Are you considering becoming an electrician? If so, you’ll want to think about the return you can expect on the investment you will make in education and training. There are a variety of things to factor into your decision on becoming an electrician, not the least of which is whether you believe you will enjoy this type of work.
If you conclude that this is the right career for you, here are the costs for making it happen.
How Much Does the Schooling Cost?
The cost of your schooling to become an electrician will depend on the type you choose. Trade schools are usually the most expensive, costing $30,000 or more. Community colleges average about $3,500 a year. You’ll need to add books, study materials, school fees, and tools to the tuition. Tools are a big item—up to $2,500—but that expense should be once-and-done.
You could qualify for financial aid and scholarships; the loans must be repaid, while scholarships need not be.
How Long Does the Schooling Take?
The length of time you will be in school to become an electrician depends on the program you choose:
- Trade School: Many electricians started their education in a trade school before enrolling in an apprenticeship program. You can train as an electrician in as little as nine months.
- Apprenticeship program: To become a journeyman electrician, however, your apprenticeship will last another four years, which amounts to 2,000 of on-the-job training and 144 hours of classroom education each year.
- Community College: Community college programs take two years to complete if you’re a full-time student.
How Much Does a License Cost?
Once you have completed your training, you’ll need to apply for and take the licensing exam. Each state has its own set of rules, so research your state to get the specifics. The cost of the licensing exam can be between $30-$300. The fee for the exam itself can run you between $30-$75.
The price will vary depending on the certification level: apprentice, journeyman, or master. Prices for the electricians license will also vary from state to state.
How Much Can You Expect to Earn as an Electrician?
Electricians are typically not confined to 40-hour weeks. Working weekends and evenings is not unusual, either. After you become a journeyman—meaning you have finished your apprenticeship and have a license–you’ll start earning between $55,000 and $77,000 annually (depending on where you live). It’s not all that uncommon for electricians to earn close to a six-figure salary.
The highest paying states for electricians in 2019 were New York ($78K), Alaska ($76K), D.C. ($76K), Illinois ($75K), and Hawaii ($75K). The industries that pay the most are Natural Gas Distribution ($103K), Personal Households ($88K), Land Subdivision ($84K), and Real Estate ($79K).
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