Obtaining the necessary training needed to become an electrician can lead to a stable and well-paying career. PayScale, Inc. notes that the average hourly rate of pay for electricians in November 2010 was $17.92 to $25.32. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs for electricians should increase steadily by about 12 percent between 2008 and 2018. Each state has its own requirements for the licensing of electricians. Licensing for electricians in the state of Arkansas is governed by the Arkansas Department of Labor.
Obtain your high school diploma or GED. This is usually the minimum education you'll need to work as an electrician's apprentice and eventually become a licensed electrician, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Completing vocational courses in industrial or electrical technology while in high school can be helpful as well. This can provide you with some of the foundational knowledge you may need as you learn your trade.
Seek a position as an electrician's apprentice. An apprenticeship is a training program that allows you to work alongside and under the supervision of an expert electrician to learn the job through hands-on training. Many electricians are willing to take on an apprentice because it allows them to have an extra set of helping hands but at a lower rate of pay. Having some background in electrical technology prior to seeking an apprenticeship may give you a competitive advantage over other potential applicants. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that the typical apprenticeship is about four years in length. The Arkansas Chapter of Associated General Contractors has a four-year apprenticeship program that can provide you with an opportunity to work as an apprentice.
Enroll in electrical technology courses at a technical school or community college. Many apprentices will receive their training through a combination of hands-on instruction and classroom training. Enrolling in courses at the same time you are applying to become an apprentice can show the master electrician you are applying to work under that you are serious about becoming an electrician. Technical schools with electrical technology programs include ITT Technical Institute in Little Rock and Northwest Technical Institute in Springdale.
Complete a licensing application and send it to the Arkansas Board of Electrical Examiners. All applications must include verification of employment and training. You must work a total of 8,000 hours or have four years of experience as an apprentice in order to be eligible. Applications should be sent to the Arkansas Board of Electrical Contractors, Arkansas Department of Labor, 10421 W. Markham, Little Rock, AR 72205-2190.
Take the state licensing exam. The fee for the examination in Arkansas was $50, as of November 2010.
2016 Salary Information for Electricians
Electricians earned a median annual salary of $52,720 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, electricians earned a 25th percentile salary of $39,570, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $69,670, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 666,900 people were employed in the U.S. as electricians.
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