How Hard Is It To Become An Electrician?

Are you considering career choices and want to know how hard it is to become an electrician? It’s a valid question and we break down the answer to help you make a wise decision.

The good news is that an electrician career has staying power. As long as we are dependent on electricity, there will be a demand for electricians. To put it into perspective, most kitchens today consume more power than an entire home in the 1950s. We aren’t shy about using power.

So, to find out how hard it is to become an electrician, I think it’s helpful to break down the answer into the following.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

What Does it Take to Become an Electrician?
How Hard is it To Become an Electrician?
How Long Does it Take to Become an Electrician?
Is an Electrician Apprenticeship Hard?
How Much Does it Cost to Become an Electrician?
Is Becoming an Electrician Worth It?

What Does It Take to Become an Electrician?

Let’s talk about the types of skills and personality you need to make it as an electrician:

  • A mechanical aptitude, as well as a basic understanding of algebra, is needed. Most applicants need to brush up on math skills. Since you will learn and build math and algebra skills as you go, don’t let the math aspect intimidate you.
  • Being an electrician is more physical than you might think. There will be times you have to move through crawl spaces on your knees, climb ladders, or dig trenches. Electricians are on their feet most of the day.
  • Fine motor skills and good balance are needed since you’ll be on ladders and other high places at times.
  • Good communication and problem-solving skills will be called upon daily.

You can check out our full guide on becoming an electrician. It gives more details of the qualifications you need to succeed.

Is it Hard to Become an Electrician?

how hard is it to become an electrician?

As you read through the topic of how hard is it to become an electrician, I want to encourage you that if a particular area seems formidable, it helps to focus on taking one step at a time. It’s not as hard as you might think.

The best way to learn to become an electrician is through an apprenticeship. Apprentices work full-time for an electrical contractor plus take classroom training 2-4 hours a week.

The classroom training sometimes involves labs where you will have hands-on practice of certain aspects learned in your lesson.

How Can I Find an Electrician Apprenticeship?

One of the best ways to find a job as an apprentice electrician is to ask the local coordinators of a training program near you. This could be ABC, IEC, IBEW, Community College or trade schools. The staff of these programs have a lot of connections and could give you direction and advice.

I also recommend that you put together a list of electrical contractors in your area, then stop in and ask them in person about the possibility of working as an apprentice for them. Showing initiative and interest will go a long way in expressing your ambitions and value to a potential employee.

How Long Does it Take to Become an Electrician?

Becoming a licensed electrician can take some time. Most apprenticeship programs require 4 years to complete. That includes 8,000 hours of on-the-job training and over 500 hours of classroom instruction. (State and local requirements vary.)

The IBEW apprenticeship takes 5 years to complete. It is an exceptional training program, and you most likely will be earning more money through your apprenticeship and beyond.

Whichever apprenticeship path you choose, you’ll need to pass a state licensure exam to become a journeyman electrician.

Studying for the exam is very important. Following my study tips should help. The exam will be tough as it tests your knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC), which is a thick volume. There are classes and practice tests available that can help you prepare.

Memorization of the entire code is not necessary nor possible. You are basically being tested to ensure you can find the information you need within the NEC codebook.

Is an Electrician Apprenticeship Hard?

I’m not going to sugar-coat it. Your life will be full during your electrician apprenticeship. But it will not be any harder than learning other trades or getting a college degree.

In fact, for most people, an apprenticeship is easier than a 4-year college degree. Hands-on training is an optimum way to learn! You will be learning on the job as well as applying what you learned in the classroom portion of the training.

Working full-time plus going to school and studying will keep you busy. A new apprentice may get plenty of ribbing and handed menial work such as digging trenches. Stick to it and be thick-skinned. It won’t last forever. You can check out my apprentice experience for encouragement.

How Much Does it Cost to Become an Electrician?

Can you believe that the cost to become an electrician is very reasonable? You should be able to become a licensed electrician without incurring much debt if any. Here’s why:

  1. Electrician apprentices earn while they learn.
  2. Tuition is nominal compared to a 4-year college degree.
  3. Employers may pay for your school tuition.
  4. Scholarships are available for some apprentices.

Many apprentices with IBEW are awarded scholarships or have their tuition paid for by “the Labor/Management relationship between the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the National Electrical Contractors Association”. source

Finding employers that are willing to pay part or all of your school tuition is doable. They are out there. Ask around.

The cost of books varies by year. Try to find used books online or from prior apprentices.

Tool costs can add up. The good news is that you won’t need every tool all at once. Start small and work gradually to build up your collection. Birthdays and Christmas are a good opportunity to add tools to your belt.

Scholarships for Electrician Apprentices

Various foundations give scholarships to qualified individuals to help pay for an electrician apprenticeship.

The skilled trades are in need of dedicated craftsmen. I hope more scholarships will open up in the future.

Is Becoming an Electrician Worth It?

Thousands of electricians enjoy their trade and the challenge of solving electrical problems.

Hourly rates for electricians are expected to rise because there is an increasing demand for electricians.

Becoming an electrician is well worth the 4-year apprenticeship. You can make a good living. In fact, electricians are the highest paid of the skilled trades, with plumbers a close second. (Plumbers may have a higher wage in some areas).

Electricians enjoy varied work with little chance of boredom. There is plenty of room for advancement as well.

I hope you seriously consider the electrical trade. It is well worth your time.

6 thoughts on “How Hard Is It To Become An Electrician?”

  1. I had no schooling for electrical..at 19 I helped build an industrial plant and helped a guy with electrical maintenance…hard work..in a year I ran nightshift by myself. ..anything broke I fixed. I went to another company 3 yrs later and passed a limited electrical contractor license exam. I had to learn the code book in a garage. I’m not the best but I’m up there with the best…troubleshooting is what I do best and rewiring old houses. The point is: I wanted to learn on the job with someone that can point me in the right direction..you can burn up something so quick if you think you know it all..and get hurt. Be safe – thanks.

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  2. I still remember my 1st day in class the teacher gave us a little maths exam, after lunch he stared at us for a few minutes in silence than said “More than half of this class isn’t going to be here by the middle of 2nd year, if your not going to put your head down & study than don’t waste your time, your bosses time and go be a plumber” we laughed and I thought it couldn’t be this hard but I was wrong.
    If your not good at maths & problem solving your going to have problems, you really have to put your head down & study, it’s easy to get distracted from study since school is only 1 day a week (in Australia), alot apprentices do drop out of school but continue working, pulling in cables and fitting off on building sites, I know soo many guys that didn’t make it through electrical school but work as an offsider, being an electrician is one of the most rewarding trades but you really have to be committed with the study.

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