First Things First
1. Earn a High School Diploma or Equivalent
To enter an apprenticeship program, you must have a high school diploma or GED. Consider taking basic electrician courses while in secondary school if they’re available; you may also do so at a community college after graduation in order to build the skills you’ll need for your career. You can find a list of online programs here. In Oregon, you must have passed one year of high school algebra with at least a C to apply for an apprenticeship.
2. Enter an Apprenticeship Program
To become a general journeyman electrician, you can enter a program through the state of Oregon. The apprenticeship lasts four to five years and requires completion of 144 to 180 hours per year of related classroom training and at least 8,000 hours on-the-job training. During the apprenticeship, you’ll be paid 40 percent of the wages of a licensed electrician at least in the unionized apprenticeships. Private apprenticeships may have a different pay scale which is something that you will want to keep in mind. You must apply directly to an apprenticeship committee; a list of committees in Oregon is available here. Your application will be ranked by a combinations of a test, an interview, and evaluation of past experience and education. The typical waiting period to enter a program ranges from two months to two years. Of note is the fact that there are several Union and Non Union Apprenticeships available and if you served in the Armed Forces there is a simplified process for you to apply. You can find more information on there here. Realize that you will also need to supply your own tools for your apprenticeship.
3. Become Licensed by the State
After completing your apprenticeship program, you’ll take a licensing exam through the Oregon Building Codes Division. The application fee is $100, and the license is good for three years. You’ll be required to take a open-book examination with 52 multiple-choice questions. After earning your license, you must take 24 hours of continuing education over three years to maintain your license. The list of books allowable for the open book exam are taken from the Oregon State Website and are below. One piece of advise is that most of these books are rather expensive and you can find many of them used for much cheaper either used on Amazon or other sites.
4. Advance your Career
If you’re interested in furthering your career by earning additional licences or certification, such as master electrician, supervising electrician, or commercial electrician, you can take additional exams through the state. More information on these is available here.
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