How to become an electrician

CB_electrician

Becoming an electrician isn’t easy—lots of time and work are put into securing and completing an apprenticeship—but once you master the trade, you’ll be set for a long and rewarding career. Here’s what you need to do to get there.

(Note: Certification for electricians is not managed at the federal level, so contact your provincial/territorial authority to learn more about requirements where you live.)

Finish high school

Or at the 10th grade, which is the minimum education level set by The Trades Qualification and Apprenticeship Act. Getting a high school diploma is an asset if you want to pursue unionized positions, which often require completion of grade 12 with Math, Physics and English courses.

Find and complete an electrical apprenticeship

This is when you actually learn how to be an electrician. Finding an apprenticeship is up to you, and doing so can be tricky. Talk to practising electricians and contact your local apprenticeships councils to learn about available opportunities.

Someone—usually an employer—must agree to hire you, provide training, and pay you according to your province/territory’s stipulated apprentice rate. Once you’ve found an employer, contact your provincial/territorial apprenticeship authority to register as an apprentice.

As an apprentice, you’ll spend most of your time working under and helping journeyperson-level electricians. You’ll also have to attend classes—offered at most colleges—to learn about trade theory, practices, and more. Extra training may be required by certain employers.

An apprenticeship is complete when you’ve fulfilled all of your work obligations, passed all given tests, and spent a certain number of hours on the job. (In Ontario, it’s 9,000 hours, which takes 4 to 5 years to reach.) The last exam is the Certification of Qualifications, which you must pass with a grade of 70%.

Interested in moving or pumping up your resume? Consider taking the Red Seal exam. Passing it allows you to work anywhere in Canada without having to take any additional tests or courses.

Published on April 18, 2012
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