According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, electricians have both a better than average job outlook and pay scale. Good pay, strong job growth, and a wide range of potential roles have made this field popular with many individuals who are looking to upgrade their jobs and their lives. Like most trades, however, electrical work is strictly regulated to ensure the safety of both electricians and their clients. While these regulations do well to serve the public good, they can make many prospective electricians feel as though the field's barrier to entry is too high.
If you are considering a change of career with an eye on electrical work, then you will quickly discover that these fears are overblown. While working as an electrician does require training and licensing, getting started is easier than you may think.
Understanding Electrical Licensing Requirements
The typical work performed by electricians is not regulated by the federal government, but by state licensing boards. Because of this distributed regulatory nature, licensing requirements vary from location to location. Before starting down your electrical training path, it is essential to become familiar with the licensing requirements of your state. Most states have relatively similar requirements, and you can expect to spend a few years either in training, working as an apprentice, or both. Multiple levels of licensing are often offered, and the degree of licensing that you achieve will generally determine the types of electrical jobs that you can work.
Apprenticeships And Assistants
Does the path to an electrical career sound daunting so far? While state licensing requirements can be intimidating at first, you can often begin working long before you are fully licensed. For most states, licensing is divided into apprentice, journeyman, and master levels. These terms are not universal and some states have additional levels of licensing, as well. In most cases, however, you can begin working at either an apprentice or assistant level while working towards your license.
At this stage of your career, you will be working with fully trained electricians. The work that you perform will be strictly limited, but this on-the-job time will apply towards eventually receiving your full license. Depending on the state, you may also need to complete a set number of hours of classroom instruction in addition to your on-the-job training. This path may take several years to complete, but it will be a rewarding journey with a lucrative and stable career waiting for you at the end.