If you enjoy working with technical equipment, you may like a career as an Electrician. This is a great opportunity for anyone who doesn’t have formal education or doesn’t want to sit at a desk to make a living.
Electricians work with new and old wiring. They keep the power flowing in homes and businesses.
To become an electrician, you’ll need to get a license to work. If this is the field you want to work in, will your felony stop you from succeeding?
What Does an Electrician Do?
It’s common knowledge that electricians install wiring in new construction. They’re who you call if your existing wires have a problem. If you decide to become an electrician, there is plenty of work to keep you busy.
To be successful, you’ll have to understand how electricity works. You’ll also have to know building codes and how to obey ordinances. Codes are the requirements of your local government on proper electrical work.
Some electricians install wires and run them to breaker boxes or transformers. Others may work with motors and more complex objects.
If your electrical work follows the codes and guidelines it should be safe and work well. The appliances and machines powered by your work will be free of electrical malfunctions.
You’ll have to understand basic math and electrical currents. You may also need to know how to read blueprints and do soldering.
Electricians work with a variety of tools to do their jobs. They work in different weather conditions to make sure everything has power. Without electricians, cities would go dark and people wouldn’t be able to live the lives they have now.
What Does it Take to be a Licensed Electrician?
Before doing electrical work for pay you will have to have the proper credentials. State agencies regulate Electricians to make sure their work keeps people safe.
Each state has licensing requirements. Depending on where you live, you may have a difficult time achieving your goal. Other places make it much easier for you.
To start, you will want to get an education. You must have a High School Diploma or GED. You may need to go to college or a vocational school to do this type of work.
Apprenticeship programs allow you to start working. You will have to work with a licensed Master Electrician or a Journeymen.
Paid Apprenticeship programs are great for people who need to work but want to gain new skills. During your search for options, you can look into unions for apprenticeships.
Popular groups are:
- The International Brotherhood of Electrical workers (a union)
- Independent Electrical Contractors
- National Electrical Contractors Association.
With the right support, you will be on your way to earning the licenses required to become an electrician. Some states will need you to have a license to be an apprentice while others do not.
To earn an apprenticeship, get a diploma or GED and apply. Once you complete this, you can interview for the spot. Unions tend to have long wait times and they’re competitive. If you have a friend or family member who is a licensed Electrician, you might be their apprentice
Once you have the proper training you will be ready to apply for your license and take the exams. These exams will help you to get your license.
Will a Felony Prevent You from Getting Your License?
Many places are encouraging felons to find better jobs. This is because a felony shouldn’t mean you have to live in poverty or be denied the ability to make an honest living.
Each state has different regulations for getting your license. Most will need you to submit a background check.
16 States allow you to apply for State Licenses before enrolling in training. Another ten prevent Licensing Boards from saying you can’t get a license because of your criminal past. A total of 29 states are making it easier for felons to get Professional Licenses.
This will check your criminal convictions. When submitting your application, be upfront about your felony conviction.
Licensing boards do not immediately deny felons their license. They will look at your specific crimes and the circumstances of your past.
If time has passed since your conviction, you are more likely to appear rehabilitated. If you aren’t committing crimes, and you completed your sentence you may get your license.
Electricians can go into people’s homes and work with the public. More serious crimes like sex-related offenses and murder may disqualify you.
How Much Can You Make with the License?
If you think it takes a lot to be a Licensed Electrician, they pay will make your hard work worth it. Being skilled will allow you to make a comfortable living.
Starting out may be rough. Apprentices can make anywhere from $20,000 – $40,000 per year. This may not be too bad for someone who’s moving up in their trade.
Once you become a Journeymen you pay will increase. Journeymen usually make somewhere between $40,000 – $55,000 per year.
If you’d like to keep moving up the scale go for the Master’s Electrician jobs. These Electricians make anywhere from $55,000 to more than $90,000 per year. It’s a lot of time at the bottom of the pay scale but if you reach this level you can train apprentices like yourself.
Your felony does not mean you’re doomed to working minimum wage jobs. It does not mean that you will always have the stigma of someone who committed a crime.
It can be hard at first to make an honest living. Becoming an electrician will give you a lot of opportunities the longer you do it.
States will need you to have professional licenses to keep the public safe. You will have to know how to do your job well and pass exams to get these licenses.
If you are someone who committed a crime that hurt another person you may not get your license. Each state will look at your circumstances before denying you. Things like rehabilitation and time since your conviction will help you.
Having friends or family members to support you will help you succeed. Finding apprenticeship programs will help you to get your license.