Even as the way that we find tradespeople has changed drastically, the demand for them has only increased in recent decades. That’s why so many people are skipping out on vanity degrees and learning good skills that help to jumpstart their careers in the competitive state of California.
If you’re wondering how to become an electrician in California, it can be as simple as following a career path just as you would do in any other career.
Here are the five steps to get licensed to work in the electrical trades in the Rancho Cordova area.
1. Get Your High School Diploma or Equivalency
If you haven’t completed your initial high school diploma or something equivalent to it, you’re going to be stuck in a lot of ways. One of the things you won’t be able to do is to advance with your career as an electrician. You have to get your initial high school diploma or a GED to get into most electrician programs.
If you’re still in high school as you read this, you should choose classes to meet the demands of being an electrician. Mathematics is very important, so pay attention in algebra and trigonometry. You need to determine the angles of circuits, wire needs, and be able to calculate current accurately.
If you take a shop class or any kind of mechanics, you’ll learn valuable lessons. While the communication skills you get in English class are essential for life, being able to work with your hands is absolutely necessary to succeed as an electrician.
2. Enroll in a State Approved Trainee Program
Before you can work in the field, you will need to prove that you are fully trained or attending a state approved electrical trainee program. When you are enrolled in a fully approved, whole curriculum program, you are able to apply for a trainee card or “T-Card” as it is known. With this card, you can work if supervised by a licensed electrician. Your college or trade school will need to sign the application, certifying that you are enrolled in an approved program and making satisfactory progress. This is a simple step, but vital to prove your safety and aptitude. Once the application is signed and proof of enrollment is submitted to the state, the T-Card will be mailed to the student usually within three to six weeks. This registration is imperative, as anyone could walk onto a site and potentially harm themselves or others.
Fill out a form and pay your fee in order to have it processed. You need to renew your application every two years in California and be sure it doesn’t lapse while you’re working.
4. Get On-the-job Training
Your apprenticeship or on-the-job training, supervised by a licensed electrician, is a requirement in order to become an electrician in California. It’s vital that you have the kind of hands-on training that only an apprenticeship can provide. You’ll be supervised for several hours a week in order to learn how to be a professional electrician.
You’ll take four to five years of training while you earn an hourly wage and build up your career.
You’ll get to learn lots of valuable and transferable concepts. While many of the ideas you learn will seem specific to the kind of work you’re doing with a particular company, you’ll find that they’re broadly applied.
To become a valuable tradesperson, you’ll learn how to read blueprints and technical diagrams. These hold the key to reading electrical plans and dealing with wiring.
You’re going to have to repair a lot of electrical wiring, maintain fixtures, and deal with lots of distribution equipment. As you get more experienced with a wide variety of control systems, you’ll become adept at any electrical situation.
When you’re able to easily test and inspect any system, you’ll always work safely and ensure that no one around you deals with any dangerous situations.
Another important element of being a Licensed Electrician is having a thorough understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC®.) and the US Federal requirements set forth by OSHA. When working with Voltage, safety and accuracy is essential.
5. Apply for Your License
If you’re looking to operate as an electrician in California, you will need to take and pass the Journeyman Electrician examination. You can schedule this examination after you graduate from an approved school, or you can wait until you accumulate your work experience hours.
Once you’ve done all the required hours required to obtain your electrician license and have taken and passed the examination, you become a licensed electrician. You often need to show that you have 6000 to 8000 hours of verifiable work experience in order to qualify. After you’ve completed those hours, you’ll have the knowledge you need to serve the role with professionalism and safety.
It’s of utmost importance that as you become better acquainted with the tools and practices, that you never lose sight of safety. You’ll be in dangerous places working with dangerous levels of voltage coming in at high amperage. One wrong move and you could put the entire building and people, including yourself, at serious risk.
Learning How to Become an Electrician in California
Learning how to become an electrician in California is simple. Putting in the years of practice is what’s hard. Once you’ve learned how to become an electrician, you realize the value of trades in general.
If you want to learn more about the risks and rewards of becoming an electrician, check out our latest guide.