Before you can apply for a state license to work as an electrician, you have to work as an apprentice for a certain number of hours as determined by your state. You'll also need to complete specified classroom courses and learn the National Electrical Code. Each area of job specialization has its own requirements as far as education and work experience goes, so you should consider what type of work you want to do before you undertake studies to get your license (from an outlet such as Independent Electrical Contractors of Greater Cincinnati). Here are some choices to think about.
If you want to answer service calls to private homes to repair electrical problems and install new equipment, then you'll want to work towards a residential electrician's license. You'll start at the apprentice level where you work under a licensed journeyman. You'll perform increasingly complex work as you gain skills. Classroom education is also needed to get your license. You'll need to take classes on electrical theory, reading blueprints, and electrical codes. An apprenticeship typically lasts about four years of full time work and classroom learning. When your training is complete, you can take your state's test to get your journeyman's license.
As a commercial electrician, you will work in settings like a mall or hospital. This requires special training since you'll encounter different types of equipment than you would find in a typical home. A similar educational path is the industrial electrician that works in factory and manufacturing plants. While the length of training is similar to that of a residential electrician and you'll need to go through an apprenticeship program, the type of training you receive is specific to the type of work you'll be doing such as working on motors, transformers, and cables.
If your goal is to be your own boss or run a company and hire other electricians, you'll need to get a master electrician's license. In order to get this license, you'll need to have several years of experience working as a journeyman first. You may also need to take business classes before you can take the licensing exam. Your state may even require college classes or a degree in electrical engineering. Once you have your license, you can work independently as an electrical contractor in a variety of work settings.
You may not know for sure what type of work you want to do until you begin an apprenticeship and gain experience in the workforce. You're always free to change your course of instruction or take additional training so you can take exams for additional licenses. As an electrician, you have a wide opportunity ahead of you when it comes to choice of jobs as long as you have the right training. You could work as an auto electrician, a lineman that works on high power lines, an oil rig electrician, or a contractor. You could work for yourself, an electrical contractor, a construction company, or be an employee of a hospital or factory. It all starts with getting basic training as an apprentice and taking classes at a trade school.