The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that electricians have a good job outlook for the future, with employment growth increasing 12 percent between 2008 and 2018. If you're considering a career as an electrician, apprenticeship is the most common path to becoming certified. California has a long waiting list of people interested in electrician careers, so you may need to wait to start an apprenticeship. Once you start, you will be paid to learn on the job.
Search for apprenticeship opportunities in your county through the California Department of Industrial Relations' Apprenticeship Program website (see Resources). You can view the salary, length of apprenticeship and prerequisites for each apprenticeship offered.
Contact apprenticeship sponsors by the phone or email listing in the database to obtain an application. Some apprenticeships require you to take a basic entry exam; if yours is one of these, you'll be notified about upcoming exams when you receive the application materials. Complete the application, including any relevant materials, and wait to be accepted into the apprenticeship program.
Begin your apprenticeship. All electrician apprenticeships will include an education component; classes are typically offered at a community college. Most electrician apprenticeships last four years and apprentices receive a portion of wages for their labor that increases as they continue in the apprenticeship.
Complete all educational and hands-on apprenticeship requirements to receive a Certificate of Completion from the state of California. This certificate allows you to work as a certified electrician for contractors throughout the state.
Many apprenticeship sponsors prefer applicants to have a high school diploma or GED and be at least 18 years old.
2016 Salary Information for Electricians
Electricians earned a median annual salary of $52,720 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, electricians earned a 25th percentile salary of $39,570, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $69,670, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 666,900 people were employed in the U.S. as electricians.