What Is an Apprentice Electrician?



There were more apprentice electricians in the US in 2019 than any other type of apprentice.

What is an apprentice electrician? What do all those active apprentices know that you don’t?

Find out everything you need to know about apprentice electricians. You may discover your new career.

What Is an Apprentice Electrician?

An apprentice electrician is in training to become an electrician. Apprenticeship is an official status within the electrical trade. It refers to someone who is participating in an approved apprenticeship program.

An apprentice electrician is an entry-level electrician. After finishing an apprenticeship, you’re eligible to become a journeyman electrician. Most states require you to pass a journeyman exam.

After working as a journeyman, you can apply to become a licensed master electrician. You’ll need to pass the exams that your state requires for this step.

What Does an Apprentice Electrician Do?

An apprentice electrician assists a journeyman electrician. Electricians install and maintain electrical power, lighting, communication, and control systems. They work in homes, businesses, and factories.

Some of the skills you’ll learn may include:

  • Reading blueprints, schematics, and technical diagrams
  • Installing and repairing wiring, control, and lighting systems
  • Mounting equipment like transformers, transfer switches, and panel boards
  • Inspecting electrical components like transformers
  • Troubleshooting and repairing systems

As an apprentice, you’ll be working with local electricians. You’ll learn more than trade skills. You’ll be building professional relationships and learning about the local electrical market.

Types of Apprentice Electricians

Apprentice electricians choose the type of work they want to focus on.

Residential electricians install, maintain, and repair the wiring and electrical systems in homes. They may also work in apartment buildings.

A commercial electrician or inside wireman works on commercial buildings. Commercial buildings have a different type of power than residential buildings.

Industrial electricians work in large facilities. Examples include power plants, water treatment plants, and manufacturing facilities. These types of buildings have more electrical needs than residential or commercial buildings.

How to Become an Apprentice Electrician

To become an apprentice electrician, you’ll need to find an apprenticeship program. Apprenticeship programs include classroom instruction and on-the-job training. Your options can vary depending on where you live.

Unions and trade organizations run apprenticeship programs. These groups include:

  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union (IBEW)
  • Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC)
  • Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC)
  • National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA)

Some electrical contracting companies offer apprenticeships. Technical and community colleges are another place to find an electrical apprenticeship program.

Electrical apprenticeships can be competitive. Candidates need at least a high school diploma or GED. Other criteria depend on the program sponsor. Criteria can include grades, aptitude test scores, and work experience.

Apprenticeship programs usually last four to five years.

What Is the Average Salary of an Electrician?

An apprentice electrician’s salary is a percentage of what a journeyman electrician earns. The pay increases as the apprentice gains more experience.

An apprentice’s salary will vary depending on the location. The type of electrical work they do is another factor. For example, residential journeymen earn around $32 per hour. An apprentice will start out making 50% of this, or $16 an hour.

Starting Your Career as an Electrician

Now you know the answer to the question, What is an apprentice electrician? If the answer sounds interesting, you’re ready to look for an apprenticeship program. You’ll be taking the first step towards starting your new career as an electrician.

Check out our other career-related articles for more practical tips and advice.