Becoming an electrician is a wonderful career with great earning potential. According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, the field is expected to grow to 9.1% by 2030. This is better than the projected growth of other occupations at 7.7%. As more people use electrical devices and appliances, the demand for electricians grows. Electricians are on demand to install and maintain electrical systems. There’s no better time to become an electrician, but now. Other tasks for electricians include reading blueprints and wiring diagrams, inspecting electrical systems, and troubleshooting electrical issues. You also have to familiarize yourself with state and local regulations applicable to your work and adhere to them. Professional electricians need a license in their states. However, getting specialist certification is not mandatory but highly recommended. Enrolling in a certification program will give you skills to handle particular electrical equipment and procedures. This allows for pursuing a more specialized career. Here’s our guide to getting electrician certification.
Choose A Course For Electrician CertificationGetting electrician certification varies by state. However, most states have journeyman and master electrician certifications. Your experience determines how long does it take to get electrician license as a journeyman or master electrician. The other requirement is passing an exam. You have to choose a type of certification to get certified in fields like instrumentation or cable splicing. After selecting a certification, you must meet appropriate requirements. The organization to offer certification determines these prerequisites, including the minimum professional experience. After qualifying for certification, you must pass an exam, including a written and practical test. The written exam tests your knowledge of electrical diagrams, power distribution, grounding, and building management. A physical exam tests how you perform various tasks to demonstrate your proficiency in electrical work. You receive professional certification after passing the exams to become a certified electrician.
Available Courses For Electrician CertificationOnly professional organizations award electrical certification when you display competence in the industry. Community colleges and vocational schools offer programs and courses for electrician certification. Electrician certification courses usually cover:
- electrical wiring
- the national electric code
- mathematics for electricians
- alternating current
- motor controls
- direct current
- electronic and circuitry devices
How To Select A Course For Electrician CertificationAfter seeing the various courses for electrician certification, you’re now ready to select the best for you. You have to understand how to choose the ideal course to become a certified electrician. The ideal course should have the following features:
- Offers hands on training and theory
- Comply with National Electric Code standards
- Have professional master electricians as instructors
- Awards certification on completion
How To Become A Certified Electrician?After choosing a course, you must understand what it takes to become a certified electrician. This requires various steps, including choosing a field, certification path, and gaining relevant experience.
Steps To Becoming A Certified Electrician
Choose A FieldYou may obtain certification in solar PV, electrical safety compliance, cable splicing, standard task evaluation, and green energy. Each field requires particular knowledge and skills. So, you must weigh your options before selecting a certification program. Due diligence allows discovering the potential in the niche and expected earnings.
Select A CertificationCertification shows potential employers your proficiency in the field. You have to be mindful of the certification you choose since not all are created equal. The right certification increases your chances of landing a job and earning potential. Here are the top electrician certifications in 2022, according to Zippia.
- OSHA Safety Certificate
- Electrical Technician Certification
- PA Amusement Operators Safety Certification (EPA)
- Commercial Electrical Inspector (CEI)
- Electrical Maintenance Technician Certificate
- Certified Electronic Systems Technician (EST)
- Electrical and Instrumentation Pipeline Technician (EIPT_03)
- Certified Instrumentation Specialist (CIS)
- Certified Electrical Inspector – Residential (CEI-R)
Gain Industry ExperienceAfter obtaining certification, you have to gain relevant experience in the field. Some employers promote electricians who acquire more skills. Getting experience makes applying for new positions much easier. You’ll have the relevant experience to prove that you can apply the knowledge from the certification. Some ways to gain experience shared on electriciantalk.com:
- Become an apprentice to a master electrician
- Meet contractors and talk to them
- Join electrical communities on social media
- Look for civilian electrical employment in the armed forces
- Check newspaper ads
- Work as an electrician helper or laborer
Get An Electrician CertificationElectrician certification is proof of mastery in the electrical field. Certification for electricians may be according to industry experience or by specialization.
Electrician Certification By ExperienceThere are three levels of electrician certification according to experience, including apprentice electrician, journeyman electrician, and master electrician.
Apprentice ElectricianThis is the first level of electrician certification after completing your apprenticeship program. You need a high school diploma or equivalent to apply for an apprenticeship electrician certification. However, some states just need to undertake several hundred hours in the classroom to obtain apprenticeship electrician certification. You may have to spend 3 to 6 years before applying to become an apprenticeship under a licensed master electrician.
Journeyman ElectricianAfter completing an apprenticeship and fulfilling all requirements, you become eligible to take the journeyman electrician exam. If you pass this exam, you get a journeyman electrician license from the appropriate licensing body in your state. Getting the journeyman electrician certification allows you to work without supervision. You can start training apprentices after obtaining this certification.
Master ElectricianThis is the highest level of electrician certification, whose requirements vary by state. The standard in most states is completing about 4,000 hours as a journeyman electrician. You also have to pass a licensing exam. Passing the exam portrays your indepth knowledge of the National Electrical Code. With a master electrician certification, you can handle more complex commercial or industrial projects. Additionally, you are now authorized to train journeyman electricians.
Electrician certification by SpecializationThere are various fields for electricians since every job requires unique skills with appropriate certification. Here is the list of fields you may obtain certification.
Industrial Electrician CertificationIndustrial electricians install, troubleshoot, and repair electrical equipment in processing plants, mines, factories, and power plants. An industrial electrician certification also allows handling huge complex electrical equipment or light and security systems. You must have years of experience as an apprentice to obtain industrial electrician certification.
Commercial Electrician CertificationCommercial electricians install, repair, and maintain electrical systems in commercial establishments. You may also have to design and plan electrical systems for buildings under construction. The job requires keeping abreast of public safety issues and local electrical codes. You may work as an independent contractor and hire other electricians to work for you.
Residential Electrician CertificationMost electricians have this certification. Residential electricians install, troubleshoot, maintain, and upgrade electrical systems. This includes recruitment in homes, condos, and apartments. The job may also require installing and repairing ACs, security systems, or other home appliances. Getting a certification as a residential electrician requires completing an apprenticeship and formal training from a journeyman or master electrician. Getting certification also requires passing a state-level exam after the apprenticeship. You may work independently or with a building contractor.
Maintenance Electrician CertificationElectricians with this certification handle industrial, residential, and commercial electrical jobs. You’ll maintain, repair, or upgrade existing electrical systems. Other duties may include troubleshooting, diagnosing, and testing electrical equipment. Getting a certification as a maintenance electrician requires completing an apprenticeship, having technical training, and a license.
Auto ElectricianIf you love cars, you can get certification in auto electrical systems. The field requires in-depth knowledge of vehicle diagnostics. You’ll be responsible for using advanced equipment to inspect car electrical systems. The job involves installing, maintaining, and repairing components and wiring in vehicles.
Is There A Possibility To Get An Electrician Certificate Online?Although you gain electrician experience hands-on, you may get certification online. The online course offers essential knowledge and skills to hone your skills as an electrician. Additionally, online courses give a deeper understanding of the basic principles of electricity.
Here’s Why Online Electrician Certification Is Worth It.Preparation For Apprenticeship Online courses offer great information regarding the electrician requirements to pass the state exam and licensing procedures. The courses introduce sophisticated concepts in the field, including grounding, bonding, electrical principles, and load calculation. After completing an online certification course, you are ready to join an apprenticeship program. However, you must ensure that the program is accredited by the state and will offer you the appropriate hours to match electrical license requirements.
Qualification For State LicensingSome states require electricians to have a license after completing training. The requirement ensures that all electricians are up to date with any developments in the National Electrical Code. The good thing about online certification is allowing you to complete training at your pace. You may jungle training and work. Completing online electrical certification allows obtaining the appropriate work hours to qualify for the state loan regardless of your schedule.
Access To Specialized TrainingOnline certification is a good idea when considering a specialized electrical field like variable velocity motors, photovoltaic heating, maritime electrical devices, or car electrical systems. The online course allows pursuing training while keeping on with your daily schedule. The key to getting electrician certification online is to check with the electrical licensing board in your state regarding the training program. You may access various resources here, including accredited online schools and research grants.
What’s Next After Online Certification Online?Online electrician certification programs usually last a year. The certification programs usually focus on the field, making finding work quickly after training easier. According to GlassDoor, electricians with certification earn an average of $51,485 annually.
How To Get An Electrical LicenseBecoming a licensed electrician varies by state, and it is not mandatory. However, most states require obtaining a license to become a professional electrician. States like Pennsylvania and Illinois don’t issue state licenses for electricians. However, some cities and towns in those states have electrical license requirements. Other states that don’t require an electrician’s license are:
- New York
CaliforniaAccording to the Department of Industrial Relations in California, the process of how to get an electrical license includes:
- Joining an apprentice program approved by the state
- Completing about 720 classroom hours
- Acquiring about 8,000 hours of experience supervised by a certified electrician
New JerseyThe procedure is similar to California’s, except there’s no need to pass an exam to become a certified journeyman electrician. Only those planning to start independent electrical businesses must pass the licensing exam. The requirements to become a licensed electrician in New Jersey, according to the Division of Consumer Affairs in the state, include:
- Completing about 576 classroom hours
- Obtaining about 8 000 hours of experience on the job