first year electrician apprentice job description

First Year Apprentice Electrician Job Description

Last updated on February 26th, 2024.

Each first-year electrician apprentice’s journey is unique, shaped by the diverse environments and tasks they encounter. The variability ensures no two apprenticeships are the same, offering a rich, hands-on learning experience.

Starting as an apprentice, you’re not expected to know the ins and outs of the trade right away. This journey is about growth, with a journeyman or foreman guiding you through each step, ensuring you build a solid foundation.

First Year Apprentice Electrician Duties

  • Digging trenches for running underground electrical pipe (conduit)
  • Load / unload equipment and material
  • Pull wire and install electrical devices (maybe small or large)
  • Learn how to bend conduit and install it
  • Get material to help the journeyman complete tasks
  • Clean up at the end of the day.

The time of year, type of electrical work, and phase of construction will dictate the type of work the apprentice will be doing.

Requirements To Become An Electrician Apprentice

The journey to becoming a skilled electrician includes a blend of practical and academic learning. Each state sets its own course requirements, ensuring apprentice electricians receive a comprehensive education that prepares them for the field.

Topics of training can include electrical theory, blueprint reading, National Electrical Code updates, and OSHA safety. In some apprenticeships the apprentices also learn first aid, study local and state building electrical codes.

Specialized training in areas such as welding, communications,  or fire alarm systems can lead to acquiring other certifications which increases the apprentices value.

The Golden Rules For All New Apprentices

Show up to work on time

It’s quite simple really – if a new hire can’t show up to work on time – they’re gone.

Have a good attitude

Attitude plays a big part on how you’re treated and what types of jobs you’ll be involved with.

If you have a poor attitude you’re either going to become a professional ditch digger or standing in the back of the unemployment line – so stay positive.

Follow instructions 

It’s the apprentice’s job to follow instructions, learn, and do the job right the first time.

Plan ahead

When apprentices start learning to plan ahead and prepare the tools / materials for the journeyman it makes a great impression – and improves efficiency on the job.

Don’t distract your journeyman from their job

An apprentice’s job is to help the journeyman electrician work faster – wait to ask questions.

Tips All First Year Electricians Should Know

first year electrician apprentice

It is not your job to know what to do next.

That comes with time and experience. If you don’t know what to do next, or have no job to do, do not feel guilty.

Some people ask the job site foreman for another task or you simply start sweeping. Sweeping is the default, “I’m out of work to do” task that gets the point across without you bothering anyone.

It is your supervisor’s job to delegate work. It is your job to do the work he has delegated.

As long as you are doing the work you have been delegated, you are a successful apprentice, and should not stress.

Starting a new career can be very stressful.

You should find a way to relax when you get home, and not dread coming into work the next day. It may take a month or two.

Unwinding after work is crucial, but it’s important to choose activities that enrich your life and support your career growth. Whether it’s hitting the gym, cycling, engaging in a DIY project, or immersing yourself in a good book, find what rejuvenates you.

Arrive early and stay late for the first week.

Live your job and over commit for a while. This will break you of any desire to “clock out early” or “cut corners”.

You’ll beat it into your head that this is your life now, and you’ll stop trying to be sneaky with the time sheets.

After that you can start scaling back your involvement to a more reasonable level, and focus on doing your 8 and going home.

You might want to try only calling people “sir” when they’re delegating work to you properly.

If a journeyman is acting like an idiot, do the job – but be reserved.

If they’re good with delegating work and teaching stuff when they can, start throwing out “sir’s” like you’re in the  military – it helps reinforce that your loyalty is earned.

If a supervisor is being a jerk, be polite.

If he’s yelling at you about not picking up one little piece of trash or he’s just not treating you with respect, be OVERLY polite.

It’s like passive aggressiveness, but it’s less passive.

“I’m sorry about not picking that trash up. It makes both myself and the company look much less professional than we should. Thank you for holding me to the standards this job demands”.

The key is to be genuine with the apology so he knows you’ve learned from your error, but over do it so he has NO REASON to be a dick afterward.

If he keeps acting like an asshole at that point you’re justified in giving it right back to him.

But doing so requires that you actually DO learn from your mistakes and try your hardest not to make them again.

Break times, especially lunch, are sacred moments for everyone on a construction site. Even if you skip lunch, having a snack or a drink on hand shows you’re mindful of the break culture, keeping the work environment harmonious and respectful.

There’s also a pattern to break time, and it goes like this:

Resting/eating joking for the first 80%, talking about the job you’re doing or will currently do for the last 15% (“So we’re bringing power to this room from this conduit here, right?”), and watching the supervisor for when he stops breaking during the last 5% – this is when the break is over.

Look for the signs of each phase and you’ll never be out of place.

Be around.

Turning into a phantom and disappearing before lunch and ghosting back to work afterwards is a no-no. These stupid acts will get you shit canned faster than Usain Bolt’s 100 meter sprint.

No one likes open-ended problems.

If you present someone with a problem – some factoid that will slow down progress – you should also present them with a possible solution – or a path to finding the solution.

Your supervisors will get all pissy if you stack problems onto their plate and don’t include ways to solve those problems.

If I don’t have a solution for a problem, get one of the other apprentices to bring it up to a manager.

Don’t be a smart ass, but be smart.

If your supervisor asks you to fetch something for him, but he didn’t specify exactly what he wanted, and he’s also the type of person to get pissy when you ask him to be specific – you’re better off just grabbing everything he might possibly have been referring to and presenting them all to him like, “take your pick”.

It gets the point across that he needs to be more informative and also conveying that you’ll do your best with the info you’re given.


Hopefully you found this helpful. If you’ve experienced something that you think should be listed then leave a comment.

About Thomas Hawkins

I run Electrician Apprentice Headquarters, a one-stop-shop for learning how to become a licensed electrician in the USA. I'm a licensed Master Electrician with over 20 years experience working in the Mining & Construction industries. Why do I do it? Well, because even plumbers need heroes.

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