Skilled Trades

How to Get Started in Electrical Trades

Skilled TradesJune 08, 2018

Electricians are important to everyday life in America. Imagine a world without electricity, if you can. No electrical lights or traffic signals. No home or office air conditioning. No cell phone chargers. That’s just a start, but you get the idea. Life as we know it would grind to a halt.

We may often overlook electricians, but they are critical to Americans and the nation’s economy. If a career as an electrician appeals to you, there are six steps you need to consider. First, get your high school diploma or its equivalent. And, while you’re at it, pay special attention to math and physics…even shop and mechanical drawing classes are helpful. Then, get your pre-apprenticeship training at an accredited school – increasingly, a vital step to separate yourself from others hoping to enter the field. Most school programs, such as those at Fortis, include hands-on training so you’re on more solid footing when asked to perform in the field.

The first chance you get, apply for an apprenticeship to learn the trade at the hands of a working professional. If required, be sure to register as an electrician apprentice if your state requires it…like California and Texas do. Then, be sure to complete your apprenticeship – a step that’s at the heart of this whole process. Once you’ve completed your apprenticeship, get certified and/or licensed in the state or city where you plan to practice. Now you’re ready to work on your own.

What kind of job can you expect to be doing? Well, that can vary, depending on your preferences and skills. You could be a residential wireman installing electrical wires in home and multi-family units; an inside wireman, who does similar work…only in commercial buildings and industrial structures; telecommunication technicians are electricians who install low-voltage wiring, such as computer cables, phone lines, etc. in a variety of structures; or an outside wireman – one of those tough people who install and maintain distribution lines that bring electricity from power plants to buildings and homes.

Like any career, becoming an electrician will have its challenges. Apprenticeships can take as long as five years and, in total, you may be working in the field five-to-six years before earning the right to call yourself a journey-person electrician.

Fortis Electrical Trade programs provide the professional skills and knowledge students will need to enter the workforce and begin a career as a residential, commercial or industrial electrician. Programs are offered at select Fortis campuses in Alabama and Pennsylvania. Visit our Electrical Trades page to learn more about the  courses and career opportunities open to graduates.