With the demand for electricians expected to grow by 10 percent over the next decade, now is the time to join this exciting career field. The path to being a fully certified electrician begins with classroom training and culminates in the apprenticeship.

The path from student and apprentice to certified independent electrician can seem long and convoluted if you aren’t familiar with it. Fortunately, this path is a lot more straightforward than it appears at first once you know what to expect.

Enroll In a Program

 Typically, a prospective electrician can choose between two education paths: a certification course or an associate’s degree program. The one you choose depends on the available training sources in your area, as well as your long-term goals.

Certification Courses

 Certificate programs are often streamlined so that they only provide you with the information you need to move to the next step on the career path. Depending on the program, it may also be easier to find programs offered at non-traditional times, such as in the evenings, so you can work on your career goals while still holding down you current day job.

Certification programs may also take less time overall compared to degree programs, as you often have fewer general education requirements for earning a certificate.

Associate’s Degree Programs

 An associates program usually requires two years of study since it follows the general two-year undergraduate degree model.

You may have more choices in some aspects of your education, since many schools that offer this degree may also offer additional classes in business management or marketing. Some schools may not be able to offer as much flexibility of class times compared to certificate programs.

Apply for Apprenticeship

 Upon graduation, you will have the basic knowledge for beginning your electrician career, but you will now need to begin the hands-on portion of your training. This is when your apprenticeship begins. You can apply for apprenticeships through places like the Ohio electrical apprenticeship portal, the local electrician’s union, or with local apprenticeship programs.

Choose a Specialty

 If you want to specialize, now is the time to do so. This way, you can choose an apprenticeship program that will meet your future career goals. A few examples of specialization include residential, commercial, and industrial electricians, although many sub-categories exist within these main three. Of course, becoming a general electrician is also an option if specialization doesn’t appeal to you.

Study for Licensing

 A license isn’t required for journeyman electricians in the state of Ohio but is highly recommended. A license is often required by employers and potential customers alike. Once you graduate from your apprenticeship program, you will need to take your exam. Use the time during your apprenticeship to begin studying and preparing for this exam.

Launch Your Career

 Upon completion of your apprenticeship, you will have a couple of career choices. You can continue to work for a more established electrician or company while building your reputation, or you can launch your own independent electrician service. Before embarking on either options, you still have two main tasks to complete.

Get Insured

 As an electrician, you need liability insurance. You will have to show proof of a policy in the amount of $500,000 when arriving for your licensing exam, so make sure you have secured a policy before your exam date. For those who have already secured employment, insurance may be provided as a benefit of the job. Check with your employer before purchasing a separate policy.

Take Your Exam

 You must apply to take the exam with the Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board. Licensing in Ohio requires that you are at least 18 years old, a legal US resident, and have no disqualifying convictions. You will also pay a small fee. Once your application is accepted, the board will provide you with an exam date.

Apprentice electricians are able to earn while they learn, so your career will begin the day that you graduate from your certification or degree program. Start your career path toward being an electrician today.