In the United States right now there is a serious shortage of tradespeople. Many people who have spent their lives working in the so-called "blue collar" sector are aging and retiring. As recently reported in a Forbes interview with Mike Row of "Dirty Jobs" fame, unemployment may be low, but 80 percent of the construction industry report trouble finding skilled workers.
It's not as though these jobs are low paying, either. Many of these positions pay $20 an hour and up. A lot of them also have apprenticeship programs that allow new hires to make a decent wage while receiving free training and the certainty of a good job, with a good wage they can grow with. Electrical jobs are one such industry. Here's a look at how a career path for electrical workers can go.
Take The Right Courses In High School
Many schools offer electronic classes, but if you are still in school and your school doesn't, no worries. Load up on the mathematics classes as this subject is used extensively be electricians. Taking any classes offered in the building trades can be useful as well. Physics and chemistry are also recommended classes.
Consider Vocational Training
You needn't go to school for a 4-year degree, but a little post-secondary training certainly won't hurt. Even a short certificate course will provide you with the basic knowledge and skills most electrical workers need. If a prospective employee can skip a few steps in your training process, it will make you all the more valuable.
Find An Apprenticeship
While attending a technical school for electrical workers is a useful step, it certainly isn't required. With the current shortage of skilled workers and the likelihood this situation will only get worse, many employers are willing to take on the responsibility of completely training a candidate who shows the aptitude and motivation to succeed.
The U.S. Department of Labor offers an online database that can help you find apprenticeship opportunities in your area and field of interest. Unions and other groups that represent electricians and their industry are other sources to check with. Of course, you can also simply apply directly to any electrician companies.
Complete Your Apprenticeship
Most apprenticeships in the trades last four years, although this can vary. During your apprenticeship, you will receive on-the-job training while earning a wage. Your responsibilities will gradually increase as you learn more. Your wages may as well. The apprenticeship may also include formalized classroom training or working through modules online. Once you have completed your apprenticeship, you can apply for licensure if your state requires it. You may be required to work a few more years before you reach journeymen status and pay, which is a designation reserved for highly skilled tradespeople.