The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Becoming A Licensed Electrician
With the potential for high earnings, professional independence and job flexibility, becoming a licensed electrician can be a strong career move. While the job doesn’t have particularly harsh physical or mental demands, professionals need to have a good memory, situational awareness and enough agility to work in tight spaces. The requirements for becoming officially licensed depends on individual state laws, which can vary significantly even among neighboring jurisdictions.
Check State Guidelines
The first step for any prospective electrician is to exam the state requirements in the areas they want to work. Many contractors only operate within a single state even if they are close to a border just to simplify their licensing requirements. While the requirements are not universal, most states require a certain level of education, training and experience to be eligible for certification.
Licensed electricians are typically required to complete significant coursework in the electrical trade, including some math and physics classes. Electrician educational programs are often geared towards adult or working professionals, so night and weekend classes are often an option. States generally require students to complete a certain number of credit hours while covering all essential courses with an acceptable grade and attendance record.
Mentorship and Work Experience
Mentoring or apprenticeship is a common career step for most trade professionals, including electricians, plumbers and HVAC service. Candidates work under the supervision of a licensed electrician to gain experience with real projects. This not only teaches new electricians about their work, but also about the social skills and other abilities they will need to build a successful career. States usually require a minimum number of work hours under these conditions to complete the accreditation process.
Examination and Licensing
The official examination and licensing process is the final hurdle to clear on the road to officially becoming an electrician. Exam requirements and restrictions vary, but many are open-book and allow the use of calculators. Applicants must pass the written exam, performance evaluations and submit the required fees or documentation to complete the process. Professionals are also usually responsible for periodically renewing their license to continue operating within the state.
The journey to becoming a licensed electrician can take several years and can require a significant investment of time in study and coursework. Despite the challenges in reaching the goal, completing this process can be a life-changing event that opens up plenty of strong career opportunities in the years ahead.
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