Earning an Online Electrician Certification


Updated November 8, 2022

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An electrician certificate offers a salary and essential hands-on training workers need to meet their state's certification or licensure requirements.

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Online Electrician Certification

Electricians in all specializations need extensive hands-on training. Many states regulate the profession by requiring a license. Some states refer to this credential as a certification. Some aspiring electricians earn an online electrician certificate and then complete an apprenticeship. Others start an apprenticeship directly out of high school.

This page discusses online electrician schools and how to earn an online electrician certification or license. Read on to learn about different types of certifications and how certification works. Please contact online electrician schools for information on academic requirements.

Questions About Earning an Electrician Certification

Can I train to be an electrician online?

Some community and junior colleges offer online electrician certificates. These certificates train students to start a paid apprenticeship and earn a state license or certification.

How do you become a certified electrician?

The answer varies by state. Candidates need experience and must pass exams. These and other requirements qualify workers for a license or certification.

How quickly can you train as an electrician?

Full-time workers can typically complete an apprenticeship in four years. Some apprentices finish sooner because they graduated from an in-person or online electrician school.

What is the fastest way to become an electrician?

Some workers complete an online electrician certificate program before applying to apprenticeships. These programs last 6-12 months and can make applicants more attractive to apprenticeship programs.

Can You Get Certified as an Electrician Online?

An online electrician certification program does not award a state certification but helps students prepare for the certification process. Typical coursework includes construction and electrical technology, protection and wiring for devices and equipment, and commercial circuits and systems. These and other classes provide the academic foundation learners need to enter an apprenticeship.

Online electrician schools award certificates, diplomas, or associate degrees. The time required to graduate depends on the program.

How Does Online Electrician Certification Work?

Online learners need strong time-management skills. They take most classes online and complete labs and internships in person. Many online classes run asynchronously. This benefit lets learners schedule academic requirements around work or family.

Completing online classes and in-person requirements qualifies learners for an electrician certificate. Apprenticeships help certification or licensure candidates meet their state's experience requirement. They then pass an exam before submitting an online electrician certification form to their state board.

Accreditation for Online Electrician Programs

Students researching online electrician certificates, diplomas, and degrees should research their prospective schools' accreditation status. All good junior colleges and trade schools hold accreditation from one of seven regional accreditation agencies. These agencies use U.S. Department of Education guidelines when reviewing schools' programs. Schools without this essential education may offer a poor education.

Online and hybrid schools need more than regional accreditation. The Distance Education Accrediting Commission awards national accreditation to schools providing the same educational experience to online and on-campus learners. Their subject specialists ensure online electrician certificates train students for an apprenticeship and a long-term career.

Online electrician certificates may feature programmatic accreditation from a private agency. These agencies' experts evaluate whether academic requirements prepare learners for a career. Prospective students can determine an agency's credibility by checking the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) website. CHEA maintains a list of top agencies and what programs they accredit.

How to Become an Electrician

Becoming an electrician requires many steps. Please note requirements may differ from those below. Not all electricians go through the same experience.

  1. 1

    Earn a High School or GED Diploma

    Aspiring electricians need a high school or GED diploma. Individuals without either should explore GED-preparation programs at local community or junior colleges. These free and low-cost programs help students prepare for test day. Some schools may offer the GED on campus. Learners may qualify for a high-school completion program, depending on their age.

  2. 2

    Complete an Apprenticeship or Trade School

    Some aspiring electricians earn an online electrician certificate or diploma to learn the profession's fundamentals. Others start an apprenticeship without any prior education. An apprenticeship offers a salary and essential hands-on training workers need to meet their state's certification or licensure requirements. A state requires a specific number of hours or years apprentices must work before applying for a license.

  3. 3

    Apply for an Electrician License

    Apprentices finishing their training submit an online electrician certification or licensure form. Applicants describe their training and submit relevant documents. They then take a certification exam aligning with their career goals. Options may include general electrician, residential electrician, and nonresidential lighting technician.

  4. 4

    Find an Employer

    Licensed or certified electricians work as journeymen. These professionals work without supervision on job sites related to their specialization. Working for a single employer or offering their services to different contractors lets them gain experience. They can then become master or specialty electricians. Online electrician schools and job boards help new journeymen launch their career.

Different Types of Electrician Certifications

Electricians use their education and experience to earn more advanced certifications or licenses throughout their career. Please note that eligibility requirements vary by state.

  1. 1


    Newly certified or licensed journeymen perform many job duties apprentices cannot. They often install household or commercial fixtures and troubleshoot problems. However, a journeyman certification limits them in some ways. They must follow the plans master electricians and other managers develop.

    The apprenticeship and certification process ensures that journeymen perform their job to the highest standards. These professionals can stay current with the latest best practices through continuing education (CE) classes. Many states require CE for renewal. In California, certified journeymen must complete 32 CE hours every renewal cycle.

  2. 2

    Master Electrician

    Aspiring master electricians need approximately 12,000 hours of experience as an apprentice and journeyman. States also require a certification or licensure examination. Like journeymen, these professionals complete CE to keep their license active and submit renewal paperwork by their state's deadline.

    A master electrician possesses the expertise and training to perform many advanced tasks, like planning a construction project's wiring system. They may also start an independent business, hiring apprentices and journeymen. This lets them mentor the next generation of electricians. Master electricians with a contracting business must buy insurance coverage protecting them and their employees.

  3. 3

    Specialty Electrician

    Licensed electricians specialize by meeting their state's experience and examination requirements. This process resembles the one journeymen and master electricians must follow. In California, residential electricians need 4,800 hours of experience installing underground conduits, troubleshooting problems, and finishing work and fixtures. They then take a specialized exam.

    Specializations vary by state. Options may include commercial, industrial, and maintenance electricians. Some states also offer the marine electrician specialization. These professionals maintain ships' electrical systems. Apprentices and trade school students should work with a supervisor or career counselor to discuss their options and choose a specialization aligning with their career goals.

Electrician Test Prep Resources This resource features practice journeyman and master electrician exams for every state. As of March 2022, users pay $149 for a three-month subscription. Aspiring journeymen and master electricians can access various exam-prep resources. Blog posts cover potential careers and exam-prep tips. Some exam guides relate only to Florida. This site features 20 free practice questions and rationales. The website charges a fee for a full-length journeyman or master electrician practice exam. This free resource lets users focus on a specific exam topic, such as circuit breakers, DC motors, or protective relays. Other questions cover electrical codes and best practices.

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