How Long Does it Take to Become an Electrician?
If you’re thinking about a career in the electrical industry, you’re making a smart choice. The field is projected to add more than 800,000 jobs across the country by 2026, and median hourly pay rates averaged more than $25/hour last year (in some parts of the country, that rate was $30/hour or better*). One of the first questions you might have, though, is how long does it take to become an electrician – and for that, Lincoln Tech has the answer.
A training program in Electrical and Renewable Energy Technology, or Electrical and Electronic Systems Technology, will take roughly one year to complete**. Both qualify you to take the next step on the road to becoming an electrician: obtaining an apprenticeship. As an apprentice, you’ll build hands-on experience working side-by-side with licensed practicing electricians. You’ll also have the opportunity to prepare for state-specific licensing exams, and you’ll learn what “life on the job” is like for professional electricians. Apprenticeships are paid and last approximately 4-6 years, depending on your location. Many states, including Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and more than 20 others, have also instituted “prevailing wage laws” that protect apprentice pay rates by ensuring they adhere to local IBEW guidelines.
How long it takes to become an electrician depends on your goals
At the start of your career preparation, you’ll want to set your priorities and decide how much time you can commit to hands-on training. A daytime training program may be completed in as little as one year. If you want to keep your day job or have other daytime commitments, evening class options are also available but may add 3-6 months to your training program.
There’s also the question of whether to choose a Certificate program, or increase your earning potential with an Associate Degree. The Service Management program options, for example, at Lincoln Tech campuses in Columbia, MD, Indianapolis, IN, Marietta, GA, and Melrose Park, IL award graduates an Associate of Applied Science Degree, which can translate to more career opportunities and better wages when you enter the workforce. These degree programs take about one additional year to complete, but the payoff can be well worth it down the road.
The time it takes to become an electrician will be worth the investment
Once earned, your Electrician credentials can help you pursue a career anywhere in the country – including states such as California, Texas, New York, and Florida, which are all projected to need more than 5,000 electricians per year*. Electricians are also in demand across New England, and in states like Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Outside of Hawaii, the highest average electrician pay rates can be found in Washington, D.C. and Illinois – and you’ll find Lincoln Tech campuses conveniently located in both regions to help you train and connect with hiring managers.
A career in the electrical industry can be rewarding, exciting, and satisfying – but it doesn’t happen overnight. How long it takes to become an electrician depends on many factors, but in the end, you’ll be happy you chose this career path.
* * Career growth projections can be found at careeronestop.org for the years 2016-2026. Ranks reflect comparisons among 48 continental U.S. states. Salary information is based on median salary information collected for the year 2017. Data is current as of September 30, 2018. The average starting pay rate nationwide was $15.47/hour.
** Time to completion depends on location and schedule selected.