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How Long Does It Take to Become an Electrician?

If you’ve ever wondered how long it takes to become an electrician in Australia, you’re certainly not alone. This is a common question many aspiring tradies have asked before embarking on their journey in this highly skilled, rewarding, and essential industry.

The path to becoming a fully-fledged sparky might seem a bit daunting, filled with plenty of training, apprenticeships, exams and practical experience. However, the payoff is unquestionably worth the investment. As for the time frame, it varies for everyone.

In this blog post, we’re going to unpack the process step-by-step, helping you navigate the road to becoming an electrician.

Step 1: Complete an Electrical Pre-Apprenticeship Course

Before starting an apprenticeship, it’s beneficial to complete an electrical pre-apprenticeship course. These courses provide foundational knowledge and skills that you’ll need as an apprentice electrician. Such a course can range from a few weeks to six months in duration.

Major aspects of these courses typically include:

  • Basic electrical theory
  • Introduction to electrical equipment and safety
  • Hands-on practice with basic electrical tasks

Consider completing one of the “sample” courses available that give you an insight into the job requirements of an electrical contractor. As the employment website Seek suggests, undertaking a Certificate II in Electrotechnology (Career Start) (UEE22020) can be a great way to try this career path before deciding whether or not to commit to further education.

Step 2: Land an Electrical Apprenticeship

Following the completion of a pre-apprenticeship course, the next major milestone is securing an electrical apprenticeship. This significant step marks the beginning of your real-world training.

As detailed by Australian Apprenticeships, an apprenticeship typically involves four years of hands-on, on-the-job training, but the length can vary depending on how quickly you master your skills.

As an apprentice, you’ll learn about:

  • How to install, test, maintain and repair electrical systems
  • How to handle electrical components, house wiring and connections
  • Effective troubleshooting and repair methods for electrical appliances

You’ll complete a Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician (UEE30820) course as part of your apprenticeship. The course covers the prerequisites the Electrical Regulatory Authorities Council (ERAC) set for an electrical technician’s licence. These courses are available through TAFE and other registered training organisations.

In addition to your apprenticeship, there is a profiling component that you are required to complete. Profiling requires prospective technicians to undertake a range of components in the electrical trade.

The idea is that you get significant hands-on experience across all areas of the electrical trade, and don’t just pigeonhole yourself in one single area. Profiling shows that you are a well-rounded electrical technician and can demonstrate competency across all areas of the job.

It’s important to understand that not all companies will be able to provide you with the full range of experiences that you need to complete your profiling, so you may need to work with more than one business to tick off all the necessary boxes.

Step 3: Become a Licensed Electrician

Once you’ve completed your apprenticeship, your next step on the journey is to apply for your electrical worker’s licence. This is a critical milestone in your career and is essential to getting your first electrical job.

The licensing process is managed by your state’s electrical licensing board and generally involves passing both a written and practical examination. The duration of this step depends largely on the time it takes for you to adequately prepare for and pass your examinations.

Gaining this licence is a testament to your competency and skill as an electrical tradesperson. It allows you to work unsupervised and independently and provides the stepping stone to potential further specialisation in the field.

What Types of Electricians Are There? 

Once you’ve completed the basic steps to becoming a licensed technician, you might want to consider an area of specialisation in the field. Qualified electricians can consider a number of specialist areas that include:

  • Residential – they provide electrical maintenance, installation and repair services for electrical cables and systems in homes and apartment blocks. Daily tasks might include anything from the testing of electrical switchboards to the hardwired smoke alarm installation.
  • Commercial – they perform similar electrical services, but concentrate on electrical work in commercial buildings and business premises. Commercial electrical technicians might find themselves installing light fittings for an office one day and testing safety switches for retail buildings the next.
  • Industrial – they specialise in performing electrical services for warehouses, factories and other large facilities that use large, heavy machinery and equipment. These facilities often have more complex electrical requirements, which may need additional licensing. Industrial specialists might be required for anything from detailed electrical fault finding to general electrical system work.
  • Emergency – they specialise in providing electrical emergency services where the issue may be potentially high-risk or life-threatening. Their role is to restore electrical safety to residential, commercial or industrial premises. Emergency electrical specialists are generally available 24/7 as electrical emergencies can happen 24/7.
  • Master electricians – considered to be among the most advanced in their field, they possess a high level of training and experience, and have the necessary qualifications and licensing to work on the most complex and detailed electrical jobs. Typically, Master Electricians will take on supervising and managerial responsibilities.

Additionally, many licensed electricians end up going into business on their own and become electrical contractors. An independent registered electrical contractor will typically be a Master Electrician.

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In Summary: The Journey to Becoming an Electrician

So, how long does it take to become an electrical technician in Australia? Here’s a quick summary:

  • Pre-apprenticeship course: anywhere from a few weeks to 6 months
  • Apprenticeship: 4 years (may vary)
  • Licensing: depends on preparation time for exams

Becoming a fully-licensed sparky can take anywhere between 5 to 7 years, depending on your pace and whether you choose to pursue an area of specialisation.

A New Career Path Awaits! 

Becoming an electrician indeed requires commitment and dedication. However, the journey, which can take anywhere from 5 to 7 years depending on individual circumstances and career ambitions, provides a truly rewarding, secure career path.

It’s a role that provides a unique blend of hands-on work, problem-solving and continuous learning, vital for keeping our homes, businesses and industries powered up and running efficiently.

If you’re ready to embark on this challenging yet gratifying journey, we hope this guide has provided the clarity you need. Start planning your future today – your journey starts here!

Please note: This information is provided for advice purposes only. Regulations differ from state to state, so please consult your local authorities or an industry professional before proceeding with any work. See our Terms & Conditions here.

Published: 2023-06-01

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