What Is an Electrician Apprenticeship and How Does it Work?
An electrician apprenticeship is one of the best programs to pursue when looking for a career as a linesman. Many people enroll for internships each year ready to start their careers. Linesmen work in a challenging field involving solving problems with immediate results.
There is a high demand for electrical skills with the booming construction industry and the pay is better than other trade jobs. Electricians must possess specific skills to qualify for jobs, and an apprenticeship is a sure path towards becoming an electrical expert.
What an Electrician Apprenticeship Entails
Apprenticeship is all about working under the guidance of a professional/licensed expert. It is a paid training program that offers the apprentice hands-on experience about the work in an electrician’s day. Apprenticeships can take up to four years.
According to the US Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship, an apprentice will complete at least 2,000 hours of training on the job and 144 hours in the classroom each year. There are various programs available in each state. However, most fall into two categories.
1. Union Apprenticeships
Local unions, such as the Independent Electrical Contractors of Greater Cincinnati (IEC), offer the best apprenticeship programs for those looking to become electricians. Anyone can enroll to become an electrician through local union programs even without formal training.
2. Non-union Apprenticeships
These are independent electrical firms that offer apprenticeship programs. In most cases, they require applicants to have formal training, such as an electrical certificate. The application process is more like applying for a job.
How Do Electrical Apprenticeships Work?
Electrical apprenticeships have a straightforward framework and work like other programs. Essentially, the applicant must meet specific requirements and complete an interview. Some of the popular requirements include:
• At least 18 years old• A high school degree or equivalent• Complete an aptitude test• A reliable form of transportation• Ability to work independently and with groups
It is important to brush up on math and comprehension skills before the interview. If the applicant is eligible after the interview, they’ll become an apprentice and start their training under a licensed electrician. Here’s what to expect:
1. Months of Observation
In the first few months, the apprentice will handle basic tasks, such as gathering tools, carrying, cleaning, storing equipment, digging ditches, and other PA duties. They’ll observe and learn how professionals handle schedules, calls, emergencies, and services.
2. Electrical Theory Classes
The apprentice will complete hours of classroom training, during which they’ll learn electrical theory, including electrical codes, compliance, and safety regulations. Apprentice programs also feature state electrician licensure exams and practical work in construction and maintenance.
3. Learning on the Go
The apprentice will learn more about standard electrical services, such as wiring, conduits, outlets, and basic installation as the program progresses. The apprentice can specialize in residential installations or outdoor lines that power businesses and factories.
What’s learned in the classroom will be put to the test in the field. The apprentice will learn how to read blueprints, complete installations, wiring, and repair under the guidance of an experienced electrician. By the end of the program, the apprentice should be ready to work independently.