Do you wish to become an electrician?
An excellent way to enter the workforce and start a career in the electrical industry is to join the IBEW apprenticeship.
In this article, we will talk about the ways to join an apprenticeship and how to increase your chances of admission.
This process can be quite competitive and challenging.
What Is The IBEW Apprenticeship Program?
The IBEW electrical apprenticeship is a partnership program of the NECA (National Electrical Contractors Association) and IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers).
The Electrical Training Alliance combines classroom and online learning to improve the IBEW apprenticeship experience.
Blended learning is a program that allows students learn, at least partially, through the delivery of instruction and content via online and digital media.
Students can also control time, path, place, or pace of their learning to some extent.
With apprenticeship programs, students can both work and learn at the same time.
They can make a living, earn an essential practical experience, and meet the educational requirements to become a licensed electrician.
You can’t learn everything in the classroom.
Through the apprenticeship program, you can earn as you learn via on-the-job training (OJT).
Additionally to OJT, you will get hands-on classroom training in an environment similar to everyday work.
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 & Communication).
- Residential Wireman.
- Inside Wireman.
- Outside Lineman.
For instance, through the Puget Sound Electrical JATC in Renton, WA, you can find the following programs: Residential, Sound and Comm (technician), Construction Apprentice (inside wireman).
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.
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 the wages can increase, or upon completion of 1000 hours of work.
Wages can also differ from one IBEW apprenticeship to another, as well as unions, cities, and states.
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 Form
Online applications are available only for a few apprenticeships, so you will have to fill actual paperwork.
You will have to find your high school or college transcripts and remember the last four addresses you lived at.
You will have to fill out everything.
Be sure to fill everything clearly in good handwriting.
If your handwriting is bad, better have somebody else fill it out for you.
Don’t leave any fields blank.
If you’re 100% positive you have to leave something blank, call the training center and consult with them on what you should do.
It’s recommended to check with those who will be handling your application.
The application requirements include:
- At least 18 years old.
- A high school diploma or GED, or an Associate’s Degree or higher.
- Successfully completed high school algebra course or post-high school algebra with a passing grade.
- Official transcript for high school and post-high school training and education; must submit GED records.
Some programs may have additional requirements.
Preparing for the IBEW Apprenticeship Aptitude 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.
The aptitude test covers two parts: reading comprehension, and algebra and functions.
It takes approximately two and a half hours to complete the test.
There is a break between the two parts.
Waiting For Your Interview
This can be the most nerve-racking and frustrating part of the entire process.
With many apprenticeships, 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 were 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.
You have to stay patient.
They will notify you if you were selected and appoint an interview.
Members from the local union office, NECA, are on the interview panel.
A director of the apprenticeship may be there too.
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 straight forward 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.
You don’t have to wear a suit and a tie, but dress for success, a pair of nice jeans, a shirt (not a T-shirt), clean shoes, fresh haircut, and shaving.
- 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: whoever is talking to you, look them in the eye and provide solid answers.
- Give the interviewers a firm handshake.
- Don’t smell like alcohol or cigarettes.
- Get a good night’s rest.
Keep in mind that as an apprentice, you’re starting from the bottom.
It means that you are more labor rather than skill, and you’ll be given work accordingly.
You may have to set up scaffolding and ladders, dig trenches, carry materials, and crawl in dirty and dark places.
The main concern is safety, which should be considered when you’re answering questions.
For example, you may say “what it takes to get the job done, safely”.
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.