Electrician Schools and Training Programs

Electrician SchoolsElectrician schools can give you the skills and knowledge you will need to be successful. Electricians install, repair, and maintain communications, lighting, electrical power, and control systems in homes, factories, and businesses. Electricians work both indoors and outdoors in nearly any type of facility. Most electricians work full time, which can include weekends and evenings. Electrical work is not as dangerous as other construction jobs, but potential injuries include burns and shocks, falls, and cuts. Electrician salary is competitive and the future job outlook is very good.

Electrician Career at a Glance

2015 Median Pay $51,880 per year
$24.94 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education High school diploma or equivalent
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training Apprenticeship
Number of Jobs, 2014 628,800
Job Outlook, 2014-24 14% (Much faster than average)
Employment Change, 2014-24 85,900

Recommended Electrician Schools

Duties and Responsibilities

Electrician schools teach students how to carry out complex tasks. Common electrician duties and responsibilities include:

  • Read technical diagrams or blueprints
  • Inspect electrical components, such as circuit breakers and transformers
  • Install and maintain control, wiring, and lighting systems
  • Identify electrical problems using a variety of testing devices
  • Follow local and state building regulations based on the National Electrical Code
  • Replace or repair equipment, wiring, or fixtures using power tools and hand tools
  • Train and direct workers to install, repair, or maintain electrical equipment or wiring

Electrician Schools and Training

Eletrician on-the-job training

Electrician receiving on-the-job training as an apprentice

Most electricians learn their trade in a 4- or 5-year apprenticeship program. For each year of the program, apprentices must complete at least 144 hours of technical training and 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training.

Electrician schools provide a classroom learning environment. Apprentices learn blueprint reading, electrical theory, electrical code requirements, mathematics, and first-aid and safety practices. They also may receive specialized training in communications, fire alarm systems, soldering, and elevators.

Several groups, including contractor associations and unions, sponsor apprenticeship programs. Many apprenticeship programs have preferred entry for veterans. The basic qualifications to enter an apprenticeship program are as follows:

  • 18 years old
  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • One year of algebra with a passing grade
  • Pass substance abuse screening
  • Qualifying score on an aptitude test

Certifications, Licenses, and Registration

Most states require electricians to pass an exam and become licensed. Each state may have different licensing requirements. For more information, contact your local or state electrical licensing board. Many of the requirements can be found on the National Electrical Contractors Association’s website.

Electrician Salary

Electrician SalaryAccording to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average electrician salary in 2015 was $51,880 per year, or about $25 per hour.  The starting pay for electrician apprentices is normally between 40-50% of the full electrician salary.  Apprentices often receive pay increases as they learn to do more and take on more responsibilities. Electricians in power generation and transmission and manufacturing usually have higher wages than those in construction.

In 2014, about 1 in 10 electricians were self-employed. Self-employed electricians may have the ability to set their own schedule and typically work in residential construction.

Electrician Jobs

The BLS has projected electrician jobs to grow by 14% over the next ten years. This growth is expected to create more than 85,000 new electrician jobs by 2024. Now is the perfect time to search for electrician schools and enroll!

With more efficient and reliable manufacturing plants, demand for electricians in manufacturing should increase.  More electricians will be needed to maintain and install systems. However, increased demand might be partially offset when older facilities close.

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Job Prospects

The job prospects for electricians should be very good as many employers report difficulty finding qualified applicants. In addition to job growth, there also are a large number of electricians approaching retirement age, which should produce more job openings in the coming decade.

Work Environment

Electrician Work EnvironmentElectrician schools train students to be prepared for the different work environments they may face in the field. There were approximately 628,800 electrician jobs in 2014. About 63% of these jobs were other wiring installation contractors and electrical contractors industry. About 1 in 10 electricians were self-employed in 2014.

Electricians work outdoors and indoors, at businesses, homes, construction sites, and factories. Long distance or local commuting is often required for travel to different work sites.

On the job site, electricians may work in confined or cramped spaces. The long periods of kneeling and standing can be tiresome. Those who work in factories are often exposed to noisy equipment and machinery. As a result, electricians wear hearing protection to protect themselves from excess noise and hearing loss.

Sometimes electricians collaborate with others, but many electricians work alone. Electricians that work for larger companies are more likely to work as part of a crew; they may direct apprentices and helpers to complete jobs.

Important Qualities

Business skills. Electricians that are self-employed must be able to bid on new jobs, plan work assignments and payroll, and track inventory.

Physical stamina. Electricians spend a lot of time running wire and connecting fixtures to the wire.

Color vision. It is imperative that electricians can see in color, in order to identify the different color wires.

Troubleshooting skills. Electricians identify, diagnose, and repair electrical problems. For instance, if a motor stops working, they conduct tests to find the cause of the failure and based on the results,replace or fix the motor.

Customer-service skills. Residential electricians regularly work with other people. They need to be able to address customers’ questions in a friendly manner.

Physical strength. Electricians may be required to move heavy components or equipment, that could way up to 50 pounds.

Critical-thinking skills. Electricians conduct tests and use test results to diagnose problems. For example, if an outlet doesn’t work properly, they must use a multimeter to check the amperage, resistance, or voltage to determine the best solution.