Electricians play a vital role in every industry. On a daily basis their jobs require accuracy, safety, an excellent memory, skills and professionalism. Not only do they have to be thoroughly trained in their field, but in order to legally perform electrical work, electricians must also take and pass an examination to become certified.

Course of Study

An electrician student typically studies the following subjects areas: residential and commercial wiring, industrial machinery wiring and maintenance, electrical wiring blueprint reading, electrical safety and tools course, and photovoltaic (PV) theory and systems design. The licensed electrician must have a thorough knowledge of state and national electrical codes. Both the subject areas and knowledge of the codes are necessary components of his education and will assist him in preparing to take the certification examination.

Required Certification Programs and Skills

In addition to the regular course of study as an electrician, in order to meet the requirements for certification, a student must take the following required certificate courses and must possess the following skills: electrical theory, electrical load calculation, basic short-circuit calculations, national electrical code, and grounding & bonding. In addition, students must be competent in installing, maintaining and repairing electrical systems and equipment, and must know how to troubleshoot electronic systems and controls, according to Education-Portal.

Time Frame

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), an electrician may obtain training and certification in six months to two years at technical institutions and community colleges. The training programs may offer a curriculum for a certificate or associate degree. After nine months of training a student may participate in an apprenticeship program through electrical unions such as the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), and the National Electrical Contractor's Association (NECA) in order to obtain hands-on training and field experience.


Obtaining certification as an electrician puts an individual at an advantage in obtaining employment, and is a requirement in many states. Employers may also offer a certified electrician a higher starting position and salary as certification lends credibility and professionalism to his career. More job opportunities may open up to certified electricians in various industries, as he gains the confidence to network and expand his scope of work as a knowledgeable, competent, and valuable employee.

Scope Of Work

Once a student completes his study and becomes a certified electrician, he has the opportunity to put his knowledge and training to work in residential, commercial and industrial applications. The licensed electrician runs the wiring in these buildings for lighting and operation of machinery, and must also be able to perform preventive maintenance on machines and building electrical systems. He also has the option of working as a self-employed electrical contractor with even more job opportunities.

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