Some people choose to follow a second career at some point in their lives. The career shift may take them to enroll in a vocational-technical school to become an electrician or a specialty trade professional. Electricians work in a variety of industries. They are also one of the most sought-after trade professionals.
Future Skills Gap
Industry reports show that electricians and other skilled trades professionals are in demand nowadays. However, the industry would need an influx of new trade and vocational trainees since the demand exceeds the supply. Manpower reports also indicate an aging workforce of trades professionals who will be retiring in the near future. If these workforce issues are not addressed, industry forecasters predict a skills shortage in trade professionals.
Occupational Outlook for Electricians
From 2016 to 2026, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics project a 9 percent increase in demand for electricians. Within this ten-year period, the bureau identified several factors that would contribute to the demand across industries such as construction, manufacturing, and power generation. These factors include increased industry spending and mainstream implementation of alternative energy systems.
Electricians perform a variety of tasks. They typically install the electrical wiring system and other electrical components of a building or infrastructure. Electricians have to make sure that the power generation, communications, and lighting system work perfectly. Aside from installing these systems, electricians are also involved in the maintenance and repair of these different components. As such, they have to have the training to diagnose and repair any common or complex electrical issues. They are also expected to know and comply with the National Electric Code and other local, state, and federal regulations for their industry.
Enroll in a Vocational-Technical School
For those who are interested to follow this career path, shopping around for a school or training institution is the first step. When in the Illinois area, research electrician trade school Chicago IL and come up with a short list of interesting programs. Compare these trade schools based on the curriculum and their student-friendly programs. Always remember that admission to a trade school requires a high school diploma or equivalent credits.
Complete an Apprenticeship Program
After attending a trade school and earning credentials, the next step is to participate in an apprenticeship program. By signing up as an apprentice, the individual has to complete around 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training and instruction, according to the BLS Occupational Handbook. The apprenticeship program is usually spread out in a 4 or 5-year span. During this period, the apprentice can choose an electrical specialization. Once completed, the apprentice receives credit and can apply for a local or state license.
For those who have decided to start a second career as an electrician, check to see if the trade school offers a flexible learning program. This is an important consideration for those who want to enroll in a trade school while balancing work and family responsibilities. Always remember that there are schools that can help career-changers transition into a second profession.