Join the IBEW Electrician Apprenticeship

When you join the IBEW Electrician Apprenticeship program, you will earn wages and benefits while learning through:

  1. On-the-Job Training
  2. Classroom Instruction​

One of the advantages of  an apprenticeship is actual hands-on learning. Most of us grasp lessons faster and easier that way.

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Join IBEW Electrician Apprenticeship

An electrician apprenticeship. Does it get more hands-on than this?

You will be happy to know that wages typically increase as you advance through your training. For a better idea of the pay rate you can expect as an electrician apprentice, take a look at our salary guide here.

It is wise to make sure you are well-suited for this career before investing years of your life.  

Do you enjoy variety in your day, working with your hands, and being physically active? Hopefully, you answered yes!

Check out our job description of a licensed electrician as you look further into the time commitment of an apprenticeship.  

My own electrician apprenticeship journey was quite an experience and it's where I really learned this 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 does IBEW's Apprenticeship work?

IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) and NECA (National Electrical Contractors Association) provide a joint training program. This alliance is called the Electrical Training Alliance.  

Through this training alliance they have hundreds of local programs to select and train thousands of electrical apprentices.  

Remember, this organization is a labor union and not merit based.​ 

How to Join the IBEW Electrician Apprenticeship

First things first. Before you consider joining the IBEW Electrician Apprenticeship, you want to make sure you meet their general requirements.

 1.  Do I meet IBEW's Basic Requirements?  

  • Applicants must be 17 years of age to receive an application, but minimum of 18 years of age at time of selection and indenture.
  • High School Graduate (G.E.D. will be 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 AptitudeTest
  • 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.

Within the IBEW Electrician Apprenticeship you will find 4 specialty areas of training. Use the map to find a training center near you. (Not every location offers all 4 areas, however.)

  1. Outside Lineman - 3 1/2 year program. Install distribution and transmission lines that transmit power from the plant.
  2. Inside Wireman -  5 year program. Work in commercial and industrial settings.
  3. VDV Installer Technician - 3 year program. Install circuits and equipment for low-voltage systems such as communication and security systems. 
  4. Residential Wireman - 3 year program. Install electrical systems in homes and other dwellings.

The 4 programs within the IBEW Electrician Apprenticeship have a common curriculum, but each requires unique skills and knowledge as well. Therefore, each specialty has it's own apprenticeship program.

3.  Complete an Application.

The application process may vary slightly from area to area. You will need to contact your local branch and follow their specific process. Generally you will

  • ​Fill out the application.
  • Submit the required documentation mentioned in Step 1.
  • Submit a $30 Application Fee.

4.  Take an Aptitude Test

All applicants are required to take an aptitude test. It is meant to determine if you have the abilities needed to succeed in the electrical construction industry. 

The test will consist of basic algebra functions and reading comprehension. You will be given sample questions to take home with you 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 towards the bottom of the gray, left side-bar on this page.

Electrician Aptitude Test Study Resources

ElectricPrep: This website offers courses created specifically for IBEW/NECA electrical apprenticeships. For a relatively small fee, you can purchase online courses in:

  • Math Aptitude
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Interview Skills 
  • and more

TestPrep-Online offers online practice tests for $45. It will also help prepare you for the interview process.

IBEW Local: Try a Sample Test from IBEW Local 7 in Springfield, MA. Answers included.

Khan Academy has a superb FREE online resource to brush up on your algebra skills.

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.​

Reddit: Since everyone will have a different experience taking the aptitude test, you can see what other applicants experienced in these Reddit thread.

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 to be 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 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? Please look at this helpful document prepared by IBEW of Wisconsin. It will give you valuable input. 

Story of an IBEW Apprentice

Harry Hutchison shares his apprentice experience with IBEW.

​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 enough the need to study.

Electrician Tip

Study the National Electrical Code (NEC). Follow Study Tips in Step 4 of my Ultimate Guide to Become an Electrician.

Want complete details to become a Journeyman Electrician?

Are you a little confused on where to start your journey to become an electrician?

Want some insider tips?

Check out our 5-Step Guide to Become an Electrician

How to Become an Electrician

Climb the Electrician Career Ladder

Continue to work the required hours for your area, and one day take the exam to become a Master Electrician.  

It is a good idea to review our Electrician's Career Guide. You will discover the wide variety of positions available as you gain skill and knowledge. It also gives tips 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.

Steve Schnute
The Electrical Guy
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