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How to Become a Residential Electrician

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

Residential electricians install, maintain and repair electrical systems in residential homes. The kind of work residential electricians perform ranges from replacing old fuse boxes to installing ceiling fans. The most common path to becoming a residential electrician involves either graduating from a technical school or completing an apprenticeship program. Most electricians learn the skills of the trade by completing apprenticeships. In addition, many states require electricians to be licensed. The licensing process involves passing exams that test your knowledge of the electrician’s trade.

Get a high school diploma. Take courses such as algebra, geometry and mechanical drawing. Consider taking business, entrepreneurship and/or accounting classes if you anticipate working for yourself. Acquire a general equivalency diploma (GED) if you do not graduate from high school.

Graduate from a training or vocational program. Locate a local training or vocational school that offers electrician courses. Search for electrician training schools in your state by visiting the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and/or the Independent Electrical Contractors Association (IECA) websites. Find employment by conducting a job search on the Construction Job Network website after graduating from a vocational or training program. You will likely be hired as a helper who assists a licensed electrician.

Complete an apprenticeship program. Enroll in a local apprenticeship program. Visit the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) and/or the IECA websites and locate local chapters of these organizations that offer apprenticeship programs. Apprenticeship programs combine 144 hours of classroom instruction with 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training. The apprenticeship programs generally last for 4 years.

Obtain a license. Most states require electricians to be licensed. Keep in mind that the license requirements vary from state to state. Visit the National Electrical Installation Standards (NEIS) website for an outline of license requirements for your State. Obtaining license typically involves passing exams that test your knowledge of the National Electrical Code and others subjects related to the field.

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.

About the Author

Based in Little Rock, Rachel Moore began her freelance writing career in 1993. Her articles have appeared in the Arkansas "Democrat Gazette," Little Rock "Free Press" and the "Arkansas Times." Moore holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science/pre-law from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

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