How to Become an Apprentice Electrician

How to Become an Apprentice Electrician

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You may like Become a Foreign Electrician in Canada (Immigration).

In this article, I will discuss how to become an apprentice electrician. (Also, you may like my free book for electrician apprentices).

This information is based on how to become an electrician in Canada, but may also help those in USA wanting to become an electrician.

How to Become an Electrician Video

What We Cover in this Article:

  • What Does an Electrician Do?
  • How to Become an Electrician (Apprenticeship)
  • How Much Can an Electrician Make?
  • How Long is Electrical School, and How Much Does it Cost?
  • Is Being an Electrician a Good Trade to Get Into?

What Does an Electrician Do?

An electrician requires a lot of knowledge and skills to work safely, troubleshoot, and complete their electrical tasks.

These tasks can include installing plugs and lights, pulling wires, working with panels and circuits, looking at prints and planning, working with fire alarm, security systems, and working with many other trades (plumbers, HVAC, drywallers, general contractors, etc..)

The electrical trade consists of different stages as the job progresses which is the Rough-In stage, and then Finishing stage of the job.

The roughing-in is where a lot of the dirty work happens like drilling holes, pulling wires, stapling wires, bending pipe and installing racks.

Finishing is the much cleaner stage of the job, where you have to be very careful to not damage things like the walls, as things are freshly painted, and getting ready to be turned over. Electricians will then install plugs, light switches and cover plates, lights, smoke detectors, and if in a commercial building, fire alarm and security systems.


How to Become an Electrician (Apprenticeship)

The best way to become an electrician is through an apprenticeship (which is required).

The electrical apprenticeship programs usually consist of going to work for most of the year, then going to school for 2-3 months. (Every place of the world is different how they approach the schooling and work, but there is a work and schooling aspects in an apprenticeship).

This back and forth to work and school is a great way to get hands-on experience in the work field, and then you get to see the on paper theory in school of how it all goes together.

To become an apprentice electrician you can take a pre-apprenticeship program, which is typically one year, and will prepare you before you start your first job as an electrician. These programs also help you find work, so that’s a bonus!

Also, you can work as an electrician outside of a union, or join a union. I do not have experience inside a union. Working outside of a union was fine, but it requires you to have to look after yourself a bit more, as you don’t have a union looking out for your best interests.


How Much Can an Electrician Make?

Electricians are able to make quite a bit of money, depending where you live. (In Canada, the average is around $35/Hour as a Journeyman Electrician, which is around $70,000 a year, before taxes).

Different companies can vary a bit.. so don’t be afraid to look call different electrical companies to see if you can find out their rates before going in for a interview..

You may also want to check out their other benefits like health and dental benefits, or if they offer some type of retirement plan.. all of these things help tremendously, especially if you have a family!


How Long is Electrical School, and How Much Does it Cost?

Here in Canada, Electrical School was for about 10 Weeks (around 3 Months), and you had to go for a total of 4 Levels. (Again, check your own provinces rules and schools for more details).

So you’d work for about 9 Months of the year, then go to school for about 3 Months.

This is an awesome experience because it gives you a little break from the constant work life. Going to a classroom is a nice switch-up, then you’ll realize after the 3 months, you’re ready to go back to work as sitting down all the time is hard on the body LOL!

Be sure to take advantage of any grants for electrical apprentices.. ask the secretary (they know best), but you can also ask your other classmates or teachers. Grants for electricians can often pay for all your schooling, and sometimes even give you a bit of extra compensation like gas, and help with your living expenses like rent!

Usually you will also get unemployment income when going to school, other known as E.I… make sure to get on this stuff as soon as possible to bring in as much income as possible and make the schooling not as hard on you and your family.


Is Being an Electrician a Good Trade to Get Into?

Yeah, after 10 years of electrical experience, I’d say it definitely made me a much smarter person, and provided me the income to buy a home, and other enjoyments in life.

You won’t get rich being a worker, but you will be able to provide for yourself, and you can easily transfer jobs and understand what’s going on easily. It’s a really nice thing to have once you finish your schooling and get your Journeyman ticket.

Sometimes different provinces in Canada can pay more per hour, so that is also something to consider.

And.. if you work out of town, you can often even make more money through LOA (live out allowance).

I’d say yes, being an electrician is a good trade, but sometimes it is a bit repetitive by always putting on plugs and installing lights. But there are some tasks as an electrician that are always fun like pulling wire into pipes, and bending EMT pipe.

Sometimes you have to work out in the cold, but often we are indoors, too, like in the finishing stages where it is warm 🙂.


Conclusion.. How to Be an Electrician:

So just like the name of this website (becoming-an-electrician.com).. I hope this article taught you how to become an apprentice electrician.

There’s LOTS to learn, and knowing the electrical code book will help you so much out there. If you know the code book, it gives you lots of confidence, and you’ll know the rules, and what you’re doing.

Always make sure you have an open ear to listen to any advice. Most people on a construction jobsite are very easy going if you don’t have an attitude.

At the end of the day, everyone is there just to make their money and go home. Work hard, be a team player, and don’t be afraid to ask quesitons.

That is the secret to having a successful apprenticeship as an electrician.

Also, don’t forget about my FREE Book for apprentice electricians!

16 comments

  • Hi Riley,
    Hope you’re doing good and thank you for all your great videos. I love it.
    I am 37 years old, living currently in France and got my permanent residence for Canada last year. I’m planning to move to canada in 2025 and want to change career to electrician. My 13 years experience was in Manufacturing as production manager and I have electronic engineering background.
    Do you provide any paid online coaching to guide me how to start? My fear is the ability to find apprenticeship…should I do trades school first as pre-employement? I will be very thankfull to accept to coach me.

    Thank you Riley

    • A
      Riley Weller

      Hi Amine!

      At the moment, I offer no paid services for such training or on-boarding to become an electrician.

      My recommendation is to either create a resume to hand out personally to electrical companies, sharing your working experience and that you want to become an apprentice electrician, or you can do the pre-apprenticeship program which will give you your first year of schooling, some hours, and may help you find work right after that schooling.

      You will also want to take advantage of any Canadian Electrician Grants, too!

  • Hello Sir,

    My name is Zain and I am a 19 year old high school graduate from Toronto. I was thinking of doing a 2-year apprenticeship program to become a level 2 electrical apprentice and than go in to the work field because jobs are mainly looking to hire level 2 apprentices and barely look at level 1 apprentices. On top of that there are a lot of people applying with level 1 apprenticeships. I was just wondering if this is a good route to go by and will not delay me too much.

    • A
      Riley Weller

      Hi Zain, I would not think about competition of others applying.

      What happens a lot in the construction industry is when workers are needed, companies are desparate for workers.. but as the job comes near the end, this is where layoffs can start happening if there’s not work lined-up right away.

      Understand if you do your 2 years of schooling, without any hours, you are still considered a 1st year apprentice regarding how much you will be paid because you do not have your hours.

      There’s two parts to completing each step of your electrical apprenticeship levels:

      • Working Hours
      • Passing Electrician Schooling with 70% or higher

      So if you try to jump ahead with doing two schooling years in arow, you will miss a lot of opportunity in regards to how the schooling actually relates to what electricians actually do in regards to how to install electrical boxes.. different types of electrical boxes (plastic and metal), electrical wire types, and when dealing with electrical code rules.

      Without being in the field, schooling is even more confusing, as you can’t fully relate to what it is electricians actually do!

      I would suggest trying to get hired as a first year apprentice.. (I suggest looking for a Commercial / Residential / Custom Home company).

      If you have tried for 1-2 months without success, then you can look toward a pre-apprenticeship program which gives you your 1st year of schooling & hours to get you moving. These programs can often help you find work afterwards, too!

      I hope this helps.. reply back if you have further questions.

  • RAMAN LOCHAB

    hey riley,
    i heard about you from friends and after looking your sincere efforts to help fellow electricians, i want to thank u from all sides,
    i am an international student in canada and i want to take electrician as an career but i dont want to put myself into the preapprenticeship program, i do know some of the skills but lack official experience, what should i do, where should i go, what approach and efforts must i make to have electrical apprenticeship in canada,

    thanks.

    • A
      Riley Weller

      Hi Raman!

      Getting a job without pre-apprenticeship is much harder, but still do-able!

      To find a job as an apprentice electrician, without pre-app, you are going to need a good resume, and strong determination showing your eagerness of wanting to learn the trade. Instead of simply handing in a resume, you may even want to ask “Can I talk to the owner?”, as they may find favor on you and give you 5-10 minutes of their time.

      You must be ready to explain your goals, why you want to become an electrician, and what you’ve done so far to prepare yourself (like reading, videos, any stories of what inspired you to learn the trade).

      Companies may offer you a “starter bundle” of tools, or you can go to a local electrical whole saler and buy a bundle of hand tools to get you going.

      Here’s my recommended tool list, which will also be very educational for you:
      https://becoming-an-electrician.com/recommended-tools-for-apprentice-electricians/

      Further, I wouldn’t say don’t be afraid of electrical pre-apprenticeship, as it does give you 1 year of schooling, shows you many of the basic best practices, and may help you find work.

      My situation was not doing pre-apprenticeship, which worked out well as I relied on my ticketed electricians for to answer my questions as I would continue to read / study on my own.

      In short: Try handing out resumes, and see how it works out. If not, the next step is to reach out to a local college with advice on how to get started!

  • Hi Riley,

    I’m older, 33, and transitioning from an office setting. I’m not a stranger to the trades (my uncles were general contractors who I worked with while growing up) and I’m currently working in a sheet metal shop.

    I’ve seen some of your content and realized that you are in Canada. I was wondering if you had any advice you could offer me in obtaining an apprenticeship with a company while skipping the pre-apprenticeship process. I’d like to fast-track myself to the journeyman status if possible. Do you have any advice in contacting electrical companies?

    Thanks so much for taking the time to read and respond

    Best,

    • A
      Riley Weller

      Hi Tony! In short, no, skipping the pre-apprenticeship electrical program and getting hired as a brand-new apprentice is something that will only happen by handing out resumes with eagerness showing the company that you’d like to become an apprentice electrician and your story behind that reasoning.

      Here’s some ways of how to approach getting hired as an electrician:

      • Skip Pre-Apprenticeship – There is no set in stone rule that you must take pre-apprenticeship. It does help you learn the basics, gives you first year of schooling, as well as some hours to your apprenticeship. Very often you will also get your basic tools to get you going so you are ready to start come real work time. My best advice would be to contact a local college about Pre-Apprenticeship and see if you get E.I (Employment Insurance) during the Pre-Apprenticeship program. Most often they can help you find work afterward!
      • Apply Without Experience – This is the approach I took, but it’s not guaranteed. Before finishing high school I worked at a summer job @ a mill which had an electrical fire.. the mill was shut down and I helped an electrician rewire it. I put this on my resume, which a company seemed to like, and I got called back!

      Here’s a helpful page I found:
      https://www.workbc.ca/find-loans-and-grants/students-and-adult-learners/services-apprentices-and-employers

      I hope that helps you reach your goal!

  • I am nearly 40 now and I’ve just come to SK, Canada from July, 2023. I really want to become an electrician in Canada so I applied an Electrician certificate course in Saskatchewan Polytechnic. Luckily I saw and watched for becoming an electrician video on Youtube. After my schooling (17 weeks), I hope that I can find a job in Canada and that my age is not a demerit point to become an electrical apprentice. I really enjoy your blogs in this website.

    • A
      Riley Weller

      Hi Anh!

      The biggest thing to understand is a company most often looks for a worker who is a hard worker and willing to learn. You still have many years to learn the basics of the electrical world, and many times your life skills previously help a lot when entering the world of trades.

      Many times if someone is very young entering trades, they do not have many life skills, nor skills with tools, so it’s a big learning curve from many angles.

      If you are determined, study, and are a self-learner, you will do very well!

      Thank-you for your kind words about my electrician website here!

  • Westland Electric

    Becoming an apprentice electrician is a significant step toward a rewarding career. This article provides valuable guidance on the process and what to expect along the way. Great info!

    • A
      Riley Weller

      Thank-you! Being an electrical apprentice in Canada is also a great fallback in case you want to switch later in life, too. It’s a great career to have. Plus, you can always do things around the house, or helps friends, too! The knowledge goes very far with understanding electrical safety.

  • Edmonton

    The blog offers illuminating information regarding the steps involved in obtaining an apprenticeship, such as details regarding the prerequisites that must be met, suggestions for making an effective application, and where to look for available possibilities. The information is presented in a logical manner and touches on topics of vital importance, such as the merits of serving an apprenticeship, the prerequisites for entering the field, and the significance of gaining practical experience. In general, people who are interested in getting their foot in the door of an apprenticeship program in order to begin their journey toward becoming a professional electrician may find this blog to be a beneficial resource.

    • A
      Riley Weller

      Hey, thank-you! Hope it helps others for how to become an apprentice electrician in Canada! 🙂

  • I live in Ottawa and am looking to become an electrician.. the only school near me offering trade programs has “electrical engineering technician” and “electrical techniques – apprenticeship”. to my understanding the technician program isn’t the same as becoming an electrician, but i’ve heard mixed comments. i was wondering if you could clarify this for me and if it would be better to apply for an apprenticeship instead and then go to school for the electrical techniques apprenticeship.

    • A
      Riley Weller

      The engineering does not sound like what you want. Electrical engineering is regarding wanting to design electronic schematics etc..

      The “Electrical techniques – apprenticeship” sounds more in line with my website here to become an apprentice electrician.

      I started by getting hired as an apprentice with no experience.. I just handed out resumes! There’s also a “pre-apprenticeship program” that schools offer, but it does take a full year if your time, and costs a bit.. but you do get your first year of schooling and some hours I think.

      I would call the school directly and inquire about “construction electrician apprenticeship”.

      You may have to use words like “commercial electrician” and “residential electrician”. Industrial electrician is not what you want if you want to go home every night, and work locally.. industrial is often out of town work, and doesn’t work on common electrical tasks like I show in my tutorials here.

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