Today, there are tons of programs that can help you become a certified electrician online. There, you’ll learn the knowledge and skills necessary for becoming a certified professional.
Online electrician schools are becoming an increasingly popular option among individuals looking to switch career paths. They also appeal to individuals tending to personal or professional responsibilities while attending school.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), certified electricians in the United States earn a median annual salary of $56,900 or about $27.36 per hour. Many states require you to obtain your license to apply for electrician jobs. Online electrician programs can help you prepare for the associated examinations.
Below, we’ll explore what it takes to get accepted into an online electrical engineering program and how to kickstart your career in the field.
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Steps to Become a Certified Electrician Online
Becoming an electrician involves the following steps:
- Complete preliminary education requirements (High school diploma/GED)
- Apply for a certificate program/associate’s degree/apprenticeship program
- Complete the prerequisite education and training hours as per your state’s requirements
- Apply for a licensure
- Pass the licensing examination
Online electrician programs only help you meet the coursework requirements and help you prepare for the licensure exam. After completing an online course, you may have to work as an apprentice or enroll in practical training programs to meet your state’s licensing requirements.
A high school diploma/GED is generally the minimum requirement for apprenticeship programs/online courses. This ensures that you are familiar with subjects like math, physics, and basic workshop practice before beginning school.
After your high school diploma, you can enroll in an electrician program at a trade or vocational school. Formal education programs at electrician schools can include certificate programs, online electrician training courses, and associate’s degrees.
You can also apply for apprenticeships to receive on-the-job training, installing, repairing, and maintaining electrical systems.
A certificate program can take anywhere from 6 to 12 months, while associate’s degree programs take about two years to complete. An electrician training program or apprenticeship generally runs for 4 to 5 years.
Associate degrees holders can also pursue allied careers. For instance, an associate’s degree in electrical technology can prepare you for work as an electrical technologist or an electrical installer and repairer.
You can also consider a bachelor’s degree after an associate program to boost your chances of receiving more advanced salaries and job roles.
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Licenses and Certifications
The final step to becoming an electrician is obtaining your license. After completing your training and license, you can work as a journeyperson electrician. Once you gain adequate experience, you can apply for electrical contractors’ license.
If you’re applying for an electrical contractor license in Rhode Island, you need to submit proof of at least six years of trade experience. You must also possess a journeyperson’s license. Similarly, electrical journeypersons must have at least four years of experience and 576 hours of instruction from an approved institution.
You can get more information about the licensing requirements for electricians at the National Electrical Contractors Association.
The Difference Between a Commercial, Industrial Wiring, and Residential Electrician
Online electrician schools provide preliminary training on electrical theory and the national electric code. Once you gain adequate knowledge, skills, and experience, you can select your area of expertise. The three main types of electricians are Commercial, Industrial wiring, and Residential Electrician.
Residential electricians work in a domestic setting. They help repair residential wiring, single-phase power supplies, and install home appliances and systems. On the other hand, commercial electricians help repair electrical systems in stores, offices, banks, and other buildings.
Commercial wiring often involves three-phase systems, high-voltage supplies, and heavy-duty electrical equipment installation.
Industrial electricians ensure that the machinery and equipment in factories, manufacturing units, chemical processing factories, etc., are up and running. They work on RMC conduits, power motors, control systems, and so on.
How Much Do Online Electrician Schools Cost?
The cost of an online electrician training program varies depending on the program type, mode of study, and college type. According to the Education Data Initiative, the average cost per credit in 2019-20 for online colleges was $316, while private colleges charged about $488.
An apprenticeship program is generally the least expensive option. The IBEW 271 joint apprenticeship requires students to spend a total of about $3,600 for their tools, course materials, the National Electrical Code book, licensing fees, and instruction charges.
The only downside is that you’ll have to spend about four to five years in training before you can begin at an entry-level job.
While online electrician schools can be less expensive than on-campus colleges, they generally do not include the necessary practical training. Getting scholarships, financial aid, or grants is also much easier in a conventional electrician trade school.
Scholarships and Financial Aid
You can reduce the net cost of your online electrician training by applying for federal grants, scholarships, and other funding. Start by filling out the FAFSA form to understand the type of aid you qualify for. You can also look into the following alternatives:
- Scholarships: Online programs may offer scholarships to deserving students. These funds do not require repayment. If your college does not provide scholarships, you can also apply for non-profit and private scholarships.
- Loans: FAFSA allows students to apply for subsidized loans with income-based repayment plans.
- Work-Study: Some college programs offer a work-study model that allows students to work on and off-campus tuition.
- Employer-sponsorship: If you’re already working as an electrician helper, your organization may sponsor a part of your tuition.
Popular Schools for Becoming an Electrician Online
Let’s look at some of the most popular online electrician schools for budding electricians.
The accelerated associate degree program in Electrical Technology The New England Institute of Technology can be completed in just 18 months. After graduation, you’ll be ready for entry-level careers in the electrical industry or work as an apprentice electrician or technician.
Some of the many career options available to students upon graduation include maintenance electricians, power system technicians, electrical relay technicians, electrical research technicians, electro-mechanical technicians, electrical distribution sales, and entry-level controls engineers.
Associate degree graduates can also continue their education with our Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering Technology program.
Penn Foster provides a comprehensive online electrician program featuring skilled trade lessons, video lectures, and quizzes to help you gain a fundamental understanding of electrical technology. Their curriculum is based on the National Electrical Code (NEC). They also provide state-specific training for licensing and certification.
The course platform includes several interactive features such as goal setting, flashcards, and progress tracking to help your learning. They also offer courses on-demand, which means you can complete your school at a pace that best suits your schedule.
Ashworth offers a unique training program that consists of 13 parts, each covering a unique aspect of electrician training. All sections include online lectures and practical installation, maintenance, and repair demonstrations.
The institute also offers apprenticeship assistance after certification, helping you apply your electrical knowledge in a professional setting.
Electrician Training Courses Online (ETCO) is an online platform that offers three different certificate programs:
- Electrical Technician Training
- Advanced Technician Training
- Arc Flash and Electrical Safety
The electrical technician course includes basic electricity fundamentals, low voltage wiring, branch circuits, electrical wiring, repair, etc. You can also enroll in the advanced technician certification program so long as you’ve already completed initial training.
Mike Holt Enterprises offers online certificate programs for continuing education and exam preparations. You can enroll in their comprehensive library, including practice exams, textbooks, and instructional DVDs on electrical work. They also send you physical study materials to help with your online learning.
Salary and Job Outlook for Electricians
Electricians earn an average annual salary of $61,550, or about $29.59 per hour. The wages can differ significantly according to your education, experience, and job location.
For instance, the lowest-earning entry-level electricians make about $33,810 per year, while the top ten percent of highest-earning professionals earn more than $98,720 annually.
Whether or not you get a degree or a certification may depend on your education and career goals, though a degree typically provides more career opportunities and a higher salary than a certificate.
With sufficient experience and the appropriate licensure, you can also become an electrical contractor. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employment among electricians will increase by nine percent in the next ten years, adding about 66,100 new jobs in the electrical field.
If you want to learn more about an electrician’s duties and job responsibilities, you can read our blog on what electricians do.
Best Paying States
Here are the top-paying states:
- Illinois: $81,650
- New York: $81,340
- Hawaii: $79,280
- District of Columbia: $79,030
- Oregon: $76,040
Best Paying Cities
Similarly, electrician salaries can vary according to the metropolitan areas. The cities that offer the highest salaries for electricians are:
- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California: $106,680
- Trenton, New Jersey: $90,210
- Kankakee, Illinois: $88,530
- Mount Vernon-Anacortes, Washington: $87,820
- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California: $86,550
Online programs can help you learn theoretical and practical skills to start your electrician career but may not provide you with the practical training hours to meet your state’s licensure requirement.
Even after completing an online certification program, you’ll still have to work as an apprentice or complete practical training hours to apply for a journeyperson electrician license.
Online learning is most effective in this area if you’ve already completed your apprenticeship and want to prepare for the licensing examination or if you’re going to apply for an apprenticeship.
Additionally, the hours you spend studying at an accredited school may count towards your apprenticeship requirements, helping you achieve your license faster.
The New England Institute of Technology offers a comprehensive Associate’s Degree in Electrical Technology that gives you much more than an online certification program could.
START YOUR ELECTRICAL TECHNOLOGY CAREER
Earn your degree in Electrical Technology from NEIT and begin your new career path today!
How Long Does It Take to Become a Certified Electrician?
Electrical education programs may come in the form of certificate programs, associate’s degrees, and apprenticeships. Certificate courses take about 6 to 12 months to complete, while you can receive an associate’s degree in 18 to 24 months. Apprenticeships last anywhere from 4 to 5 years.
Most states require you to pass an examination after fulfilling the education and practical training hours requirement to obtain your license and start working as a journeyperson electrician.
Can You Become an Electrician Online?
You can enroll in online electrician programs to learn electrical work’s theoretical and practical aspects. The knowledge and skills you acquire online can help you apply for apprenticeships. However, you must complete a fixed number of practical training/apprenticeship hours to become a licensed electrician and apply for jobs.
Can You Receive Certification as an Electrician Online?
Online electrician schools may offer a certificate of completion, verifying that you have learned their training course. However, professional certification and licensure have specific eligibility criteria and examinations that you must qualify for in order to receive your certificate. Online learning may not be sufficient in such cases.