Becoming an electrician is not an easy choice amongst career people. However, this should not discourage you from achieving your dream of becoming an electrician.
Electricians are relevant, and they will remain so because electricity is one of the fundamental needs of modern-day life.
Apart from the time it takes to hone the skill, electricians must be licensed to handle tasks thrown at them. So the goal is to become a sought-after electrician.
But first, let’s answer the question.
How hard is it to become an electrician?
For every individual, the difficulty in becoming an electrician is relative. However, it involves doing not less than an average of 3 hours of learning in a classroom weekly. The rest of the learning is done practically as an apprentice, which may take about four or more years.
For a complete beginner, it is more challenging than your average skill. This is because it requires research and understanding of the basics of electricity and hands-on practice for a long time. However, if you have gathered any level of experience at all, it gets easier.
There are levels of knowledge and skill on the journey to becoming a licensed electrician. You have to move from an apprentice to a journeyman with a license for that level. Afterward, you may continue to study for an extra two years to become a master.
What To Know About Becoming An Electrician
Electricians are not just people who play around with wires. An electrician is skilled in mapping out plans for electrical wiring in buildings and installing, maintaining, and fixing those electrical systems when needed.
Here are some vital points to consider if you have chosen or are considering this career path.
1. It takes time
Perhaps, this is one of the complex parts of becoming an electrician. Unlike some trades that can be learned in about three years, becoming a master electrician or having the license for contracts takes time.
The number of years for every individual becomes relative at some point. It may take more time to become a master than the next person for a journeyman.
2. You need to be an apprentice
There is no hard and fast way around this. Apprenticeship is paramount to garnering the experience you need.
Electrical work is complex and needs to be learned with the help of more experienced electricians. There are codes to be learned, systems to be understood, and methods to follow. Hence, to become a master, you must serve one.
3. It is a demanding career
Besides the time you would have to invest in learning, you would continually put in long hours even after you have earned your license. However, a license affords you the chance to score a 9-5 job that can spare you some time.
While an apprentice, you would spend long hours watching and assisting more experienced electricians. This leaves you little time to socialize. But it is worth the investment.
4. The average pay is decent
Electricians with certifications are well-paid, depending on the role and qualification. Electrical contractors or master electricians receive more than a journeyperson.
The implication of this is that you have to invest more to earn more. Spend more time learning and pass your license exams.
Getting Started: Steps To Becoming A Licensed Electrician
1. Pick an electrical school
Search out a couple of schools that teach the trade and begin from there. You may choose to attend one that prepares you for your licensing exams or just one that focuses on teaching the skill.
2. Do well in electrical school
It is one thing to get in; it is another thing to do well in electrical school. Tertiary education generally is challenging, and you would have to put in the effort to excel.
Your scheme of work will have both practical and theory-based courses. Most of your courses will be on math and science.
If you’re finding it a bit more challenging than usual, you could reach out to a more experienced colleague or friend who can be of assistance when things get a bit rough.
Another thing to do is to ensure you give yourself time to rest and be mindful of your meals. Take better care of yourself.
3. Become an apprentice
It is unusual to find a licensed electrician who didn’t do an apprenticeship before writing their professional exams. An apprenticeship allows you to watch and practice with masters on the field.
You can search for apprenticeship programs that connect professional electricians with those in training and reach out to the ones from whom you can learn.
An apprentice should be willing to be corrected and coached. You should be open to feedback and correction as this facilitates your learning in the trade.
4. Get all your licenses
Nobody would like to hire a quack to handle delicate matters such as electrical systems. As such, you must have some level of certification in most cases before anyone can hire you to handle any task.
Licensing varies according to states. You have to research the requirements to be met before being licensed in your state of choice.
In most states, an apprenticeship may be a requirement. Hence, if you are yet to do it, you might want to enroll right away to move your career forward.
5. Learn about the work environment
It would be best if you studied different places where people might need the services of an electrician. Keep in mind, however, that it could be indoors or outdoors. Anywhere that needs electricity is the work environment of an electrician.
Electricians work in teams or solo. You may not always have a choice as some jobs require more than one hand.
Areas of Specialty For Electricians
There are various specific areas of electrical work, and electricians are trained to fit in those areas.
Some of them are as follows
- Aviation electrician
- Commercial electrician
- Automotive electrician
- Marine electrician
- Industry electrician
- Low voltage electrician
- Security and the fire alarm installer
- Solar energy
- Building Automation systems
- Residential electrician
- Electrical inspector
The above are just some areas of specialization.
Advantages Of Becoming An Electrician
Every career path has its pros and cons. It may look like a long journey to make if you choose to become an electrician, but there are advantages to it.
Here are some of them.
1. It offers a decent wage
It has been said earlier that electricians are paid well, especially those with higher certifications.
Unlike other trades, electrical work will remain relevant all through the year, and if you’re a master electrician, you’ll have enough to be more than comfortable.
2. It helps you stay physically healthy
Staying physically active helps keep the body in optimal condition
Jobs that keep you seated all day pose health risks such as obesity, diabetes, and even damage to the bones. Therefore, being an electrician means you’ll not be prone to those diseases aforementioned, all things being equal.
3. You can choose to be an electrician for life
Many careers are such that you have to retire at a particular age but being an electrician lets you work actively for as long as you want to. The implication is that you can live a long life without switching careers.
4. You get to work in different places
Depending on your specialty, you may get to work on new and exciting projects in different places. If you’re keen on adventure, being an electrician will give you something close to that.
Disadvantages Of Being An Electrician
You may already know some of the cons of this career path, but take a look below and decide if you can deal with it or not.
1. It takes time to become a professional
As you should have garnered from this article, becoming an electrician cannot happen in a few months or one year. If you’re starting from scratch, prepare to invest about five years in becoming a top professional.
Whether you enroll in a school or begin your apprenticeship first, you have to do your years to earn the necessary qualifications.
2. It is time-consuming/ demanding
Most electricians have no time to socialize, especially in the early stages of their careers. The nature of the job is such that you are either doing a hands-on project, researching a theory, or helping out a more experienced colleague. You will have little or no time for friends and family.
At the later part of the career, the amount of time demanded may reduce considerably. If you’re employed and have to report to an office daily, you may be able to carve out time for recreation or other things.
3. It is stressful
Moving from place to place frequently is a recipe for stress. Electricians are always on their feet. They also have to lift heavy things often. This leaves them tired and worn out daily.
The truth about becoming an electrician is that it is difficult. But everything worthwhile is somewhat challenging, and this career path has a lot of perks.
All you need do is decide and begin your training process in an electrical school. The apprenticeship is the most crucial part of the training, after which comes the license exams.
And finally, have in mind that electrical work is relevant and noble.