Electrician Degree Programs and Career Options
Learn about associate's degree and apprenticeship programs that prepare students to become licensed electricians. Find out about state licensure and continuing education requirements for electricians.
Electricians are licensed by the state in which they work. Licensure requirements include completing in-class instruction and work experience. Associate's degree programs for electricians cover the in-class instruction, and many of these programs are associated with apprenticeship programs that provide aspiring electricians with work experience. Community and technical colleges offer these 2-year electrician degree programs in which 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.
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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