When we are in middle school or high school and are planning for a secured career path, there are many options that come to our minds. The most probable options are being an IT engineer, scientist, teacher, car salesman, real estate agent, musician, painter, game developer, and the like. Seldom does anyone think about becoming an electrician or plumber. However, if we look at our daily lives, we know that electricians play a vital role in keeping our lives smooth.
How will we have a lighting system, heating system, TV installation, spa shower installation, etc. without an electrician? If you are a teenager who loves to build electrical circuits for home alarm systems, electric calling bells, Android-based electrical appliance controls, etc. you might think about becoming an electrician.
How to become an electrician in the USA?
It takes about four to five years after high school to become an electrician in the US. Here is the step-by-step guide which will help you to become an electrician in the US.
1. Complete your high school diploma-
The first step to becoming an electrician is to complete your high-school diploma in the U.S from a public or private school. You should have a good grasp of algebra, physics, trigonometry, and mechanical drawing before you start preparing to join a vocational school.
2. Attend a trade school or university-
It is not mandatory to attend a trade school or vocational school, however, if you intend to become a successful electrician, we would urge you to do so. You will get the required certification which you can showcase while applying for a job. You may choose to attend a four-year university and acquire an engineering degree, or you may choose to attain a diploma through trade school, the experience which you will gain will be invaluable.
In these trade schools, they will teach you about every possible type of electrical equipment, how it functions, how to find the faults, and all the necessary technical know-how. All are lab-based training which will have an ample number of classroom sessions for you to grasp the theory part it.
It will give you benefits when you apply for a license because the degree will give you a credit for the same. The state laws vary in different states of the U.S, however, in most cases, one year of formal education gives you credit for 1,000 hours of on-job experience.
3. Apply for an apprenticeship-
To gain the license as an electrician; you need to successfully complete the apprenticeship program. If you attended a trade school or graduate degree, your university/school will help you to find a suitable apprenticeship. Apart from that, you can contact the labor unions like Joint Apprenticeship & Training Committee (JATC). Through non-union bodies like Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) or the Associated Builders and Contractors Inc, (ABC) you can apply for an apprenticeship.
You will receive ample classroom training and on-job training during your days as an apprentice. You will be coached and mentored by senior electricians. You need to work as an apprentice for about four years before you can apply for the electrician license. You need to spend around 1000 hours in the classroom and about 10,000 hours getting the on-job training. You will get a good amount of leeway if you have taken formal education in electrical technology.
You will be tested on your capability to decipher technical diagrams and construction blueprints of the electrical plans before they are submitted to the city commission for approval. You will need to install, maintain and repair electrical wiring during your entire period of apprenticeship. You need to understand the national, state, and local compliance requirements and abide by them. Understand about the safety features which a technician needs to follow at a work location.
4. Apply for registration-
In some states in the U.S; before you get permission to work in a job site, you need to register yourself on the government-provided portal. Check online if it is applicable for your state and do the necessary things.
Some states will need you to apply for a license and you will have to clear theory papers and practical tests before your license is issued. Your understanding of electrical concepts and building blueprints, the National Electric Code, safety protocols, and building codes will be tested in this licensing exam. Some states will just require you to go through the process of certification and you will have to show the proof of completion of your apprenticeship while applying for it.
It is always good to convert our passion into our occupation. There might be well-paying jobs like IT programming, and everyone might be willing to become a programmer these days. However, without an aptitude for it, there is no point in getting that degree. If you love to analyze businesses or make sales pitch, getting that degree in business administration will make absolute sense.
Now since you have some clarity about the career path you can take after studying to become an electrician, you can think about it seriously. All the best for your career as an electrician!!!