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Electrician Training and Certification Programs

Written by Michael Purser

Electrician Training and Certification Programs

There's never been a better time to become an electrician. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that the trade will grow at approximately twice the rate of the national average for all jobs in the next 10 years. In 2022, licensed electricians made a median annual salary of $60,240, or $28.96 per hour.

This article explains your options as an aspiring trainee. Explore possible career paths and where to find introductory electrical training courses online.

Career Options

Electricians can choose from dozens of rewarding jobs. There are four major categories within the industry. Each one opens doors to many roles.

Categories

Depending on where you work and what you do as an electrical technician, your job will fall into one of these four general descriptions. You don't have to choose before you start an electrician training program. Feel free to experiment before you settle on a role.

Outside Linemen

Install the lines and equipment that transport power across the grid. These professionals work with large transmission lines to bring electricity from power plants to all kinds of buildings and facilities.

Inside Wiremen

Turn raw energy into useful power by installing service in commercial and industrial structures. Inside wiremen work in malls, factories, warehouses, offices and other facilities. Install everything from lighting and outlets to high-powered industrial machines.

Installer Technicians

Build and repair the devices people rely on every day. These professionals work on the circuits and components in phones, video devices, computers and other low-voltage devices.

Residential Wiremen

Service homes and multi-family dwellings. Become a residential wireman if you want to do everything from adding electrical wiring to a basement to installing an electric vehicle charging station in a garage.

Specializations

When selecting a specialization, you are only limited by your imagination. If you are interested in green electrical technology, you could become a solar technician or a wind turbine installer. Travel far and wide as a maritime contractor, an automotive installer or an avionics repair worker. Become a contractor on construction sites for anything from single-family homes to skyscrapers.

You can work in any environment and on any circuit in the world. Skilled technicians are always in high demand.

How to Become an Electrician

There is no single road to becoming a licensed electrician. Start your career with hands-on practice through an apprenticeship or a formal training program.

Apprenticeship

You can start your career as an apprentice for an experienced professional. Apprenticeship allows an aspiring novice to learn and earn on the job.

A master passes on decades of hard-won wisdom to a new generation by taking on an apprentice. Unions, like the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), may offer structured apprenticeships and trainee programs that interest you.

You will spend approximately four years as an apprentice before becoming a journeyman. During that time, you will gain thousands of hours of experience while earning a paycheck.

Vocational Training

You can also choose an electrician trainee program at a vocational school, community college or similar institution. Instead of reporting to the jobsite, you will head to classrooms and labs. An in-class education gives you a strong background in the principles behind the power.

A combination of vocational and apprenticeship offers the best of both worlds. Good grades in electrical courses for electricians can help you stand out and earn a spot in a competitive program. Finish your apprenticeship to prepare for your state license.

Licensure and Certification

The necessary training and certification courses for electricians depend on where you live. Every state has different licensing requirements. All 50 states require applicants to demonstrate a history of hands-on expertise and a deep understanding of local regulations.

Contact your local regulatory agency for more information. Certification in your area can either be relatively straightforward or a complex process.

Online Courses

Before you apply for a vo-tech school or sign up as an apprentice, start with an entry-level online training course or two. You can train online to understand simple principles of electricity safety, familiarize yourself with OSHA standards and master the basics of the National Electrical Code (NEC).

OSHA Education Center is a leading provider of online safety training. Train at home with our 100% online learning platform. Study from any internet-connected device at any time. Learn from your laptop, tablet or phone. Start and stop whenever you want. Here are a few of our high-quality programs:

Recognizing Electrical Hazards

Electricity can be dangerous! This course is designed to help you understand how electricity works and familiarize you with primary hazards in the workplace. Learn how to guard live parts, ground currents and use circuit protection devices.
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Electrical Safety and Lockout/Tagout

Electrocution kills between 300 and 500 people in the United States each year. Stay safe while working on machinery with proper lockout and tagout procedures. These protocols prevent accidental operation while working on all kinds of powered equipment.
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Electrical Compliance Training for Construction

Master OSHA standards for electrified equipment, including circuits operating over 600 volts. Familiarize yourself with regulations for grounding, switches, switchboards and enclosures. Study both general and industry-specific standards designed to protect employees.
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Using Electrical Safety Programs (ESPs)

This course explores the ESP requirements established in NFPA 70E. Follow National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) guidelines to create and implement an ESP for your workplace. Topics include Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and arc-flash hazard analysis.
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NFPA 70E

Designed at OSHA's request, NFPA 70E is the gold standard for electrical regulation compliance. This course covers the science and safety principles of energized circuits according to the latest edition of the manual. Familiarize yourself with common hazards and special equipment used to maintain a variety of circuits and machinery.
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Start Exploring Your Career Today

The programs above are just the start! As an aspiring electrician, there's so much more to discover. We provide more than 150 online courses designed for professionals of all skill levels. OSHA Education Center is your trusted source for workplace safety and compliance instruction.