In 2018 the median average salary for an electrician was about $55,000 and by 2028, the field is expected to fetch more than 74,000 jobs in the US alone. If you’re thinking about making a career as an electrician, you’re making a brilliant choice. You must be excited to start your journey as an electrician; however, you might have a lot of questions.
One of the most common questions people have is how long it takes to become an electrician. Through this article, we answer everything you need to know to kickstart your career in the electrical industry.
How Long Does It Take To Become An Electrician?
If you want to be qualified as an electrician, you’ll have to join an electrician apprenticeship with a certified electrician guild or union. Most technical and trade schools also provide electrician apprenticeship programs. How long it takes depends on your motivation and hard work. Generally, it takes about 3-5 years to become an electrician. During your apprenticeship, you’ll learn practical and critical on the job skills that you’ll definitely need when you start your career as an electrician.
You’ll also have to take electrical theory classes. If you want to get into business eventually, it’ll be a good idea to take some business courses. Journeyman and master electricians will guide you throughout your apprenticeship. You’ll learn various techniques like running wire through floors and walls, hauling materials, lighting fixtures, installing breakers, outlets, among others. It’ll require a lot of hard work and getting your hands dirty, but this is what it takes to become a successful electrician.
After you’ve completed your apprenticeship, you’ll have to pass a state exam to receive your electrician’s license. Every state has different requirements, so it’s vital that you research the criteria. If you qualify for the exams, you’ll receive your official license as an electrician and can receive standard pay rates instead of the 40-70% pay you received during your apprenticeship.
You can also join an electrician graduate school and work as an electrician’s assistant. The pay will be better, and it will also increase your chances of getting accepted into an apprenticeship. Besides, a certificate or diploma will look good on any resume.
How Much Does Electrician School Cost?
The expenditure of your electrician school varies according to the program. If you opt for a community college, it can be as low was 3000-4000$ or can go up to 10,000$. However, technical/vocational schools can be very pricey and can cost you anywhere from $5000-$15,000 and maybe even higher. If you choose private schools, it can be even more expensive and can range anywhere from $5000 to $20,000.
Regardless of which school you choose, make sure that you do your research. Ensure that you’ll be learning all the essentials, that you’re not overpaying, you’ll receive your certificate or diploma, and that you can transfer your class credits if you want them to. It’s essential that the institute is certified.
What About Apprenticeship?
However, electrician apprenticeships are generally much more affordable than school, and in the long run, it’ll be worth it. Again, it differs according to the location. Usually, there’s an annual charge which goes up to a few hundred dollars for the affordable ones or around a few thousand dollars if you fancy the expensive ones. For your apprenticeship, you’ll also have to buy some books, which will cost a few hundred dollars per year. However, they are much less than what you’ll be spending on a four-year college. Apprenticeships are a fantastic way of learning and starting your career as an electrician.
There are four categories of apprenticeship specialization programs:
- Residential wireman.
- Telecommunication tech.
- Inside wireman.
- Outside lineman
The duration of these apprenticeships varies. Installer tech and residential will take about three years, whereas inside wireman can take about five years. Outside linemen can take about three and a half years.
Ultimately, it boils down to whether you prefer a school or apprenticeship. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, so make sure that you do your research.
Is It Worth The Investment Of Money And Time?
Now that you know how long it takes and how much it costs, you must be wondering if you’ll receive the return for your investment. The short answer is yes, its certainly a good move. However, the first question is whether you’re passionate about it or not. If you’re not, its better you find something you actually love to do as an electrician’s job does require a lot of hard work and talent.
One of the most important factors or the most important for many people, when it comes to a career, is salary. The salary of an electrician is really good. In the United States, the salary of an electrician surpasses that of the national average in an impressive 47 out of 50 states. That’s quite amazing. What makes it even more impressive is that most electricians are not overburdened with hefty student loans like people from other careers that make more than the national average.
A career as an electrician can equal to a good living. If you start as a journeyman electrician and set up your own company, you can transform your ‘good living’ into ‘great living.’ It’s not just word of mouth; statistics show it too. Between 2010-2020, Bureau of Labor estimates that electrician’s growth rate will average at around 23%, which is significantly more than the expected growth rate of other industries. In fact, electricians working at factories are noted to have one of the steadiest employments. This is impressive news, especially in an era where people are continuously losing their jobs.
Especially if you’re someone who doesn’t fancy doing monotonous work like most careers-you’ll love working as an electrician. You’ll constantly be working on new tasks, with new people, and new locations. And that’s not just exciting but beneficial as well as research shows that new experiences can increase your life satisfaction, which in turn will lead to job satisfaction as well.
The bottom line is that a career as an electrician is not an instant success and will require some time. But your hard work will ultimately translate into a good paying and steady employment and a solid life. If you’re passionate about starting your career as an electrician, you shouldn’t have any doubts.