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How to become an electrician

If you enjoy working with your hands, would rather be on your feet than behind a desk, and want a career that is both in demand and rewarding, then becoming an electrician might be the right fit for you.

As an electrician, your future could open to a limitless number of career opportunities. Discover the benefits of this career in the trades and see how to spark your potential.

Benefits of becoming an electrician

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, estimates that increased construction spending and the emergence of alternative energy sources will drive the demand for electricians. The job outlook is expected to grow 6% over the next decade, slightly faster than the average of 3%.

In addition to job security, explore more benefits of this trade career.

A variety of roles

Electricians can choose from a range of industries and roles to match their interests. You can choose to work on residential buildings or in the commercial contracting industry, in a factory, on renewable energy projects or much more. You might work alone or with others, and you can also become your own boss.

High earning potential

Electricians can earn high salaries and have many opportunities for overtime. The median annual salary for electricians in the U.S. in 2022 was $60,240, according to the BLS. This is nearly $14,000 more than the national median pay for all jobs, which was $46,310.

In top-paying states, including Washington, Illinois and Hawaii, the annual mean wage in 2022 was well over $80,000.

No student loan debt required

Another advantage of choosing a career as an electrician is that you can earn your certification without attending a traditional four-year university. With apprenticeships, you can even get paid while you learn on the job.

This could save you from having to pay back costly student loans for years after graduation.

Find out what you should consider before deciding to become an electrician and learn about the basic education and training requirements.

What to consider about becoming an electrician

Like any career, becoming an electrician is better suited for some people than for others. Take these points into consideration when deciding if an electrician career is right for you:

Have a clean driving record and valid license

Keeping your driving history free from tickets and making sure your driver’s license is current will make it easier for you to find employment as an electrician.

Be able to pass a criminal background check

As with the clean driver’s license and driving record, being free from criminal convictions will make you a stronger candidate for employment. Additionally, future employers will likely require you to pass a drug test as part of the screening process.

Have physical capability to be an electrician

From walking across construction sites and crouching in tight spaces to carrying heavy tools and electrical equipment, being an electrician is physically demanding.

Electrician education & training requirements

If you decide that you want to become an electrician, here is what you can expect to have to do in terms of education and training requirements:

Step 1: Get your high school degree

Completing your high school education or earning an equivalent degree, such as a General Education Development credential, is the first step to take to prepare you for an electrician career. Classes you should focus on include:

  • Algebra

  • Geometry

  • Physics

  • Science

  • Trigonometry

Bonus tip: Some schools offer vocational training classes as part of the curriculum. Talk to your high school guidance counselor to see if any classes related to the electrician field are available.

Step 2: Find an apprenticeship

Enrolling in an apprentice program after obtaining your high school diploma or equivalent is the next step toward becoming an electrician. A typical apprentice program combines classes and on-the-job training. You will likely learn the National Electric Code, which is the electric code that most states have adopted.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average apprentice program take four to five years to complete and includes about 2,000 hours of on-the-job training per year. In addition to gaining real-world experience, on-the-job training is often paid. This means you can earn while you learn.

Bonus tip: If you’re not sure where to start with finding an apprenticeship, check with your local trade organizations or unions. Three popular electrical trade organizations are:

Step 3: Pass the exam

Once you’ve met the requirements of your apprenticeship program, you will likely have to take a state or local exam to earn your certification. This test will vary based on where you live, but you may have to prove your knowledge of the National Electric Code if your state is an adopter.

How to become an electrician in each state

Find your state below to get started with learning about the specific requirements for becoming an electrician where you live.





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