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Many career opportunities open when someone becomes an electrician. Licensed electricians work in both commercial and residential sectors. There are various requirements, though, for individuals who wish to enter the field. You must be at least 18 years of age and possess the necessary educational achievements, which includes a high school diploma or GED and at least one year of high school or college algebra. Individuals also must learn the trade. The training for electricians is a hands-on process that involves working with licensed electricians. You have the option of receiving this experience through a state-sponsored electrician training apprentice program or through a union trade center. Both have similar criteria for participation. You also must pass a test before you can complete the process needed to become a licensed electrician.
Obtain a high school diploma or GED. You cannot qualify for training unless you have at least this minimum education, and it must include at least one year of algebra.
Complete a technical instruction course in electrical training if you do not intend to gain an apprenticeship through a union program. The statewide apprenticeship programs require the completion of a classroom-based form of training. This training serves to qualify you for consideration for a hands-on three- or four-year apprenticeship.
Apply for an apprenticeship through the state-sponsored apprenticeship training program once you have completed your classroom requirements. Each training program will connect you with one or more electrical contractors willing to hire you as an apprentice. A committee reviews the applications and places students.
Alternatively, you can apply for an apprenticeship program through an active Kansas union participating in the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee program. This consortium of National Electrical Contractors Association and International Brotherhood of Electrical Worker union locals screens and hires individuals to be trained as licensed electricians. In Kansas, the NJATC offers apprentice training programs through union locals in Wichita and Topeka. You will be required to pay a non-refundable application fee ($25 in 2010) for both NJATC programs.
Provide the apprenticeship program officer with a copy of your birth certificate, a copy of your high school transcript and a copy of your GED or high school diploma. It speeds the process if you provide these documents when you submit your completed apprenticeship application. If you are participating in an NJATC program, proceed to Step 5. If your apprenticeship training program is a state-sponsored educational program, move to Step 10.
Take the NJATC aptitude test battery for consideration for that program.The test features two parts and takes approximately two to three hours to complete. The first part of the test focuses on algebra and other math functions. The second part focuses on reading comprehension. You must score highly on the test to qualify for consideration as an apprentice.
Receive the results of your test. It takes two to four weeks from the date of the test for the local union office to receive the test results. The office will notify you when the test results are ready. You can call or visit the union office to check on the status of the test results.
Complete the required interview process by meeting with the local union’s apprenticeship appointment committee. The committee screens applicants and chooses which individuals receive apprenticeship positions. The committee represents members of both the IBEW and NECA. The oral test will generate a ranking by committee members. Your ranking determines how likely it will be for you to be given an apprenticeship. If you are ranked first, you will be the first applicant chosen.
Wait for a position to open. Your name will be added to the ranked list of applicants, and you will be eligible for an apprenticeship for two years.
Meet drug test, physical examination and background check requirements. These requirements vary from one union local to another. Some unions require you to be a licensed driver.
Complete the electrical apprenticeship program. For the NJATC program, it takes four years to complete.
Take and pass the national test at the end of your apprenticeship period in order to gain status as a licensed electrician.
Apply for jobs as an electrician. It is possible that you will be hired as an electrician by the union or contractor who used you as an apprentice, but there are other job opportunities available once you have secured your electrician's license.
If you do not pass the test battery for the apprenticeship program, you can take it again after six months.
The branches of the U.S. military also offer training for individuals who wish to become electricians.
If you are not chosen for an apprenticeship position within two years of applying, you will be required to repeat the application process in order to gain another two years of eligibility.
Kansas state law includes civil and criminal penalties that can be enforced when individuals work as an electrician without proper licensing.
Based in Central Florida, Ron White has worked as professional journalist since 2001. He specializes in sports and business. White started his career as a sportswriter and later worked as associate editor for Maintenance Sales News and as the assistant editor for "The Observer," a daily newspaper based in New Smyrna Beach, Fla. White has written more than 2,000 news and sports stories for newspapers and websites. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University.