Join the IBEW electrician apprenticeship and you will learn through
- On-the-job training
- Classroom instruction
The advantage of an apprenticeship is actual hands-on learning. Most of us grasp lessons faster and easier that way.
You’ll be happy to know that your wages will increase as you advance through your training.
For a better idea of the pay rate you can expect as an apprentice electrician, take a look at our salary guide.
It’s wise to make sure you are well-suited for this career before you invest years of your life to learning the trade.
Do you enjoy variety in your day? Working with your hands and being physically active? Hopefully, you answered yes!
Read the job description of a licensed electrician as you look further into the time commitment of an IBEW apprenticeship.
My own electrician apprentice journey was quite an experience and how I really learned the electrical trade.
What is the IBEW?
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) is a labor union that represents about 750,000 workers in the electrical industry. If you want to get a quick picture of this organization, visit their page on Wikipedia.
How to Join the IBEW Electrician Apprenticeship
First things first. Before you consider joining the IBEW electrician apprenticeship, make sure you meet the general requirements.
1. Do I meet IBEW’s Basic Requirements?
- Applicant must be 17 years old, but 18 years old at the time of selection and indenture.
- High School Graduate (GED accepted)
- Possess and maintain a valid driver’s license
- Applicants must have a passing grade for one credit year of high school algebra or one semester of college algebra
- Must be in good health and physically capable of performing electrical construction work. You may be asked to take a physical exam
- Qualifying score on an aptitude test
- Drug-free. You may be asked to take a drug screening test before beginning employment
2. Is There an IBEW Training Center Near Me? Choose a specialty.
Four specialty training areas are available in IBEW. Use this map to find a training center near you. (Not all areas offer all four training areas.)
- Outside Lineman – 3 1/2-year program. Install distribution and transmission lines that transmit power from the plant.
- Inside Wireman – 5-year program. Work in commercial and industrial settings.
- VDV Installer Technician – 3-year program. Install circuits and equipment for low-voltage systems such as communication and security systems.
- Residential Wireman – 3-year program. Install electrical systems in homes and other dwellings.
The 4 programs offered by IBEW have a common curriculum but each requires unique skills and knowledge. Therefore, each specialty has its own apprenticeship program.
3. Complete an Application
Get started in your career with IBEW by filling out an application. The process may vary by area so contact your local branch and follow their specific process. Generally, you will:
- Fill out the application
- Submit required documentation mentioned in Step 1
- Submit the application fee
4. Take an Aptitude Test
All applicants are required to take an aptitude test. It’s meant to determine if you have the ability to succeed in the electrical construction industry.
The test consists of basic algebra functions and reading comprehension. You will be given sample questions to take home after completing the application.
Applicants that receive a passing score on the aptitude test will have an interview.
Interested in seeing a sample page of the aptitude test with a helpful answer key? Navigate to the sample by finding sample algebra and functions at the bottom of the gray, left side-bar on this page.
Electrician Aptitude Test Study Resources
IBEW Local: Try a Sample Test from IBEW Local 7 in Springfield, MA. Answers included.
JobTestPrep: Practice with timed, full-length tests that simulates the actual IBEW test. For a relatively small fee, you can purchase a program that will help you pass your IBEW aptitude test. It includes:
- 3 full-length IBEW test simulations
- 1 IBEW diagnostic test
- 11 Algebra practice tests
- 9 number series practice tests
- 10 reading comprehension practice tests
- 8 Basic numeracy extra practice tests
- 7 Study Guides
Khan Academy has a superb FREE online resource to brush up on your algebra skills.
Reddit: Since everyone will have a different experience taking the aptitude test, you can see what other applicants experienced in this Reddit thread.
Study.com has a list of Free online Electrician courses and learning materials. You will still want an apprenticeship, but you can start learning at your convenience.
5. Complete a Personal Interview
After you earn a passing score on the aptitude test, you will have a personal interview.
Most people are at least a bit nervous when it comes to this point of the application process. But, a little nervousness can be beneficial because it helps you do your best.
However, be as prepared as possible. You want to present yourself well and not be too nervous. Being well prepared is key!
IBEW Interview Basics
- Lasts 10-20 minutes
- A team of electrical professionals will interview you. They usually take turns asking you questions.
- Questions will concern how you have handled situations at home, school, and work that are relevant to success in an apprenticeship. They will want you to explain the situation, what you did, and the result.
- Now, relax and get a good night’s sleep the day before!
Want more help with the interview process? Take a look at this helpful info prepared by IBEW of Wisconsin. It will give you valuable input.
Story of an IBEW Apprentice
Become a Journeyman Electrician – Take the License Exam
After 4 years of work and study, you should be well-prepared to take your journeyman electrician exam.
A wage increase is a pretty nice benefit as well! I ain’t gonna lie.
But the first thing you want to do is study the National Electrical Code (NEC)! I can’t stress this enough.
Study the National Electrical Code (NEC). Study Tips are located in our Ultimate Guide to Become an Electrician.
Want Complete Details to Become a Journeyman Electrician?
Are you a bit confused about where to start your journey to become an electrician?
Want some insider tips?
Check out our 5-Step Guide to Become an Electrician.
Climb the Electrician Career Ladder
Continue to work the required hours and in the end, take the exam to become a Master Electrician.
It’s a good idea to review our Electrician’s Career Guide. You’ll discover the wide variety of positions available as you gain skill and knowledge. Get tips too for getting that promotion you have your eyes on.
Electrical contracting is a fascinating field that continues to evolve with technology! Joining the IBEW Electrician Apprenticeship is a fine way to become a part of this industry.
Keep educating yourself and advance into the many diverse and rewarding careers available.
I welcome all comments and questions. I have worked over 2 decades as an electrician, and I will do my best to answer your questions.Steven John