Do you already have a post-secondary degree? Whether you have a four-year bachelor’s from a university, a two-year associate’s degree from the local community college, or a diploma from a career school, take a look at the ways past educational experiences can play into your new future career as an electrician.

Do You Need a New Degree?

While you don’t need to spend another four years in college to get a second bachelor’s degree (or higher), you will need specialized training to become an electrician. A general college, community college, or career school degree is a start. But these degrees aren’t likely to provide you with the knowledge necessary to install, inspect, and repair electrical systems.

Along with coursework, you will also often need to complete hands-on training and an apprenticeship program to work as an electrician. An apprenticeship is an on-the-job type of training. You’ll work for pay in the real world (not a classroom lab) under the supervision of an experienced electrician.

What Type of New Degree Do You Need?

If your past diplomas don’t qualify you to work as an electrician, what type of degree do you need? Again, an apprenticeship will provide you with the hands-on training you need to work effectively as an electrician. But you may also need an electrician (or similar) diploma or degree from an accredited trade or career school. These degrees include coursework in wiring, circuits, safety, and other basics.

Will Past Classes or Degrees Help in Your Electrician Training?

The answer to this question depends on what type of post-secondary classes you’ve taken and what subject area your degree is in. An area such as art history or literature isn’t likely to help you in the technical aspects of your new career as an electrician.

While these types of classes or degrees don’t directly play into your role as an electrical tradesperson, your hard work isn’t completely useless. As an electrician, you’ll need to solve problems, think on your feet, and effectively communicate verbally or through the written word. Most college-level courses require critical thinking, analysis, and communication skills.

Beyond the general problem-solving or critical thinking skills college or other post-secondary courses can help you to develop, some areas of study can provide you with the basics you need as an electrical professional. Future electricians with past class experience or a degree in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) areas may have an advantage in their new career training.

STEM courses electricians may need include math, physics, and engineering. If you have a degree in one of these areas or have taken a significant number of classes in one or more of these subjects, you’re already on the road to your new career.

Do Electrician Training Programs Allow You to Transfer Classes?

Will your math or engineering college courses count towards an electrician degree? Even though these classes will help you in your training and as a working professional, some schools may not allow you to transfer classes or credits. Don’t assume that a college or community college math class counts towards your electrical training requirements.

Ask your potential future trade school about the credit transfer policy. Different schools have somewhat different rules or regulations. The school may accept all, none, or some of your credits. The admissions staff may also ask you to provide a course description or other types of documentation to verify the course meets the school’s standards.

If the program doesn’t accept transfer credits, you can still benefit from past classes. While these courses won’t shave time off your training period, they’ll still give you a strong foundation to start your new career.

Do you want to switch paths and become an electrician? Contact the Independent Electrical Contractors of Greater Cincinnati for more information.