How Long Does It Take To Become an Electrician?

Jobs in the electrical field are always in high demand. Electricians work nearly everywhere, including homes, businesses, commercial facilities, and construction sites. There’s plenty of room for new electricians to learn the trade, find work, and earn a comfortable living. However, this industry requires specialized training and lots of on-the-job experience.

Although working in the electrical industry is a lucrative career, those interested in studying the trade must devote years to training. Just how long does it take to become an electrician? On average, people spend four years becoming a journeyman and another two years advancing to a master electrician. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Find an Apprenticeship

Most states require aspiring electricians’ study as an apprentice before qualifying for an electrical license. On average, completing this step takes around four years or 8,000 hours. Apprentices typically work 40 hours per week, averaging 2,000 hours each year. Thankfully, an electrical apprenticeship is a paid position.

How does someone locate an apprenticeship? Many professional trade organizations list open positions online. For example, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) is a nonprofit labor union that regularly posts available apprenticeship opportunities.

Step 2: Become a Journeyman

After completing the required hours and coursework during an apprenticeship, it’s time to become a journeyman. Before earning this coveted title, a candidate must pass the journeyman exam. Most states administer this exam through the local licensing board. The comprehensive test covers standard topics, such as electrical theory, wiring techniques, and safety protocols.

Those who successfully pass the test become licensed journeyman electrical workers. They can now work independently. However, a journeyman cannot work as a licensed contractor or own their own electrical business. Anyone who wants to advance further in the field must complete a few more years of on-the-job training.

Step 3: Become a Master Electrician

While many electricians stop at the journeyman level, others continue studying to become full-fledged master electricians. This step requires an additional two years to complete, on average. Most states require a journeyman to complete 4,000 hours of work. After fulfilling these required hours, some states require that candidates pass another exam before applying for a master electrician license.

There are many benefits to becoming a licensed master electrician. First, master electricians can supervise junior workers, open a private electrical business, or work as licensed contractors. Second, these skilled electricians are also qualified to accept more challenging jobs. For instance, a master electrician may interpret blueprints or manage complex wire installations.

How Much Money Do Electricians Make?

In addition to providing a steady stream of work, electricians at all levels make decent money. On average, an electrical apprentice in the U.S. earns $16.08 per hour. Once they become a journeyman, that number increases to over $26 per hour. Master electricians make even more. Most bring home over $76,000 annually. There’s also room for overtime and bonuses for all electricians.

The Clock to Become an Electrician Starts Now

Electricians enjoy a fast-paced environment full of surprises, and anyone can train to work in this field. Besides earning a high school diploma or passing the GED, there are no prerequisite requirements. It takes several years of training to master the techniques and to understand all the rules and regulations. Anyone who has four years to spare can become a journeyman, and those willing to invest an additional two years can earn more money as master electricians.

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