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Program Description

Just the Facts

Electrician. A program that prepares individuals to apply technical knowledge and skills to install, operate, maintain, and repair electric apparatus and systems such as residential, commercial, and industrial electric-power wiring; and DC and AC motors, controls, and electrical distribution panels. Includes instruction in the principles of electronics and electrical systems, wiring, power transmission, safety, industrial and household appliances, job estimation, electrical testing and inspection, and applicable codes and standards.

This program is available in these options:

  • Certificate / Diploma
  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor's degree

High School Courses

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this career cluster:

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this pathway:

Related Programs

Often similar programs have different names. Be sure to explore all your options.

Additional Information

Future electricians can't be afraid to get their hands dirty. Training involves a classroom education coupled with on-the-job training.

Possible routes students can take include a college program or an apprenticeship (union or non-union).

Louisiana Technical College trains students in residential, commercial and industrial wiring. Its program is five terms, five days a week over the course of three months.

Jerry Turcotte used to be an electrical instructor there. He says graduates can start out as helpers.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) says that helpers can learn the trade informally by working for experienced electricians.

Turcotte says classes vary from the beginner level -- including basic electricity where students learn how electricity is produced -- to advanced classes in residential wiring. The school even has a simulation house where students practice their craft.

Students take an entrance test -- focusing on reading and math -- before starting the program. Those who score below the accepted criteria are given remedial instruction.

Turcott says if you want to work in the union, you must be accepted into the union before going through their apprenticeship program. Those programs are generally five years, he says. Students work 40 hours per week and take classes one night a week.

Non-union apprenticeship programs are similar but much shorter in length, he says. They generally take about two years.

"In the classroom, apprentices learn blueprint reading, electrical theory, electronics, mathematics, electrical code requirements, and safety and first aid practices. They also receive specialized training in welding and communications and fire alarm systems," says the OOH.

High school classes in math, science and shop will help you prepare.

In most places, you'll need to be licensed, says the OOH. That generally requires passing an exam that covers electrical theory, the National Electrical Code, and local electric and building codes.

There are some expenses beyond what a student spends on tuition. These include books and small tools.


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Electricians

IEC's Electrical Apprentice Programs
Train to become an electrician

How Three-Way Switches Work
Electrical info from How Stuff Works