How to Become a Master Electrician

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

Master electricians are the elite of a highly skilled trade and usually work as supervisors or own their own contracting businesses. They are responsible for installing and maintaining the complex circuitry and wiring that brings power to the many electrical devices we use every day in homes, offices and factories. Although a lot of study is involved, becoming a master electrician requires mainly on-the-job training and years of experience. Today, the primary growth areas for master electricians are in applications that involve installing and operating computer-based video, audio, and data processing systems.

Take appropriate courses in high school. You should take courses in mathematics, physics and blueprint reading or shop working with electrical components. Computer-based infrastructure and wiring is becoming more a part of the electrician’s work, so courses in computer science are also a plus.

Get a two-year associate’s degree in electronics at a community college or technical school. In the past, classes were a part of apprenticeships but today most aspiring electricians start with a program of courses in electronics, physics (electrical theory), mathematics and safety and building codes. Take advantage of internships and placement programs to move on to an apprenticeship.

Complete an apprenticeship to become a licensed electrician. It normally requires about two years to complete the program if you already have the classroom work finished (otherwise it’s about four years). Apprenticeship programs are sponsored and supervised by organizations like the International Brotherhood of Electricians and the National Association of Contractors.

Take the exam to obtain an electrician’s license. All 50 states and the District of Columbia require that you pass a written test to be licensed. There is no standardized national test, so check with your apprenticeship supervisor about arranging to take the exam.

Continue your education on the job and/or earn a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering. State requirements vary, but in order to be eligible to take the exam for master electrician you will need either seven years of experience or the college degree. Some states also require a separate test to become a contractor.

Tip

Your education won’t stop with earning a master electrician’s license. You will need to keep up with changes in building codes and related regulations. In addition, electronics is a fast-changing field and you will need to stay aware of changes to keep up to date.

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About the Author

Based in Atlanta, Georgia, W D Adkins has been writing professionally since 2008. He writes about business, personal finance and careers. Adkins holds master's degrees in history and sociology from Georgia State University. He became a member of the Society of Professional Journalists in 2009.