How Long Does It Take to Be a Licensed Electrician?

by Elise Freeman

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for electricians is expected to be greater than average for all occupations over the next seven years. Everyone knows that electrical wiring is very important in the modern world. With the emergence of alternative power, even more electricians will be needed in the future to install these power sources in homes, businesses and power grids. With a little bit of time and hard work, you can become a licensed electrician and take advantage of these expanding job opportunities.

    Educational preparation to become an electrician takes anywhere from one to four years. In order to train to become an apprentice, a high school degree, GED or a two-year associate degree is required. These minimum educational requirements can be waived if you can provide proof of work experience in the electrical construction field. The National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee. or NJATC, recommends completing at least one year of algebra or the NJATC's online technical math course.

    To apply for an apprenticeship, you must first pass the algebra and functions test, as well as the reading comprehension test. If you do not pass, you must wait six months to retake it. Apprenticeships generally last four years, but there is some variation in length. They typically require 144 hours of technical training and 2,000 hours of on-the-job training. The training completed on-the-job is paid, however.

    The National Electrical Contractors Association sponsors over 300 apprenticeships. There are four different types of apprenticeship programs focusing on specialty areas: outside linemen, inside wiremen, telecommunications technicians and residential wiremen. These programs vary in length. According to the NJATC, training programs for inside wiremen are five years long, outside linemen programs are three and a half years, and residential and installer technician apprenticeship programs are three years.

    Some electricians begin their training by attending a technical or trade school. Many technical schools offer apprenticeship programs as well as classroom training. These schools partner with NJATC to provide training by industry professionals. Be sure to check that your technical school program is monitored by the Office of Apprenticeship and Training. One benefit of technical schools is that the credits earned while in school are often transferable to a four-year or community college.

    About the Author

    Elise Freeman has been a writer and researcher for eight years. Freeman's research in psychology has been publicized on the Huffington Post, "USA Today," NPR, and "The Washington Post." She has also worked with The New York Times Bestsellers and some of the leading researchers in the nation. Freeman's specialties include science, education, travel and more.

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