Do you have an interest in becoming a licensed electrician? Consider joining the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Electrician Apprenticeship.
Their program is designed to take someone who may have little or no experience in the field to journeyman-level in about 4 years.
My own electrician apprenticeship can help you know what to expect.
As an electrician apprentice with ABC you will learn on-the-job with the supervision of a skilled craftsperson, while working for an approved contractor.
Like most apprenticeships it combines hands-on-training with classroom instruction.
ABC has 70 chapters across the country and has become the world leader in apprenticeship and craft training in the merit shop construction industry. (Merit shop philosophy encourages free enterprise and open competition based solely on merit, regardless of labor affiliation.)
ABC trains craft students in 20 areas including electrician, welding, ironworks, plumbing, HVAC, carpentry, etc.
ABC’s training program is registered with the U.S. Depart. of Labor, Office of Apprenticeship. These programs meet all federal and state requirements for formal apprenticeship and prevailing wage work including employer-sponsored classroom instruction and on-the-job training. Upon successful completion, craftworkers are recognized at the journey level in their trade and are awarded their certificate.
How Long is the ABC Apprenticeship?
In 4 years, you will complete 8,000 hours of on-the-job training and at least 576 hours of classroom instruction.
You can expect to work approximately 40 hours a week and attend three-hour classes held 2 evenings a week (MW or TTH) from 6-9pm.
The purpose of the program is to provide you with a comprehensive knowledge of the trade.
At the end of 4 years graduates receive their Journeyman card and are registered with the U.S. Department of Labor.
Each chapter of ABC may have slightly varied requirements and program. I recommend you contact your local chapter to ensure you receive the most accurate information. Look for an ABC chapter near you.
How to Join the ABC Apprenticeship
- Submit an application with registration fee.
- Submit 3 character references.
- Submit your high school transcript.
- Complete and employer/apprenticeship agreement and other details as needed.
- Take a math pre-test.
- Brush Up on Your Math Skills
- You will need to have the necessary skill level in math. Look at this math pre-test you may need to complete in order to start as an apprentice with ABC.
- Pass an Interview Process
- After passing the written requirements, you must pass an interview.
- Wait for an Apprenticeship Opening
- Once you meet the minimum requirements, you will be added to a ranked applicant pool to fill openings as they occur.
Benefits of Joining ABC
- Paid employment during training
- Learn the skills needed by employers throughout the industry
- Earn credits toward an Associates Degree at a community college
- Get formal on-the-job training from a qualified worker
- Receive related instruction to supplement on-the-job training
- Earn regular pay increases as your job skills increase
- Acquire skills to compete effectively in the job market
What is Merit Shop Philosophy?
ABC is based on the merit shop philosophy, which encourages free enterprise and open competition based solely on merit, regardless of labor affiliation. Visit ABC Merit Shop Proud for an in-depth look.
Anyone in the industry should be evaluated, judged, awarded and rewarded based on his or her merit. Owners should be able to select the most economical and best bidder regardless of that bidder’s status.ABC Indiana/Kentucky
What Curriculum Will I Use?
ABC works closely with NCCER (National Center for Construction Education and Research) and uses the NCCER Curriculum for the classroom training portion of the apprenticeship.
They offer a 4-level Electrical curriculum that complies with DOL’s (Department of Labor) time-based standards for apprenticeships. This overview shows you the topics you will cover during your 4 years of training to be an electrician.
NCCER has served the construction industry for over 20 years.
ABC Curriculum Guide:
Electrician Apprenticeship Training
First Year Curriculum
OSHA 10-hour Safety
Intro to Construction Math
Intro to Hand Tools
Intro to Power Tools
Intro to Construction Drawings
Intro to Basic Rigging
Basic Communication Skills
Basic Employability Skills
Intro to Materials Handling
Orientation to the Electrical Trade
Intro to Electrical Circuits
Intro to the NEC
Raceways and Fittings
Conductors and Cables
Basic Electrical Construction Drawings
Residential Electrical Services
Electrical Test Equipment
Second Year Curriculum
Motors: Theory and Application
Pull and Junction Boxes
Conductor Termination and Splices
Grounding and Bonding
Circuit Breaker and Fuses
Control Systems and Fundamental Concepts
Third Year Curriculum
Load Calculations: Branch and Feeder
Conductor Selection and Calculations
Practical Applications of Lighting
Commercial Electrical Services
Voice, Data, and Video
Fourth Year Curriculum
Load Calculations: Feeders and Services
Health Care Facilities
Standby and Emergency Systems
Basic Electronic Theory
Fire Alarm Systems
Advanced Motor Controls
Heat Tracing and Freeze Protection
Motor Operation and Maintenance
Medium Voltage Termination/Slices
Fundamentals of Crew Leadership
The above guide is taken from ABC of Iowa. Each State’s guide may vary.
Become a Journeyman Electrician
After 4 years of work and study, you should be well-prepared to take your journeyman electrician exam.
But, the first step is to study the National Electrical Code (NEC). I strongly urge you to follow these study tips before you take your exam to become a licensed electrician.
Study the National Electrical Code. These study tips from Step 4 of My Ultimate Guide to Become an Electrician is a good place to start.
Climb the Electrician Career Ladder
Work the required hours as a Journeyman Electrician to take the exam to become a Master Electrician. (Some states do not license Master Electricians. In that case, the next step after a Journeyman is to become a licensed contractor.)
Check out our Electrician’s Career Guide. A wide variety of positions are available as you gain skill and knowledge. The Guide also gives tips on getting that promotion you have your eye on.
Electrical contracting is a fascinating field that continues to evolve with technology.
Start your career by joining the ABC Electrician Apprenticeship. It’s a great way to educate yourself and advance into the many diverse and rewarding positions available.
I welcome comments and questions. I’ve worked over 2 decades as an electrician, and I will do my best to answer your questions.Steve