How to Become an Apprentice Electrician – Detailed Guide

By | August 30, 2016
How to become an apprentice electrician

To become an apprentice electrician, you need to complete some training and certification programs.

How to Become an Apprentice Electrician – Detailed Guide

This post provides details of what you need to know about becoming an apprentice electrician; discover the required training and certification and begin a rewarding career in the electrical maintenance and repair industry.

Any person who desires to become an apprentice electrician should either read an electrical course, or go through training. You have to learn the trade before embarking on it to avoid hazardous situations.

If you are dreaming of becoming an apprentice electrician you should consider the fact that your attention may be needed at any location or time.

You must be ready to follow clients to their homes and repair their damaged wires and equipment, tracing the actual cause of the problem.

Sometimes, you could be called to rectify electrical faults at schools, churches, mosques, shops, restaurants, and recreational centers; or you could get a new building-wiring contract.

What are the requirements for becoming an apprentice electrician?

There are various requirements that need to be met by any person trying to become an apprentice electrician. These requirements may be educational or some personal skills you have acquired.

This will help to qualify you for the apprenticeship job.

I.B.E.W. requirement:

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (I.B.E.W.) is a five-year apprenticeship program that requires a high school certificate with inclusion of distinctions in English, math and physics. Direct entry into I.B.E.W. L213 is given to E.L.T.T. graduates.

I.B.E.W. is the present sponsor of the National Electrical Contractors Association (N.E.C.A.) and the Independent Electrical Contractors (I.E.C.).

Personal skills:

Electrical code, drawing interpretation, troubleshooting, conduit bending, controls, industrial and residential wiring, pipe bending, and installation are some of the personal skills that are required to be accepted into an apprentice electrician program.

If you have other skills or experience in the electrical sector, you should consider this a great advantage.

Physical requirements:

The apprentice electrician could be tested for ability to physically walk, run, lift heavy machines, stand upright and climb ladders.

Training requirements in the electrical apprenticeship profession

There is need for an apprentice electrician to get properly trained to avoid job hazards. Training will expose you to the tricks and tactics of the work.

Entry Level Trades Training (E.L.T.T.) is the first electrician training program that accommodates both theory and practical to equip you for the next electrical construction industry apprenticeship.

Some of the topics to study are W.H.M.I.S., safety awareness, electrical theory and code and ladder safety training.

The National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (N.J.A.T.C.) operate under N.E.C.A.

The N.J.A.T.C. has developed an electrician apprenticeship course in various electrical fields. The VDU installer technician, residential wiring electrician, and the outward and inward lineman courses are offered by N.J.A.T.C.

The National Electrical Contractors Association (N.E.C.A.), a program sponsored by I.B.E.W renders sponsorship training to more than 300 apprenticeship programs, paying apprentice electricians while they are still learning and under training.

N.E.C.A. is known for research programs, education and training, and raising industry standards in skills, knowledge, and experience.

There are theoretical classroom courses and practical training, and it takes about 4 years to finish the program.

The Independent Electrical Contractors (I.E.C.) is an electrician apprenticeship program sponsored by I.B.E.W. You may like to enroll in it for training.

How to obtain certification or license

When you must have completed the learning process of being an apprentice electrician, you need to get certified or licensed as a qualified electrician.

There are various requirements for licensing according to the state in which you live. You must take the necessary exams issued by the licensing board in your state.

This gives you the chance to upgrade your skills by training in higher electrical fields such as electric code system and telecommunications.

Apprenticeship electrician license:

This may be acquired before or after the training. It will grant you full access to any available job outside the training center.

I.B.E.W. Certification:

If you can enroll in the I.B.E.W. training program, you will have to spend 5 years. After passing their standard exams, you will be given a certification.

High school diploma or E.L.T.T. is needed for enrollment into I.B.E.W.

Duties and responsibilities of an apprentice electrician

There are many duties and responsibilities an apprentice electrician may carry out in his/her place of employment which may vary according to the peculiarities of the employer.

The training process helps you to get used to any task that you may be assigned.

Some of these duties may include:

Holding tools: The apprentice electrician must learn how to hold tools when working. Wire pulling tools, knives, wire tracer, circuit tracer, saws, screw drivers, cable and wire strippers, cable bits, work gears, and cable cutters are some of the electrical tools the apprentice electrician can use when working.

Cleaning work environment: The apprentice must always keep the environment where he/she works clean without any argument with the journeyman or licensed electrician.

Making connections: The apprentice electrician’s duty is to make necessary connections around the working environment. The electrical work is mainly based on connecting wires together so you need to practice how to join those wires without sparkles or shocks, and also be able to identify wire colors and study coding.

Carrying materials: Materials needed to be used for work are to be carried and moved by the apprentice electrician to the appropriate destination.

Changing fuses: The apprentice electrician is to change fuses of certain equipment and tools. For instance, his/her meter may go bad as a result of defective fuse; it is his/her duty to fix it.

Perform repairs: Sockets, switches, lamp holders, and circuit boards are repaired by the apprentice electrician when they are no longer functioning. He/she does the repairs under supervision of the journeyman.

Running errands: The journeyman or licensed electrician may send the apprentice on errands as the need arises. If there are other tasks like answering emergency calls, he/she becomes solely responsible.

Assistance in wire pulling: The apprentice electrician renders needed assistance to the licensed electrician or journeyman in pulling wires out.

Keeping materials, tools and equipment in order: It is also the duty of the apprentice electrician to keep all the materials, tools, and equipment belonging to the workshop in their appropriate positions. Misplaced tools must be found and kept safe.

See detail apprentice electrician job description here.

Where can apprentice electricians find jobs?

Apprentice electricians have options of whether they want to work under an employer or as a private freelance worker. There are available job opportunities for people in the electrical apprenticeship depending on their area of specialization and choice.

The National Electrical Contractors Association (N.E.C.A.) website is a possible place to visit for an electrical job position. They usually post job offers with contractors.

It is a good place to visit if you are just starting out. The local chapters of N.E.C.A. make it easy to search through their job offers.

Working as a freelance electrician: As an apprentice electrician, after successfully completing the duration of apprenticeship, instead of finding job elsewhere, you can decide to establish your own electrical business.

A further University study is an added advantage in this pursuit. It will help you to stand out as a private business owner.

Apprentice electrician salary

The salary of an apprentice electrician varies from state to state. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics gave report of the starting salary of an apprentice electrician to be between 30 and 50 percent of the journeyman’s salary.

The first year apprentice earns around $9.98 per hour, while the highest hourly rate is $19.00.


Becoming an apprentice electrician is a great path to a successful electrician career; following the guide above, you will know what it takes to become an apprentice to an electrician, including the training and certification procedures you need to take.

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