How to Become an Electrician in Alabama
Electricians are highly trained individuals who haves a range of responsibilities from replacing old outlets to installing wiring in a newly constructed building or house. In order to be qualified for such a diverse job there are certain educational and licensing requirements. This article briefly looks over these requirements specific to the state of Alabama and how you can begin the process of becoming an electrician.
The minimum education requirement to become an electrician is having a high school diploma or its equivalent. Once this requirement is fulfilled you can get an apprenticeship or join a training school. By doing this you get a combination of hands-on-training and classroom teachings which can last for up to four years. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) sponsor the largest, most comprehensive electrical Journeyman and Apprentice training programs throughout USA including Alabama. Also, there are a number of electrician training schools in Alabama, a comprehensive list can be found here. When you start your apprenticeship you are resonpsible for buying your own tools. We have put togather a list of the best starter sets.
How to obtain an apprenticeship
The next step is getting a license without which you cannot get an apprenticeship or do electrical work in Alabama. There are two types of licenses one can get in Alabama; the journeyman license and the electrical contractor. The licenses are granted by the Alabama Electrical Contractor’s Board and you can sit for the license test only after getting their permission.
The Journeyman license: In order to get the license you must have four years or 8000 hours of experience in installation of electrical wiring and equipment for lighting or power. It must also be noted that 2000 hours or 1 year of the above mentioned requirement can be exempted with approved education or apprenticeship programs. To get the license you must first fill out an application form and pass a test which consists of 80 multiple-choice questions and is 4 hours long. The exam is open-book with authorized materials and is computer based and covers a range of subject areas related to the field. The license must be renewed every year which has a cost of $35 and the fee for the test is around $115.
Electrical Contractor: To get this license you must have at least 8,000 hours work experience in overall design, layout, planning, and supervision of electrical construction activities. A candidate for electrical contractor can substitute up to 2,000 hours of the 8,000 hour requirement with approved education or apprenticeship programs. After submitting an application to the Board to get this license, one must give an exam. The exam for electrical contractor consists of 110 multiple-choice questions. Test takers have 5 hours to complete the exam. It is an open-book exam with authorized materials and is computer based. The examination covers a number of areas including General Electrical Knowledge, Service, Branch Circuits and Feeders, Bonding and Grounding. The license fee is $200 and so is the yearly renewal cost and the test fee is $165.
Alabama has Reciprocal Licensing with:
You can find out more about the tests here or you can also contact the Alabama Electrical Contractor’s Board.
Once you get the license you can easily work in Alabama as an electrician with a company of contractors or independently. You can do so by looking for jobs online or by going to job fairs.
As far as career progression is concerned, the top position for an electrician’s career is becoming a Master electrician. You need to get certified for this and you have to choose from a variety of specializations. This comes with a lot of responsibility as these master electricians have to approve electrical plans for buildings and supervise their subordinates during installation. This requires a lot of effort and will take a lot of time. Some of the ways to become a master electrician are:
- Work as a journeyman electrician for eight years to qualify for it.
- Get a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering
You must also pass an exam to qualify as a master electrician. All this requires continued motivation, a lot of knowledge and education and staying up to date with current rules and laws related to the field.