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A job as an electrician is more than just a job; it's a solid career path. Electrical contractors have a variety of job options and make a decent living. While it takes time and effort to become an electrician, fortunately, you'll be paid for the learning and experience you gain.
The electrical industry is huge, and the need for experts in all different fields is ever-increasing. Anyone can see the impact that electricity has on our lives; it's everywhere. One of the many reasons people are drawn to working in the electrical industry is because it offers such a diverse field of work and there are always people interested.
In addition to domestic, there are commercial and industrial jobs. Electricians can be trained to work on high-voltage transmission and distribution lines, substation installation, panel fabrication, generators and many other specialized fields. Almost certainly, anything you can think of that involves electricity in some way has an electrician who specializes in that field.
If a physical job doesn't sound like your ideal career, an office job may be more appealing: you can become an electrical supervisor, a licensed engineer, an electrical design engineer, manage your own electrical company, or, once you've gained experience, you can jump into consulting, teaching, or standards development. These are just a few of the different career paths you can pursue.
Anyone working in the electrical industry must be adequately trained to do so. Unlike many careers, it's not enough to learn on the job. Electricity is a science, so when you study to become an electrician, you are learning science. To become a good electrician, you need to have a basic understanding of the science. Education will enable you to learn from the mistakes of others, receive expert guidance from experienced instructors, and access resources from awarding organizations. The assessment of success at the end of the qualifying exam is just the beginning.
The minimum requirements for those intending to register for any electrical qualification are usually GCSE grade C or equivalent in basic math, English and information and communication technology (ICT). Many colleges and learning providers offer students the opportunity to gain these qualifications while studying for an electrical qualification.
Students usually start their apprenticeship at around the age of 16. Level 3 qualifications usually last around three to four years, and may be extended to five years. Apprentices can be employed by any electrical company, large or small. Apprentices will gain valuable field experience and learn the basic science and fundamentals of electricity while on release from college or study providers. Some larger companies offer in-house training, and in most cases, this training confers nationally recognized qualifications.
When applying for an apprenticeship, students are usually expected to pass a color vision test before being accepted. Students enrolled in full-time programs are not always required to take the test and may experience some difficulty when attempting to convert a full-time program to an apprenticeship.
Full-time courses (usually three days a week) are for people who have difficulty finding an apprenticeship, as the demand for apprentices fluctuates depending on economic conditions. There are many full-time electrical courses available, the most popular being Level 2 and Level 3 electrical installation courses, which in most cases can be mapped to an apprenticeship. Students tend to use these full-time courses to gain qualifications so that they are more desirable to employers when applying for apprenticeships.
Part-time courses are usually better suited to older students who have some knowledge of the electrical industry. Part-time courses can be intense as students will attend one or two days of evening school rather than three full days, so students must be able to commit to self-study after college.
Domestic installer courses should provide you with the minimum training required to be considered for registration as a domestic installer. They are popular with those who wish to pursue a career working primarily on domestic properties. However, if you do attend a Domestic Installer course, you should have sufficient experience working on domestic electrical installations so that you can be confident that the work you are carrying out is safe and meets the requirements of the latest version of BS 7671 (IET Wiring Regulations). Some training providers offer short courses that may only take a few weeks to complete; these are only recommended for people who have already worked extensively in the electrical industry.
On successful completion of an accredited domestic installer course, you should qualify for the latest version of BS 7671 (e.g. 17th edition qualification at the time of writing), e.g. C&G 2382-12, and an inspection test and initial verification qualification, e.g. C&G 2394-95. Once you have obtained these qualifications, the domestic installer scheme provider will guide how to successfully pass the assessment and What you need to know to register as a domestic installer.
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