Electrician Degree Programs and Career Options
To become an electrician requires in-class instruction and work experience. Associate's degree programs for electricians are available, but a certain number of work experience hours is necessary to qualify for the mandatory licensing examination.
Associate's Degree for Electricians
Community and technical colleges offer 2-year electrician degree programs for students interested in becoming electricians. Students learn the installation, repair and maintenance processes of electrical systems. The curriculum covers the National Electric Code, which is necessary to pass the electrician-licensing exam. Residential, commercial and industrial electrical settings are also covered.
If an aspiring electrician wants to earn an associate degree as part of his or her training, there are two options. He or she may earn an associate degree for electricians first, then enter an apprenticeship. The other option is to find a community college that offers an associate degree within an apprenticeship. Admission to apprenticeships is dependent on the state.
Class lectures offer technical knowledge and theory. In order to earn an associate degree, students must also complete general education courses. Common course subjects are:
- Analyzing electrical systems
- Circuits and wiring
- Cost estimations
- Electrical code and theory
- Installation planning
- Motor and power controls
- Preventing accidents
- Reading blueprints
- Transformers and lighting
Popular Career Options
Once an electrician has completed training and required supervised work hours and obtained his or her license, there are many career paths that he or she may follow. Some careers may require additional training and licensure. They include:
- Electrical contractor
- Inspector (code compliance)
- Estimators (electrical projects or electrical construction)
- Project managers
- Electrical serviceperson
- Wiremen (commercial or residential)
Continuing Education and Licensing Information
Graduates of an associate degree program need to complete 8,000 hours (approximately 4 years) working as an electrician supervised by a licensed journeyman electrician. This can be accomplished by either finding a licensed electrician to work under or by entering an apprenticeship. Once training and work experience hours are completed, one may apply for a license.
Electrician licensure is awarded at the state level. Exact requirements vary by location. Students' knowledge of local electric and building codes, the National Electrical Code and electrical theory are tested.
Continuing education coursework must be completed every few years according to the state regulations.
A licensed electrician may become an electrical contractor, which requires additional work experience (total of seven years) or an electrical engineering bachelor's degree.
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