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How to Become an Electrician

Electricians are in high demand and becoming one does not put people in the same debt as college degrees do. We find that becoming an electrician opens a rewarding career field with outstanding long-term prospects.

Basic Educational Requirements

Like many careers, graduation from high school or obtaining a high school equivalency certificate is essential. This ensures that everyone starts with roughly the same knowledge, including some of the math understanding necessary.


Choose Trade School or Full Apprenticeship

Trade school is not a requirement for electricians, though many find that it is a good place to start. Trade school teaches electricians the basics, including the national safety codes and theories of wiring. Additionally, many states are adding education requirements to the licensing.

If someone does not go to trade school, they can still get an apprenticeship. After confirming the electrician apprenticeship registration requirements of the state, we encourage people to apply well ahead of when they would like to begin their apprenticeships. That way, everyone can budget accordingly.

Regardless of whether someone goes to trade school, they do still need to find workable hours under master electricians in the field. Otherwise, they will not be qualified for a license.


Pass the Electrician Tests

In order to work unsupervised, every apprentice must pass the exams for their state. These typically cover both the national electrical regulations and any local additions. Passing these ensures everyone is safe.

We find that states do vary slightly in when people can take their electrician exams. Some can do them at any point in their apprenticeships. Other states require that apprentices have all of their hours before they take the exam.

The Electrician Journeyman Stage

Once apprentices pass their state certifications with the right number of hours, they become journeymen. A journeyman can work independently of the master electrician since they have demonstrated their understanding of electrical concepts. This change represents freedom for new electricians.

Journeymen do still have restrictions on them. A journeyman cannot be the most senior electrician of a company. Journeyman also cannot file for permits or lay out the whole electrical projects without a master electrician.

Becoming a Master Electrician

A master electrician demonstrates that they can understand and apply knowledge of electricity. Typically, states have a minimum hour worked requirement over a period of years before someone can take the master electrician exams.

Master electrician is the top certification. However, it’s only the beginning of the career possibilities. Many master electricians start their own businesses or become managers at larger electrical firms. Their expert opinions are highly valued, and they can take on apprentices of their own.

Compensation for Electricians

Apprentice electricians typically average $48,000, depending on the area. Meanwhile, journeyman electricians can range over the apprentice range and roughly $55,000. Master electricians can range from the $50,000 to $80,000. Of course, overtime and local cost of living can dramatically change these figures.

Written by Tom Crew

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