Electrical training is necessary to become a licensed electrician. There are a few ways to reach that goal. Becoming an electricians helper and be moving up into an apprentice position is one way. It is possible to apply directly with an electrical business to start work apprenticing. Going to school and completing the training is another way. Of course, upon completion, an apprenticeship will have to be applied for.
An apprenticeship lasts for four years. During that time the apprentice works during the day and goes to school in the evenings. They are paid for the work they are being trained to do, even for those with absolutely no experience. 2,000 hours of work must be completed for each year and 144 hours of school. If more hours are worked, these will not be credited.
School may be completed first and then an apprenticeship found. Local companies should be contacted first to find out what programs they will hire from and those they will not. There are vocational training schools, community colleges and distance learning courses available. One advantage of going to school first is that the starting position as an apprentice is higher than that of someone without it.
Whether approaching the apprenticeship program first or school first, on the job training must be completed. It is not enough to learn all the theory and practice of working with electricity, hands on practical work must be done under the supervision of an experienced electrician. Theory must be put into practice to be of any use.
In school it is necessary to learn electrical theory, learning the why behind the electric work that is done each day on the job. The student will learn wiring methods, troubleshooting, inspection and maintenance. They will also be taught to read blueprints, electrical code, safety practices and first aid requirements. There may also be training in specialized areas such as soldering, elevators, cranes and fire alarm systems.
At the end of the apprenticeship period, tests are available to become a licensed electrician. These tests vary by state and not all states require them or the licensing. The local county code office will know for sure what is necessary. The testing may involve national, state and county electrical code and electrical theory. It can be just one test or it could be more. Licensing means no longer needing to have work supervised and can lead to a position that offers a higher pay rate.
Those who have been in the field for years also benefit from electrical training. Each new system that is put in place requires additional training, such as solar and wind energy and video and data systems. To gain a promotion or to start a business as an electrical contractor will require more training too.