Non-Union Apprenticeship Programs Through IEC and ABC Member Merit Shops

One of the most beneficial things about becoming an electrician is that you can start off with an apprenticeship.

These programs are highly relevant and useful for electricians now just as they were in the past.

Through the apprenticeship, electricians can combine the classroom (campus-based or online) learning with on-the-job training.

From the very first day, they can earn a salary, which grows over time as they gain more skills and experience.

The apprenticeship programs usually take from four to six years to complete.

During them, you will cover classroom and on-the-job training instruction hours required to move to the journeyman level.

Aspiring electricians need to know the array of options they have when it comes to finding an apprenticeship.

First, you should decide if you want to join a union or non-union program.

The non-union apprenticeship (open shop/merit shop) requires you to apply for entry to an apprenticeship program administered by the associations of non-unionized contractors.

These associations hold apprenticeship programs with their member contractors.

The two notable associations for contractors and electricians nationwide are the ABC (Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc) and the IEC (Independent Electrical Contractors).

Many apprenticeships sponsored by these associations are recognized by the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training of the US Department of Labor.

Besides being a place for aspiring electricians to find a non-union apprenticeship, these associations are also a hub for contracting companies to find licensed electricians and qualified apprentices when they are hiring.

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How to Apply to a Non-Union Apprenticeship Program

Once you find a regional or local association sponsoring apprenticeships in your area, you need to find out their admission requirements.

They can vary from one program to another, but generally include:

  • Minimum age requirement – At least 16 if you’re participating in a high-school-approved trade program, otherwise 17-18.
  • Be able to perform essential electrician duties – This means having a normal or correctable hearing, vision, and physical capabilities.
  • If you’re not participating in a high-school-approved trade program you should have either a high school diploma or GED.
  • Pass basic math (including algebra) and reading exam.
  • Be able to provide your own transportation – a valid driver’s license.
  • Pass a drug test and criminal background investigation.

How Merit/Open Shop Apprenticeship Programs are Organized

Every association is unique and has a wide array of apprenticeship programs.

These programs can be shorter-than-traditional, preparing you for a specific type of job.

They can include an alarm or low-voltage communications installations.

However, most apprenticeship programs are made to meet the classroom training and on-the-job experience hour requirements for a journeyman level.

The apprenticeships can differ in various jurisdictions since the local requirements can vary.

All jurisdictions hold the full apprenticeships lasting from four to six years which should meet the requirements for an unlimited journeyman card.

They generally include:

  • Approximately 2,000 hours of on-the-job experience and training each year (typically 8,000-10,000 total hours).
  • Several hundred hours of classroom-based education each year (typically 500-1000 total hours).

What You Learn in an Open Shop Electrician Apprenticeship

The apprenticeship program can be one of the most exciting times of your entire career.

It can be challenging learning new concepts and apply them in real-world work on the job site.

But also, demonstrating a new competency and doing your job well can be extremely satisfying.

To expand your experience, you will work in various settings during your apprenticeship.

You can find yourself installing fire alarm systems in commercial buildings or wiring up new homes in residential construction.

Despite your job assignments, you will learn the following elements:

  • Using ohmmeters, voltmeters, meggers, harmonics testers, GFI testers, and ammeters.
  • Installing, repairing, and updating electrical machinery.
  • Installing fuses, relays, and switches.
  • Using basic tools like wire strippers, diagonal pliers, knockout punches, and conduit benders.
  • Troubleshooting wiring and electrical problems.
  • Reading and understanding blueprints and schematics.
  • Inspecting/testing electrical systems.
  • Wiring and upgrading breaker boxes.
  • Installing wiring systems and their components.

The IEC and ABC work with contractors from the following industries:

  • Commercial offices.
  • Arenas and entertainment venues.
  • Schools and universities.
  • Municipal and state utility companies.
  • Factories and manufacturing plants.
  • Hospitals and other healthcare facilities.
  • Government agencies and offices.
  • Military contractors.
  • Power plants – solar, hydro, wind, nuclear, geothermal, tidal, coal, and natural gas.
  • Aviation companies.

Finding Open Shop Apprenticeships in Your Area

Every year, thousands of electricians complete the IEC and ABC apprenticeships.

These associations cooperate with member construction and electrical contracting companies nationwide, looking for new apprentices.

For specific information about applying for an apprenticeship, you can contact an ABC or IEC chapter closest to you.

The following list includes the ABC and IEC chapters in every state:


  • ABC-affiliated Construction Education Foundation Alabama – CEFA (Birmingham).
  • IEC Central Alabama Chapter (Birmingham).


ABC Alaska Chapter (Anchorage).


  • IECA of Arizona (Tempe).
  • ABC Arizona Builders Alliance (Phoenix).
  • IEC of Southern Arizona (Tucson).


Served by the Mid-South IEC (Memphis, Tennessee).


  • ABC-Los Angeles-Ventura Chapter (San Fernando).
  • ABC-San Diego Chapter (Poway).
  • ABC-Northern California Chapter (Livermore).
  • ABC-Southern California Chapter (Anaheim).
  • ABC-Central California Chapter (Bakersfield).


  • ABC-Rocky Mountain Chapter directs visitors to the Construction Industry Training Council of Colorado (Denver).
  • IEC Western Colorado (Glenwood Springs).
  • IEC Rocky Mountain Chapter (Northglenn).
  • IEC Southern Colorado Chapter (Colorado Springs).


IEC New England (Rocky Hill).


Served by the IEC Chesapeake (Laurel, Maryland).

District of Columbia

Served by the IEC Chesapeake (Laurel, Maryland and Dulles, Virginia).


  • IEC Florida West Coast Chapter (Clearwater).
  • ABC-Florida East Coast Chapter (Coconut Creek).
  • ABC-Florida Gulf Coast Chapter (Tampa).


  • IEC Georgia Chapter (Atlanta).
  • IEC Atlanta Chapter (Atlanta).


No IEC or ABC electrical apprenticeships.


IEC of Idaho (Boise).


  • IEC Greater Saint Louis (serving Illinois localities in Bridgeton, Missouri).
  • Midwest IEC (Crown Point).
  • ABC-Illinois Chapter (Elk Grove Village, Springfield).


  • ABC-Indiana/Kentucky Chapter (Indianapolis).
  • Central Indiana IEC (Indianapolis).
  • IEC Southern Indiana Chapter (Evansville).
  • IEC Kentucky and Southern Indiana Chapter (serving Indiana localities in Louisville, Kentucky).
  • Midwest IEC (Crown Point).
  • IEC of Greater Cincinnati (serving Indiana localities in Cincinnati, Ohio).


ABC of Iowa Apprenticeship and Training Trust (Grimes).


Wichita Chapter IEC (Wichita).


  • ABC-Indiana/Kentucky (Louisville).
  • IEC of Greater Cincinnati (serving Kentucky localities in Cincinnati, Ohio).
  • IEC Kentucky and Southern Indiana Chapter (Louisville).
  • IEC of the Bluegrass (Lexington).
  • IEC Southern Indiana Chapter (serving Kentucky localities in Evansville, Indiana).


No IEC or ABC electrical apprenticeships.


No IEC or ABC electrical apprenticeships.


IEC Chesapeake (Laurel, Maryland).


  • ABC-Merit Apprenticeship Program (Woburn).
  • ABC-affiliated Gould Construction Institute (Woburn).
  • Served by IEC New England (Rocky Hill, Connecticut).


  • ABC-Western Michigan Chapter (Grand Rapids).
  • ABC-Greater Michigan Chapter (Midland).
  • ABC-Southeast Michigan Chapter (Madison Heights).


Clay, Norman, and Polk counties served by IEC Dakotas (Pierre, South Dakota).


Served by the Mid-South Chapter IEC (Memphis, Tennessee).


  • Central Missouri IEC (Sedalia).
  • IEC of Southeast Missouri (Cape Girardeau).
  • IEC Greater Saint Louis (Bridgeton).


IEC of Montana (Helena).


No IEC or ABC electrical apprenticeships.


No IEC or ABC electrical apprenticeships.

New Hampshire

No IEC or ABC electrical apprenticeships.

New Jersey

New Jersey IEC (Cranford).

New Mexico

  • Southern New Mexico IEC (Las Cruces).
  • Northern New Mexico IEC (Albuquerque).
  • ABC-New Mexico Chapter (Albuquerque).

New York

No IEC or ABC electrical apprenticeships.

North Carolina

No IEC or ABC electrical apprenticeships.

North Dakota

Served by the IEC Dakotas (Pierre, South Dakota).


  • IEC of Greater Cincinnati (Cincinnati).
  • IEC Western Reserve Chapter (Youngstown).
  • IEC Dayton (Dayton).
  • ABC-Central Ohio Chapter (Columbus).
  • ABC-Ohio Valley Chapter (Springboro).
  • Central Ohio AEC-IEC (Columbus).
  • ABC-Northern Ohio Chapter (Broadview Heights).
  • Northern Ohio ECA (Lakewood).


  • ABC-Oklahoma Chapter (Broken Arrow).
  • IEC-OKC (Oklahoma City).


  • Mid-Oregon Chapter IEC (Eugene).
  • IEC of Oregon (Tigard).


  • ABC-Western Pennsylvania Chapter (Gibsonia).
  • ABC-Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter (East Norriton).
  • IEC of Northwest Pennsylvania (Erie).
  • IEC Western Reserve Chapter (serving Pennsylvania localities in Youngstown, Ohio).
  • IEC Chesapeake (serving Pennsylvania localities in Laurel, Maryland).
  • Central Pennsylvania Chapter IEC (Mechanicsburg).

Rhode Island

ABC-affiliated Rhode Island Construction Training Academy (Pawtucket).

South Carolina

No IEC or ABC electrical apprenticeship offices.

South Dakota

IEC Dakotas (Pierre).


  • ABC-Greater Tennessee Chapter (Nashville).
  • Mid-South Chapter IEC (Memphis).


  • IEC Dallas Chapter (Irving).
  • Lubbock Chapter IEC (Lubbock).
  • CenTex Chapter IEC (Austin).
  • IEC of Texas (Austin).
  • San Antonio Chapter IEC (San Antonio).
  • IEC of East Texas (Tyler).
  • IEC of the Texas Panhandle (Borger).
  • El Paso Chapter IEC (El Paso).
  • IEC Texas Gulf Coast Chapter (Houston).
  • IEC of Fort Worth/Tarrant County (Fort Worth).
  • Rio Grande Valley IEC (Harlington).
  • ABC-Texas Gulf Coast Chapter (Freeport).
  • ABC-South Texas Chapter (San Antonio).
  • ABC-Central Texas Chapter (Austin).
  • ABC-Southeast Texas Chapter (Nederland).


IEC of Utah (Midvale).


No IEC or ABC electrical apprenticeship offices.


  • ABC-Virginia Chapter (Dulles).
  • Served by the IEC Chesapeake (Laurel, Maryland).


  • ABC-affiliated Construction Industry Training Council (Bellevue).
  • IEC of Oregon (serving Washington localities in Tigard, Oregon).
  • IEC of Washington (Everett).

West Virginia

Served by the IEC Chesapeake (Laurel, Maryland).


  • ABC-Wisconsin Chapter (Madison).
  • Wisconsin ABC Apprenticeship and Training Trust Fund (Madison).


Served by the IEC Rocky Mountain Chapter (Northglenn, Colorado).

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