February 15th, 2013
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Electricians are highly trained tradespeople who spend several years mastering their trade. In the United States, most electrical jobs must be conducted by (or under the supervision of) a journeyman or master electrician.
Electricians complete an apprenticeship program where master electricians supervise them. In order to become a journeyman electrician, these individuals must have between 4000 and 6000 hours of on-the-job electrician training and they must also complete around 144 hours of classroom instruction. During this time, they will learn electrical theory and regulations that govern the industry. At the end of their training, electricians will sit for a licensing exam.
During their training, electricians will learn about installing, maintaining and repairing various electrical systems. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, apprentice electricians may also receive specialized training in soldering, communications, elevators or fire systems.
These professionals will also learn about the various tools that an electrician will use throughout their career. Some of these tools will include:
• Wire strippers
• Cable cutters
• Ground Fault Indicator Testers
• Insulation Testers
• Crimping tools
Electrician Training Requirements
You can find various unions and contractor associations that may sponsor your apprenticeship program. In fact, in some cases your employer may even cover your tuition. In order to enter an apprenticeship program, you must be at least 18 years old and have a high school education or the equivalent thereof.
You will also be required to have at least one year of algebra and a passing score on an electrician aptitude test. Finally, in most states it is mandatory that you pass a drug screening before you enter a training program.
Technical schools provide a good foundation for aspiring electricians. If you choose to attend a technical school, then you will likely receive credit toward your apprenticeship. It is important to find a technical school with a reputation for providing excellent training and this is one reason why you may want to speak with a licensed electrician prior to choosing a program.
After you finish your education and on-the-job training, you will have had several years of preparation for your career as an electrician. The final step will be your state licensing exam. Your local electrician’s union or the state licensing agency can refer you to the proper study materials for this exam.
Electricians need to have a high-level of critical thinking skills because they are often required to troubleshoot electrical problems. Management, customer-service and organizational skills are also important for these jobs.
The job outlook for electricians in the next decade is better than almost any other career in the U.S. With so many new residential and commercial developments being built all over the nation, there will be a huge demand for trained electricians.
Another consideration is the fact that many electricians will be retiring over the next decade, leaving even more available positions for new tradesmen. That’s one reason why it is so important to begin the process of training and licensing as soon as you can. After 4 or more years of preparation, there may be just the right position waiting for you!