Electrician Training in Pennsylvania: Start Your Professional Journey

Electrician Training in Pennsylvania

Are you looking for electrician training in Pennsylvania? Do you want to live a good life and retire comfortably? If so you are in the right place!

As an electrician not only will you be able to bid for multimillion-dollar contracts, you will also have an assured salary of as high as $88,130. If you become an independent electrical contractor, you become the CEO of your life. You employ people to work for you while you spend time with your family and friends doing whatever you like. 

The demand for electricians is soaring with the Bureau of Labour statistics projecting that this field will grow by more than 10% by the year 2028, creating job opportunities for more than 74,100 electricians. To the laymen out there, let me explain why this is good for you. The law of demand and supply dictates that if the demand is higher than supply, then the price will increase.  

This means, as an electrician you will drive the good cars in life and eat with a silver spoon. To start your electrical journey pick from the following menu or continue reading through this entire article.

1. Gaining the Technical Experience Required to Became a Journeyman

Before you become a journeyman, you must work for it. On average, it will take you 4,000 to 6,120 job training hours to qualify. You will also be required to attend classes for a minimum of 144 hours. In America, electrician training in Pennsylvania will require you to pass a licensing exam to prove that you can now get the coveted title of a ‘Journeyman.’

There are three ways on how to get the required technical expertise. These are;

  • Through a Vocational technical school
  • Through a Union Apprenticeship
  • Through a Non-Union Apprenticeship

Through a vocational-technical school

A vocational training school will make it possible for you to get a comprehensive and thorough lab-based education that will make you competitive in the job market. If you prefer more practical sessions, then do not worry as some jurisdictions and schools allow you to substitute formal education to job experience after two years of formal education.

Union Apprenticeship

As a result of a combined effort by the National Electrical Contractors Association {NECA} and the Brotherhood of Electrical workers {IBEW}, you can be placed with a union employer while undertaking your electrical training in Pennsylvania. This is made possible by the two bodies that introduced the Electrical Training Alliance Program.

If you join this program, you will work as an apprentice for some time until you meet your journeyman licensing requirements based on your respective jurisdiction. You must have been a member of the Brotherhood electrical Workers to join this program.

Non-union Apprenticeship

These kinds of programs are also be referred to as Merit shops or open shops. It is based on the philosophy that electrician schooling in Pennsylvania should be financially rewarding. What this means is that if the employees give their all to the “shop” then the shop will be successful and the benefits should trickle down to the employees such as increased wages, a raise and other work benefits.

You might get confused as to which type of apprenticeship to choose from between a non-union and a union apprenticeship.  It is our opinion that this should be your personal choice but before you decide on which is best for you, you should ensure that you weigh the benefits and disadvantages of them all. 

Tip: Weigh the benefits that you will enjoy if you are in a union such as collective bargaining that will increase your wages. At the same time, the union has membership fees that may erode this gain.

As a Non-Union member, you will get trainee placement through the {ABC} Associated Builders and Contractors organization and the independent Electrical Contractors organization {IEC}. These two organizations have tentacles that spread throughout the United States making it easy to be linked with non-union contractors.

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2. Sitting a Journeyman Exam

Only when you have completed your on-the-job training and classroom education based on your respective jurisdiction, can you apply to become a Journeyman. To register for a journeyman Electrician license the following steps must be followed;

  • Have proof to show that you have completed the required on-the-job training hours
  • Have proof that you have completed your classroom education 
  • Apply for a Journeyman exam with your government regulatory agency or state 
  • Identify a third-party testing company
  • Register with the third-party testing company

Do not feel threatened by this exam as it is a multiple-choice exam and will only take 4 hours. To pass the exam and get the coveted title of a Journeyman, you must ensure you get at least a 70% score.  An electrician school in Pennsylvania will focus on at least 20 key areas that are evaluated. This is a good thing as you will only be tested on areas you have covered in classwork.

Some of the subjects to be evaluated are on the following;

  • Wiring and protection
  • Wiring methods and materials
  • Feeder circuits
  • General knowledge on electrical components and concepts
  • Boxes and Raceways
  • Electrical equipment 
  • Circuits and branch conductors
  • Communication systems 
  • Special conditions
  • Special occupancies
  • Overcurrent protection
  • Bonding and grounding
  • Reading blueprints and plans
  • Generators and Motors
  • Solar power and photovoltaic
  • Control devices
  • Concepts on electrical safety
  • Low voltage electrical systems
  • Local, state and federal safety standards
  • Local, state and federal electrical code
  • National electrical code

Once you have successfully attained the 70% pass mark you are awarded a journeyman license that will make it possible for you to work as an electrician without supervision. Your job will be to install wires, repair electrical equipment and reading commercial blueprints. 

Though you have a Journeyman license, your electrical training in Pennsylvania does not end here. This is because you will be indirectly supervised by a master electrician who will give you a lending hand where you are stuck. 

Note: Make sure always to renew your journeyman license periodically.

3. Electrician Training in Pennsylvania After Attaining a Journeyman License 

You can expect that your training never ends especially if you want to move up the ladder and became a master electrician. To become a master electrician, you must acquire years of experience which will vary depending on the regulatory agency in your state.

In the process of gaining experience to become a master electrician, you can decide to get a specialty license which will give you a competitive edge in the job market. There are numerous specialty licenses to choose from such as;

  • Electrical sign license
  • Escalator license
  • Outside wireman license
  • Maintenance electrician license
  • Solar power license
  • Air conditions, refrigeration and heating license
  • Low voltage license
  • Commercial/residential license

Why Should you Become a Master Electrician?

Apart from the increased pay that will translate to better living standards here are other top five reasons your electrician training in Pennsylvania should be advanced;

  • You get better pay and more significant contracts
  • You can work independently with little or no supervision
  • You will be able to hire electricians to work on your projects
  • You will be in charge of lucrative projects 

The following process is required to become a master electrician;

  • Apply for the license through your local government body
  • Demonstrate that you are a Journeyman with at least 2-8 years of experience, depending on your jurisdiction. 
  • You must have letters of reference from your past clients 
  • You must prove that you are reputable and trustworthy by providing letters of reference
  • Sit for your master electrician exam through a third-party testing company or an authorized agency.

A master electrician exam is not very different from your journeyman exam. This is because it will mainly focus on advanced theories of what you studied when preparing for your journeyman license. The pass mark is 70% and the questions are multiple-choice questions. 

After passing your exam, you will be issued with a master electrician license that should be renewed over a period of time, depending on your jurisdiction. Though you are now a master electrician your training continues because you are not yet an independent contractor.

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4. Becoming an Independent Electrical Contractor

It is at this level where you can become a global entrepreneur with the ability to bid for multi-million dollar electrical projects. Apart from the perks that come with attaining this level of superiority. You can hire electricians, work without supervision {either directly or indirectly} and operate your own business. After opening a business, you can bid for government contracts both in the private and public sectors. 

Though most jurisdictions will give you a general independent electrical contractor license, some will require you to get specific licenses. These licenses are;

  • Residential license
  • Maintenance license
  • Dollar-bid license {This license shows the value of a contract you are authorized to bid}

 To qualify for these licenses, you are required to fulfill the following requirements;

  • Apply for an independent electrical contractor license
  • Demonstrate that you have the required Journeymen and master electrician work experiences based on your jurisdiction.
  • Have a bond of $4,000 – $15,000 
  • Have a net worth of at least $5,000
  • Have four types of insurance cover such as general liability cover of $300,000, property damage cover of $100,000, body injury cover of $300,000, and work cover for each employee.

At this level, it is expected that your electrical training in Pennsylvania has advanced from basic electrical knowledge to advanced concepts. That is why the independent contractor exam has different evaluation criteria when compared to a master’s exam. This exam will evaluate your knowledge on the following;

  • Lien and tax laws
  • How to bid 
  • How make estimates
  • Managing startup companies
  • Dispute resolution
  • State regulations
  • Troubleshooting and maintenance

Note: A third party testing company can administer the exam. 

Once you get this license the sky is the limit!

5. Expected Electrician Salary

Electricians in Pennsylvania are expected to be the biggest beneficiaries in terms of salary increase due to shortages of skilled personnel. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labour and industry, Pennsylvania requires at least 3,200 more electricians by the year 2024. Before then, expect electrician salaries of as high as $88,130 a year.

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Salaries of Specialty Electricians in Pennsylvania   

Different electricians have different salaries depending on their experience and specialty. The highly educated electricians tend to earn the most.

Power line installers and Repairers

As a power line installer and repairer, expect to earn a high of $115,000. This salary range only applies to highly skilled electricians with years of work experience.  In Altoona, expect to earn around $68,610 - $88,000. Other areas to work as a power line and repair electrician are Harrisburg-Carlisle, where you earn an average of $73,000 - $92,340 and Reading PA, where you earn an average of $72,000 – $97,000.

Electronics Repairer Salary

As an electronic repairer, expect to earn around $46,000 – $93,000. According to research, some states are more lucrative than others due to the demand and supply law. For example, you will earn around $72,000 – $93,000 in Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington but earn $68,000 – $79,000 in Montgomery County-Bucks County-Chester County. Other areas include;

  • York-Hanover: $68,000 – $90,000
  • Pittsburgh: $48,000 – $83,000

Motor Vehicle Electronic Installers and Repairer

Some of the lucrative areas to work as a motor vehicle electronic Installer is;

  • Pittsburg: $29,000 – $47,000 annual salary
  • Erie: $45,000 – $50,000 annual salary
  • Harrisburg-Carlisle: $29,000 – $38,000 annual salary
  • Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington: $37,500 – $92,900

Fire Alarm and System Installers

We have highlighted the most lucrative areas in Pennsylvania to work as a fire and alarm system installer. The areas are;

  • Harrisburg-Carlisle: $44,000 – $56,000
  • Allentown: $44,000 – $63,000
  • Lancaster: $43,000 – $62,000
  • Reading: $48,000 – $73,000
  • York-Hanover: $30,000 – $50,550

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