Electricians install, maintain and repair electrical wiring and the various components that electricity flows through. Connecting wires to transformers, circuit breakers, outlets and other components is often part of the job. For safety reasons, electricians adhere to the standards set by the National Electrical Code and also local building codes. After installations have been completed they use equipment such as voltmeters, ohmmeters, ammeters and oscilloscopes to test connections and to check the compatibility of components.

Electricians picture    Electricians image

Electrician Schools

To learn about the various tools of the trade and important safety measures, electricians must complete training through a vocational school or apprenticeship program. The following five schools and organizations offer electrician training that combines classroom and hands-on learning experience:

  • Lincoln Tech: Electrical students at Lincoln Tech's locations around the country are trained in the installation and service of residential, commercial, and industrial systems.
  • Penn Foster Career School: This online school offers a career diploma program that prepares students for jobs as residential electricians.
  • The San Francisco Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee: This collaboration between the San Francisco Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local Union #6 trains electricians with the necessary skills to work in the electrical industry.
  • Southern California Institute of Technology: This school's general electrician program offers electrical training for those wishing to register with the State of California as an electrician trainee, and provides the skills for entry-level employment in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors.

Electrician Education Requirements

Most electricians learn through apprenticeship programs which blend classroom learning with on-the-job training. Apprenticeship programs are offered by combined training organizations consisting of local unions of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and local chapters of the National Electrical Contractors Association. Also, the local chapters of the Independent Electrical Contractors Association and the Associated Builders and Contractors provide apprenticeship programs. Electrical contracting companies also offer apprenticeships.

The training programs usually take four years to complete. Typically, the trainees perform 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and have at least 144 hours of classroom learning. While training on the job, apprentices work under the guidance of experienced electricians. Those that complete the apprenticeship programs are eligible to perform maintenance and construction work. Some workers gain entry into apprenticeship programs by beginning as assistants who perform non-electrical work. Apprentices are required to have a high school diploma or a GED certificate.

Some people begin their classroom learning before acquiring an apprenticeship. Many vocational schools provide electrician training programs. Mathematics courses offered in training programs are helpful since solving mathematical problems is often part of the occupation.

Most states and localities require electricians to be licensed. The licensing requirements vary by state, however, electricians typically have to pass an examination which includes the National Electrical Code and also includes electrical theory and local electrical and building codes. In addition, electrical contractors who provide services to the public typically are required to obtain a special license. Some states require electrical contractors to be certified as master electricians.

Electrician Training and Certification

The National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee, an apprenticeship and training organization for the electrical industry, breaks down electrician training programs into four different categories:

  • Outside linemen - These electrical workers install and maintain power transmission lines that transmit power from power plants to factories, businesses, and residential communities. A great deal of the electrician training program for outside lineman should focus on maintaining transformers, stringing power lines and power transmission.
  • Inside wiremen - These electricians install power, lighting, control systems and all other electrical equipment for commercial and industrial buildings. Apprentices in these programs learn the basics of power installation and requirements for lighting and control systems. However, this field encompasses many different electrical roles.
  • VDV installer technicians - Also known as voice, data and video installers, these electricians install the circuits for telephone systems, computer networks, video systems and security and access control systems. Training as an installer technician can consist of learning one or more voice, data or video system.
  • Residential wiremen - These electricians run the wires that power new houses and apartment buildings. From pulling wire to installing light fixtures, their job is to provide seamless power distribution throughout a home.

    Although each field shares many common practices, skills and knowledge, the requirements to become a journeyman and master each field differ greatly.

    Resources for Electricians


    1. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Electricians,http://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/electricians.htm
    2. Lincoln Tech, http://www.lincolntech.edu/careers/skilled-trades/electrical
    3. The National Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee, http://electricaltrainingalliance.org/
    4. Penn Foster Career School, http://www.pennfoster.edu/programs-and-degrees/construction-and-maintenance/residential-electrician-career-diploma
    5. Southern California Institute of Technology, https://www.scitech.edu/programs/general-electrician-diploma

    Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for

    Listed below are the 10 largest metro areas based on the total number of people employed in Electricians jobs , as of 2016

    Metro Area Total Employment Annual Mean Salary
    Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim 19,120 $61,100
    Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land 18,130 $49,880
    Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington 15,870 $44,260
    Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach 10,820 $48,140
    Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell 10,320 $47,750
    Denver-Aurora-Lakewood 10,240 $49,860
    Detroit-Warren-Dearborn 10,210 $60,650
    San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward 9,010 $84,960
    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue 8,840 $68,040
    Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale 8,230 $50,020

    Compare Total Employment & Salaries for Electricians

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    Total employment and salary for professions similar to electricians

    Source : 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, BLS.gov

    Most Popular Industries for

    These industries represent at least 1% of the total number of people employed in this occupation.

    Industry Total Employment Percent Annual Median Salary
    Construction Trades 465,090 74% $45,120
    Government 23,550 3% $51,830
    Automotive And Vehicle Manufacturing 18,130 2% $62,670
    Construction 15,280 2% $44,220
    Office Services And Staffing 13,140 2% $39,850
    Utilities 8,510 1% $59,140
    Education 8,020 1% $47,300
    Civil Engineering 7,140 1% $47,530
    Metals 6,620 1% $49,490
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    We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Electricians.

    Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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