How to Become an Electrician

How to Become an Electrician: Benefits, Requirements & Licensure Pathways

Bo-Norris-ground-fault.jpegAre you looking for a fulfilling career that provides financial stability and improves our communities and planet? Consider becoming an electrician! Electrical jobs are high paying, rewarding, and crucial to building a better future. 

There are many reasons and several ways to become a licensed electrician. Increasingly, job seekers with different interests and backgrounds are being drawn to the electrical field. If any of this sounds interesting, keep reading to learn the ins and outs of becoming an electrician.

Benefits of an Electrical Career

  1. Continuous job opportunity:
    The demand for skilled electricians will only grow in the coming years, as the U.S. focuses on electrifying everything and older electricians begin to retire. Over the next decade, we will need to train and deploy 1 million new electricians to support the infrastructure for our climate goals. 
  2. Significant earning potential:
    Electrical careers are, on average, the highest paying jobs in the trades. Based on the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics 2022 data, the average annual salary of an electrician in the United States is $65,280. Additionally, training to become a licensed electrician can be affordable thanks to paid apprenticeships and "earn as you learn" programs (no student debt!).
  3. Engaging, rewarding work:
    Electrical work is stimulating and purposeful, great for individuals who enjoy being active, problem solving, and working in a variety of environments. Whether you are installing solar panels, improving our critical grid infrastructure, or fixing a wiring issue to restore power for a family home, the daily work of electricians is rarely dull and always important. 

While the requirements for the license exams vary from state to state, the pathway to becoming an electrician is roughly the same. It's important to note that that road to licensure will differ for a Journeyperson Electrician and a Master Electrician, as the Master Electrician role is more comprehensive and requires a higher level of training and work experience. To become a certified licensed electrician, you can expect to:

  • meet basic educational requirements
  • complete a state approved training program
  • gather a required number of on-the-job hours
  • successfully pass the state licensing exam

(You can find details on the requirements for your state on the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) National Solar Licensing Database.)

Meet Basic Educational Requirements

stacy NYA classroom.jpgThe first thing you’ll need to do is achieve a high school degree or equivalent. This level of education is typically required by all training programs and apprenticeships, and offers a great foundation of knowledge for electrical training. Many high school classes are good preparation for the technical coursework you encounter during electrical training; classes like math and physics, as well as English language and public speaking, offer a strong foundation for being an electrician.

Complete a State Approved Training Program

With a GED or a diploma, you can enroll in a certified electrical training program. Depending on the state, you can find different options for training; in New England, you can find electrical training programs through Career Technical Education (CTE) and vocational schools, community colleges, and state approved apprenticeship programs run by businesses and organizations. 

Gather a Required Number of Work Hours

inverter service.jpegIn New England, you need to complete a required number of work hours before being eligible to take the state licensing exam. These hours typically need to be conducted under direct supervision of a licensed electrician. Required hours can be gathered during completion of a training program or apprenticeship; most electrical apprenticeships include an on-the-job element that allow you to work towards the required hours while getting paid and completing the coursework.

Successfully Pass the State Licensing Exam

Most states require licensure to do electrical work which is achieved by passing a state Electrical Board license exam. To qualify for these exams you need to successfully complete a certified electrical training program and gather a certain number of work hours. Once you pass the exam, you can apply for your electrical license.

Electrical Apprenticeship Pathway

Completing a state approved electrical apprenticeship program is a great way to become an electrician, especially since they offer opportunities to earn a living wage while you undergo technical training, coursework, and on-the-job learning. 

The ReVision Energy Electrical Apprenticeship Program offers an alternative approach to traditional licensing pathways. You will gain on-the-job learning, technical instruction, and job advancement opportunities through leadership skills development and mentorship:

If you are considering an electrical career in Maine or New Hampshire, ReVision has gathered a comprehensive overview of the specific requirements needed in these states, as well as a list of resources and training programs approved by the states' Electrical Boards. You can find those resources here:

MicrosoftTeams-image (152).pngHow to Become an Electrician in Maine
BW BMT_indigo.pngHow to Become an Electrician in New Hampshire


If you are in another state, you should start with your state's Electrical Board's website, which should give you a good sense of the specific requirements needed for licensure. You can also use IREC's National Solar Licensing Database.

Pre-Apprenticeships & Introductory Courses

If you are curious about an electrical career or interested in solar energy, but not sure if this is the right career path for you, we recommend taking one or two free, introductory courses that offer an overview to the material and type of work you will encounter as an electrician. Depending on where you live, you can find pre-apprenticeship programs through schools or organizations that give you a good preview of the more comprehensive apprenticeship. 

Alternatively, there are several free online courses that cover a broad range of topics related to renewable energy, solar power, and electrical technology. These are some of our favorite courses we recommend to the electrical-curious: 

Solar Basics Courses:

Gain an overview of renewable energy and solar power through these online courses.

RE100 Introduction to Renewable Energy - Solar Energy International (6 hours) 

RE100 is a free course that covers the basics of renewable energy and is a great introduction for those new to the field, those who are looking to make a career change, or those who just want to learn more about energy from the sun, wind, and water, energy efficiency, and the basics of electricity. Join the tens of thousands of individuals who have gotten their first taste of renewable energy in RE100- you won’t emerge as an expert, but you will learn a lot about the different technologies and trends, what situations are more appropriate for one type of renewable energy system versus another, and how to make a difference with your own energy consumption.  

Enroll at Solar Energy International (SEI): Solar Training for Clean Energy Careers 

Solar Power 101 - heatspring (8 hours)

Enroll in this training to learn about solar technology, the business, finance, technical and engineering sides of solar, and the emerging renewable energy market. The online lessons for this training include: learning about the solar market in the United States; learning how solar technology works, learning how solar power systems are created, financed, developed, and maintained over their 20- to 30-year lifetime; learning the nuances of the different solar markets: behind-the-meter applications including residential, commercial, and industrial projects to multi-megawatt utility-scale projects; and learning about the emerging market for energy storage technology and microgrids and how these innovations are changing the energy landscape. 

Enroll at heatspring: Solar Power 101 


Solar Certification Courses:

These certified solar training courses provide a comprehensive introduction to solar installation basics and grant a certification upon completion of the course. Keep your certification handy! If you decide to pursue a solar career through a state approved electrical apprenticeship, these courses can go towards your required apprenticeship coursework. 

Pitched Roof Installing: Composite Shingle Certification - IronRidge (2 Hours) 

The online lessons for this training include: Intro to PV, Intro to Roofing Systems, Preparations for Installation, Marking Array Dimensions, Installing Attachments, Flush Mount Racking, Wire Management, and Module Installation.  

Enroll at IronRidge: Installing on Pitched Roof - Comp Shingle Certification. Save your certificate. 

Solar PV Installation Certification Training - Enphase (6 hours) 

Enphase Solar certification is designed for solar professionals who perform the tasks of designing, installing and commissioning the Enphase Solar install.  

Enroll at Enphase University. Save your certificate.