How Hard Is It to Become an Electrician?

Becoming an electrician is a rewarding career, but one that takes time and commitment to master. How long it takes to become an electrician comes up often among those who are considering a change in careers. For some people, the answer may be as little as 18 months, while for others, it could take years.

Many people want to know how long it takes to become an electrician. It is a relatively short period of about 2-3 years to get your journeyman’s license and 4-5 years for your master’s license. The apprenticeship process can take anywhere from 3-4 years, depending on the program you choose, but this varies by state and employer, so be sure to do your research!

The Road to Becoming an Electrician

The process is a lot of work, and you have several options. You can learn the trade on your own or at an apprenticeship program, but both require many hours of training and passing tests to earn certification as a journeyman electrician. That takes a lot of work, and you’ve got a couple of different options:​

  • You can become an electrician helper, which is the perfect way to get your foot in the door. A helper does menial tasks: he or she digs ditches, retrieves tools and parts from a site for other workers on-site while also doing plenty of busy work themselves. This position will teach you some things about being an apprentice, but it’s not going to be glamorous in any sense of that word; helpers are never promoted, so this job doesn’t have much security either–but at least you’ll be making money! The good news here is if there’s one thing helping people do well as apprenticeships (and even after), it’s networking with employers who see potential—a part-time gig like this could lead to something.
  • You can go to an electrician school, graduate with a diploma or certificate, and be hired as an electrician’s assistant. The pay is better than before because of having the education you need to take on an apprenticeship program, which will help tremendously if that’s what you’re looking into after finishing their schooling.
  • A rewarding career in the electrical field is waiting for you. You can take your first steps by applying to an apprenticeship as part of IBEW or IEC, two reputable organizations that provide a structured path from apprentice to journeyman electrician. But before starting on this exciting new chapter, it’s essential not only to study and practice but also to be ready for interviews with both these associations so they can make sure you’re prepared enough (and skilled). The entrance exam will challenge even experienced candidates like yourself – luckily, there are plenty of resources out there! Once chosen into one of these programs, though, don’t get too comfortable; instead, use those skills learned early on while getting paid at every step along the way.

The commonality between all these options is that you’ll eventually need to get an apprenticeship to become a journeyman electrician. 

So why not only enter an apprenticeship program through IBEW or IEC or ABC right off the bat? There are a couple of reasons: space is limited, and the entrance exam can be challenging.

Many people don’t like taking on school debt if they don’t have any guarantees about their future job prospects, so for those who want more security in life, it’s worth considering getting into an apprentice position with one of these companies straight away!

Types Of Apprenticeship Programs

There are four different types of apprenticeship programs to consider, with the focus on specialization:

  • Outside lineman
  • Inside wireman
  • Telecommunication tech
  • Residential wireman

The time commitment for these apprenticeships varies drastically. Residential and installer technicians will spend about three years in their trade, while inside wiremen may take closer to five years before becoming a journeyman. 

And outside linemen can expect an average of 3-1/2 year apprenticeship before they are qualified as full members on the crew.

How long does it take to go to electrician school?

The best way to find a program that’s right for you is by asking questions about what kind of work environment the program prepares individuals for. 

Some programs are only meant to last few months. In contrast, others can be up to 18-24 months long and prepare people with all different skill sets depending on their job type – some may train students in residential electrical installation. Still, other places might focus on commercial or industrial settings. 

It becomes essential which school one attends: community colleges typically offer more affordable rates than trade schools at vocational/technical training centers do–and both types have plenty of opportunities available!

Electrician School: How much does it cost?

The cost of electrician training can be as low as $3,000 or less, depending on your location and the school. Vocational/technical schools may run you from $5,000 to upwards of $15k, while private schools with prices starting at around 5K-20K are also options.

When looking into schools, it’s crucial to ensure that the school is aligned with your goals and interests. This includes making sure they’re teaching what you want to learn (which may require research), whether or not they’ll give you a diploma/certificate of completion at graduation time, how much tuition will cost for each semester in addition to textbooks, etc. It also entails exploring if their classes are transferable- should something happen down the line like switching apprenticeships midway through training, then those credits won’t go wasted!

The Time Becoming an Electrician Will Be Worth It 

Once you have your Electrician credentials, there are a lot of employment opportunities. 

There’s always plenty of work in New England and across the country, too, mainly if you’re located on either coast or near an urban area where people need their power to keep going. You’ll find that Lincoln Tech campuses will be conveniently available wherever you go – so no worries about being stuck somewhere without any training!

It’s often said that there are no “overnight” success stories, and this is especially true for electricians. You’ll need to work hard to achieve your goals as a future electrical worker – but the result will be worth it!

In reality, becoming an electrician takes time. It depends on many factors like how long you’ve been working with electricity before going back to school, so make sure not only do you enjoy what you’re doing now but also prepare yourself enough by knowing everything about what those courses entail ahead of time.

About Blake Sutton

Blake has worked as an electrician for over 10 years, receiving his Journeyman Electrician license in 1998. Looking to take his professional electrical career further, in 2008 he received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (BSEE) from the University of Texas in Austin. Blake now works full time as an electrical engineer, specializing in power systems.