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Pursue An Electrical Career
As you already know, electricians are skilled professionals trained to undertake the installation, repair and maintenance of all kinds of electrical equipment and components. They equally examine your installed systems for potential electrical hazards and get rid of them. The building and construction of a structure cannot be complete without electrical wiring, installation and testing.
This article will answer your questions on the necessary steps and requirements to become a certified electrician.
Once you decide to pursue a career pathway in electro-technology and find that you have a strong aptitude for electronics and mechanics, the next step is to work towards your dream. Here are the training pathways to becoming an electrician:
Get A High School Degree
Getting a high school degree or an equivalent is the first step towards pursuing a career as an electrician. Despite the fact that most of the jobs performed by electricians are skill-based, a high school degree will help lay a good foundation for you for a career in electrical. In high school, you will learn certain subjects that will aid you in your future career as an electrician. These subjects include:
• English: English as a subject will help you learn how to read and understand your other electrical textbooks, contract documents, etc. Moreover, it will equip you to communicate effectively with clients, bosses and teammates.
• Technical and Mechanical Drawing Classes: This subject will help you with designing an electrical system for new buildings and related structures. It will equip you with the skills required to interpret and understand the blueprint of a building.
• Physics: This subject will equip you with scientific knowledge and the concept of electricity. It will help you to understand the physics of electricity.
• Basic Algebra and Trigonometry: This subject will teach you algebra and equip you with fundamental mathematical skills to help you calculate wiring lengths, determine the force of electrical currents and help you to measure the angle of circuits.
All these and other related subjects tutored in high schools will provide you with some fundamental knowledge relevant to your electrical career pathway.
Enroll Into A Trade School / Vocational College
Attending a vocational school will allow you to obtain relevant certificates, gain work experience or even get a job placement. Trade schools provide you with a pre-apprenticeship experience. Going through a trade school will give you an edge in your apprenticeship and traineeship application.
In a vocational college, you will learn the basic principles of electricity while giving you the chance of getting familiarised with foundational electrical tools found in the college's laboratory. An example of a vocational college is TAFE.
TAFE (Technical And Further Education) institutes are government-owned institutions that provide students with VET (Vocational Education and Training) courses. In other words, TAFE is a certified vocational school. The Australian TAFE institutes are responsible for training students in Australia. Some Australian universities (in conjunction with TAFE) offer VET courses alongside other higher education courses to students (international students inclusive).
The average tuition cost at TAFE ranges from AU$4,000 - AU$22,000 per year. The Vocational Graduate Certificates, Vocational Graduate Diplomas and other higher-level vocational courses can cost higher. The entry requirements into a TAFE institute vary depending on the course offered by the applicant. The qualifications and certifications obtained from TAFE include:
• Certificate I-IV: These are certificate courses that last between 6 months to 2 years. They offer introductory skills and training to the students. They impact industry-specific knowledge like communication and teamwork skills.
• Diploma: This certificate usually requires 1-2 years of full-time studies to obtain it. It equips the students with the skills for industrial, enterprise and paraprofessional career experiences.
• Advanced Diploma: This certificate course lasts between 1.5 to 2 years of full-time studies. An Advanced Diploma provides you with a high level of practical skills required for an advanced skill.
• Vocational Graduate Certificate: This certificate is equivalent to a higher education graduate certificate. It requires 6 months to 1 year of full-time studies for you to complete it.
• Vocational Graduate Diploma : A Vocational Graduate Diploma can be compared to a Vocational Graduate Certificate. It will take you 1 to 2 years of full-time studies to complete it. Both a Vocational Graduate Certificate and a Graduate Diploma provides you with knowledge and related skills for high-level employment opportunities.
The completion of Certificate IV, Diploma and Advanced Level Diploma courses help to provide a university pathway for you as a student pursuing an electrical career.
Apply For Apprenticeship Or Traineeship
Applying for an apprenticeship or traineeship falls under some of the best ways to kickstart your electrical career pathway. It offers you a chance to work and earn while undergoing training. Apprenticeship and traineeship are also referred to as on-the-job training.
Apprenticeship and traineeship is a combination of work experience and training in an actual workplace under the strict supervision of a real boss for a salary. At the end of your apprenticeship and traineeship program, you obtain nationally recognised VET qualifications.
Apprenticeship and traineeship are similar but are different in few ways:
• They have different contract terms and employment conditions.
• They have different duration periods. Apprenticeship is long term and lasts between 3 to 4 years whereas, a traineeship lasts for a short period of between few months to a year.
There are two main types of apprenticeship:
• Independence Apprenticeship: This type of apprenticeship is organised and managed by employers of an organisation without the involvement of educational institutions.
• Cooperative Apprenticeship: It is a type of apprenticeship that is organised between an employer and educational institutions.
In Australia, you can complete an apprenticeship through registered training organisations. This training provides you as an apprentice with the theoretical, practical knowledge and experiences needed to kickstart your career as an electrician.
Types Of Apprenticeship And Traineeship
This type of apprenticeship and traineeship program offers students the flexibility of getting trained in a trade while getting a school education at the same time. It can also include the combination of a paid job and a secondary school study. Your school will give you some time off your academic activities a few times a week for your trade training. It is advisable to check in with your student career advisor before enrolling on this apprenticeship and traineeship program. TAFE offers this apprenticeship program.
This kind of apprenticeship and traineeship program is suitable for people who are matured and advanced in age. It offers a new career pathway opportunity that comes with government-specific incentives to people of advanced age.
Full-Time / Part-Time
It requires you as a part-time apprentice or trainee to work for a total of 15 hours a week. However, as a full-time apprentice or trainee, you are required to work for an average of 38 hours a week. Here, you stand a chance of being permanently employed by your employer or trainer at the end of your apprenticeship and traineeship program.
Entry Requirements For An Apprenticeship Or Traineeship
Apprenticeship or traineeship programs do not require any qualifications for entry as they are open to anyone legally eligible to work and earn. There are no age barriers either. It offers you a chance to develop a skill from scratch or update your skills in your field of employment.
Other certificates relevant in electro-technology training and career pathway include:
Certificate II in Electrotechnology
This certificate is considered a kickoff start in the electro-technology career pathway. This certificate course teaches you basic electrical knowledge, safety work measures, concepts and skills to make you work-ready. It is a benchmark for gaining an apprenticeship into prominent electrical companies in South Australia. It's a short term course that lasts between 3-6 months.
Certificate III in Electrotechnology
Unlike Certificate II in Electrotechnology, this course is a long term course that lasts for 48 months or more. This certificate covers the fundamental requirements for registration as an electrician in South Australia.
During the course training, you will learn:
• Installation, set up, and testing of electrical systems and components.
• How to diagnose, repair and maintain electrical systems.
A Certificate III in Electrotechnology covers the requirements of the Australian Electrical Regulatory Authorities Council (ERAC) to get an electrician license. To undertake this course, you need a contract of training with an employer.
Both Certificate II and III courses are available for studies at Australian TAFE.
After completing your apprenticeship, traineeship and all other required training, the next step is to apply for a license and become a certified electrician. You can apply for your electrician license through your local council or local authorities. A license allows you to work as an electrician without any supervision. It is advisable to find out all your license requirements before starting your training as it will enable you to prepare and work towards better results.
With your license, you are eligible to work in all electrical companies. When you start working, you will gain experience, build up your portfolio and position yourself for better job opportunities. Gaining relevant experience will help you polish your skills, gain more knowledge and get better at your job as an electrician.
As an electrician, there are areas in the electrical field that you can specialise in while pursuing a career in electro-technology. Such areas include:
• Electrical Motor Winding Tradesperson: This type of electrician specialises in working with machinery and appliances. The work requires you to spend most of your time installing and repairing these machines and gadgets. It offers employment opportunities in numerous worksites. Electricians that work in this field are in high demand in Australia.
• Electronics and Communications Technician: This sector of electro-technology deals with the telecommunications department. You get to work in massive network wiring sectors such as broadcasting, audiovisual companies and deal with medical equipment. It's safe to say that this particular field of electro-technology is fascinating.
• Electronic Technician in the Army: This sector of electrotechnology offers you the opportunity of working with the Australian army. The job description includes repairing and servicing military equipment. To specialise in this electrical field, you must complete your apprenticeship and traineeship with the military.
Other opportunities include working in the:
• IT and data communication field
• Water and energy supply sector
• Transport and storage sector
• Building and construction electrical field
As an electrician, there are certain qualities required of you. Such qualities include:
• Being physically fit and able to withstand physically demanding work.
• Possessing hand-eye coordination and good eyesight.
• Having the capability to work independently and as a team player.
• The ability to think logically.
• Being able to pay attention to details and precisely carrying out your duties.
• The ability to observe and strictly follow safety measures while discharging your duties.
In Australia, electricians earn an average amount of about $1,200 to about $1,400 per week and an income of about $45,000 to about $99,000 annually.
A Career Advisor Can Help You Become An Electrician
Becoming an electrician is attainable if you get the required professional training and have the right mindset. Nevertheless, the best way to become an electrician is through an apprenticeship and traineeship program as mentioned above. Moreover, specialising in a particular electrical field will help you take one step at a time and make the journey easier. You should consult a student career advisor if you are having a hard time making a career choice.