What Should You Know About Becoming A California Electrician?

If you're a resident of California and are interested in a career path that won't require you to move out of state to find a job (but with the flexibility to put down roots in any part of the country), you may want to consider becoming an electrician. With the number of jobs in this field poised to grow faster than average -- nearly 20 percent between 2012 and 2022 -- you'll be able to enjoy a career that pays a relatively high wage for the training required while ensuring you won't enter a depressed job market. However, there is some skill and education you'll need in order to become licensed to perform electrical work. Read on to learn more about what you'll need to do to become a licensed electrician in the Golden State.

What training will you need to become an electrician in California?

In order to legally work on construction or repair projects under a C-10 contractor, you'll need to become California certified. There are several types of certification you can obtain, but all require you to go through a certain number of training hours and take a written examination to ensure you're qualified to install electrical systems and make needed repairs.

To become a certified residential electrician, you'll need to complete at least 4,800 hours of training in more than one area and take a licensing exam. This training is generally performed under supervision by a certified electrician able to evaluate your work product and redirect you when you make a mistake. To become a general electrician, you'll need to add another 3.800 training hours to this (for a total of 8,000 hours) and take an additional written examination.

For those who want to begin a career sooner, only 2,000 practice hours are needed to become a non-residential lighting installer. This training can generally be accomplished in around a year, allowing you to begin work as a certified lighting installer while building up on this base of training hours to seek additional certifications (and promotions) in the future.

Before seeking this training, you'll need at least a high school diploma or general equivalency degree (GED). While not all states require this level of education before taking your licensing exam, California does -- and most licensed electricians will be reluctant (or unwilling) to train an apprentice who doesn't have a high school diploma to his or her name.

What are the most cost-effective ways to begin your new career?

Ideally, you'll be able to obtain the required number of training hours to take your certification exam while being paid for the work you're performing. This allows you to seek job training while making a living wage -- a much better alternative than having to take out hefty student loans or cut down to part time hours while getting a degree over the course of several years or more.

Generally, the most cost-effective option for you to help gain your apprenticeship hours is to become an electrician trainee (ET) at a state-sponsored educational training program. By enrolling in an ET course, you'll be able to receive all the classroom education needed to help you pass your written certification test, as well as the on-the-job training needed to ensure you'll be able to perform the job of a residential or commercial electrician ably and competently. Although you'll pay a small fee to enroll in one of these courses and purchase any books needed, once you begin performing work under a contractor you'll be entitled to an hourly pay rate comparable to any other job you'd be able to perform straight out of high school.

For information about electrical training in other areas, such as Chicago, check out websites like http://hvac-tech.com.