Electrician Training

An Inside Look at Electrician Training

Are you about to begin your electrician training and are wondering exactly what’s in store for you? You’ve come to the right place, as this guide to electrical training outlines the basics of what most programs teach, and gives you pointers on how you can be successful while working your way through electrician school!

Electrician Training – What to Expect

Working with electricity is often exciting, but it can obviously be quite dangerous as well. Competition for good-paying jobs can be fierce as well, so it should come as no surprise that most programs put their students through a rigorous curriculum.

Not only are students expected to master the basic skills required to perform their jobs effectively, but they’re also required to become familiar with industry codes, best practices and procedures, and a host of other types of information.

All of this additional information is necessary not only because it is used on-the-job daily, but also because it is included on the licensing exam you’ll have to pass before becoming eligible to begin working.

The list below details some of the most-important things you’ll learn. While the categories described are quite broad, they will give you some idea of the type of material you’ll learn.

  • Learn industry safety codes
  • Become familiar with tools and materials
  • Demonstrate proficiency in math
  • Master the fundamentals of electrical theory
A closer look at each of these aspects of your training follows.

SafetyTools and MaterialsMathematicsElectrical Theory

Safety

The majority of electrician training programs cover safety first. The reason for this is obvious, as dealing with high voltage power lines and other conductors can lead to serious injury and death in cases where safety procedures are not observed.

Issues typically covered in the safety portion of the course curriculum appear in the table below.

Section Material Covered
Safety Awareness Safe jobsite
practices
Dangers of electricity
Identifying hazards
Maintaining a safe work environment
Emergency
Procedures
Basic first aid
CPR training
OSHA and EPA
Regulations
General
requirements on jobsites
Guidelines for AEG and GFCI usage
Procedures
for using MSDS sheets to identify and handle hazardous materials

To learn more about regulations affecting professionals who work in the electrical industry, you can visit the official webpage of the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).

The section of most courses that deals with the tools and materials of the trade is generally broken up into subsections for each that provide training in their proper handling and usage. Training will likely focus on everything from reading meters and using hand tools, to operating motorized electrician tools like platform lifts.

The following table breaks down a typical curriculum for this part of the course.

Section What is
Covered
Tool Management Overview of hand
and power tools
Tool use and maintenance
Safety techniques
Identifying defective tools
Using meters
Rigging How to tie proper
knots
Rigging and hoisting techniques
Safety procedures
Digging Correct shape and
depth for support holes
Digging, grading and leveling techniques
Motorized Equipment Use of platform
lifts
Use of bucket trucks
Using truck-mounted cranes
Materials Identifying common
materials
How to choose and use materials correctly

Mathematics

Because the use of mathematics is integral in most responsibilities of the electrician, you can expect to spend a good deal of time in class on it. Because the majority of mathematical applications in the electrical industry involve solving for unknowns, you will be required to demonstrate proficiency with a number of different types of calculations.

The following list reflects some of the most-commonly used mathematical calculations among electricians.

  • Basic algebraic formulas
  • Standard arithmetic
  • Use of fractions
  • Use of decimals
  • Basic trigonometry
  • Square roots
  • Ratios and percentages
  • Direct and inverse relationships

Fundamentals of Electrical Theory

Having a good working knowledge of electrical theory is obviously essential to many parts of the electrician’s job. Depending on the specific field you work in within the electrical industry, the amount of theory needed may vary.

Most electrician training programs will cover the material represented in the following table.

Section Material
Covered
Basic Theory Terms and units of
measure
Electrical current
Electron flow
Magnetism and electromagnetism
Superposition
Ohm’s Law
AC Theory
Types of Circuits Series circuits
Parallel circuits
Combination circuits
Voltage Overview of
polarity and electron flow
Distribution of voltage
Proper wire sizes
Types of Systems Three-wire systems
Three-phase systems
Electronics


Specialized Types of Electrician Training

While the preceding information covers most of the basics you can expect to learn during your training program, it should be pointed out that specialized electrician courses will contain quite a bit more detail. There are four different types of electricians, and each of them requires additional specialized training before they can begin working in their field.

Per the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), the four types of electricians are:

  • Wireman
  • Outside Lineman
  • Installer Technician
  • Residential Wireman
Each type of professional will generally be required to complete an apprenticeship in his or her specific field after graduating from an accredited electrician training program.

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