For people who are interested in learning more about how to become a professional electrician, one of the most often asked questions is how to get started in the trade. Like most trades, the path to working as an electrician may feature a combination of educational programs and an apprenticeship. The schooling that is typically required is often related to which state you happen to live in: some states may require formal vocational training in order to be licensed as an electrician, while others may focus more on practical experience and / or the passing of licensing exams. Furthermore, there are states which may not require any type of licensing whatsoever. It is important to find out the regulations of your home state prior to planning out your career path.
Should you choose to attend a school in order to learn the skills you will might be on your way to becoming a successful electrician, you may find that most programs are very similar in terms of content and curriculum. Upon graduation, you may have learned basic electrical theory, along with definitions and calculations necessary for use in the field. You may also be familiar with the National Electrical Codes that govern installations in the United States as well as be able to read electrical blue prints and understand the basics of transformers, generators, and other electrical apparatus. In order to attend one of these schools, you will most likely have to be a high school graduate, although acceptance criteria may vary from school to school.
Electrician schools may provide you with a great deal of hands-on training, but after graduation you must be prepared for a fairly long apprenticeship process during which you will receive even more experience in the field. During your woking period you might be supervised by a Master Electrician, or in some cases a Journeyman Electrician, depending upon the type of work that is being performed and the demands of the job site itself. You can expect to be asked to install different types of electrical equipment, wiring, and other electrical components as well as repair electrical problems with existing installations. You may also be responsible for learning all about electrical safety in order to protect yourself and ensure that the installations you perform are done properly.
At this point in your career trajectory, you probably may have a fairly good idea of what type of electrical work you are interested in pursuing. You may have been exposed to residential, commercial, and industrial electrical jobs, and it helps to know where you want to specialize. Residential work is usually the least demanding and it is sought after but may not be as profitable in the long run. Industrial and commercial jobs often require you to work with higher voltages and heavier equipment, which might bring about a commensurate increase in compensation and pay.
After your apprenticeship, you may qualify to make the leap to Journeyman Electrician status. The details of how to do so will again depend upon the state you live in, but it usually involves a mix of testing and proof of field experience. Journeymen Electricians may be required to understand and diagnose problems in electrical systems as well as be able to install wiring systems in both commercial and residential spaces. Journeymen also sometimes take on a leadership or supervisory role when Master Electricians are not on the job site.
Master Electricians may work for themselves as contractors as well as hire and supervise apprentice and Journeymen Electricians. Depending upon local requirements, you will most likely have to apply to a state board to become certified as a Master.