Do you wish to become an electrician?
An excellent way to start a career and enter the electrical industry is to join an International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) apprenticeship.
In this article, we will talk about two points:
- How to join the apprenticeship program
- How to increase your chances of admission
What Is the IBEW Apprenticeship Program?
The IBEW electrical apprenticeship is a partnership program between the IBEW and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).
Through these apprenticeship programs, students can both work and learn at the same time.
They can make a living, earn essential practical experience, and meet the educational requirements to become a licensed electrician.
How to Join IBEW Apprenticeship
Decide Which Program Is Right for You
First, you need to find an IBEW apprenticeship and find out what type of programs they offer.
You can choose to become:
- Technician (sound or communication)
- Residential Wireman
- Inside Wireman
- Outside Lineman
These programs can’t be found in every apprenticeship.
The outside lineman apprenticeship program is offered only by training centers designed specifically for that program.
Wages can also differ from one IBEW apprenticeship to another, as well as unions, cities, and states.
The apprentices’ salaries are based on the percentage of journeyman pay.
In the first year, you can earn about 50% of what a journeyman makes.
However, every 6 to 12 months, or upon completion of 1000 hours of work, the wages can increase.
Also, apprentices make more on the west coast and upper east coast than in the south.
However, you have to keep in mind that the living costs are higher in those regions.
IBEW Apprenticeship Application
IBEW requires that you meet the following qualifications:
- Must be at least 18 years old
- Have a high school diploma or GED, or an associate’s degree or higher
- Successfully passed a high school or post-high school algebra course
- Official transcript
Some programs may have additional requirements.
If you meet these, you can then submit an application (online or by mail) to IBEW.
If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact the training center for consultation.
Preparing for the IBEW Apprenticeship Aptitude Test
The aptitude test covers two parts: reading comprehension, and algebra and functions.
It takes approximately two and a half hours to complete the test.
At this point, you should do your best and make a high score.
Applicants are ranked from highest to lowest, so those with the highest scores will be invited to the interview first.
Waiting for Your Interview
This can be the most nerve-racking and frustrating part of the entire process.
With so many aspiring apprentices, applicants are accepted only once or twice a year.
So it can mean that you’d have to wait for months before you know if you get accepted.
You have to stay calm and refrain from calling the apprenticeship office over and over to find out why you haven’t heard back.
Stay patient and wait for their notification if you get selected for the admission interview.
Members from the local union office and NECA will form part of the interview panel.
During the interview, you may be asked the following questions:
- Why do you want to be part of this program?
- Do you work better as a team or alone? Why?
- What kind of electrical experience do you have?
- If you’ve been involved with a conflict, tell us how you resolved it.
- Tell us a situation when you had to complete a project where you didn’t have the necessary tools to finish it.
- Describe a time when you did a project from start to finish.
A few tips for the interview:
- Give straightforward answers to questions
- Stay on topic and avoid filler words like um, uh, etc.
- Don’t cross your arms
- Clasp your hands together and sit still; don’t squirm
- Take your time to formulate your response well before speaking
- Maintain a positive attitude
- Stay professional and dress appropriately
- Be honest and tell what you are looking for and why you are a great candidate
- Show your dedication, initiative to learn, and strong work ethics
- Maintain eye contact and provide solid answers
- Give the interviewers a firm handshake
- Don’t smell like alcohol or cigarettes
- Get a good night’s rest
After the interview, your name will be put for two years on an eligibility list.
With the availability of new positions in the IBEW apprenticeship, names will be taken down by ranking score order.
If you aren’t selected for an apprenticeship within these two years, you will have to reapply.