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What is the Process of Becoming a Certified Electrician?

Imagine being able to make a sizable income without attending a traditional college. That scenario is possible for anyone interested in becoming an electrician. Skilled trades are always in demand, and students can get the required training without piling up mountains of debt. Ready to embark on a new career path? Follow these four steps to become a certified electrician.

Enroll in a Local Trade School

Not just anyone can work in the electrical industry. California has strict rules to ensure individuals receive the proper education and training before installing wiring or panel. Most trade schools in Los Angeles offer electrical programs. Students must complete 720 of electrician instruction, including classroom and hands-on training.

Register with the State

After enrolling in a state-approved school, students should register to be electrician trainees (ET). With an issued ET card in hand, an electrical student can work on projects alongside an experienced certified electrician. The state prohibits ETs from working unsupervised. Students must reapply for a new card annually or until they finish the required instructional hours.

Gain On-the-Job Experience

Electrician trainees get to learn in a classroom and work in the field simultaneously. In Los Angeles, ETs must amass at least 8,000 hours of on-the-job experience under a licensed electrician. Unlike unpaid apprenticeships in other industries, ETs earn a livable wage. In 2022, apprentice electricians averaged $22.53 per hour, with many earning an additional stipend for overtime.

Apply for Electrician Certification

Once an apprentice completes the required hours, they can apply for certification from the State of California Division of Industrial Relations. The state offers five electrician classifications: general, residential, fire/life safety, voice/data/video, and non-residential lighting technician. Applicants must pass a comprehensive examination for their chosen classification before becoming certified.

What’s Happens After Certification?

Now it’s time to go to work! Once certified, an ET becomes a full-blown electrician. They can stay with their current employer or work for other companies. Best of all, new electricians can work without constant supervision.

Some certified electricians aspire to start their own companies. They can apply for a contractor’s license, which allows them to launch a business anywhere in California. The median salary for electricians in the state is $73,405, but those who operate their own companies can earn six-figure salaries.

How Long Does the Process Take?

The road to becoming an electrician isn’t short. Most ETs complete the process in about four years. While this is the same amount of time to earn a degree from a four-year university, trade schools have a few advantages. First, these schools tend to cost much less. Second, electrical apprentices earn a full-time income while gaining real-world experience. And finally, the need for skilled electricians never dwindles.

Right after earning their certification, novice electricians can expect to stay busy. In the electrical industry, there is never a shortage of clients. Pretty much everyone requires the handiwork of a skilled electrician at some point. Homeowners might call for inspections, blown fuses, light installation, or simple wiring jobs. Corporations often upgrade their electrical systems to handle the growing demands of new technology. Regardless, certified electricians will find plenty of work all year long.

Begin the Journey Towards Electrician Certification

Anyone who wants a fast-paced, exciting career that’s always in demand should consider the electrical industry. Electricians make excellent money without a college degree. All it takes is four easy steps and about four years to go from electrical novice to certified electrician.