What is an Electrician's Apprentice?

Erin J. Hill

An electrician’s apprentice is someone who works under a licensed electrician in order to learn the trade through first-hand experience. This can be done as part of a class or licensing coursework, or by an individual who makes an agreement with a professional in his area. In some cases, an apprenticeship may be necessary in order for someone to become licensed, either before, during, or after formal education.

An apprentice works under a licensed electrician to learn the trade through first-hand experience.
An apprentice works under a licensed electrician to learn the trade through first-hand experience.

Most areas require potential electricians to take a formal course through a trade school or technical college. In some cases, students may sign on to become an electrician’s apprentice during school as part of their training. Other times a license may be obtained in school, followed by a required apprenticeship before the electrician can work on his own. In any event, an electrician’s apprentice generally works alongside a master electrician on the field on a variety of jobs.

Most areas require potential electricians to take a formal course through a trade school or technical college.
Most areas require potential electricians to take a formal course through a trade school or technical college.

Electrical apprentices are often hired as employees and are paid for their work. The amount of time someone must work as an electrician’s apprentice varies based on location. Some may only need to apprentice for a few months, while people in other areas may work for several years. In many cases, one may become licensed without an apprenticeship, but he or she must work for another electrician before being able to start his or her own company as a master electrician. Payment for licensed apprentices is generally much higher than those working as a helper.

An electrician's apprentice may receive training on a construction site.
An electrician's apprentice may receive training on a construction site.

There is a difference between an electrician’s apprentice and an electrician’s intern. An apprentice is often paid for work and is hired as an employee, while an intern is generally not offered monetary compensation and usually only works a few hours each week. Either option may be a suitable method for becoming an electrician, although an apprenticeship is often preferable.

Electrical apprentices are usually hired as employees and are paid for their work.
Electrical apprentices are usually hired as employees and are paid for their work.

Apprenticeships that are completed while a student is still in school may be done on school premises. This is primarily true for those studying industrial electricity rather than commercial or residential. Those who cannot complete tasks on-site may go with a school instructor to job sites and finish an apprenticeship that way. School offered apprenticeships have both good and bad points. If a student and instructor do not get along, there is often no other professional to work under until the duration of the course is complete. However, it does save the student time because he or she will not have to go out and find someone to apprentice with.

The amount of time someone must work as an electrician's apprentice varies based on location.
The amount of time someone must work as an electrician's apprentice varies based on location.
Electricians who service industrial or manufacturing sites may be responsible for installing or maintaining disconnectors, also known as disconnect switches.
Electricians who service industrial or manufacturing sites may be responsible for installing or maintaining disconnectors, also known as disconnect switches.

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