If you prefer working with your hands and the prospect of getting a regular office job doesn’t excite you, you might want to consider becoming an electrician. The electrical field offers higher-than-average entry-level wages, ample opportunities for work all over the United States and the ability to learn high-level, career enriching job skills while you work.
If you’re thinking of becoming an electrician, you’ll want to start by looking at electrical apprenticeship programs. And, according to Jerry Higgins, a 25-year veteran electrician, his latest column recommends considering the following first:
Starting An Electrical Apprenticeship
Before you even decide to request information about a particular apprenticeship, you’ll want to think about what kind of electrician you want to be. There are 3 main categories of electrician, each with their own pros and cons, to consider:
Outside Linemen: Outside linemen are the high-flying electricians you see climbing up poles to repair high voltage transformers. You have to be a little bit of a daredevil to do this job, so if you’re afraid of heights or nervous about high voltage shocks, this probably isn’t right for you.
Low Voltage Technicians: Low Voltage Technicians help install audio, video, security and fiber optic cables. If you think you’d be interested in working for large cable providers or within the security industry this kind of work might be a perfect fit for you.
Inside Wiremen: Inside Wiremen are the electricians that work in the construction field, wiring the residential and commercial buildings we live and work in. When people think “electrician” they are usually thinking about the work an Inside Wireman does. If you’re interested in all types of building construction, this is the job for you.
Finding An Apprenticeship
Once you’ve figured out what kind of electrician you want to be, all that’s left to do is to find an apprenticeship in the specialty you’ve chosen. Luckily, there are several ways to find an apprenticeship. Here are the 3 main ways to go about finding the one that’s right for you:
Contact State & Local Agencies: Each state has their own standards and way of administering electrical apprenticeship programs. As a result, large organization like the ABC (Associated Builders & Contractors) often keeps lists of contractors they work with that may have apprenticeship openings.
Go Directly To Contractors: It might sound old fashioned, but simply walking into a contractor’s office, introducing yourself and asking them about employment and apprenticeship opportunities is one of the best ways to actually get an apprenticeship. It might sound intimidating, but there’s no need to worry. These contractors almost always need help and are usually willing to offer apprenticeship opportunities to eager candidates.
Check Out Local Resources: Area 1 Inside Electrical JATC provides in-depth information about our apprenticeship program. Our wage/benefits package provides equal or better opportunities when compared with union jobs.
What To Expect During Your Apprenticeship
Now that you have your apprenticeship, the only thing left to do is to get to work! Becoming an electrician requires a lot of training both on the job and in the classroom. On average, you’ll need to complete 4 years of intense classroom and on the job training before you’re considered a fully trained electrician. But the high pay, job security, and interesting work make it completely worth the time investment.
Prairie Electric is a top tier electrical contractor. We have been powering the Pacific Northwest for 30 years, providing a variety of premier electrical contracting services since 1981.
Follow our Prairie Electric blog for additional insight and news about the electrical industry. And, if you’re looking for a job, check out our careers page here!