Electrical apprenticeships can take up to 5 years or longer. In many cases, students complete all requirements and qualify to write the final exam in as little as 3 or 4 years.
For specialized licenses, it can take much longer. Specialized electricians have to learn all of the general electrical standards, plus anything else related to their specialized field.
To qualify for the program, there are a few requirements you must meet:
Once you successfully complete your electrical apprenticeship and write the final electrician’s exam, you will be able to work as a journeyman electrician, unsupervised.
Some jurisdictions have their own specialized exams, so in addition to the standard exam, there may be some localized exams you will have to pass.
This is just for general electricians. Specialized fields, such as a substation electrician, or an engineering electrician, you will need more training and additional exams will be required.
When you look at all of the opportunities and benefits of becoming an electrician – the question should be – Why would you not want to be an electrician?
And don’t worry about over-saturation. There is always room for more highly qualified, trained electricians.
Before formal education was fully developed, or invented at all, young people learned by example. If you wanted to be a dressmaker, you apprenticed with an experienced dressmaker.
This was true with every single trade. If you just wanted to make dresses for yourself and your family, you learned from your mother. But, to make a career out of it, you needed to work under a master for several years.
This was then, and still is today, called an apprenticeship. As the education system developed, more people started learning in structured academic institutions. But, many people could not afford to go to school, so they would become an apprentice, instead.
These days there are some careers where you are no longer allowed – or taken seriously if you do – to train as an apprentice.
A lawyer is a good example. Without many years in law school, finding work as a lawyer, regardless of how many years you worked as a clerk, could be challenging.
Doctors are similar, but not quite. You need the schooling, but you also have to work as an intern (hands on training) for many years. This is closer to what electrical apprenticeships are like. You can no longer just work under the supervision of a master – you also need the practical, in-class training.
Keep in mind, though, if you do get hands-on experience working with a master electrician, all of your classroom training will be a breeze, and electrical apprenticeships may be cut a bit shorter.
Instead of being an apprentice for 5 years, you could easily qualify to write your final exam much sooner.