What is an Apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a system of training whereby someone learns a trade or craft from a more experienced worker. In the case of an electrical apprenticeship, the apprentice will learn how to install, maintain and repair electrical systems under the guidance of a more experienced electrician. An apprenticeship will build the skills a person needs to become a licensed professional in their field.

How to get an apprenticeship?

There are many ways to get into an electrical apprenticeship. Some people may have a family member or friend who is already an electrician and can put in a good word for them, while others may approach companies directly and express their interest in undertaking an apprenticeship. There are also many electrical trade schools that offer programs that lead into an apprenticeship. You may need to apply to join an apprenticeship depending if you are working for a private company or if you decide to join the union.  An apprenticeship is designed to teach a person with little to no skills everything they need to know.

How long does an electrical apprenticeship last?

An electrical apprenticeship typically lasts for four years, during which time the apprentice will work under the guidance of a journeyman electrician.  You will be working 40 hours a week during your apprenticeship and will still have to attend classes. During their apprenticeship, electricians will learn about electrical theory, safety procedures, and the National Electrical Code. They will also gain practical experience by working on real-world projects. During this time you will work on real projects and jobs with a trained professional. This person will guide you through everything you need to know. You will not just be standing behind the person teaching you, you will be doing the job with them. During this time you will get loads of hands-on experience in many different areas of becoming an electrician.

Income during an electrical apprenticeships

Apprentices are paid while they are completing their electrician school training, and their pay rate will increase as they acquire new skills. Once an apprentice has completed their training, they will receive the journeyman electrician designation and will be able to work independently. However, their pay will still be lower than that of a fully licensed electrician.

Prerequisites needed for an electrical apprenticeship

Most people start their apprenticeship during their 20s and 30s. To start an apprenticeship you will need your high school diploma or a GED.  You will also need your driver’s license and reliable transportation to get to the jobs. During some programs you will be able to start your apprenticeship with college credits and experience if you previously went to a trade school.

Electricians who wish to work alone must first complete an apprenticeship and then pass a licensing exam. The licensing exam varies from state to state, but it typically covers electrical theory and the National Electrical Code. After passing the exam, electricians can work independently. However, their pay will still be lower than that of a fully licensed electrician.