How Do I Become a Licensed Electrician?

Nicole Long

Proper training and education is required to become a licensed electrician. Participating in an apprenticeship program and taking advantage of both classroom instruction and on-the-job training will provide the knowledge and skills necessary to become a licensed electrician. Electricians must also pass a licensing examination to work as a licensed electrician.

A licensed electrician working.
A licensed electrician working.

Electrical systems help power homes and businesses around the world. Electricians are largely responsible for installing, maintaining, and repairing these systems. Among the aspects of many electrical systems are wiring, circuit breakers, and outlets. Licensed electricians are specifically trained to work on electrical systems in a safe manner.

Completing an apprenticeship or other educational program is usually the first step to becoming a licensed electrician.
Completing an apprenticeship or other educational program is usually the first step to becoming a licensed electrician.

Before entering a training program, some minimum requirements must be met. Candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent and be 18 years of age or older. Those wishing to become a licensed electrician should also have good vision, be physically fit, and have good manual dexterity.

Apprenticeship programs help prepare those wanting to become licensed electricians. Local unions and building contractor associations often offer apprenticeship programs for interested individuals. Programs typically include both classroom and on-the-job training.

Classroom training to become a licensed electrician covers a wide range of electrical theory and practical knowledge. This includes understanding how to read blueprints and training related to safety when working with electrical components. Other aspects of classroom training may include topics such as mathematics, fire alarm systems, and electrical code requirements.

On-the-job training takes place in live situations, often under the direction of a mentor or supervisor. Initially, apprentices may just assist licensed electricians with the basics, such as measuring and drilling holes. As training progresses, apprentices will learn all of the necessary skills to become a licensed electrician. This includes learning how to design, install, and repair electrical systems.

After the successful completion of an apprenticeship program, candidates must pass a licensing exam. These exams traditionally test the candidate’s knowledge of electrical theory and local electrical codes and requirements. Special licensing may be required depending on the type of employment the candidate seeks. For instance, those working for the government may need to meet certain licensing requirements.

Additional training and education will be required throughout an electrician's career. This involves embarking on educational and training programs that help keep licensed electricians up to date on changes related to electrical codes and regulations. Electricians will also need to keep up with technological changes and advancements in the field in regards to the adoption of new energy sources.

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