Since their work primarily involves installing, maintaining, repairing, and updating electrical systems in businesses and homes, electricians are in high demand. While they collaborate with architects and engineers from the beginning of a construction project, electricians are also just as likely to be called in for an emergency at the last minute. They have a hand in everything from lighting systems to circuit breakers, and may be on-site at least part of the time for many of the most common building repair and maintenance jobs; nonetheless, many electricians are kept busy maintaining and repairing electrical systems and components as full-time employees in factories and other industrial sites. In order to succeed in this highly complex field, many choose to learn the fundamentals in online electrical certificate programs.
Typical online electrician training can be completed within one year. As a certificate program the course work will be focused on the field, with few (if any) required classes required that focus on other disciplines. Most certified electricians find work quickly after their training is completed; data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that this field is growing faster than average for all professions.
Types of Electrician Certificates
Most choose to become electricians because they know there is always work for qualified electrical professionals, particularly in today’s world of ever-changing technology. Whether a homeowner wants to install the latest programmable ceiling fan or a business needs to update its wiring, an electrician will typically be called. Many choose to obtain an electrician certificate because they know they will get the education they need in the shortest amount of time. Most programs share admission requirements, including a high school diploma or GED and an accumulative high school GPA of 2.0 or higher.
The typical online electrician school will take at least two semesters to complete. Most programs include at least one survey course, and then specialized courses in both residential and commercial electricity. Nearly all programs are hands-on rather than theoretical, so students glean a significant amount of practical experience while they’re in class. Students also receive thoroughinstruction in the National Electric Code, as well as all relevant occupational health and safety standards.
What’s Next for Electrician Certificate Holders?
Upon completing the certificate, most electricians find work right away; according to the BLS, electricians earned a median hourly wage of $23.20 in 2010. In addition to working as residential electricians, many certificate holders find work as security and alarm system installers, signal repairers and supervisors in the construction field. Those who moved into managerial positions earned a median hourly wage of $40.32 in 2010, or $83,860 annually.
Others choose to continue their education and pursue an associate degree. According to a recent report by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, associate degree holders will earn nearly $200,000 more over their lifetimes than those who stopped their education with a vocational certificate. Those with associate degrees were more likely to be employed, as well; according to BLS data, associate degree holders were nearly 20% more likely to be employed in 2012 compared to those with a certificate.
Likewise, certificate holders who choose to earn a bachelor’s degree are even more likely to be employed and will earn even more money. According to the BLS, people with bachelor’s degrees were over 40% more likely to be employed in 2012 over those with a certificate; furthermore, the Georgetown University report noted that they would earn over $700,000 more, over their lifetimes, than their counterparts with vocational certificates. Students who pursue high-level degrees may want to expand their education to include home repair or home inspection certificates as well.