HOW TO BECOME A PROFESSIONAL ELECTRICIAN
If you are looking for a new trade, you have many options available to you. One of the most lucrative, in demand, and reliable ones you could consider is that of becoming an electrical contractor. As long as there is electricity, there will be a strong need for electricians. But, how exactly does one go about becoming a professional electrician? Popkin Electric, one of the top Long Island electrical companies has provided a step-by-step guide on how to get certified in this high demand trade.
Have a High School Diploma
This step is an absolute requirement. If you are an adult who has not graduated high school, a high school equivalency diploma, or GED, will work just as well. If you are still a high school student, and you are considering this field, you can prepare by studying certain subjects. Paying close attention to math and physics will be of great help to you in becoming a Long Island electrician.
Get Pre Apprenticeship Training at a Vocational School
Working towards your eventual apprenticeship by training at a vocational school is an excellent idea. At a trade school you can learn the basics of electrical work, which will look great when you are seeking actual work. Electrician programs at trade schools, technical institutes, and career colleges provide a more comfortable introduction to this trade and can help you gain the foundational expertise that you’ll need going forward. One of the things that you will learn about in one of these programs is National Electric Code, which will serve you very well down the line. You will also receive an introduction to workplace safety, electrical theory, and many other things that can give you a head start on other people who may apply for the same apprenticeships. Most trade-school programs even include hands-on training in addition to regular classroom instruction.
Apply for Apprenticeships
Once you are ready, begin looking for apprenticeship opportunities as soon as possible. Many other people might be applying for the same apprentice jobs, so it’s a good idea to get started as soon as you are ready. Finding an apprenticeship may not be easy, but there certainly are tools available to help you. You may be able to find a local apprenticeship through the United States Department of Labor or by exploring newspaper classifieds and online job boards. In addition, electrical apprenticeship openings periodically become available through organizations such as:
- The National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA)
- The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)
- Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC)
During the application process, you will need to pass an aptitude exam that requires you to pass reading comprehension as well as simple math and algebra. You will also need to pass a job interview which will assess your qualifications as well as certain physical requirements and a drug test.
Register as an Electrician Trainee or Apprentice
Some states, require electrical apprentices to register before being allowed to work on actual job sites. It’s generally a very easy step since it only involves filling out a form and potentially paying a small fee. But every state has its own requirements, so be sure to check with your state’s department of licensing, labor, or consumer affairs.
Completing Your Apprenticeship
Your apprenticeship is the heart of your entire training process. During your apprenticeship you will receive on-the-job training in addition to further courses that may be taken online or in a classroom. You’ll be mentored and supervised by a master electrician over the course of four to five years of training. You will also get paid hourly along the way. The apprenticeship experience will allow you to learn the specific aspects of the trade such as:
- Reading blueprints and technical diagrams for electrical plans
- Installing, repairing, and maintaining electrical wiring, lighting fixtures, and various control systems
- Making sure that all electrical services comply with the National Electric code as well as state and local regulations
- Testing and inspecting electrical systems and components for problems by using special devices
At the beginning of your apprenticeship, you’ll be performing very basic tasks. But you will gradually get to carry out more and more complex tasks as you refine your skills and practical understanding of relevant concepts.
How to Get an Electrician’s License
After you have served sufficient time as an apprentice under a commercial contractor, you will be qualified to get your license. You may have to pass an exam that tests your understanding of the National Electric Code, various electrical concepts, safety practices, and local laws and building codes. You will probably also have to prove that you have completed a certain amount of relevant classroom instruction and practical training under the supervision of a licensed master electrician. The amount of time this takes depends on your location and where you plan to work. Licensing requirements vary from state to state and city to city. Some states have multiple levels of electrician licensing, while others have no requirements at all. In any case, obtaining an electrician’s license may take you anywhere from 3 to 5 years from start to finish. However, once you have obtained a full license, remember that this field is not going anywhere, and you will likely be able to work steadily until retirement.
If you are interested in becoming an electrician, start the process as soon as possible. For any other questions regarding apprenticeships, or advice on the best trade schools, feel free to contact Popkin Electric to speak to an electrician in Suffolk County anytime!