If you are practical, hands-on and technically-minded, you may have considered a career as an electrician. Working in a variety of settings – from homes to businesses and construction sites to commercial set-ups – the work of an electrician requires in-depth knowledge of electrotechnical theory, and the ability to apply this to real-world scenarios.
Aside from technical ability and understanding, there is an important safety aspect to the job of an electrician. When fitting and repairing electrical circuits and wiring, industry standards must be met at all times. As a result, the right training is extremely important – so to help you on your way, we have compiled a guide to becoming a fully qualified electrician.
1. Build your knowledge
To help you on your path to becoming a qualified electrician, there is no substitute for experience. Do what you can to learn about the industry – whether you take a basic Level 1 or 2 course in college, complete a period of work shadowing, or become an apprentice. Whatever route you decide to take, it’s important to start with the basics.
2. Find an industry-recognised course
To become fully qualified as an electrician, you will need to take an industry-recognised course from a reputable teaching organisation. To check that a course is suitable, you should ensure it is accredited by either City & Guilds or the EAL. The internet is a good place to start your research; otherwise you could ask friends, family or colleagues for advice.
3. Learn the theory
A career as an electrician begins with learning the theory. By understanding the basic principles of electrotechnical technology, you will be able to apply what you have learned to your job on a daily basis. As a result, you’ll be able to complete tasks to a high standard, and within industry guidelines. Reputable courses include:
- Level 3 Diploma in Electrotechnical Services and Systems
- Level 3 Diploma in Electrotechnical Technology
- Level 3 Diploma in Installing Electrotechnical Systems & Equipment
Level 3 qualifications can be taken if you already have a good understanding of basic electrotechnical principles. However, if you still need to learn the basics, you should take either the Level 1 or Level 2 course (or head back to step 1 – build your knowledge) and progress from there.
4. Put theory into practice
Once you have a Level 3 Diploma Certificate, you will need to show that you can apply your knowledge by taking an NVQ qualification. The City & Guilds Electrotechnical Services and Systems (2356) NVQ shows that you are able to meet the National Occupational Standards for an electrician, acting as a launchpad into your career as an electrician.
5. Further training
As you advance through your career, there will be plenty of opportunity to learn further skills. From photovoltaic systems (solar panels) to PAT testing and installations to inspection, you should try to gain qualifications on a frequent basis to keep your knowledge fresh and relevant.