How to Become an Electrician

Brandi Glass
8 min read
An Electrician Repairing a Fuse Box

Imagine a world without electricians: no lights, no music, no TV, no smart devices.

An electrician career means you help keep the world turned on. You bring light, color and sound to people’s lives. Plus, electrician career paths typically come with attractive wages and strong job security.

Keep reading as we explore everything you need to know about how to become an electrician, from typical electrician salaries to building your electrician resume.

What is an Electrician?

An electrician is a skilled and licensed professional who plays a critical role in installing electrical systems and ensuring that they are safe. They are often called on to troubleshoot and repair electrical problems.

There are many electrician career paths available to you, including residential, commercial and industrial electrics.

What Does an Electrician Do?

Electricians install, maintain, and repair wiring, outlets, switches and other electrical components.

There are different types of electricians, however. Master electricians, for example, also draw up blueprints and electrical plans. Residential electricians may help homeowners to better understand the electrical systems in their houses.

How to Become an Electrician

If an electrician career sounds like the right choice for you, you’ll need to earn a high school diploma, complete an apprenticeship or trade school program, and obtain licensure or certification.

Let’s break down how to become an electrician step by step:

  1. Earn your high school diploma or GED certificate — Pay close attention to your math and physics classes, as they’ll help you make more sense of your electrician training!
  2. Complete your apprenticeship or trade school program — You need theoretical and practical know-how to become an electrician, but there’s more than one way to build an electrician resume. An apprenticeship is a slower approach that features on-the-job training and will allow you to earn a wage while you study. Formal electrician schooling takes less time, but you’ll have to pay instead of earning money and receiving on the job experience.
  3. Obtain licensure or certification — State requirements can vary, but as a general rule, you’ll need to sit an exam and work a minimum number of hours as a trainee to get your state journeyman electrician license.

How Long Does It Take to Become an Electrician?

Photography of Man Repairing Electrical Wires

Depending on the electrician career paths you choose, it can take up to five years to become an electrician. However, if you opt for an apprenticeship, you can start working as a trainee electrician from day one.

How Long is Electrician Training?

Becoming an electrician means spending 1–2 years in trade school or 4–5 years as an apprentice. But your training doesn’t stop there. Most electrician career paths require a significant amount of time spent in training and education so you can pass regular exams. And if you hope to become a master electrician one day, you’ll need to devote a minimum of seven years to gaining a deep knowledge of electrical systems.

If you’re not a fan of long training periods, we have some good news for you: some states have reduced licensing requirements for certain electrician types. For example, becoming a residential electrician can require fewer hours of work experience compared to a general electrician.

A Day in the Life of an Electrician

A day in the life of an electrician is full of troubleshooting, problem-solving and hands-on work. But different electrician types take on different tasks.

An apprentice electrician might start their day with a briefing by an experienced journeyman or master electrician. Then, they'll spend much of their day installing or repairing wiring, circuits, and fixtures — while getting plenty of feedback from their trainer or manager, of course.

A journeyman electrician’s day could begin with reviewing blueprints to understand what they need to install or why an electrical system isn’t working. And if they’re self-employed, their day will likely involve traveling to different locations and billing customers.

A master electrician, meanwhile, might kick off their day by briefing their team, drawing up blueprints or even drafting bids for large projects.

Electrician Salary: How Much Does an Electrician Make?

An Electrician Repairing the AC Power Plugs and Sockets

Electricians earn $60,040 per year on average, with the highest earners taking home six-figure salaries. That’s according to the latest data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Electrician Salary Ranges

80% of electricians earn between $37,020 and $99,800 a year. But salary ranges vary dramatically based on electrician types, industries, experience levels and more. Knowing how to present your skills is key if you want to achieve a more attractive rate.

Our electrician resume examples can help you build a better electrician resume so that you can negotiate a higher starting electrician salary.

How Much Does an Electrician Make an Hour?

Electricians make $28.87 an hour, according to BLS data. Your starting electrician salary as an apprentice may be even less — but as you develop skills and experience, your hourly electrician rate will rise.

Is Becoming an Electrician a Good Fit for Me?

If you enjoy hands-on work and problem-solving, becoming an electrician could be an excellent choice for you.

To succeed in an electrician career, you will need:

  • Logical and critical thinking skills
  • An eye for detail
  • A strong grasp of math and science,
  • Sufficient dexterity and physical fitness to be able to climb ladders, install wiring and work outdoors in a variety of weather conditions

Other useful skills include:

  • Time management
  • Teamwork
  • Communication skills
  • Customer service skills
  • Patience

If that sounds like you, then you might discover that an electrician career is incredibly rewarding.

Oh, and don’t forget to include all these skills on your electrician resume!

Where Can an Electrician Work?

Electricians work in a wide variety of residential, commercial and industrial settings, including:

  • Homes, apartments, hotels and caravan parks
  • Offices, retail stores and other commercial buildings
  • Factories, power plants and other industrial sites
  • Construction sites
  • Ships, boats and other off-shore locations
  • Theaters and other leisure sites

An electrician’s workplace will depend on many factors, including their specialism, skill level and employment status. A self-employed electrician might work in a variety of locations, while electricians working for power generation companies might always work on the same power plant.

That’s why it’s important to target your resume. Don’t just think about writing a resume for an electrician role. Instead, consider the different electrician types of workplaces you would be happy with, and tailor your resume to match. Our electrician resume examples and templates will help you get started.

How to Apply for Electrician Jobs

To successfully apply for electrician jobs, you’ll need a well-crafted resume along with some interview prep. Make sure to:

  • Hunt for roles by signing up to online job sites and speaking to local businesses
  • Custom-build a resume for an electrician role, making sure it demonstrates how you meet all electrician requirements — our electrician resume examples are a great starting point!
  • Review common interview questions for electrician roles
  • Prepare a professional interview outfit and practice answering questions with a smile

Electricians are often in high demand, but the better you prepare, the easier it will be to get a job with attractive conditions. Electrician Resume template

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

These questions get asked again and again by readers wondering how to become an electrician.

What is a Journeyman Electrician?

A journeyman electrician is a licensed electrician who has finished their electrician apprenticeship. As a journeyman electrician, you can work independently on some projects — but on others, you may work under the supervision of a master electrician.

How Much Does a Journeyman Electrician Make?

The average journeyman electrician makes $65,899 a year in the US, but your location, specialism and more can affect your rate. On the lower end, journeyman electrician salaries are $43,000 a year, while higher-earning journeyman electricians may earn up to $102,000.

How Much Does an Electrician Make an Hour?

Electricians make $28.87 per hour, according to the most recent data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, some types of electricians earn more, e.g. electricians working in government or manufacturing.

How Much Does a Master Electrician Make?

The average master electrician’s salary in the US is $68,265 a year. However, depending on your location, specialism, years of experience and business-savvy, you may be able to earn significantly more — many master electricians earn six-figure salaries.

How Much Does a Union Electrician Make?

Union electricians can earn as much as 40% more than non-unionized electricians, plus they can get official overtime rates, guaranteed pensions, paid training and more. However, the exact salary will depend on the union you join.

How Much Do Electrician Apprentices Make?

Electrician apprentices in the US make $46,699 a year on average. Your electrician apprentice wage will depend on many factors, including whether you’re unionized or not, what year of your apprenticeship you’re in, your electrician specialism and your location.

How Long is an Apprenticeship for an Electrician?

An electrician apprenticeship with a union such as IBEW lasts four to five years. However, the time required to pass your apprenticeship can vary, especially if you do a non-union apprenticeship or work part-time as an apprentice.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Master Electrician?

It takes most people 7+ years to become a master electrician. First, you need to qualify as an electrician journeyman, which requires around five years as an electrician apprentice, then you need to spend two to five years training to become a master electrician. However, if you have a relevant college degree, some states may allow you to qualify more quickly.

How Much Does It Cost to Become an Electrician?

If you become an electrician apprentice, you can earn while learning and will only have to pay for your state license and exam fees. But if you sign up for trade school, you’ll also have to pay tuition and potentially a matriculation fee.

How Hard is It to Become an Electrician?

Becoming an electrician can require some hard studying to pass your state license exams, plus it can take several years of on-the-job and in-school learning. However, there is no expensive barrier to entry, and with apprenticeships, you can earn while you train.

How Long Does It Take to Become an Electrician Apprentice?

As long as you have your GED or high school certificate, you can become an electrician apprentice straightaway. Make sure you have a resume (electrician apprentice) and apply through your union or local businesses. Don’t forget to adapt your resume (electrician apprentice) to the organization you’re applying to.

How Many Years Does It Take to Become an Electrician?

You can become a journey electrician in as little as 1–2 years if you study in trade school, although this may vary slightly according to state regulations. Alternatively, you can sign up as an electrician apprentice and begin working from the very beginning.

How to Become an Electrician Without Going to School

Becoming an electrician without going to school is tough but possible. Start by signing up as an electrician apprentice to learn on the job, and then spend your evenings and weekends self-teaching yourself the theory you need to pass your exams.

How Do I Train to Become an Electrician?

You have plenty of options if you want to train to pass your state license exams and become an electrician, including: \

  • Becoming an electrician apprentice
  • Attending an electrician trade school or vocational-technical school
  • Self-study with textbooks and videos

How Many Years of School to Become an Electrician?

You can become an electrician after 1–2 years in trade school. Alternatively, as long as you already have your GED or high school certificate, you can skip school and sign up as an electrician apprentice.

Quickly and easily build your electrician resume with Rocket Resume today!