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Electrical installer, electrical technician | How to become an electrician

April 19, 2022

Electricians provide energy to buildings for lighting rooms, hot water and electrical equipment. They install, inspect and test electrical equipment to ensure that it works properly and safely. As an electrician, you may maintain conventional systems in homes, stores and offices. Some electricians use renewable technology or fiber optics. Others service motors, transformers, street lighting or transportation systems, or work on engineering projects.


How to become an electrician

There are several ways to become an electrician. You can get the qualifications you need by completing a college course or an apprenticeship. If you already have relevant experience, you can apply directly to an employer for a job.

Importantly, those who gain competency through industry-recognised training routes, such as City & Guilds or EAL courses and apprenticeships, often have better job and income prospects.

You should explore the options to find out which one is right for you.

To become a fully qualified electrician, you will need to complete an AM2 assessment. This is an industry-recognised competency and is usually the final unit of your electrical qualification. 

You need normal color vision to work with electrical wiring and must pass a color vision assessment test


College/training provider

You can take a college course, which may help you find a trainee apprenticeship with the company.

You can enrol on:

  • City & Guilds Level 2 Building Services (Electrical Installation Route) or EAL Level 2 Intermediate Diploma in Electrical Installation
  • City & Guilds Level 3 Building Services (Electrical Installation Route) or EAL Level 3 Advanced Diploma in Electrical Installation
  • T Level Building Services Engineering.

You will need:

  • At least 2 GCSEs (or equivalent) in years 9 to 3 (A* to D) (Level 2 courses)
  • 4 - 5 GCSEs (or equivalent) in years 9 to 4 (A* to C) (Level 3 courses and T levels).

However, to progress and train further, you will need to work in the industry to become a fully qualified electrician. There are two ways to do this:

  • Secure employment and move onto an apprenticeship scheme - your knowledge and experience will be taken into account to reduce the amount of time you spend in training
  • Secure employment or become self-employed and complete a Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Installing Electrical Systems and Equipment (Buildings, Structures and Environments) from City & Guilds or EAL. 

Finally, you will complete the end-point assessment (AM2) to become a fully qualified electrician.



An apprenticeship with an electrical installation company is a great way to enter the industry.

Apprenticeships are open to anyone over the age of 16. As an apprentice, you will be fully employed by your company and will be expected to work a minimum of 30 hours per week. Your time will be split between work experience and a university or training provider.

You can undertake an advanced apprenticeship as an installation and maintenance electrician (Level 3).

You can also become an electrician through an apprenticeship with the Armed Forces.

You will usually need 5 GCSEs (or equivalent) at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English and Maths, to gain an Advanced Apprenticeship.



If you have some GCSEs (or equivalent), including English and math, and good practical skills, you may be able to find a job as a companion, trainee or assistant to an electrician. Your employer may then be able to help you train to become fully qualified.


Work experience

Work experience is vital to gaining employment in the industry. You may be able to gain this at school, or by working with companies or relatives who work on electrical installations on weekends and holidays. Potential employers are always pleased to see work experience listed on your resume.

Candidates with relevant work experience can complete the EAL's Level 3 Electrical Experienced Worker qualification.




Other skills that may benefit anyone considering a career as an electrician include:

  • Knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • Knowledge of mathematics
  • Design skills and knowledge
  • Thoroughness and attention to detail
  • Ability to think analytically
  • Excellent verbal communication skills
  • Ability to confidently use computers and major software packages



What does an electrician do?

As an electrician, you will be responsible for ensuring the safety of electrical equipment. This may involve fixing reported problems, or installing new systems in new structures, such as lighting and heating.


The job role of an electrician involves the following duties:

  • Inspecting electrical systems, wiring and equipment to ensure they are safe and functioning properly
  • Repairing electrical faults or replacing parts
  • Connecting outlets, switches, fixtures and appliances
  • Laying cables to connect equipment to power and computer networks
  • Installing security or data networking systems
  • Use street lighting and traffic management systems
  • Installing fiber optic cables
  • Maintaining motors, transformers, and machinery
  • Creating and installing electrical control panels
  • Programming computer-controlled "smart" buildings
  • Adherence to technical plans
  • Compliance with strict safety regulations
  • Keeping abreast of new electrical legislation
  • Responding to emergency calls, such as power outages
  • Work on construction sites, in domestic or commercial environments, offshore, locally or abroad, often in cramped conditions or at high altitudes.



How much money can I earn as an electrician?

As you become more experienced, the expected salary for an electrician will vary.

Apprentice electricians earn from £10,316 in their first year to £22,425 in their final year

The average salary for a trained electrician is £33,495

Experienced and qualified electricians can earn £42,500 or more.

Salaries depend on location, employer, level of responsibility, any overtime you may do and whether you have completed an industry-approved training route. Self-employed electricians set their own rates of pay.

* Wages have been collected from multiple industry sources and have been updated for 2019



Career path and progression

With some experience, you can become a building services engineer. You can also go into electrical design.

Some electricians set up their own businesses and work as subcontractors for other companies. Others become mentors and pass on their knowledge.


Professional Electrician Tools 

If you are ready to return to work after a workplace accident, excellent electrical tools are your best bet. Knoweasy tools are professional electrician tools that can meet the various needs of electricians when working and effectively improve the efficiency and safety of their work.

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