Electrician trade school programs provide students with a basic working knowledge of the National Electrical Code, local building and electric codes, and general electrical theory. In other words, trade school programs cover everything one would learn during an electrician apprenticeship, and prepare the graduate to successfully pass the state licensure exam. This approach to entering the profession does have its pros and cons, however.
Electrician Trade School and Electrician Apprenticeships
While the traditional approach to becoming a licensed electrician has been to complete an apprenticeship prior to taking the licensure test, many of today’s professionals are opting to instead launch their careers by attending an electrician trade school first. By incorporating hands-on training with courses on theory, electrician programs are able to offer the same type of training that is normally acquired during an electrician apprenticeship in a fraction of the time.
Advantages of Electrician Trade School
Whereas the standard length of time required to complete an electrician apprenticeship is four years, students at trade schools in California can typically finish their studies in as little as 12 months. Although most employers will still ask graduates to serve as apprentices, the length of the apprenticeship is often cut in half and the pay is generally quite a bit higher for those who have completed an electrician program at a technical school.
By attending vocational training programs, students may choose to become specialists in a specific field (e.g. Utility Meter Reader), or to simply acquire the broad range of skills necessary to work as a journeyman. This affords the graduate the opportunity to start his career in a relatively advanced position.
Advantages of Electrician Apprenticeships
Instead of paying to learn their trade in school, those who secure electrician apprenticeships get paid while receiving their training. For individuals who need to work while gaining licensure, this makes the apprentice route particularly appealing.
Because the apprentice electrician is already involved with an employer and working alongside other professionals in the industry, finding a permanent job after becoming licensed is usually automatic. This is in stark contrast to the electrician trade school graduate who must make inroads from scratch.
Electrician Trade School or Electrician Apprenticeship?
If you’re trying to decide between enrolling in school and becoming an apprentice, there are a few quick questions you should ask yourself.
- Do I need to work right away?
- How long do I want to wait before testing for licensure?
- Am I interested in a specific field the electrician profession?
Depending on how you answer these three questions, you may find yourself leaning in one direction or the other. In general, however, if you want to get paid a larger salary sooner, than going to school is usually the best option. If you can’t afford to be a full-time student and need to work while training, then an electrician apprenticeship will usually be a better fit for you than an electrician trade school.
Recommended Electrician Trade Schools in California!
- Electrical Training Program
- Residential Electrician
- Electronics Technician