How to Become a Residential Electrician


Residential electricians install, maintain and repair electrical systems in residential homes. The kind of work residential electricians perform ranges from replacing old fuse boxes to installing ceiling fans. The most common path to becoming a residential electrician involves either graduating from a technical school or completing an apprenticeship program. Most electricians learn the skills of the trade by completing apprenticeships. In addition, many states require electricians to be licensed. The licensing process involves passing exams that test your knowledge of the electrician’s trade.

  • Get a high school diploma. Take courses such as algebra, geometry and mechanical drawing. Consider taking business, entrepreneurship and/or accounting classes if you anticipate working for yourself. Acquire a general equivalency diploma (GED) if you do not graduate from high school.

  • Graduate from a training or vocational program. Locate a local training or vocational school that offers electrician courses. Search for electrician training schools in your state by visiting the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and/or the Independent Electrical Contractors Association (IECA) websites. Find employment by conducting a job search on the Construction Job Network website after graduating from a vocational or training program. You will likely be hired as a helper who assists a licensed electrician.

  • Complete an apprenticeship program. Enroll in a local apprenticeship program. Visit the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) and/or the IECA websites and locate local chapters of these organizations that offer apprenticeship programs. Apprenticeship programs combine 144 hours of classroom instruction with 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training. The apprenticeship programs generally last for 4 years.

  • Obtain a license. Most states require electricians to be licensed. Keep in mind that the license requirements vary from state to state. Visit the National Electrical Installation Standards (NEIS) website for an outline of license requirements for your State. Obtaining license typically involves passing exams that test your knowledge of the National Electrical Code and others subjects related to the field.

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