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Study to be an Electrician with PCDI

Jun 21, 2008
Electricians, by in large, master their trade through various apprenticeship programs. Apprenticeships include field work and hands-on training with extensive classroom instruction. Unions, including the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the National Electrical Contractors Association, as well as independent electrical contracting corporations, fund apprenticeship programs. In addition to these subsidized training curriculum, many vocational and technical schools offer training courses. Graduates are often appointed at higher rates than trainees who haven't had this kind of training. Some electricians begin their path to mastery by beginning as helpers-assisting electricians by cleaning job sites, gathering materials, and completing other nonelectrical work. Regardless of the selected training direction, all apprentices need a high school diploma or a General Equivalency Diploma (G.E.D.). In some cases, an electrician may be required to pass some complex mathematics classes for certain wiring specializations.

These apprenticeships usually last four years and include a minimum of 144 hours of classroom direction and 2,000 hours of field training. In the classroom, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, apprentices study electrical theory, blueprint reading, mathematics, electrical code constraints, safety and first aid practices as well as specialized training in soldering, communications, and fire alarm systems.

In the field, apprentices are directed by experienced electricians of journeyman or master certification. Field training entails completion of simple responsibilities like drilling holes, setting anchors, and attaching conduit. More complex training sees the apprentice understanding how to measure, fabricate, and install conduit and install, connect, and test wiring, outlets, and switches. Eventually, apprentices will master the interpreting of electrical diagrams.

Although licensing may differ from state to state, electricians are required to pass an examination that tests their knowledge of electrical theory, the National Electrical Code, and local electric and building codes. Skilled electricians will periodically take courses to learn about any and all upgrades in the National Electrical Code.

Specific electrical contractors, who for the public sphere, as opposed to electricians who work for electrical contractors, often need specific licenses for numerous job requirements. In some States, electrical contractors are required to prove their rank as master electricians. The minimum in most states is at least seven years of experience working as an electrician. Some municipalities may demand a B.A. in electrical engineering or a related field before an electrician can be certified for special services or get his or her master's degree. Throughout their careers, electricians may be required to complete regular safety programs, manufacturer-specific training, and management training courses. Installing low-voltage voice, data, and video systems has recently become the domain of well trained specialists. Moreover, some electricians my decide to become both electrical and general contractors, which, of course, require innovative studies in construction and business management.
About the Author
Steve Collins is an Author and Journalist based in Encino. He studied for his degree at Ashworth College - read his reviews of Ashworth College here.
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