How Long Does It Take to Become an Electrician?

Perhaps you’ve decided to kick start a career as an electrician, wondering, “How long does it take to become an electrician?” or “What is the best way to become a licensed electrician?” It’s a great choice because pursuing a career as an electrician can be very rewarding and enriching, especially if it’s your passion. Further, there’s never been a better time to explore a career as an electrician, or as a skilled laborer, for that matter, as there is a major shortage of workers in the construction industry

How long does it take to become an electrician?

It takes an average of four to five years to become an electrician. In many states, it takes 8000 hours of being mentored by a journeyman and an appropriate education before you can get licensed.

At MatchBuilt, we know how the scarcity of skilled labor, especially electricians, impacts our clients’ businesses, most of whom are general residential construction contractors. In fact, the construction industry in the United States needs more than half a million workers above its current pace of hiring to meet demand this year, which should last into the next decade.

That said, there really isn’t a better time to explore a career as an electrician, as both compensation and demand are at peak levels and will be there for years to come. The first step to understanding how long it takes to become one is to understand the career path that’s best for you and what classroom training and electrical apprenticeships are right for you.

How do you become an electrician?

It may be easier than you realize to become a journeyman. First, get your high school degree and recommended pre-apprenticeship training at a trade school. Then, complete a paid, multi-year apprenticeship. Finally, get licensed or certified (if required).

In this article, you’ll learn everything you need about available careers and how to become an electrician.

  • Timing: How long does it take to get an electrician’s license?
  • Training programs: What is an electrician apprenticeship program, and how many years of experience do you need?
  • Trade schools: What educational programs are available at an electrician trade school, community college, or vocational school?
  • Degrees: Do I need a high school diploma? Is a college degree necessary? Do I need an associate degree?
  • Certificates: What certificate programs and trade school programs are right for me?
  • Licenses: Do I need an electrical contractor license?
  • Career options: What independent electrical contractors will I work for, or can I be my own boss?

How Long Does It Take to Become an Electrician?

Typically, the path to becoming an electrician spans four to five years. However, the duration can vary based on several considerations:

  • Prior Experience: Those with backgrounds in construction or the military may find some of their experience relevant, potentially reducing the length of their apprenticeship.
  • Formal Education: Completion of an electrical contractor training program, or enrollment in a technical school program or a related associate degree, can lead to a reduced apprenticeship duration. Additionally, such educational backgrounds might make the candidate more competitive and well-prepared.
  • State Regulations and Licensing: Different states have their own requirements and exams for becoming a licensed electrician. While some states have reciprocity agreements, where a license from one state can be transferred to another, many do not.
  • Specializations: Electricians can choose to specialize in areas like residential, commercial, industrial, or outside lineman work. Some specializations may require additional training or certifications.
  • Continued Education: Even after becoming a licensed electrician, many professionals continue to take courses to stay updated with the latest technologies, safety protocols, and industry best practices.
  • Apprenticeship: This is often the most critical phase in an electrician’s training. It involves hands-on work under the supervision of a licensed electrician. Completing this phase successfully is usually a prerequisite to obtaining a license.

What Does an Electrician Do?

An electrician’s key duties encompass:

what does an electrician do

Things to Consider Before Deciding to Become an Electrician

Becoming an electrician requires considerable effort to gain the necessary skills and experience and get licensed. You should commit to it when you’re sure you sincerely want to venture into this line of work. If you’re thinking of becoming an electrician, consider the following.

Your Will and Ability to Deal with Challenges

Being an electrician on construction sites can be quite challenging. Like the residential construction managers we often place, qualified candidates, must work long, odd hours and sometimes in dangerous environments. You may also need to follow strict instructions, be very keen on details, and collaborate with others. If you’re up for the challenges, then you can safely go ahead and become an electrician.

Your Level of Education

Your level of education matters when it comes to becoming an electrician, as you’re required to have a high school diploma or equivalent. Becoming one is almost impossible if you don’t meet this requirement.

Your Health

As an electrician, you’ll be involved in tasks that require you to stand for long hours. You must be physically fit and healthy to have a rewarding career, and specific tasks can be challenging if you have health issues. Consider whether you’ll be comfortable handling physical work for long hours before you commit to becoming an electrician.

Your Flexibility

Electricians need to be flexible since an emergency that requires their attention can happen anytime, including during odd hours. Additionally, some days are tough, while others are easy. For example, you could be very busy on a particular day, and the next day you could have little to no work.

If you’re considering getting into the career, ask yourself whether you will be flexible enough to address issues when they arise.

how to become an electrician apprentice

What Are the Different Types of Electricians?

There are several types of electricians. By knowing them and their duties and responsibilities, you’ll be better positioned to choose the exact area of focus. Here’s a brief breakdown.

Types of Electricians Based on Career Levels

Below are the types of electricians based on the levels they go through in their careers.

Apprentice Electrician

Apprentice electricians usually work under the supervision of experienced electricians. You gain skills through class work and hands-on training while still being paid when attending electrical apprentice classes. A high school education or its equivalent and a license are some of the requirements for being an electrician apprentice.

Journeymen Electrician

“How do you become a journeyman electrician?” You must first be an apprentice for a minimum of two years. Once you’ve gained hands-on experience as an apprentice, you can work without much supervision during journeyman electrician training. You are required to have a journeyman license to work at this level. To become a journeyman, just search for journeyman classes near me.

Master Electrician

Before starting your master electrician training, you must become an apprentice and a journeyman electrician. At this level, you can supervise those in the apprenticeship and journeyman programs. You need to have a master electrician license to work at this level. Becoming a master electrician gives you extensive skills. To get started, search for “master electrician classes near me” and select the one that meets your expectations.

how to become an electrician

Types of Electricians Based on Specialization

Below are the types of electricians based on their specialty.

Residential Electricians

Residential electricians install, maintain, troubleshoot, and upgrade home electrical systems. These include houses, apartments, condos, etc. These electricians may work independently for electrical contractors.

Commercial Electricians

Commercial electricians work on commercial projects such as offices and are responsible for maintaining and troubleshooting electrical systems within these setups.

Construction Electricians

Construction electricians deal with installing electrical systems in new buildings. Their responsibilities include performing basic wiring and maintaining safety procedures and building codes.

Automotive Electricians

As the name suggests, automotive electricians deal with vehicles’ electrical systems. These include ignition systems, lighting, air conditioning and heating, transmission, anti-theft systems, etc.

Avionics Electricians

Avionics electricians are responsible for handling an aircraft’s electrical and wiring systems. These include installing and inspecting electrical systems, ensuring that the connections are well insulated, etc.

Industrial Electricians

Industrial electricians work in chemical plants, power plants, manufacturing facilities, and other industrial projects with complex electrical systems. Electricians must get work experience under industrial electricians either in their apprenticeship or journeyman levels.

how long does it take to become an electrician journeyman

Types of Electricians Based on Where They Work

Inside Wiremen

The duties of inside wiremen involve working on on-premise electrical wiring. These include installing electrical control panels, fire alarm systems, electrical outlets, lighting fixtures, etc.

Outside Linemen

An outside lineman is also referred to as a line installer. As the name suggests, an outside lineman deal with outdoor electrical systems such as fiber optics, powerline transmissions, and communication cables.

Since their work often involves working on high-tension lines up to 1000 feet, outside linemen receive extensive safety training, including climb training. Their duties include ensuring that electrical wiring is functioning correctly and conducting repairs when there is a problem.

Benefits of Becoming an Electrician

There are so many benefits that come with being an electrician. Let’s have a look at some of them.

Job Security

People will always need electricians to install, maintain or repair electrical wiring. That means it is very hard not to have a job when you have the necessary skills.

Good Pay

Electricians usually get good pay and are always in demand, so they rarely run out of work. They can also work long hours just to get that extra income. If you are looking for a trade that offers decent pay, you can never go wrong with becoming an electrician.

Affordable Training

Training to become an electrician is affordable compared to attending the university and gives you a chance to get paid while in training. Although what you get during the training period may not be comparable to what full electricians earn, it can still help you make a living as you study.

You Can Become Your Own Boss

Becoming an electrician can help you achieve your dreams if you’ve always wanted to be self-employed. After getting the necessary skills and getting licensed, you don’t need to start looking for a job, as you can quickly become your own boss and work on your terms.

how much does it cost to become an electrician

What Are the Steps to Becoming an Electrician?

1. Get A High School Diploma

A high school diploma is one of the electrician training requirements. Having the diploma demonstrates that you understand the basic mathematics, science, English, and soft skills necessary for this career.

So, if you have been asking, “can you be an electrician without a degree?” the answer is yes.

2. Go to Trade School

Consider going to a trade school or vocational college for pre-apprentice training. It will help you understand the basics of an electrical career, and the national electrical code, providing a solid foundation for your progress. Some trade schools offer short programs for up to nine months, while others take a few years.

Although attending a trade school is optional in some states, attending one is advisable and helpful in gaining a solid foundation for an electrician career.

3. Apply For an Apprenticeship

You need to apply for an apprenticeship to become an electrician. If you aren’t aware of how to find an apprenticeship, you can do so in a trade school since some offer apprenticeship programs. You can also apply through a union.

When applying for the apprenticeship program, you may be required to do an aptitude test that tests your mathematics and comprehension skills. Apprenticeship combines on-job training, classroom instructions, supervision, and mentorship from a master electrician.

Many have asked, “can you become a journeyman without an apprenticeship?” Unfortunately, you cannot.

4. Pass an Electrician Licensing Exam

You need to pass an electrician licensing exam, just like you would need to if you were trying to become a certified construction manager, depending on your location. The exam tests your knowledge in performing electrical work. Research how often these exams are offered in your area, the registration requirements, and whether you need to pay some fees.

5. Get Licensed

You need to get a license before you start working as an electrician. So, how do you get your electrical license? The requirements for obtaining an electrician license vary from State to State. Therefore, you must research your state’s requirements and ensure you qualify before applying for an electrician license.

Electrician Job Description Example

There are numerous job opportunities available for a professional electrician. Below is an example of a job description for an entry-level industrial electrician.



  • At least one year of hands-on experience in industrial electrical installations.
  • Completion of an Associate’s degree, electrical apprenticeship, or a certified training program in a related field.
  • Proficiency in troubleshooting both 480VAC and low-voltage DC electrical systems.
  • Exceptional attention to detail ensuring comprehensive and meticulous task completion.
  • Expertise in conveyor systems, including air cylinders, diverters, sensors, and motor/speed controls.
  • Proven ability to work autonomously with minimal supervision, showcasing strong self-management skills.


  • Oversee the maintenance of both electrical and mechanical equipment in the plant to ensure optimal production.
  • Implement and manage a regular preventive maintenance schedule for conveying systems, power transmissions, and other rotating equipment using digital tools and data.
  • Record and maintain detailed logs of completed work tasks and schedules.
  • Expertly diagnose and resolve issues related to production equipment, encompassing electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, and pneumatic components.
  • Lead initiatives to enhance production lines with the latest equipment and technology upgrades.Administer the inventory of electrical spare parts, including the determination of appropriate stock levels.
  • Collaborate on the plant’s overall preventive maintenance strategy for both mechanical and electrical equipment.
  • Execute advanced electrical troubleshooting and repairs as needed.
  • Regularly handle objects weighing up to 70 pounds throughout the workday.
  • Be prepared for occasional exposure to environmental factors like dirt, odors, noise, and weather extremes.
  • Flexibility to work both 10-hour and 8-hour shifts, with weekend availability.
  • Utilize and apply knowledge of schematics and electrical systems, including but not limited to, level probes, flow meters, drives/VFDs, and the interpretation of electrical blueprints.


  • Secure, direct, and long-term employment with predictable weekly compensation.
  • An attractive pay rate set at $23.00 per hour.
  • Extensive opportunities to earn additional income through overtime.
  • Comprehensive health package encompassing medical, dental, and vision plans.
  • Life insurance coverage to provide peace of mind for you and your loved ones.
  • Forward-thinking 401(k) Retirement Savings Plan to pave the way for a stable financial future.
  • Real pathways to career progression and professional growth.

Frequently Asked Questions on How Long Does It Take to Become an Electrician

How long does it take to become an electrician apprentice?

A person's duration to become an apprentice ranges from state to state. However, it takes an average of four years to become one.

How long does it take to become a journeyman electrician?

Becoming a journeyman electrician takes approximately six years, and the period may be longer or lower, depending on where you live.

How long does it take to become a master electrician?

On average, it takes a person seven years to become a master electrician. During this period, a person must take and pass some tests. However, the period also differs from State to State.

How long does it take to become a certified electrician?

It takes a person approximately one year to become a certified electrician. During this period, they must complete all the training requirements to lay a good foundation for a great career.

What education is needed to become an electrician?

A high school diploma or equivalent is required to become an electrician as it provides the essential foundation for a career such as physics, communications, and maths.

How much does it cost to become an electrician?

The cost of becoming an electrician depends on where you take the program. On average, attending a trade school will cost you $5,000–$15,000 for the entire program, and an apprenticeship program will cost you $250 – $1,420 a year.

What do I need to become an electrician?

To become an electrician, you need to have a high school diploma. Additionally, you need to attend a trade school(optional) and an apprentice program. On top of that, you need to get licensed.

Is it hard to become an electrician?

Many people always ask, "How hard is being an electrician?" Becoming an electrician is challenging; you must study, attend an apprenticeship program for years, and demonstrate considerable work experience to get a license.

How long does it take to train as an electrician?

It takes about four to five years to become an electrician. Students earn all the skills during the apprenticeship program and can advance their skills as they continue working.

Final Thoughts on Becoming an Electrician

Becoming an electrician can be very fulfilling. It’s an exciting career with several benefits, such as good pay and letting you become your boss. However, you must work to succeed, including studying and attending an apprenticeship program for several years.

If you have been wondering, “How many years does it take to become an electrician” or “What are some things to know before becoming one,” understanding each of these will help you make the right decision.

After completing the necessary training, check back here for tools to create a great resume, prepare for tough interview questions, and button up your LinkedIn profile.

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