Electricians seem to have a very stable occupation, so let’s learn how you can become one in California.
- Incentives to Become an Electrician in California
- Training as an Electrician
- Electrician Schools by City
Incentives to Become an Electrician in California
There’s a predicted 32.5% increase in demand for electricians in the State of California, until 2024.
The average income for a Californian electrician is of $53,561 per year.
Across the country, electricians make on average $47,951 annually, which is lower than in California.
The best-paid electricians earn n California $61,033 per year, whereas across the nation the highest salary is of $54,640 per year.Annual Salary Range:
Average Salary of Electricians in California
Training as an Electrician
There are 4 steps you need to complete to be a qualified electrician:
- Become an apprentice
- Become a residential electrician
- Get your general electrician certificate
- Get your license as an independent electrical contractor
Becoming an Apprentice
You complete this step by enrolling in a technical school or signing up for an apprenticeship program.
Apprenticeship programs are available through union and non-union organizations.
There are 2 types of certifications you can pursue, and the requirements you must meet are different for each, however on the job training and classroom technical education are needed for both.
Here are the certifications and their requirements:
- residential electrician: 4,800 hours (about 2.5 years)
- general electrician: 8,000 hours (about 4 years)
You’ll need at least 150 hours of in-class and lab education for both certificates, per year spent as an apprentice.
In California, there is a wide selection of schools approved to train future electricians.
Unlike other states, in California the Registered Trainee (RT) process has been enacted, that ensures correct registration and documents for those who receive their technical training in a classroom, regardless of where they enroll.
100 Electrician Schools in California
|ABC of Central California||19466 Flightpath Way, Bakersfield, CA 93308|
|ABC of Los Angeles/Ventura||12797 Arroyo Avenue, San Fernando, CA 91340|
|ABC of NorCal||4577 Las Positas Road, Livermore, CA|
|ABC San Diego||13825 Kirkham Way, Poway, CA 92064|
|ABC SoCal||1400 North Kellogg Drive, Anaheim, CA 92807|
|Abram Friedman Occupational Center||1646 South Olive Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015|
|Antelope Valley College||3041 West Ave K, Lancaster, CA 93536|
|Baldwin Park Adult and Community Education||4640 Maine Ave, Baldwin Park, CA 91706|
|Barstow Community College||2700 Barstow Road, Barstow, CA 923111|
|Bassett Adult School||943 North Sunkist Avenue, La Puente, CA 91746|
|California Community College System - Rancho Cucamonga||5885 Haven Ave, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91737|
|California Community College System - Sacramento||4700 College Oak Dr, Sacramento, CA 95841|
|California Community College System - Bakersfield||1801 Panorama Dr, Bakersfield, CA 93305|
|California Electrical Training||3301 East Hill Street, Signal Hill, CA 90755|
|Center for Employment Training - Sacramento||8376 Fruitridge Road, Sacramento, CA 95828|
|Center for Employment Training -San Jose||701 Vine Street, San Jose, CA 95110|
|Chaffey College||5885 Haven Avenue, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91737|
|Charles A Jones Career and Education Center||5451 Lemon Hill Ave, Sacramento, CA 95824|
|City College of San Francisco||50 Phelan Ave, San Francisco, CA 94112|
|College of San Mateo||1700 W Hillsdale Blvd, San Mateo, CA 94402|
|College of the Redwoods||7351 Tompkins Hill Road, Eureka, CA 95501|
|College of the Sequoias — Hanford Educational Center||925 13th Avenue, Hanford, CA 93230|
|College of the Sequoias — Tulare College Center||4999 East Bardsley Avenue, Tulare, CA 93274|
|Construction Craft Training Center of Hayward||26200 Industrial Boulevard, Hayward, CA 94545|
|Construction Craft Training Center of Turlock||2480 Acme Court, Turlock, CA 95380|
|Cuesta College||Highway 1, San Luis Obispo, CA 93403|
|Diablo Valley College||321 Golf Club Road, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523|
|Durousseau Electrical Institute||2526 West Jefferson Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90018|
|East Los Angeles Occupational Center||2100 Marengo Street, Los Angeles, CA 90033|
|Electrical Training Trust of San Diego||4675 Viewridge Ave, San Diego, CA 92123|
|Electrical Training Trust of Orange County||717 South Lyon Street, Santa Ana, CA 92705|
|Flintridge Center Apprenticeship Preparation Program||236 West Mountain Street, Pasadena, CA 91103|
|Fresno City College||1101 East University Avenue, Fresno, CA 93741|
|Glendale Community College||1500 North Verdugo Road, Glendale, CA 91208|
|Hacienda La Puente Adult Education||14101 E. Nelson Ave, La Puente, CA 91746|
|Hartnell College||411 Central Avenue, Salinas, CA 93901|
|I-TAP||9856 Business Park Drive, Sacramento, CA 95827|
|Imperial Valley College||380 East Aten Road, Imperial, CA 92251|
|Institute for Business Technology||2400 Walsh Avenue, Santa Clara, CA 95051|
|InterCoast College - Anaheim||388 W Cerritos Ave Anaheim, CA 92805|
|InterCoast College - Fairfield||2480 Hilborn Road Suite 100, Fairfield, CA 94534|
|InterCoast College - LA County||1400 West Covina Parkway, West Covina, CA 91790|
|InterCoast College -Sacramento,||9738 Lincoln Village Drive Suite 120, Sacramento, CA 95827|
|InterCoast College - Orange County||3745 West Chapman Avenue, Orange, CA 92868|
|InterCoast College -Riverside||1989 Atlanta Avenue, Riverside, CA 92507|
|InterCoast -Roseville||1200 Melody Lane, Roseville, CA 92678|
|InterCoast College -West Covina||2235 East Garvey Avenue North, West Covina, CA 91791|
|JATC of Alameda County||14600 Catalina Street, San Leandro, CA 94577|
|JATC of California / Nevada||9846 Limonite Avenue, Riverside, CA 92509|
|JATC of Fresno, Madera, Kings and Tulare Counties||5420 East Hedges Avenue, Fresno, CA 93727|
|JATC of Kern County||3805 North Sillect Avenue, Bakersfield, CA 93308|
|JATC of Northern California||3033 Alvarado Street, San Leandro, CA 94577|
|JATC of Redwood||1726 Corby Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95407|
|JATC - Riverside Area||1855 Business Center Drive, San Bernardino, CA 92408|
|JATC of Sacramento||2836 El Centro, Sacramento, CA 95833|
|JATC of Santa Barbara County||222 West Carmen Lane, Santa Maria, CA 93458|
|JATC of Santa Clara County||908 Bern Court, San Jose, CA 95112|
|JATC of San Francisco||4056 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94112|
|JATC of San Joaquin and Calaveras Counties||1531 El Pinal Drive, Stockton, CA 95205|
|JATC of San Luis Obispo County||6363 Edna Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401|
|JATC of San Mateo County||625 Industrial Road, San Carlos, CA 94070|
|JATC of Shasta / Butte||900 Locust Street, Redding, CA 96001|
|JATC of Solano and Napa Counties||720 Technology Way, Napa, CA 94558|
|JATC of Ventura County||201 Bernoulli Circle, Oxnard, CA 93030|
|JATC of Contra Costa County||1875 Arnold Dr, Martinez, CA 94553|
|JATC of the Central Valley||1925 Yosemite Boulevard, Modesto, CA 95354|
|JATC of the Tri-County Area||10300 Merritt, Castroville, CA|
|Laney College||900 Fallon Street, Oakland, CA 94607|
|Long Beach City College||4901 East Carson, Long Beach, CA|
|Los Angeles Trade Technical College||400 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015|
|Los Medanos College||2700 East Leland Road, Pittsburg, CA 94565|
|Modesto Junior College||435 College Avenue, Modesto, CA|
|Napa Valley Adult School||1600 Lincoln Avenue, Napa, CA 94558|
|National Career Education||11080 White Rock Road, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670|
|National Lighting Contractors Association of America||3301 East Hill Street, Signal Hill, CA 90755|
|Norco College||2001 Third Street, Norco, CA 92860|
|Orange Coast College||2701 Fairview Road, Costa Mesa, CA 92626|
|Palomar College||1140 W. Mission, San Marcos, CA 92069|
|Pasadena City College||1570 East Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena, CA 91106|
|Rio Hondo College||3600 Workman Mill Road, Whittier, CA 90601|
|Riverside Training Facility||1180 Spring Street, Riverside, CA 92507|
|San Bernardino Community College District||114 South Del Rosa Drive, San Bernardino, CA 92408|
|San Bernardino Valley College||701 South Mount Vernon Avenue, San Bernardino, CA 92410|
|San Diego City College||1313 Park Boulevard, San Diego, CA|
|San Joaquin Valley College -Modesto||5380 Pirrone Road - Modesto, CA 95368|
|San Joaquin Valley College -Ontario||4580 Ontario Mills Parkway, Ontario, CA 91764|
|San Joaquin Valley College -Temecula||27270 Madison Avenue, Suite 103, Temecula, CA 92590|
|San Jose City College||2100 Moorpark Avenue, San Jose, CA 95128|
|Santa Barbara City College||721 Cliff Drive, Santa Barbara, CA 93109|
|Santiago Canyon College||8045 East Chapman Ave, Orange, CA 92869|
|Silicon Valley Career Technical Education||760 Hillsdale Avenue, San Jose, CA 95136|
|Southern California Institute of Technology||525 N. Muller Street, Anaheim, CA 92801|
|Summit College - Colton||851 S. Cooley Dr, Colton, CA 92324|
|Summit College - El Cajon||411 N Marshall, El Cajon, CA 92020|
|Summit College - Santa Ana||1639 E. Edinger, Santa Ana, CA 92705|
|The Electrical Training Institute of Los Angeles County||6023 South Garfield Avenue, Commerce, CA 90040|
|The Trade School||5800 Airport Road, Redding, CA 96002|
|Ventura College||4667 Telegraph Road, Ventura, CA 93003|
|WECA of San Diego||9320 Hazard Way, San Diego, CA 92123|
|WECA of the Sacramento Region||3695 Bleckely Street, Rancho Cordova, CA 95655|
That means that once you enroll at the desired school or program, you have to apply and pay a $25 fee towards the California Department of Industrial Relations.
You can only start your apprenticeship after you receive your electrical trainee registration number.
You’ll also have to renew your trainee registration for each year you spend as an apprentice.
You’ll need these documents:
- A filled-in renewal application
- A transcript of the classes you completed
- A document from your employer with the number of hours you worked.
Other Training Opportunities
There are specific routes you must follow based on how you learn this trade.
Vocational Technical School Training
There are schools in California that designed programs that comply with the state’s licensing requirements.
The duration of these programs is usually 2 years and you’ll also be placed in a company licensed by the state to start accumulating the needed training hours.
However, by the time you finish the classroom training, you’d have completed about half of the required field hours.
The remaining hours are usually completed in the same company and it’s not unusual for journeymen to continue working in the same firm.
Union or Non-union Training Program
This type of apprenticeship is also regulated by the state, and they must be approved by the California Apprenticeship Council (CAC).
The list of schools above includes unions and non-unions that offer training for electricians.
Become a Journeyman
A journeyman can work on any form of residential properties, and only after getting a license.
- Passing the state electrician exam
- Proof of working 4,800 hours under a certified electrician
You have to apply for the exam, and you also must submit your Social Security Administration Employment History Report as work history.
Be aware that the application form has various categories and you must fill out at least 2 of them.
For this, you have to know how much time you spent doing specific types of work, but there’s a maximum hour requirement for each.
The testing vendor is PSI Services and they’ll contact you with details regarding the exam if your application got approved.
This exam lasts for 3 hours, is an open book one and contains 80 questions.
The 2011 National Electric Code is your study material and these are the topics covered in the exam:
- Installation – 66%
- Determination of electrical system requirements – 23%
- Maintenance and repair – 6%
- Safety – 5%
You must renew your certification every 3 years on time or you risk having to sit through the exam again.
There are a few other requirements for certification renewal:
- 2000 hours of experience
- 32 hours of continued education (at any approved school)
Get Your General Electrician Certificate
While not mandatory, after being a journeyman you can consider becoming a general electrician.
With this license, you’ll be able to install, create, or maintain any electrical system covered by the National Electric Code.
- 8,000 hours experience under a certified electrician
- Pass the state electrician exam
The requirements to take the exam are the same as for becoming a journeyman.
The test itself is a bit different because it’s made of 100 questions and lasts 4 hours, but it’s still an open book.
- Installation – 66%
- Determination of Electrical System Requirements – 22%
- Safety – 6%
- Maintenance and Repair – 6%
Just like before, you’ll need to renew the certification every 3 years and you must complete the same requirements as before.
Get Your License as an Independent Electrical Contractor
This license allows you to sell your services to the Californian public, hire other electricians and basically run a business.
It’s the Contractors State Licensing Board who issues these certifications.
You’ll have a new classification called C-10 Electrical Contractor, and these are the requirements to get it:
- At least 18 years old
- Fill out the application
- Proof of 4 years of experience as a full-time electrician (hiring someone with this experience also counts)
- Having a capital of at least $2,500 (it’ the difference between your liabilities and assets)
You can be your own employer and you must work 32 hours a week to qualify.
If your application gets approved, you must sit through a 2-part closed book exam: C-10 exam and Law and Business test.
Questions for the C-10 exam:
- Planning and estimating – 26%
- Rough wiring – 24%
- Startup, troubleshooting, and maintenance – 21%
- Safety – 18%
- Finish wiring and trim – 11%
Questions for the Law and Business exam:
- Business financial – 18%
- Employment requirements – 15%
- Contract requirements and execution – 15%
- Bonds, insurance, and liens – 13%
- Business organization – 12%
- Licensing requirements – 11%
- Safety requirements – 11%
- Public works – 5%
If you pass the exam you must pay $150 for your license and a $12,000 bond.
If you plan on hiring people, you must submit an additional $7,500 bond and proof of worker’s compensation insurance.
You have to renew your license every 3 years but not later than the last day of the month during which you received your license.