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#32963 01/09/04 09:21 PM
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 8
salewit Offline OP
Junior Member
I've spent about the past 20 years of my life working with electricity and I love it. I've recently made the decision to become a full-fledged licensed electrician. The question I have, is how?

I contacted my local IBEW for their apprentice training program and they aren't accepting any applications at all and there is no known time when they will be. What are my other options? When I search for "electrician" I see a few online schools, but I can't figure out what I get from them at the end of the course. Also, their courses are less than a year while the IBEW course is 5 years. Doesn't sound right.

Any input whatsoever would be very much appreciated.

Sam Lewit

Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 36
Welcome to the site,

It wasn't long ago that I posted the same question. I am currently enrolled in a technical college. I attend 4 days a week for about a year and a half and will walk away with the abilitie to test into the journeymans license at that time. I have already talked to a few employers about jobs, but I will wait untill I recieve enough training to make the salarie that I need. With the expieriance, you should be able to find a non-union shop to start your appreniship.

Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 8
salewit Offline OP
Junior Member
>With the expieriance, you should be able to
>find a non-union shop to start your

Thanks for the reply. Can you elaborate on what this means? What *is* an apprentiship? I can simply go to any employer and ask them if they have a program? Sorry, I'm just confused about the concept.

My crude understanding with the IBEW program is that they would team me up with someone (teacher?) in a real-life workplace, and then go to school at night. If I hook up with any old employer, where does the schooling come in? How do I get certified/licensed?

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 156
Try to do a search for IEC. Independent Electrical Contractors. Not sure what the state to state coverage is since the are "Open" shop only but they have some good classes depending on the local instructors.

Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,432
Likes: 3
Welcome to ECN, mate!. [Linked Image]
An apprenticeship is a period of training that you undertake with a licenced Electrician.
This can last up to 4 years or so forth.
Also at the same time you will be required to do Night classes in Theory and the Basics of the Trade.
Sorry I can't help you any further than that on the US apprenticeships, but after doing 2 myself, I am fully aware of what can go on during an apprenticeship.
Hope that this helps, if not, post away!. [Linked Image]
Also, what part of the US do you come from?.
[Message edited to add last question]

[This message has been edited by Trumpy (edited 01-09-2004).]

Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 8
salewit Offline OP
Junior Member
Thanks. I'm in the San Francisco Bay Area. Oakland to be exact.

Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 642
To become a licensed electrician in most states/cities, you have to show 4 years work experience as an apprentice. This may be measured in one of several ways. # of months employment, or # of hours worked, or some other way of showing your work experience. You may also need to show some formal training. The IBEW is only one of the electrical training possibilities. The ABC (Association of Building Contractors) may have a course in your area. Another possibility is a community or JR college. There is also several self study classes and books you can buy.
It does not matter which you choose provided you are willing to study hard.
Any electrician who cares in this field has to study regulary just to keep up with the many changes and new products that come out all the time.
Find a electrical contractor to employ you and train you. Do not expect to get a journeymans wage until 1) you can do all the work, and 2) you are able to take and pass the test given by the AHJ (Authority having jurisdiction) in your area.
Good Luck

Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 91
back in 1985 i was hired on as a helper. the lucky ones were given the opportunity to become indentured apprentices with abc school. i had my employer sign me up and paid for it myself. im not sure but you may want to check with abc or neca training courses and see if you can sign up for class without being sponsored by an electrical contractor.

Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,432
Likes: 3
Hey salewit,
I wish you the best of luck with your endeavour to become an Electrician.
Please by all means, if you get stuck on some point of theory or a bit of practical skills, give us guys here a yell, I reckon there is about 3 million years collective experience here and you are more than welcome to tap into it!.
Be my guest. [Linked Image]

Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,143
[apologies in advance - work computr is acting up, so post will be in several phases]

Salewit - welcome to the site.

While the education and experience are great, the IBEW wasn't really an option for me - call it a conflict of opinions. (Not anti-union at all - I've been in different unions since I was 17. Just not IBEW) And if your local is saying that they have no openings in their Apprenticeship training, your area must be hard up for work.

As nesparky already mentioned, most communities do have a four year experience (provable by paystubs or affadavit) requirement. Check with your AHJ, however, as many have an "or comparable / or equivalent" clause.

Our town does - the Ordinance allows holders of DD-214's with residential electrician training to challenge the test. (due to the navy base being close, and the CBU (seaBees) presence). It also allows IBEW cardholders to challenge, to ge their own tickets.

I was allowed to challenge with several years of helper/apprentice work, (even p/t), and a diploma from a correspondence school. It all comes down to how you can read the National (and City) Electrical Codes... and some common sense.

If your AHJ allows an equivalant, check out . It's a decent program, and it's good background on theory. There are others out there also.

Of course, I must state for the record, that NO BOOK LEARNIN' CAN BEAT HANDS ON EXPERIENCE. Not that I'm against education, but explaining how to perform a back-to-back bend and actually doing it are two different animals. Getting a job (part or full time) as a helper / apprentice is the way to get your foot in.

Good luck!

[This message has been edited by DougW (edited 01-10-2004).]

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