The electrical field is an industry that relies on on-the-job training for its members to receive their working skill set. Although electricians still need to study from textbooks and benefit from a formal classroom setting, the foundation of their work knowledge comes from working side-by-side with a seasoned, licensed professional.
The average annual salary for an apprentice electrician is $27,532, according to CareerBuilder.com. The salary range for apprentice electricians is between $21,915 and $36,642. According to Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College in Utah, you can expect an average salary of $41,000 once you're a licensed electrician.
As an apprentice electrician, you perform the same activities as a full-fledged electrician; however, all of your work is supervised and checked by a mentor. For new construction, you may be required to read blueprints to determine where conduits need to be placed inside walls; for existing structures, you may upgrade electrical panels or repair faulty switches and outlets.
A high school diploma plus an apprentice certificate acquired by taking classes at a trade school are necessary. Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College, for example, offers an apprentice program that takes approximately four years to complete. It includes 810 hours of formal classroom lessons and 8,000 hours of on-the-job apprentice work.
To keep your professional edge, join a professional association. The National Electrical Contractors Association (necanet.org) works to keep electrical contractors working in the construction industry educated on current trends in the field, such as safety and labor relations. It also publishes "Electrical Contractor" magazine.
The Independent Electrical Contractors (ieci.org) trade association operates in a similar fashion. The organization caters to the self-employed and small electrical businesses. In addition to offering a magazine, "Insights," and safety information to members, the association offers two- and four-year apprentice programs that can allow you to earn while you learn.