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.
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!