Electrical technicians work in a range of places, installing, repairing, and maintaining electrical systems. At electrical technical school, you’ll learn many practical skills. Electrical technician training includes skills such as reading circuit diagrams, installing wiring, fixing alarm systems, testing systems, and much more. There are also tremendous job prospects in the electric car industry too.
Training programs at electrical technician schools take between 10 months and two years to complete. However, some schools offer accelerated courses to qualify faster. To obtain your certificate, you’ll need to complement classroom learning with hands-on experience.
You also need to complete an apprenticeship, which takes four to five years. After qualifying as a journeyman electrician, you can train further to become a master electrician.
What does electrical technician training involve? How can you start a lucrative career as a fully-qualified electrician? This article will answer all your questions about qualifying as an electrical technician.
What Training is ProvideD?
Training to become an electrical technician involves a mix of classroom learning and on-the-job experience. Each state has its own licensing laws, so you’ll need to enroll in an accredited program that your state recognizes. Generally, you must complete a specific number of hours of on-the-job training.
Here are some of the skills you will learn in electrical technician school:
- Understanding of electrical standards
- Safety when working with electricity
- Learning how to understand electrical wiring diagrams
- Learning how scientific principles affect electrical wiring
- Installing wiring and control systems, including circuit breakers, relays, and distribution equipment
- Testing electrical devices and systems
- Setting up communications systems
- Maintenance procedures to keep wiring circuits in good order
- Low voltage electrical systems
- Local, state, and federal electrical codes and safety standards
- Communication skills to work with other technicians and customers
How Long Does it take?
Training in an electrical technician school takes up to two years, depending on which courses you enroll in. But, to become a qualified electrician takes longer — between four and five years. The reason for this is that all states require electricians to complete training on the job.
Here are the hour requirements to complete electrical training school and an apprenticeship:
- Classroom learning — Between 500 and 1,000 hours
- On-the-job training — Between 8,000 and 10,000 hours, or four to five years
After completing your training and passing exams, you can obtain an electrician license. You then become a journeyman electrician. This is an electrician who can work independently and who earns more than an apprentice.
After qualifying as a journeyman electrician, you can work toward qualifying as a Master Electrician. To obtain a Master Electrician’s license, you’ll need 12,000 hours of training and pass an exam.
You can start an electrical technician career with only a high school diploma. To do this, you’ll need to complete a four or five-year apprenticeship. However, most electricians attend an electrical technician school.
Training at an electrical technician school
Training to become an electrician is available at schools such as community colleges, vocational-technical schools, or trade schools. There you will attend training classes and learn electrical basics in a lab setting. Depending on the school, courses last between ten months and two years.
However, you still need on-the-job training to become an electrical technician. Generally, the time spent in an electrical technician school goes toward your work experience. So, one-year training in a vocational college amounts to 1,000 hours of job experience. Usually, you can get up to two years of education in an electrical technician school.
After completing high-quality vocational education as an electrical technician, you’ll need to complete the required training on-the-job. The good news is that most technical schools offer job placement assistance. Most trainee electrical technicians find that they continue with their same employer after completing the apprenticeship.
An advantage of training as an electrical technician is that there many career prospects open to you. After becoming a journeyman — or journeyperson — electrician, you can specialize in several areas. For example, you can get training in commercial, specialty, or industrial electrical installations.
There are also new and emerging industries where the demand for electricians will be huge. Here are a few specialty licenses you can get after finishing electrical technical school:
- Photovoltaic or solar power engineer
- Electric car technician
- Installing and maintain renewable energy structures
- Eco-friendly or green electrical installations
Let’s look at one emerging industry, where the demand for electrical technicians looks set to skyrocket — servicing electric cars.
Attending school for electric car technicians gives you the training to inspect, maintain, and repair electric or hybrid cars. You learn how to use specialized computer equipment as well as traditional mechanic tools. Some electric car technician schools offer accredited courses by the National Institute for Service Excellence (ASE) for servicing electric vehicles.
As you progress in your career, you can become a Master Electrician. Master electricians earn more and are qualified to take on a wider variety of jobs than a journeyman electrician.
How Much Does Training Cost?
It costs between $1,000 and $11,000 to obtain a certificate or associate’s degree at an electrical technician school. The cost of the training programs depends on the level of training and the length of the course.
Training as an electrical technician in an apprenticeship program costs between $250 and $1,420 per year. You will usually work for between two and five years as an apprentice, depending on if you attend an electrical technician school or not.
Job Prospects After Finishing Electrical Technician School
There are tremendous job growth prospects for electricians. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the industry will grow by eight percent between 2020 and 2029. This is faster than the national average of four percent.
On average, qualified electrical technicians earn $56,180 per year. However, if you qualify for specialized electrical work, you can make even more.
Electrical Technician School: The Bottom Line
Electrical technician training can be the start of a rewarding career path. Apart from an excellent job outlook, working as an electrician is challenging and includes many varied duties. Many electricians go on to become electrical contractors who run their own successful businesses.