How to Become an Electrician

What is an Electrician?

Electricians are trained in electrical components that affect many aspects of our lives. Whether it’s wiring office buildings and homes, powering our electrical grids, or installing broadband systems — they have a hand in things that keep our lives running smoothly. 

They are trained in:

  • Reading blueprints and diagrams
  • Installing, maintaining, and repairing wiring, transformers, and other systems
  • Repairing circuitry problems 
  • Understand the National Electric Code and follow state and local regulations

There are many different types of electricians, meaning you can choose a focus and build your career around it. Here are some of the most popular types of electrician career paths:

  • Residential Wireman
  • Inside Wireman
  • Outside Linemen
  • Telecommunication Technicians

How much can Electricians make?

According to the US Department of Labor, electricians earn an average of $53,204 and up to $88,130 with job opportunities expected to grow into the double digits by 2025. 

In essence, becoming an electrician has a lot of potential for job stability and salary growth depending on where you live and what facet of the industry you work in. 

What do you need to become an Electrician?

To get started as an electrician, you’ll need to become an apprentice electrician or go to trade school. Before you can do either, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • 18-years of age or older
  • Have your high school degree or GED
  • Obtain a qualifying score on an aptitude test
  • Pass a drug test

If you meet all of the above, you can move onto one of two next steps on your electrician path. 

Apprenticeship or Technical School

The next step in becoming an electrician is to get a position as an apprentice. In some cases, you can do this on your own with some basic knowledge of the field. 

However, it’s much easier for individuals who graduate from a trade school to get their apprenticeship. Usually, trade schools will help students connect with opportunities.

There are pros and cons to both options, but it’s essential to take the step that makes the most for your career path. If you want to rise up the ranks as an electrician, it might be easier to get a strong educational foundation first. 

If you don’t mind a little slower progress and learning as you go, an apprenticeship could be an excellent choice for you!

Qualify for Your Journeyman License

To move up to a Journeyman or Master electrician, you need to have certain certifications or licenses. After you’ve completed the required education or apprenticeship hours in your jurisdiction, you can register for the license that makes the most sense for you. 

The Journeyman license is typically the last step to becoming a licensed electrician in your state. It will allow you to work on residential and commercial assignments without supervision.

If you want to take your experience in a specific area to the next level, you’ll want to look at achieving the status of Master Electrician.

Master Electrician

To become a Master Electrician, you need to accumulate hours in the area in which you hope to be a master. Specialty master licenses are available in areas such as:

  • Maintenance Electrician
  • Low Voltage
  • Refrigeration, heating, and air conditioning
  • Electrical Signs
  • Elevator and Escalator
  • Outside Wireman

Master electricians have more opportunities to work independently, get government permits, and build a team of electricians that you oversee. 

To become a master electrician, you’ll need to:

  • Have between 4-8 years of experience as an electrician
  • Letters of reference from customers
  • Letters of reference as to your character
  • Apply with your local jurisdiction
  • Apply for your Master Electrician exam

Maintaining Your Electrician Status

Once you’ve achieved the licenses that matter to you, you’ll have to continue to educate yourself on new rules and regulations, and periodically update your license. 

Continue to keep track of your work and contact with your best customers, should you ever need to renew your license or file in another jurisdiction.