you while giving you real on-the-job training and experience or wondering how to become an electrician or enter the trade, you will find all you need in this guide.
What are the requirements for becoming an apprentice?
Usually, you need to be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED to enter a program, but high school classes like electronics, math, and workshop may be beneficial. Some programs may require classroom hours and on-the-job training, and companies may require you to take a basic competency test as part of the application process. In addition to this, it will be helpful to have good hand-eye coordination and be able to identify colors due to wiring. There are trade schools and community colleges with electrical training programs available if you are looking for more of a formal training environment. However, most of the learning will take place on the job.
What will I learn, and how long does it take?
As an apprentice, you will learn the basics of electricity and electronic circuitry, setting the foundation for becoming a Journey Man Electrician. You will be involved with everything from installing switches and light fixtures to residential and commercial wiring. You will learn things like bending conduits, reading blueprints, and much more. You may be required to run wire in attics and work outdoors. You will learn to use power tools and work with low-voltage circuits, electrical panels, garage door openers, landscape lighting, and more.
Technical skills are just a part of the puzzle; one of the essential skills you will learn during your training is customer service. You will interact with different people and learn how to handle customer-related situations. The time you spend as an apprentice will depend on your skill set and how fast you pick things up. This is usually determined by your supervisor or the Journey Man Electrician mentoring you; however, a typical program length is between 3-5 years.
What are the pros and cons? The pros include exposure to various necessary skills that will open doors for you, such as troubleshooting and critical thinking, customer service, and management skills. National Electrical Code and guidelines cons mainly include work-related injuries such as electrical shock, cuts, falls, and standing for extended hours. If you follow proper safety requirements, most workplace injuries can be avoided.
How much physical fitness is required?
You may be required to work inside and out in all climates and terrains. Staying physical is a plus since there may be times when you need to crawl into an attic or basement to run wires or troubleshoot. There typically is a lot of bending, kneeling, and climbing up and down ladders. You may also be exposed to noisy conditions if you work in new construction or use power tools.
Ready to get started?
The best way to move forward is to contact local electrical contracting companies in your area. Ask them if they have an apprenticeship program and what they require. Make sure you have an up-to-date resume that highlights your strengths. If you are just out of high school, include classes you took that relate to the trade, such as Algebra, workshop, and electronics; if you have more education or are switching fields, then your resume should highlight the areas of prior focus that relate to the trade. In addition, practice interviews with family and friends to become more comfortable. There are also resume books, basic wiring books, and other online resources that will help you with your resume or familiarize yourself with the basics.