Finding an approved electrician school in the state of California is now easier than you would think. Over 60 schools are currently approved in California. We have partnered with the top school to allow you to easily request information and learn more about any of the schools near you. In order to work in California you’ll need to receive your C-10 contractor’s license and gain the required hours needed in the field as an apprentice. An electrician contractor is defined as anyone who performs work for an individual for money. If you work on anything electrical over 100 volts then it is required you have a license.
We have listed schools in Orange County, Riverside County, LA County, San Diego County and in Northern California (Sacramento area).
Step 1: Find an approved school and request information so you can learn more about that school. You will have a chance to talk to the school and learn about tuition rates, graduation rates as well as upcoming enrollment dates. Most vocational electrician schools in California have classes that start each month. Most of the programs are 9-12 months but we have seen schools that have 15+ month programs. It is important that you find a school that teaches courses during the times when you can learn. If you have a job perhaps you can only take a night or weekend course. Make sure the schedule that they have fits into your working schedule.
Step 2: Once you feel comfortable with the school you spoke to make sure you went and visited the campus to see your class. This will give you an opportunity to look at the facility to make sure they have good electrical equipment and a nice campus. You also can sometimes speak with your instructor and get vital facts regarding the graduation and placement rates of the school.
Step 3: After you enroll you will have a few days and even weeks to try out the school. Under law you can back out of the school if once you start you don’t like it. Remember that many of the schools accept financial aid so you want to make sure you are attending a school you can be proud of once you graduate.
After you graduate you can start to work for a licensed C-10 electrician to get the number of hours needed. At this point you are an electrician trainee once you prove you are enrolled in school and submit your trainee registration application.
- To qualify for your license you will need 8000 hours of experience under the supervision of a licensed contractor. The type of work that qualifies includes: wiring residential homes, industrial wiring, finish work and voice data or video installation.
- For a residential electrical license you need 4800 hours of work under a licensed contractor. This is the most popular type of license as many electricians wish to work on residential homes. Home builders in California hire the most electricians followed by independent electricians.
- The cost of to take your licensing state exam in California is $175 plus a non-refundable $75 administration fee.
- The exam is multiple choice and it also open book. The facility will have study material that you can use while taking the exam. It is however recommended that you take a quick refresher course before you take your exam.
- Currently there are over 68,750 licensed electricians in California. It is the largest state in the US and with a big housing market the industry is expected to grow by 11% over the next 5 years. The average salary for an electrician is $52,880.
One of the biggest advantages of living in California is the total number of trade schools and colleges that offer electrical training as a curriculum. Most of the trade schools are located in Southern California, Inland Empire and greater Sacramento area however we found over 30+ schools that offered certificate electrical programs. Below are just some of the ones we recommend researched before you decide to enroll.
Southern California Institute of Technology (SCIT)
The school has over 1400 successful graduates working for companies including: Sunwest Electric, Helix Electric, Berg Electric, Hackney Electric and Black Hawk Electric. SCIT offers a 7 month electrical program base on the national electrical code. You are provided the curriculum and hands-on experience needed to succeed. Their campus is at 525 N. Muller Street #200 Anaheim, CA 92801 just off the 5 freeway in Anaheim.
Long Beach City College
The electrical program at LBCC is approved by the California Apprenticeship Council. They currently offer their ETP program day or night classes which will allow those who wish to work to continue working while attending school. Their campus is: Long Beach City College 4901 East Carson Street, Long Beach, CA 90808 and 1305 East Pacific Coast Highway, Long Beach, CA 90806.
San Diego City College
The college offers a 2-year electrical program and by graduating the courses you have taken will satisfy the State of California recertification requirements for electricians. You’ll learn how to read electrical codes and blueprints, evaluate wiring diagrams and it will prepare you to take the State of California electrician certificate exam so you can become an electrician in California. You can find out more by visiting their campus at 1313 Park Boulevard San Diego, CA 92101-4787.
Fresno City College
The school offers a 2 year Associate in Science Degree and Certificate of Achievement in Electrical Systems Technology. It is 50 units and covers courses in fundamentals of electronics, integrated devices, National Electrical Code, wiring methods and motor control. Stop by the campus at 1101 East University Avenue Fresno, California 93741.
Irvine Valley College
Located in the heart of Orange County, IVC offers an electrician trainee certificate program which is what is needed to get you started in your new career. The certificate also covers solar photovoltaic. You’ll cover PV installation, safety and OSHA requirements. You can also transfer into the California State University system when completed and earn your degree in electrical engineering or alternative energy. Campus location: 5500 Irvine Center Dr. Irvine, CA 92618.
1. Location: One of the more important areas that many don’t research enough is location. Because of the dense population you could find several electrical schools within a 5 mile radius of each other. We recommend looking for one close to your home or work. If you work full-time you’ll need a trade school that offers an evening program. Don’t travel too far since your program is hands-on and can be 3-4 hours each day you don’t want to spend hours in traffic getting to your school.
2. Quality: When it comes to quality the first thing to confirm is that the school is fully accredited and that the program you are taking will qualify you to take the State of California electricians exam after graduation. The next thing is to review their graduation and placement rates. These are numbers every accredited school must provide on their site. You want a school that has a high graduation and placement rate meaning the graduates actually get an electrician job. Poor placement rates are those under 60%.
3. Labs: When you start your program a big part of your curriculum will be spend doing tasks in an electrical lab. Before you ever enroll in a school make sure to take a campus tour and have them show you their lab. Is the lab clean? Have lots of individual work stations? A good school will have top quality labs and update equipment that you’ll work on. Because California has so many trade schools that offer electrical programs we recommend looking for one you feel comfortable with.
Since California is so big this is one state where it doesn’t matter if you work in a major city or smaller rural town, the pay however can be a big determining factor when it comes time to find employment. We found the highest salaries in Los Angeles, Riverside and the Bay Area. These areas also had the highest cost of living as well so that is a consideration before accepting any electrician job. San Diego came up a lot when doing research for available jobs and the reviews were very positive. Drive times were lower in the area, cost of living lower and benefits seemed higher based on what the electrical companies were willing to do to attract new ETP graduates.
Once you graduate and start looking for employment it is advised that you take time to research what electrical companies are looking for in an employee. In California you have a big advantage over the rest of the country as CA has so many positions available and the energy sector is one of the largest in the state. When it comes to employers they first want you to be fully qualified when dealing with the California electrical code. This of course is why choosing the right school in the first place is such a big deal. They want you to be OSHA 10 or 30 certified as well as have a clean California DMV record. Because you are in California being able to speak Spanish is almost a must. Sure, there are plenty of companies that will hire you if you can’t bi-lingual however that is one big factor that will help separate you from the other candidates you are going up against. Another area people tend to forget about is safety. It is recommended you take a quick CPR or First Aid course. These can usually be done over a weekend so it isn’t expensive but will sure go a long way in the eyes of the hiring agent.
One of the biggest things employers are looking for is a positive attitude. Sure you can have your own truck, possess all the necessary tools and have a good education but if you don’t have a positive attitude then your interview won’t go well and you probably won’t get hired. Electrical companies are looking for electricians that they can represent their company. You need to be trustworthy, honest and be reliable. The company can teach you areas you might lack in terms of electrical experience but they can’t teach you attitude.
The median Journeyman Electrician in California makes $50,000 however salaries can vary greatly if you are a specialized electrician as well as where you live in California. A Journeyman that specializes in low voltage for example can earn up to $65,000 where a residential service Journeyman up to $102,000. Another factor is your years of experience on the job. Don’t be drawn in to jobs that are 6 figures if you are just graduating. Your goal is to find a job and get the necessary experience of at least 4 years before you can start being picky about where you want to work. We do see lots of entry level openings in Anaheim, Carson, Cost Mesa, Fairfield, Garden Grove, Los Angeles, Ontario, Pasadena and San Diego. One of the greatest things about salary is California is ranked 2nd only to NY with the highest median salary yet it is ranked #1 in terms of the number of jobs found in the state at 55,580. The Los Angeles area alone had 11,640 electricians with an average median wage of $62,080. The highest median wage was in San Francisco/Redwood area that employed 4,290 electricians with a massive $93,120 median salary. Source: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes472111.htm