How to Become an Electrician: A Secure Career With High Wage Potential

What is an Electrician?

An electrician is a person with specialized training and skills to install, repair, and maintain new or existing electrical control systems, lighting, communications systems, and wiring in residential and commercial businesses. Electricians can also install and repair power and transmission lines for machinery and power grids serving communities and rural infrastructures. The workforce need for electrical workers is expected to grow by 14% over the next decade. Find out how to become an electrician below. 

Becoming an Electrician- Two Types

There are two primary types of electricians: outside electricians and inside electricians.

Outside electricians are also called line electrical workers or linemen. These workers install outdoor electric utility transmission and high voltage distribution systems. They ensure electricity produced at power plants reaches residential, commercial, and industrial facilities and neighborhoods. 

Inside electricians, or wiremen, work on lower voltage and solar panel systems found inside buildings and homes. 

How to Become an Electrician

You can take steps to become an electrician at Texarkana College by enrolling in the Electrical Technology program. Students can choose a one-year certificate program or a 60-hour four-semester program to earn an Associate of Applied Science in Electrical Technology. Training through TC’s Electrical Technology program provides students with the knowledge needed for a foundation for career opportunities as an apprentice electrician, maintenance electrician, journeyman electrician, master electrician, and industrial electrician. Students who wish to pursue more educational opportunities can transfer coursework into the Bachelor of Applied Science program at Texas A&M University-Texarkana. 

Steps to Becoming an Electrician

1. Finish High School

this important step prepares you to enroll in training courses that provide information and skills for you to successfully pass the required licensure exams. Most employers require proof of high school completion.  If you have not completed high school or earned an equivalency, Texarkana College’s Adult Education department can assist you with GED and High School Equivalency programs to help you take the steps to becoming an electrician. Contact them here: or call 903-823-3460. 

2. Enroll in a Training Program at Texarkana College- If you do not have any experience as an electrician, it is beneficial to enroll in a technical training program that can guide you through the process, and teach you how become an electrician

The Electrical Technology program at Texarkana College offers students options to earn a certificate in less than one year, or an associate degree in four semesters. Students who complete these programs typically go straight into the workforce or start their own business. 

3. Become an Apprentice

You will need to apply for an apprenticeship license through the State of Texas and get a total of 4,000 hours of experience before you can apply for a job as a journeyman electrician. At Texarkana College, you will begin earning hours in the classroom and in the program’s laboratory where experienced electricians who are also instructors will teach you what it takes to become an electrician. Students will have the opportunity to be placed as an apprentice with a local employer after completing 1,000 – 2,000 hours of training. 

4. Attend Class and Learn Skills

While learning how to become an electrician at Texarkana College, students will discover how to wire systems, solder wires, ground system, install control panels and will learn the difference between the different career options within the field. You will also learn how to earn and maintain your license and complete required paperwork. You should expect to have skills tests and safety checkpoints to ensure you are ready to work around electricity and high voltage situations. Texarkana College will provide you with the steps to become an electrician.

5. Transition from Classroom to Worksite

Texarkana College instructors have connections with regional employers who are looking for skilled and work-ready employees. They will help you find an apprenticeship placement and mentor you along the way to ensure you are successful and safe. Most apprenticeships will pay you to work while you finish your certificate or degree from Texarkana College. 

6. Start Working

As an apprentice electrician, you will work directly under a master electrician. You will work alongside them and train daily until you have completed 4,000 hours of experience, which usually takes around 2 years. It is important that you are committed to showing up for work on days you are scheduled and put your best effort and attention into learning the industry from the master electrician. Ask questions and watch what they do. In most cases, you will be doing minor wiring work at first. As your skills improve, you will be able to do more complicated jobs while still under supervision from the master electrician. 

7. Take the Electrician License Examination

Once you have completed 4,000 hours of experience through the combination of your training at Texarkana College and your apprenticeship, you are ready to register for the licensing exam. Your instructor will help you with this process and will advise you on how to schedule a test. There are two types of tests: Journeyman or Wireman. You will need to choose the type of exam you want to take and pay a fee of approximately $78 for the exam. The tests take place at testing centers and last about 4 hours. The test will cover electrical systems, definitions, calculations, motors, wiring, and other essential information. It is multiple choice, and you must score a minimum of 70% on the journeyman exam and 80% on the wireman exam to pass the test.

8. Wait for Exam Results and Copy of Your Certification

It will usually take 30 days to receive results of your exam. If you did not pass the first time, you can retake the test- so do not get discouraged! You will need to have your certification to begin working as a journeyman electrician or a wireman electrician. 

9. Begin Your Career with High Wages and Job Security

Congratulations on choosing a high-demand career field where you will earn high wages and find great opportunities for employment. You can continue to work towards earning your certificate as a master electrician and earn even higher wages and own your own company. 

10. Explore Career Options

Texarkana College has a tool you can use to explore career options called Career Coach. Click this link to see career options: Journeymen electricians with a certificate-level education earn a median salary of $46,190. Specialized journeymen electricians can earn more than that with experience through their apprenticeship in high-demand and growing industries. 

Discover more about Texarkana College’s Electrical Technology program and what it takes to be an electrician. Visit Texarkana College for a tour of the program’s classrooms and lab, or go online to see more information at this link:

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