Hi, I've been working for a small remodelling company for last couple years. The company does pretty much anything that our clients want. So I know how to install light fixtures, change or install switches or outlets and run wires, even though I'm not an electrician. But, of course I have a pretty strong suspicion that it's illegal to even change a switch in your own home unless you are a licensed ellectrician, right? I like electrical work, but I would like to become a licensed electrician. Besides I'm tired of drywall, sanding and some other non-electrical stuff that we do. I would be greatful if somebofy helped me figure out how one becomes a licensed electrician. I know that each state (I live in D.C.) has some government office that gives those licenses. What I haven't been able to figure out is if I can learn everything in theory by myself and take the exam or if I need some formal education (and training)?
Get ready to put in 4 or 5 years of working for a licensed contractor, and at the same time giving up most of your evenings, to attend class, also be prepared for what may be a pay decrease, while you are learning, if you are willing to put in the time it can be done.
#61021 - 01/15/0603:21 AMRe: i want to be an electrician
savok, Thanks for coming to us. And welcome to ECN. As LK said, there is no easy road to being an Electrician. You have to do the time and the schooling (Nite Classes). Believe me mate, I come from New Zealand and there are no shortcuts to a Trade like ours. I did 10,000 hours as an Electrical Apprentice with the PoCo here, later on I lost about 3,000 hours off of my Line Mechanics Appprenticeship. It's a hard road to hoe mate, but, there is light at the end of the tunnel, believe me. At the end of your exams and your time, when you can truly say "I'm a licenced Electrician" That is when it kicks in. I wish you the best of luck.
#61022 - 01/16/0611:02 AMRe: i want to be an electrician
Education is the key, I had an instructor that gave me some wise advice. "Education is the difference between and installer and an electrician" Anyone can be an installer, education and experience plus strict adheriance to code and safe electrical pratices are what electricians are made of. My education consisted of 4 years of night classes at a local college and 8000 hrs. OJT with an electrical contractor and I still consider myself somewhat wet behind the ears. NEVER BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS OR ASK FOR HELP.
#61024 - 01/17/0608:45 PMRe: i want to be an electrician
I'm sure that there's more to learn about electricity than I can imagine now and I would agree that it's important to know what is required of an electrician to know when one is in that busssiness, but... I am also interested in financial aspect here. If all the electrical work one does as a contractor consists of litlle more than installing new outlets and ceiling fans, then spending 4/5 years in school and getting paid less all that time seems almost as a waste of time. I still would prefer to be an electrician instead of "just installer" as Mshaw said, but where is the financial incentive?
#61025 - 01/17/0609:44 PMRe: i want to be an electrician
Don't get too upset just yet. The first step is to check the laws of your local jurisdiction to find out what is required. Here in Tennessee, the state issues a Limited Licensed Electrician license that covers work up to $25,000 anywhere outside of the major cities that have their own codes enforcement offices. (The major cities require you to pass their licensing exam unless you hold a full state Electrical Contractors license.) I probably had about the same amount of experience as you, and passed the exam given by Experior (Thomson Prometric) covering a limited amount of the NEC after only 2 weeks of study. There is no experience requirement for this license.
With a little more experience (generally 3 years) one can then apply for a full state Electrical Contractor's license (master electrician). I studied for an additional two weeks and passed this exam given by Experior on the entire NEC. 70% of the exam is just a matter of finding the answers in the code. If you get familiar with the NEC and can find stuff fairly quickly, AND you are pretty good at taking exams, then you should be able to pass. You then have to pass the Business and Law exam - which is also open book. I studied for 24 hours on this and passed.
What it really boils down to is your local requirements and your ability to learn and pass tests. However, if you succeed in getting your license, just remember one thing - there is a HUGE difference between learning the "book" stuff and actually having experience. Take it slow, know and respect your limits, and seek qualified help and advice if you are the least bit unsure of what you are doing.