For those who are technically adept and interested in providing electrical services to keep the world going, becoming a licensed electrician can be an excellent career choice. But, before jumping into an education or training program, they need to understand what’s involved.
Electricians may have to work outside in all sorts of weather and will need to know how to read blueprints and technical diagrams, connect wires, circuit breakers, and outlets, and use specialized equipment, such as oscilloscopes, ohmmeters, and ammeters. Electricians also must be adept at diagnosing problems, be detail-oriented, have strong manual dexterity, and use good judgement and techniques to solve any issues facing them.
Licensing requirements will vary state-to-state. Some have no licensing requirements; others may have state electrical licensing boards that issue exams and license those who pass, allowing them to work as apprentices or electricians. Exams are designed to test their knowledge about basic and advanced electrical codes and procedures, with licenses ranging from journeyman’s or residential licenses to maintenance and master electrician licenses.
Steps to Becoming a Licensed Electrician
The first step to becoming a licensed electrician is to earn a high school diploma or GED, then enroll in a vocational or career-focused electrical program. Upon completion, or as part of an externship, electrical graduates must enter an apprenticeship program, which typically lasts at least two years…and as long as four years in some states. In many states, candidates must show proof of completing their apprenticeship before they can take the licensing exam, which includes demonstrating knowledge of the National Electric Code.
Once they have their license, electricians can work as electrical contractors – either within a company or independently. Once licensed, they also can get certified to work as electrical administrators, telecommunications contractors, or specialists – such as an instrumentation expert (certification types and requirements vary by state.)
Electric Trades at Fortis Colleges and Institutes
The Electric Trades program offered at select Fortis campuses in Alabama and Pennsylvania is designed to provide students with the professional skills and knowledge to begin a career as a residential, commercial or industrial electrician. To learn more about getting started in a Fortis electrical trades program, or to find the campus closest to you offering the program, visit our site.