Last updated on October 9, 2019
Think you might have what it takes to become an electrician? Keep reading to find out more about what the process entails and how you can become qualified for watts and watts of job opportunities.
What Is Electrical Technology? What Does It Mean?
Studying Electrical Technology refers to studying the application of electricity, electronics and electromagnetism. In terms of real-life applications, studying Electrical Technology can lead to a job as an electrical technician. This might include becoming an apprentice electrician to start out, followed by more formal training in order to prepare for licensing exams. Electricians might also build on current job skills in order to seek a raise or promotion, or simply to stay on top of recent changes or trends in the industry.
To get started in the Electrical Technology program, you can choose from some of the following degree or certificate programs at North Lake:
- Electrical Technology Associate in Applied Sciences Degree — This degree can be completed in two years as a full-time student.
- Electrical Technology Certificate — This certificate can be completed in two semesters.
The following nationally approved apprenticeship programs are offered in partnership with the North Texas Electrical Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee. Additional admission requirements are necessary for enrollment in these programs; contact staff in the Electrical Technology program for more information.
- Electrical Construction Associate in Applied Sciences Degree — This degree can be completed in two years as a full-time student.
- Electrical Construction Certificate — This certificate can be completed in three semesters.
While studying in this program, you’ll take classes in electrical systems design and construction, construction specifications and contracts, electrical planning and estimating, commercial wiring and more. You’ll learn about things like AC and DC electronics, electronic devices and microcontrollers.
Why is Electrical Technology Important?
You use electronics in your daily life, right? (Of course you do, or you wouldn’t be reading this right now!) Electrical Technology is important because what electronics do (or don’t do) affects almost everything we do. Taking courses in Electrical Technology helps ensure you stay on top of building and construction codes and the pace at which these things might change and evolve. Safety is also an extremely important issue when it comes to Electrical Technology, as a proper lack of care can be extremely dangerous.
Is Electrical Technology a Good Career?
Texas has one of the highest levels of employment for electricians, and the annual mean wage within the state is about $45,000. With a strong knowledge base, skill set and some people skills, you might even find yourself starting your own business.
Often you can get started in the career field by attaining an electrical apprenticeship with a master electrician. As an apprentice, you’ll begin learning some of the basics of the job and get a feel for whether it’s the right career path for you. Over time, you will probably be required to continue your education through more formal training, particularly as it relates to safety practices, changes in electrical and construction codes and training from manufacturers of specific products.
In Texas, you will also need to get a license to perform electrical work, and you will need to meet various criteria for obtaining electrician licensing beyond the apprentice level. To become an apprentice, you simply need to be over the age of 18 to assist in the installation of electrical work under the supervision of a master electrician. After a certain number of hours of on-the-job training and passing scores on various exams, you’ll be able to work your way up and continue to advance your career.
Your electrician license will need to be renewed every 18 months from the date it was issued, and you may also need to take continuing education courses. This especially is where a formal training program and/or classroom environment can come in handy and make it easier to stay knowledgeable as the field continues to evolve.
What Are Students Saying About the Electrical Technology Program?
William Castro: “My advice to people wanting to get into electrical work is that you need to both work in the field and take classes. If you’re having a hard time in the classroom, it may be because you’ve never seen that particular skill used in the field. If you work on your techniques in the class labs, you’re going to understand better what you need to do on the job. Also, if you go ahead and get a job in the field, you’re going to be in a lot better position to know if you’re going to like electrical work as a career.”
Josh Embry: “I get to see a lot of aspects of electrical work in my classes. For instance, I don’t deal with motors in my job, but I’m learning about single phase and three-phase motors in class. Blueprint reading has also really helped me. When [Northwest ISD] opens up new buildings, we’ve got to be able to read plans to see how the building will be wired. I use that skill daily.”
Francisco Guerrero: “I’ve learned a lot of common-sense skills, like being able to read a diagram and then knowing what to do with it. I like being able to identify symbols without a journeyman telling me what they are.”
Jared Mercantel: “I wanted to start my own apartment renovation business with a friend and thought, well, I’ll need a license, and I might as well go to school and get my associate degree too. Now I’m even thinking of going on to get a bachelor’s degree in business. I can keep working on my electrical and plumbers licenses, but if I want to be my own boss, I’m going to have to know about the business end of things too.
“I’ve learned a lot of math that I need. The electrical theory class with Tom Hoops has a lot of math too — you have to be able to figure out how many amps and how much voltage you’ll need to do the job. It really teaches you how to be a project manager and figure out what you need for every job. It shocked me to find out how much voltage it takes to run a commercial building.”
Read more success stories from students who have gone through our Electrical Technology program.
- Read more about the electrical technology industry in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.
- Find out more about our various construction programs.