Have you decided that being an electrician is the career path for you? The next step you have to take is to enroll in a training or degree program for electricians.
Vocational training courses for electricians can last for about a year, while degree programs for electricians in colleges can be for about two years. Despite this significant time difference, there are required courses that an aspiring electrician is expected to take, whether you have elected to take the path of certification, degree, or apprenticeship programs.
Some of the common courses that are covered in all the different training or degree programs for electricians include:
- Electricity Fundamentals
A basic introduction to electricity, how it works, the history, and how electricity is generated and harnessed to provide power to homes, buildings and other infrastructures in the modern world.
- Principles of DC/AC electricity
The basic electrical theory covers DC circuitry or one-directional flow of circuitry, and AC, that can provide useful insights into proper wiring, troubleshooting, power surges, and other practical methods that work on a good foundational familiarity with basic electrical theories.
- National Electrical Code
This course covers national regulations on safety and building codes, as well as the relevant content of the National Electrical Code, which may cover calculations, code standards, rules and regulations, safety regulations and requirements that electricians need to adhere to during their work.
- Electrical Safety
Basic to any electrical work, whether as linemen or working with electrical installations and repair in residential homes, commercial or industrial buildings, including the installation and repair of electrical equipment and furniture, is an adherence to basic safety protocols when it comes to electrical work.
- Cabling and Wiring
This may cover wiring basics, grounding techniques, safety procedures, panel board installations and load calculations.
- Electrical System and design
One of the most basic tasks that electricians will be required to do are the installation of electrical systems, which would necessarily include electrical system designs, the ability to read blueprints,
- Trigonometry and algebra
Electricians are often required to make quick calculations, even while out on the field, using standards equations that may include factors such as frequency, voltage, phase and other electrical variables, in addition to weight, mass, gravity, and other variables that are relevant in construction and building codes and standards.
- Magnetic and electric fields
This studies the unique interaction of magnetic and electrical fields and how it may impact electrical safety protocols, electrical supply, and electrical distribution.
Other Courses relevant to electricians
To round off on electrician skills, a wide range of interesting and relevant courses may also be offered, which includes: course lessons on building inspection and code standards and possible violations, construction, carpentry, drywall installations, masonry, house painting, home equipment and furnishings, alternative energy solutions, pipefitting, plumbing, and property maintenance.
While a beginning electrician is not required to have any qualifications other than a high school degree and be of age (or eighteen years old), the pursuit of a career as an electrician certainly doesn’t stop at a single vocational course. Apprenticeship programs, for instance, cover on-the-job training for a successive number of years, and which may also include some classroom learning at the same time. Four years is more than a reasonable amount of time to serve as apprentices, given the multifaceted work that electricians do. Electrical systems that are installed and fitted into various infrastructure are expected to interact with all the different components of a building, including its construction, the various electrical equipment in that building such as heating, lighting, air conditioning, and alarm systems, backup generators and power supplies, among others. Not all of these things can be covered in a classroom program, and certainly not in as limited a time as a year to two years. It takes actual training on the job for years to give aspiring electricians a solid grasp and grounding in the work that they are expected to render once they become licensed electricians themselves.
For those who have managed to finish a certification or degree program and find that this is a field that they want to build a long-term career in, and particularly for those who wish to work their way up to supervisory or managerial positions, experts recommend getting an associate’s degree.
But given the continuing changes, new technologies and new developments that directly impact the work of electricians, it is advisable to pursue continuing education and training so that one can stay on top of developments in the industry. There are many ways in which one can pursue continuing training and education, and aside from enrollment in training programs, an electrician can also participate in organizational chapters that offer its members relevant training in new developments in the field. In fact, membership in organizational chapters is a great way to discover opportunities or breaks in the industry, as well as get support or professional backing in terms of training and education needed to explore these new opportunities. A great point to illustrate this is how electrician organizations are now empowering their members to learn and train in alternative energy sources.