How Important is an Apprenticeship Program?

JimmySparks

Member
Location
Ohio
Occupation
Electrician
I'm currently in the 3rd Year of an IEC apprenticeship. I've got 4 year of OTJ experience, which I believe makes me eligible to take the code test and get my Kentucky journeyman's license (Ohio doesn't license j-men at the state level). Once I have my license, is anyone going to care whether or not I finished the the apprenticeship program? If not, I'd just as soon skip the 4th year, as going to the classes presents some logistical difficulty.
JSparks
 
Well... do you already know the material in the 4th year classes? How important is it for your career path? Generally speaking, it's better to say "I completed the apprentice program." than "I dropped out after year 3." Some companies will care, some won't. If you can make it work, even with a little pain, I'd keep at it just for being able to call it complete.

What's the balance of finishing the program to future advancement?

Either way, never stop learning new stuff.
 

tom baker

First Chief Moderator
Staff member
Finish as you are almost there. Some states (WA, OR, ID, there may be others) accept apprenticeship completion to be able to take the electrical exam for journey level. Having that apprenticeship will make it much easier for you to relocate.
 

JimmySparks

Member
Location
Ohio
Occupation
Electrician
Thanks for the replies.
Some companies will care, some won't. If you can make it work, even with a little pain, I'd keep at it just for being able to call it complete.
There are a few older j-men I work with that never did the apprenticeship, so I was wondering if I could get away with that lol. I suppose times may have changed.
WA, OR, ID, there may be others) accept apprenticeship completion to be able to take the electrical exam
I looked up Washington and Oregon, it looks like they do or soon will require apprenticeship program completion to take the test. Don't know that I'd ever be living there, but I'd like the option.
 

texie

Senior Member
Location
Fort Collins, Colorado
Occupation
Electrician, Contractor, Inspector
Thanks for the replies.

There are a few older j-men I work with that never did the apprenticeship, so I was wondering if I could get away with that lol. I suppose times may have changed.

I looked up Washington and Oregon, it looks like they do or soon will require apprenticeship program completion to take the test. Don't know that I'd ever be living there, but I'd like the option.
Many states require completion of a DOL approved apprenticeship program to qualify for journeyman licensure. This could become a big problem for you at some point if do not complete it. Also most reciprocity agreements between states require it as well.
 

Dsg319

Senior Member
Location
West Virginia
Occupation
(Green)Master Electrician
If they are teaching good, and putting in effort to help people (you) learn. Keep your head in the game and finish it.

One hard bitter pill to swallow about being an electrician, while a lot is learned in the field. There is a lot to learn from books and teachers. Not to mention your job is based on learning to be Code complaint through means of a book.

I took electrical in high school trade class and wasted every single second of it.

Drove truck a few years after school than landed a job in a apprenticeship (that didn’t have night classes) and thank God he gave me the gumption to take learning on myself on the evenings and weekends, through some of Mike Holts material and several others.

I’m sure there are a lot of other electricians like me that learned the mechanical side of electricity before they began to learn and understand the electrical and physics side (still learning).

In a nut shell if it’s a good apprenticeship and you are continually learning. Don’t take it for granted. God bless you brother.
 

LarryFine

Master Electrician Electric Contractor Richmond VA
Location
Henrico County, VA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
I’m sure there are a lot of other electricians like me that learned the mechanical side of electricity before they began to learn and understand the electrical and physics side (still learning).
I'm the opposite. I've been interested in electronics and electricity since I was a kid. I built a "foxhole" radio from a how-to in a book from the school library when I was in the first grade. I wired my parents' shed when I was around twelve. I also ran phone lines and audio around the house.

When I was in high-school, I went to a local technical school for the second half of each school day to take Commercial Electricity classes. I probably taught the others as much as I learned about electrical theory while there. I think I was the instructor's favorite student.

I really learned the hardware of the trade when I became a helper.
 

Dsg319

Senior Member
Location
West Virginia
Occupation
(Green)Master Electrician
I'm the opposite. I've been interested in electronics and electricity since I was a kid. I built a "foxhole" radio from a how-to in a book from the school library when I was in the first grade. I wired my parents' shed when I was around twelve. I also ran phone lines and audio around the house.

When I was in high-school, I went to a local technical school for the second half of each school day to take Commercial Electricity classes. I probably taught the others as much as I learned about electrical theory while there. I think I was the instructor's favorite student.

I really learned the hardware of the trade when I became a helper.
That’s awesome! I wish I would have put forth as much effort back than as I do now, but looking back from where I’ve come, thank GOD it’s a big milestone! Still so much to learn, currently been studying some to take my masters (which I really need to crack down hard on). Just finished Mikes 2020 bonding and grounding book, and almost done with the theory/fundamentals book. Probably gonna read it a second time lol.
 

LarryFine

Master Electrician Electric Contractor Richmond VA
Location
Henrico County, VA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
I should have responded more to the OP.

Here in VA, OJT apprenticeship is normally four years, but night school brought it down to three years.

That makes you eligible to take the Journeyman test, and certain experiences thereafter for the Master.
 

Dsg319

Senior Member
Location
West Virginia
Occupation
(Green)Master Electrician
I'm currently in the 3rd Year of an IEC apprenticeship. I've got 4 year of OTJ experience, which I believe makes me eligible to take the code test and get my Kentucky journeyman's license (Ohio doesn't license j-men at the state level). Once I have my license, is anyone going to care whether or not I finished the the apprenticeship program? If not, I'd just as soon skip the 4th year, as going to the classes presents some logistical difficulty.
JSparks
But on the other hand I can understand the difficulty of trying to get to classes especially if you travel for work. Take some time and weigh the options and don’t make any fast rash decisions.
 

JimmySparks

Member
Location
Ohio
Occupation
Electrician
I'm the opposite. I've been interested in electronics and electricity since I was a kid. I built a "foxhole" radio from a how-to in a book from the school library when I was in the first grade. I wired my parents' shed when I was around twelve. I also ran phone lines and audio around the house.

When I was in high-school, I went to a local technical school for the second half of each school day to take Commercial Electricity classes. I probably taught the others as much as I learned about electrical theory while there. I think I was the instructor's favorite student.

I really learned the hardware of the trade when I became a helper.
I followed a similar path, I did some electronic hobby stuff before I got into the trade, I knew how to run an osciliscope and a meter and that sort of thing. Now, figuring out how to drill up a wall from a basement without coming through the floor, that was quite a learning curve :D
 

Strathead

Senior Member
I am virtually self taught. I was in an electrical sub trade in the Air Force where I learned basic electricity, then I went to work on Submarines and eventually buildings. I took the Sally Struthers correspondence course (ICS) for electricity and passed it.

The reason I state all this is, that there is more than one path. Most people that I know, don't have the motivation and time or their learning style isn't conducive to learning on their own. A structured classroom is definitely an easier way to learn. So I suggest like others, that you complete the last year. It does mean something.

But my main wisdom is this.... No matter what path you take you will only get out of it what you put in to it. I now teach second year apprenticeship. I pass on a lot of knowledge that I have come to accept most of them won't absorb. It is their responsibility not mine to pursue knowledge and be better.
 

NTesla76

Senior Member
Location
IA
Occupation
Electrics
Stick it out. You'll most likely get a Certification of Completion or something like that when you graduate the apprenticeship. That piece of paper may become invaluable down the road. It may seem like a pita now, but you'll be glad you completed it.
 

JimmySparks

Member
Location
Ohio
Occupation
Electrician
Well, seems that the consensus is that I'll probably regret ditching the 4th year. The way the IEC program is set up, you do school about 1 night a week during the regular school year and the summers are off. That works out to about 170 hours of classroom time over the year. Would it be possible to enroll in some sort of program at a trade college and get the remaining class time done in a few weeks of full time classes, or is going to one-night-a-week school through the IEC the only way to have the apprenticeship considered complete? It may be a long shot, I guess I'm just impatient. 🤪
 
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