What is an Electrician Apprentice?
An electrician apprentice is someone who works under a licensed electrician in order to learn the trade through first-hand experience. Most states require aspiring electricians to take a formal course through a trade school or technical college. In some instances, students may become an electrician’s apprentice during school as part of their training. Other times, a license may be obtained in school, then followed by a required apprenticeship before the electrician can work on his own.
If you choose to begin your career as an electrician as an apprentice, you will either work in an apprenticeship program of a union or in a non-union program.
Local Union Apprenticeships
The most common way to enter an apprenticeship program is through a local union. Unions have in-house programs for apprenticeships. Entering the industry in this way will require little effort since you do not have to find a licensed electrician that is willing to take on an apprentice.
Apprenticeships through union offer an in-house classroom component as well. A major benefit to this is that apprentices don’t have to travel to a different location, like a community college, to complete their required coursework.
Your apprenticeship program or union will have a specific list of requirements you will have to meet. Although it is not a complete and all-inclusive list, the most common requirements you’ll have to meet prior to, and after applying for admission into a local union apprenticeship include:
- 18 Years of Age (some programs start earlier)
- High School Graduate or GED Equivalent Certification
- Valid Driver’s License
- Social Security Card
- Provide Reliable Transportation
- Take an Aptitude Test
- Physically Able To Perform Daily Electrical Tasks
- Take and Pass a Drug Test
- Personal Interview
Apprenticeship with a Licensed Electrician
With this option, you personally take on the task of finding an electrician that is willing to take you on as an apprentice. Although not as common as going through a union, this method may give you a better opportunity of being placed in an apprenticeship for that same reason.
By taking this route, perseverance (and some legwork) is important. Make many copies of your resume and visit all electricians in your area to hand to them. They may not be hiring an apprentice, but you can still tell them to keep your resume on file, as they may be hiring soon.
Once the apprentice time period is completed and you meet the experience and education, you can advance to the next professional level.