How to Become an Electrician

Electrician Nashville TN is great for people who prefer hands-on work and who have strong problem-solving skills. They can also choose to be self-employed, which means that they can set their own hours.


A high school diploma is required for electricians, and some attend trade schools to gain certification. Others join unions and begin apprenticeships.

Whether working in the construction industry, an electrical contractor or running your own business, there are various paths to becoming a qualified electrician. You can take a trade school course, secure an apprenticeship .

If you want to work as a licensed electrician, you will need to pass both written and practical exams. You will also need to have workers’ compensation, general liability and personal property insurance. If you’re interested in pursuing this career path, the best way to prepare is by completing an apprentice training program or earning a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering technology.

Many states require four or five years of on-the-job training to become a certified electrician. These apprenticeship programs are often sponsored by unions or other similar groups, and they allow apprentices to earn a living while learning the trade. The program will include classroom instruction on electrical theory, safety, reading blueprints and following electrical codes. Most programs also offer about 2,000 hours of paid training each year.

Electricians must be comfortable using a variety of tools, including wire strippers, screwdrivers, pliers and drills. They must also be physically able to stand for long periods of time and lift materials and equipment that weigh up to 50 pounds on a regular basis. They also need to have good color vision and be able to read and understand technical documents, such as blueprints and wiring diagrams.

During their apprenticeship, electricians will typically study the National Electrical Code (NEC) and earn an associate degree in electrical engineering technology or a certificate of completion in a relevant vocational program. Those who have an associate degree can often apply their academic credits toward an apprenticeship, which can shorten the time it takes to become a certified electrician and move closer to licensure. Many apprenticeships also offer opportunities for transitioning military members, displaced workers and justice-involved individuals.

Training Requirements

The first step to becoming an electrician is obtaining a high school diploma or GED certificate. Obtaining this will give you access to the various apprenticeship programs available. There are also many community colleges that offer associate degrees in electrical technology, or a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering technology. These programs are ideal for those wishing to pursue careers as electricians or electrical engineers. They typically include classes in advanced math, electronic circuits, electrical products, power distribution networks and industrial automation systems. In addition, many programs require students to complete internships in order to gain hands-on experience in the field.

Apprenticeship programs can be found through local vocational schools or unions. They can last anywhere from four to ten years, depending on the type of program you select. Many of these programs involve working under the supervision of a master electrician who can teach you the skills of the trade. Some programs may even allow you to earn an associate degree while taking part in an apprenticeship, which can help you save time and money when pursuing your career.

Once you have completed an apprenticeship, you will need to get a license to work as an electrician. This is usually a matter of passing an exam and showing proof that you have completed a four year apprenticeship program. In some cases, you may need to prove that you have worked as a journeyman electrician for at least two years.

As part of your training, you will need to take additional courses in safety and other areas that can help you perform your job effectively. In particular, you will need to know how to use the tools of the trade, such as an all-purpose digital multimeter. This tool can measure current, capacitance, resistance, and voltage. You will also need to know how to work with conduit, which is a metal tube that protects wires. You will need to know how to bend conduit by hand using a tool called a hand blender, and you will need to be able to create a four-bend saddle in order to fit conduit into spaces.

Job Duties

An electrician works in the construction industry, performing a variety of tasks. They can specialize in residential or commercial work and may focus on specific types of electrical equipment and systems. Residential electricians handle tasks such as installing power outlets, wiring and lighting fixtures in homes. They also help with home renovation projects and ensure compliance with residential electrical codes. Commercial electricians are responsible for larger-scale electrical installations and repairs. Their duties include interpreting blueprints, visiting construction sites and installing control, wiring and lighting systems in new buildings. They may also troubleshoot issues in existing electrical equipment, such as circuit breakers and transformers, using testing devices.

Depending on the type of work they do, an electrician can find employment with local or national companies. Some also operate their own independent businesses. They may need to work with a team of other electricians or supervise a crew of laborers or other assistants.

In order to perform their job duties, electricians must have good vision and hearing. They are also required to be comfortable working in tight spaces and on ladders and scaffolding. Electricians are often required to make service calls in the evenings and on weekends, so they must be able to accommodate changes in their schedule.

Electrical technicians must be skilled at using hand and power tools and have a basic understanding of how to read blueprints. They must be able to safely use all relevant safety equipment, including gloves and goggles. They must also be able to understand and interpret the results of testing devices such as ohmmeters and voltmeters. They must be able to determine the cause of problems and repair or replace damaged components.

Almost every building has an electrical power, communications, lighting and control system that needs to be installed during construction and maintained afterwards. These systems provide the electricity that powers lights, appliances and equipment in homes, offices and factories. Almost all of these systems need to be inspected and repaired, at one time or another. An electrician is responsible for installing and repairing these systems in residential, commercial, industrial and government buildings.


The salary of an electrician varies by state, and the cost of living is also a factor. Licensed electricians generally earn more than those who are apprentices. This is because those who are licensed have a greater opportunity to advance to Journeyman and Master electrician status. The average annual wage for an electrician is around $57,000. This translates into a hourly rate of about $20.

The type of employer an electrician works for can also influence his or her salary. Electricians who work for the government or with power utilities tend to make the highest wages. Those who are self-employed often have the ability to set their own rates, which can lead to a higher salary.

In addition, many electricians are union employees. Being a member of a trade union can help an electrician increase his or her income. In addition, union workers often receive benefits such as health insurance and retirement options.

Another way to increase the salary of an electrician is to work for a company that specializes in electrical systems. This can include companies that design, build and maintain power lines, and those that provide electricity to residential, commercial and industrial areas. Some companies also specialize in installing fire alarm and security systems.

A skilled electrician can also earn more by selling his or her services to customers. This can be done through direct sales, or by working with a service contracting business that can take care of all the administrative tasks associated with liaising with clients.

Some electricians prefer to work as a freelancer, while others enjoy the security of being employed by an electrical business. Both approaches have their own benefits, and the best option for an individual depends on his or her personal preferences and experience.