You might think that being an electrician is as simple as enrolling in a trade school, finishing the courses and rendering the required hours, and voila! You’re an electrician.
Of course, to be succinct about it, that is about how the process of training and apprenticeship to be an electrician is like. Still, when it comes to learning a new trade or profession, unlike in high school when all you might have been interested in was getting a passing grade, training to be an electrician is far more important than what grade you might learn at the end of the course. Having great grades ranks a bit lower in overall significance when compared to knowing what to do when you’re finally out there, building a career or business for yourself.
So before you throw in your hat with one specific electrician training institute, you might want to pause for a moment and consider what it is that you’re looking for and whether the training programs or institutes you have selected will be able to give you what you need.
The word of warning is not entirely misplaced. Those who have projected a drastic increase in the demand for electricians in the years to come means that there is also a great demand for schools and training institutes to provide the instruction and experience that aspiring electricians will need. As a result, the number of training programs and institutes that are offering electrician courses has also increased to meet this projected demand. Unfortunately, some may only be in it for the money. You don’t want to end up with just any training program where electrical systems are being taught to you by a repairman who has a bit of electrical training on the side. What you want is a school or a training program that will fully equip you with the requisite knowledge and practical experience that will enable you to competently and efficiently carry out the tasks of an electrician once you have gotten your license.
Therefore, before you select a good training program or course provider, you need to be able to discern which are the reputable schools or institutes versus those that are more interested in show than the actual training of its students. Below are a few things to look out for:
Watch out for these warning signs!
Some things just raise a red flag and should make you think twice about the credibility of a school’s training program. For instance:
- When they have instructors who aren’t licensed and practicing electricians
There’s a reason why an electrician needs to go through an apprenticeship program where they work closely with licensed electricians for a time. This is because some things about the job of an electrician can only be learned on-site and under the actual working conditions required of an electrician. If you find your “hands-on” training being conducted, instead, under controlled conditions under the classroom setting, and by a person who only moonlights as an electrician instructor, consider yourself officially cheated. You are being cheated out of the precious knowledge and experience you could be learning from an actual licensed electrician instead, and one who could truly be a genuine mentor to you.
Not all courses are the same, and this can also translate into how quickly you finish the training. Typically, a diploma or certificate course will go as long as a year, while a degree program will be for about two years. Apprenticeship programs, on the other hand, where some classroom training may be done under the supervision of a seasoned electrician, may last for about four to five years.
It may seem simple: get the shortest available program to get licensed as soon as possible. But even when you have finished a certification program of a year, getting a formal degree is still a good idea. In fact, continuing education as an electrician, when you are sure that this is truly the career for you, is a very good idea. Then again, while the requirements vary by state, as a general rule, a period of apprenticeship duly served under a seasoned electrician is a requirement for getting a valid license. This means that it might take them as long as 4 to five years of actual hands-on training and experience to qualify to be a licensed electrician.
Expanding your Horizons
Most Stamford electricians agree that as soon as you start working as an electrician, it becomes pretty obvious that a good grounding and experience in other fields is also helpful. In fact, many electricians have been known to go back to school for training in related subjects, such as construction, alternative energy solutions such as solar photovoltaic installation, wind turbine technology, elevator installation and repair, heating and air conditioning technology, and sometimes even business and marketing skills and training.
So once you have made up your mind to enter into the world of an electrician, you might want to give some thought as to what specific aspect of being an electrician you want to be: linemen, residential, commercial, or industrial electrician. Then as you look at training institutes, look for those that offer training and apprenticeship programs that cover the specific subjects that you will need once you start practicing as an electrician.