Are you situated in Ohio and considering earning your electrician’s license? There has never been a better moment to get started on a career as an electrician. However, there are a few things you should be aware of first.
Electrical work requires a high degree of competence and comes with a high level of risk—and the pay is commensurate. Job stability, competitive income, and the ability to work to your own schedule are all contingent on your dedication to the process.
Many mid-size Ohio communities, from Dayton to Toledo, are seeing rapid growth, therefore licensed individuals will be in high demand for a long time. Follow this step-by-step guide to evaluating whether electrical employment is suited for you, completing coursework and apprenticeships, obtaining your license, and securing your first few jobs.
STEP 1: DETERMINE IF ELECTRICAL WORK IS FOR YOU
A “trade” career is one that needs on-the-job training, specialized training, and vocational education but does not require a bachelor’s degree. That means you can escape the four-year university system (and the potentially crippling debt that comes with it) while still landing a well-paying job with benefits.
Mechanics, plumbers, welders, ironworkers, carpenters, and electricians are examples of trade vocations. These vocations are evergreen since people will always require free-flowing water, automobiles, housing, and power. Every sector has peaks and troughs, but trade professions provide a lot of employment security and can be done anywhere.
Electrical work is often considered to be one of the “cleanest” of all trades—no engine oil or raw sewage will be washing up on you as you cross wires. The trade-off is that the electrical trade is one of the most hazardous due to the risk of electrocution and electrical fire.
However, the cost of a licensed electrician’s annual wage includes that risk as well as the training and education necessary to achieve the best earning potential. Salary ranges from $40,000 to 60,000 in Ohio’s residential neighborhoods. This range rises to between $60,000 and $83,000 in Ohio’s main cities.
If that isn’t enough to entice you, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services lists electricians as one of the Top 30 Industries with the Fastest Job Growth. In Ohio, a quick but steady boom in building began in 2015, resulting in a significant increase in demand for electrical contractors. Northeastern Ohio has the third biggest increase in electrician jobs of any rural location in the country.
If you’re an electrician or thinking about becoming one, consider purchasing insurance for electricians in Ohio. Find out more here.
STEP 2: EDUCATION AND APPRENTICESHIP PREPARATION
While there are several paths to becoming a profitable electrical contractor, if you want to live off your business, you’ll have to go through licensure at some point. That requires adhering to the Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board’s time, money, and education requirements.
There are three primary paths to becoming a successful journeyman. These three pathways frequently cross. Someone may begin educating themselves on the trade of electrical artistry on their own and discover that they require the assistance that a technical school can supply. Before taking the licensing exam, one can participate in a combined apprenticeship and training program, which can subsequently lead to high-paying employment. There is no such thing as a terrible entrance point, but it is beneficial to understand what each path entails.
GOING ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS IN YOUR OWN WAY
Unlike many other states in the country, Ohio does not require electricians to have any kind of license or degree. For commercial electricians who wish to form a firm or recruit junior electricians, the Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board demands schooling, on-the-job or apprenticeship training, an exam, and more.
Consider this when you begin to educate yourself by reading books, watching videos, and completing a myriad of free online courses. Many licensed electrical contractors in Ohio will accept junior tradesmen into shadowing programs who have no formal schooling or previous on-site experience
It’s a lot more difficult to train yourself than it is to enroll in a technical institution and surround yourself with a network of experienced electrical contractors who have years of experience, connections, and have passed the electrical contractor test. Let’s take a look at the technical college option with that in mind.
TECHNICAL COLLEGE TRAINING
Technical colleges provide courses in a variety of practical areas, ranging from computer technology to plumbing and general electrical work, as well as agricultural and clerical jobs. By offering career-oriented licensing and certification programs, most technical institutions expedite the employment hunt.
For electricians, there are several excellent national, state, and municipal technical school programs. A two-year degree in applied electrical technology would certainly suffice. Most journeyman and electrical contractor licensing programs include a classroom-based technical training component.
Schools may also help you connect with professional networks of journeymen and licensed contractors, many of whom are always looking for informal trainees and formal apprentices. It might be difficult to find these chances on your own, and without the backing of a well-known Technical College, it can be difficult to get through to busy working professionals.
Technical College leadership and professors are frequently well-connected within local and bigger state electricians’ networks. They can assist you in finding a job to finish your final years of on-the-job training once you’ve successfully enrolled and are working in an apprenticeship.
PROGRAMS FOR APPRENTICESHIPS
The vast majority of working electricians in Ohio advance from a technical college into an apprenticeship. These immersive training programs offer 3-5 year on-the-job training that combines experiential (and paid) job site education, electrical theory courses, and license preparation—the vast majority of working electricians in Ohio advance from a technical college into an apprenticeship. They will be able to find work after passing the electrical contractor test and obtaining their contractor license.
Apprenticeships are appealing since they prepare you for a future job search. Faculty at technical institutions in Ohio are well-connected in the electrical community. Furthermore, getting accepted into an apprenticeship will place you in a working environment alongside certified electricians. There’s no better way to locate work than via personal relationships, and apprenticing programs are designed to help you make such connections.
Visit the Apprentice Ohio website and click on the link titled “I’m Interested in Becoming an Apprentice” for the simplest method to find an apprenticeship in the state. The ASPP (Apprenticeship Statewide Partnership Panel) is a governing and funding agency in Ohio that organizes hundreds of apprenticeships each year through collaborations with the Ohio Department of Higher Education, the Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee of Ohio, and others.
STEP 3: GET YOUR LICENSE
Obtaining your Ohio electrician license has various advantages. It improves your safety on the job, gives you more opportunities for higher-paying work, and lets you establish a long-term independent electrician business.
You should have liability insurance coverage, pass a general electrician exam, a business/law exam, and meet the following conditions to receive an electrician license from the Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board. Further requirements are as follows:
- You must be at least 18 years old to participate.
- To qualify, you must be a lawful US citizen or resident.
- You haven’t been convicted of any crime or offense that would disqualify you (the crimes that are of concern vary)
- You have five years of professional experience (appeals for a lower experience threshold can be made to the Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board).
- You have taken and passed the electrical contractor test.
- You maintain a minimum of $500,000 in general liability coverage.
This appears to be quite a lot! But don’t get too worked up. If you went through a technical college or an apprenticeship program, you’ve probably already accumulated enough experience. With a little more study, you’ll breeze through the license and business/law exams. Finally, in terms of liability insurance, all it takes is a phone call to a licensed insurance agent.
The fact that the pathway to the work is paid the entire way distinguishes trade vocation career lines from many other career paths. The great majority of students enrolling in technical colleges also participate in apprentice programs, which are not your standard unpaid office internships. You will get paid while you train.