How to Become an Electrician in Pennsylvania

In some areas of PA, electricians earn as much as $85K.  And  you do not need a college degree.

Education & Training

In order to receive enough training and experience, you must attend a trade school or community college with an electrician training program.

Local Trade Schools

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Get information on Electrician programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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Accredited institutions provide certified coursework and hands-on training with the correct tools and equipment to meet industry standards.

What Do You Study?

Most courses cover topics such as:

Foundational Electrical Knowledge:

  • Basic Electrical Theory: Understanding voltage, current, resistance, transformers, and power.
  • Basic Electrical Math: Mathematics and load calculations essential for electrical work.
  • Technical Math: Advanced mathematical skills for complex electrical calculations.

Electrical Systems and Principles:

  • Electrical System Operation Principles: DC, AC, and other electricity fundamentals.
  • Wiring Techniques: Wiring, single-phase, 3-phase motors, and electrical controls.
  • Circuit and System Design: Branch Circuit Basics, Required Branch Circuits, GFCI and AFCI Protection.

Safety Practices:

  • General Safety: Familiarity with field and shop safety, electrical safety, and jobsite safety.
  • Tool Safety: Proper use of hand tools and power tools.

Materials and Equipment:

  • Building Materials: Conductors and Cables, Enclosures and Cabinets, Terminal Devices.
  • Understanding Generators: Related codes and operational principles.

Installation and Maintenance:

  • Residential and Commercial Wiring: Overview and detailed practices.
  • Installing and Inspecting: Techniques for proper installation and inspection adherence.
  • Appliance and System Connections: Residential Services and Feeders, Feeders and Separate Buildings, Required Outlets and Devices, Appliance Connections.

Specialized Electrical Systems:

  • Solar Photovoltaics: Learning installation and troubleshooting of solar systems.
  • Grounding and Bonding: Essential for safety and system efficiency.

Code Compliance:

  • National Electrical Code (NEC): Comprehensive study to ensure compliance with all regulations.

Project and Business Skills:

  • Project Planning: Strategies and tools for effective project management.
  • Soft Skills for the Electrician (optional): Communication and interpersonal skills critical for professional success.

Practical Application and Challenges:

  • Troubleshooting: Diagnosing and fixing electrical issues effectively.
  • Course Challenge: Capstone-like evaluation to test knowledge and skills.

Professional Development:

  • The Electrical Industry: An introduction to the field and career opportunities.
  • Construction Drawings: Understanding and interpreting technical drawings.

How Much Does Electrician Training in PA Cost?

Most schools  charge between a $2,500 to $5,000

Students often apply for scholarships or financial aid to afford smaller monthly payments.

How Long is Training?

Most beginner programs take between 7 and 12 months.  Online programs usually can be completed quickly since you control the pace of study.

Associate degrees in applied science typically take 2 years.

After completing your training, you become an entry-level worker and begin your career with an apprenticeship or as an electrician’s helper.

Salary Range

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the average salary in the state is $73,100.

The table below shows more BLS data for different cities:

Area Hourly Annual
Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton $36.02 $74,920.00
Altoona $28.41 $59,090.00
Bloomsburg-Berwick $28.09 $58,420.00
Chambersburg-Waynesboro $31.20 $64,890.00
East Stroudsburg $29.04 $60,390.00
Erie $30.71 $63,880.00
Gettysburg $32.34 $67,270.00
Harrisburg-Carlisle $34.12 $70,960.00
Johnstown $29.13 $60,580.00
Lancaster $32.61 $67,820.00
Lebanon $31.54 $65,590.00
Northern PA $31.01 $64,500.00
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington $37.24 $77,460.00
Pittsburgh $34.25 $71,240.00
Reading $34.97 $72,740.00
Scranton–Wilkes-Barre–Hazleton $35.53 $73,900.00
Southern PA $27.75 $57,730.00
State College $30.80 $64,060.00
Western PA $32.54 $67,680.00
Williamsport $30.06 $62,530.00
York-Hanover $33.90 $70,520.00

Occupation:Electricians (SOC Code472111)
source: data.bls.gov

Over time, more training, experience, and licensing can lead to higher wages if you work for a local or government entity and increased revenue if you run your own company.

Pennsylvania Electrician Requirements

There are no statewide licensing requirements for professional electricians in Pennsylvania. But, you must possess a license to perform electrical work within your jurisdiction.

Therefore, individual cities and counties handle the license requirements for apprentices, journeyman electricians, and electrical contractors.

For example, here is some information for Philadelphia.

Most cities have similar requirements for each type of license, and you can check with your local government to verify what they are.

Overall, there are three ways you can become a licensed professional electrician in Pennsylvania:

  1. Complete an apprenticeship program and earn 3-5 years of on-the-job experience, plus 750-900 hours of classroom time.
  2. Graduate from a community college or trade school with a certificate in electrical technology and receive 2 years of field experience.
  3. Work under the direct supervision of an electrical contractor for 10 years or more.

Apprentice

Step one in becoming a licensed electrician in PA is to become an apprentice. You must be 18 years or older, have a high school diploma or GED, and have passed at least one year of high school algebra.

Most apprentices also must take an aptitude test involving basic math and reading skills.

If you go through an accredited training program, you might be able to land an apprenticeship quite easily. Most apprenticeships include classroom education and on-the-job experience where you work directly under a contractor.

You might become an apprentice via a union sponsor or go through a local contractor affiliated with electrician state organizations.

Journeyman Electrician

After being an apprentice for a few years, you can apply to become a journeyman electrician.

Some cities allow you to skip this step of the process and may not even offer this licensing option in your jurisdiction. However, most contractors refuse to hire individuals who lack apprenticeship or internship experience.

To get a journeyman electrician license in PA, you must:

  • Have about 4 years of experience
  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Complete an application with the city
  • Pass the journeyman exam

Journeyman licenses expire after one year. You must renew your license for a fee each year around the same time or face losing it.

Some cities recognize the licensing from other areas, too. After working for at least two years as a journeyman electrician, you can apply for an independent electrical contractor’s license.

Electrical Contractor

All cities in Pennsylvania require workers to apply for a master electrician’s license before they can do electrical work.

Once they earn this credential, these workers can perform almost any job in the industry.

Requirements to apply for a license as a master electrician in PA vary by city but mostly include:

  • Passing the electrical contractor exam with a 70% or higher
  • 4 years of experience as an electrician or completion of an electrician training program with 2 years of experience
  • Liability insurance of $300k or more
  • Photo ID(s)
  • Proof of registering for city taxes

You can purchase your electrical contractor license after passing the exam. Licenses expire after one year, so you must renew them to keep working as a master electrician.

With this license, you can hire your own team and freelance various jobs throughout the state of Pennsylvania.

Electrician Licensing Costs

Fees to take the journeyman and master electrician exams vary by city and change annually. Costs also differ between new applications, renewals, and potential late fees.

To find more information about what it costs to become a licensed electrician in PA, try visiting your city government’s website.

Job Description

Electricians install, maintain, and repair electrical systems to power various communication, lighting, and control fixtures.

Hospitals, schools, factories, businesses, homes, and residential areas rely on these workers to supply the power that keeps their operations running. Electricians are also responsible for restoring power after outages.

Once they have the required experience and licensure, electricians have several job opportunities they can pursue.

Some qualified electricians choose to be self-employed and open their own businesses. However, others prefer to work with the local government or join an existing electric company.

Electrical work is hands-on, so you can expect to perform physical tasks in a variety of environments. There are some potential dangers of working with electricity, which is why proper training and education are so important.

Those looking for more specialized jobs in this industry might consider work in electrical engineering, refrigeration, HVAC, and telecommunications.

Career Outlook

Electricians are highly skilled workers with good job stability. Demand for this occupation is consistent and sometimes higher in some areas than others.

Nationally, the BLS expects about 84,700 job openings for electricians annually between 2020 and 2030. This equates to a 9% growth rate for the occupation, which is about as fast as most careers.

Pennsylvania alone could see a 7.2% rise in electrician jobs between 2018 and 2028, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry. This totals about 2,948 openings due to people switching careers or leaving the workforce entirely. As a licensed electrician, you should expect rising demand for your work along with generous pay.

Search Electrician Programs

Get information on Electrician programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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