Electricians are constantly in demand because they are needed to help install appliances and because it is an incredibly stable career with good pay. But how can you become one? Becoming an electrician is no easy task. This profession requires extensive electrical circuits, wiring techniques, and installation procedures. If you’re ready to begin this journey, here are some helpful tips to get you started.
Attend a Vocational or Technical School
Every city has vocational schools that offer courses in this field. If you are still wondering how to get started on your career as an electrician, attending a vocational school is a solid first step. After completing the coursework in these vocational schools, you will need to take your state’s licensing exam (which costs around $100) before applying for apprenticeship positions. The good news is that most states recognize the certification from other states; therefore, if you attend school in Massachusetts but apply for an apprenticeship in New York, your certificate should be accepted by the state of New York due to reciprocity agreements. Also, find out how many hours of on-the-job training you will need to complete as well as how long your apprenticeship will last. When you finish this step, you have completed the schooling and now need to gain experience.
Complete an Apprenticeship Program with a Sponsor
Apprenticeships are highly valued and commonly used by most companies when hiring employees. An apprenticeship is also an excellent way for you to learn the ins and outs of the electrician profession while building up your resume at the same time. There are two types of apprenticeships: journeyman/journeywoman and helper/apprentice. To become a fully licensed electrician, they must complete their journeyman’s training before their 18th birthday. The average duration of an apprenticeship program varies, but you can expect it to last around four years. However, finishing your journeyman’s training early (and picking up extra hours) will help prove your value as an employee and should be done if possible.
Pass the Master Electrician Licensing Exam
Every state requires master electricians to pass a licensing exam to practice their trade. Although it varies from state to state, most states require master electricians to complete about three years of work experience before they are eligible to take the exam, given by either National Fire Prevention Association (N.F.P.A.) or International Code Council (I.C.C.). This profession takes both experience and hard work; therefore, you’re going to need to practice and study to pass the licensing exam. As with everything else so far, if you do not pass the test on your first try, don’t get discouraged; schedule another date to retake it.
Get Your Journeyman’s License
Once you complete your schooling (or apprenticeship) and pass licensing exams, all that remains is acquiring your journeyman license. The process is pretty simple; however, it does take patience and hard work. Once you have your journeyman’s license, you can then go out on your own and begin working as an electrician. While it may seem like a difficult task, getting your journeyman’s license will be one of the most rewarding accomplishments of your life. With this accomplishment under your belt, you can now reap the benefits that come along with being an electrician.
Join a Professional Organization
Joining professional organizations helps expose companies to new qualified employees while also giving you the chance to network with other professionals in this field. In addition, many offer exclusive training opportunities and scholarships, which can help further your education without costing too much money or taking up too much of your time. It would help if you considered joining the National Association of Electrical Contractors (N.A.E.C.). This group offers resources for electrical apprenticeships, journeyman’s training, and other training programs. They also provide many other benefits to their members, including health insurance options, retirement plans, discounts on products/parts, and liability insurance coverage.
Know Your Worth
Being an electrician is a valuable and in-demand profession; therefore, you should never be afraid to ask for a raise or promotion. You will learn throughout your career that when it comes to this profession, there is something called “the rate.” This is the standard pay scale for electrical contractors; however, they are always looking to add (or subtract) from this special rate at their discretion. Although negotiation can be intimidating at times, if you value your skills and work ethic enough, it will eventually pay off with raises and promotions, ultimately leading to greater job satisfaction.
If you’re wondering how to become an electrician, don’t hesitate. Enroll in a vocational school or start your apprenticeship today so that you can get started on this exciting career path. Remember that you can always further your education after gaining some experience; however, this field requires hard work and practice to become successful. Even though there are many steps to take before becoming an electrician, the result is well worth it.