If you decide to pursue a career as an electrician, you will usually need to complete an apprenticeship as an electrician first. The average apprenticeship takes about four years to complete, so before you invest your time and money, thoroughly understand what an apprenticeship involves. Use this overview to find out what you should expect during your apprenticeship as an electrician.
As with any career that requires advanced technical knowledge, you will typically be required to complete courses in the classroom during your apprenticeship. Classroom time varies from state to state, as state licensing boards have their requirements for the number of hours you must complete.
Many apprenticeships require only a high school diploma or equivalent to apply, so the courses you take during your apprenticeship will start with the basics you'll need on the job. Examples of topics you'll learn to include the basics of power tools, working with conduit, and grounding and wiring. Your classes may be offered at a community college or trade school, or a private employer may offer them.
Classroom learning is essential, but theory will only develop the skills you need as an electrician. To ensure you're prepared for the most common jobs when you become a journeyman, you'll take on-the-job training during your apprenticeship. When you visit homes and businesses that require electrical work, you will be supervised by professional electricians.
Electrical apprentices may make mistakes and fail to follow best practices at the start of their training, so don't feel pressured by this possible during your training. The electrician overseeing your work will show you common pitfalls, such as using less wire than necessary or failing to run circuits in all areas of the home where they are needed.
Another key skill that electricians must master during training is time management. The unique thing about electrical work is that the system must be in working order when you leave the job site. The electrician working with you will help make sure the job is done and that everything is reassembled the day before you leave.
At the end of your apprenticeship, you will earn the title of Journeyman Electrician. But first, you must pass the Journeyman Electrician exam at the end of your program. journeyman exams are administered periodically throughout the year, and your program will notify you of the date and location of the exam at the end of your apprenticeship.
To better prepare for the exam, look for practice proficiency exams online before the exam date. Topics typically covered include electrical theory, voltage and wattage calculations, wiring methods for common situations, and detailed information about specific electrical equipment, motors, and generators. In most cases, you will be notified of the exam results immediately upon completion.
Even after you complete your apprenticeship, your classroom time may not be over. Many state licenses require their electricians to attend continuing education to keep their license current and familiar with the latest technology and trends. Depending on the rules set by your state board, these courses are necessary to renew your license regularly.
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