How to Become an Electrician
Typical electricians work indoors and outdoors, but are also called to work on boats and off-shore marine vessels. They install electrical equipment, monitor systems, and install security and surveillance systems. They may also be called to work on solar power systems.
Those interested in pursuing a career in the electrical field can take an apprenticeship program that lasts four to five years. During the program, the apprentice learns the necessary skills through hands-on training and classroom instruction. The typical program includes 2,000 on-the-job hours. An apprentice must also pass an aptitude test and a substance abuse screening exam. If the apprentice succeeds, he or she will be awarded a journeyperson certificate.
An apprentice is expected to complete his or her training while working under the supervision of experienced electricians. The apprentice may also be called to work on an emergency. In such cases, an electrician may be tasked with restoring power after a power outage. He or she may also be required to travel to remote jobs sites on a daily basis.
Apprentices also learn the basics of electrical systems, such as reading blueprints and drawing diagrams. The apprentice will also work with an experienced electrician to test wiring, install and repair electrical components, and troubleshoot electrical systems. The apprentice will also learn how to use tools and power equipment such as hand tools and power drills.
An apprentice may choose to complete an associate degree program in electrical technology. The program is usually two years long and can be completed at a trade or technical institute. The program may also be taken at a community college or university. Some electricians also choose to complete a bachelor’s degree. In most cases, an associate degree is enough to qualify an apprentice for an entry level job.
An electrician may also choose to work as a subcontractor for other companies or start his or her own business. An electrician may prefer working alone, though they may also work with a team. A commercial electrician may be called to design electrical systems for a new building. He or she will also need to understand local electrical codes.
An electrician will also need to be able to work in confined spaces, such as in manholes, to get the job done. He or she will also need to be physically strong and able to handle heavy equipment. In addition, an electrician must be able to work in difficult conditions and with different types of electrical equipment. An electrician must also enjoy problem solving and be willing to accept challenges.
An apprentice may also choose to take a college or university course in electrical technology. He or she will also need to have a high school diploma. Some electricians may choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree in electrical technology or computer science. If the electrician has already obtained an associate’s degree, the time required for completion of an electrical apprenticeship can be reduced.
An electrician who has received industry-recognized training will have better job prospects. He or she will be able to apply for a Joint Industry Board Electrotechnical Certification Scheme card, which allows him or her to work in controlled areas. He or she may also be able to write an Interprovincial Exam and qualify for a Red Seal.