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Non-Union Electrical Apprenticeship

IEC Electrical School: How to Join the IEC Electrical Apprenticeship Program in 2024

Last updated on February 27th, 2024.

Becoming an apprentice with IEC is a great opportunity to jump-start your career.

Work in the electrical trade is exciting and rewarding, one of the best trades!

The Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) serves as a leading trade association for merit shop electrical and systems contractors across the nation. At its core, a “merit shop” approach means that your compensation is directly tied to your skills and performance.

If you’re not familiar with the term “merit shop”, it’s the same as an “open shop” or “non-union” company.

Merit Shop = Open Shop = Non-Union.

This means you’re responsible for negotiating your wages based on your “worth” or “merit”.

The IEC has more than 54 chapter training centers nationwide and trains approximately 10,000 electrical apprentices each year.

Their training programs combine on-the-job training and formal related technical instruction that provides knowledge, technical skills, and practical experience within the electrical trade.

Let’s start with the basics: what does it take to get started with the IEC Electrical School?

Requirements To Begin An IEC Electrical Apprenticeship

  1. Be at least 18 years old
  2. Have a high school diploma or GED

The IEC has a few other non-official (no paperwork) requirements such as:

  • needing a reliable mode of transportation to work and school
  • having the ability to work by yourself or with a team
  • not freak out when having to work on ladders and scaffolds
  • understanding there is a risk of electrical shock while performing electric work

If you’re 18 years old and have a diploma or GED, you meet the minimum standards to get in. Each local chapter is different and may have more requirements.

Locate a local chapter in your area here.

Application Process

The application process is different for each school. I’ll give you a basic rundown of how it works.

  1. Find a school near you (see the previous section).
  2. Complete application paperwork and turn it in.
  3. Pay an application fee (~$20)
  4. Take a math assessment test. This is to gauge your ability to do basic algebra. 
  5. And finally, attend your local chapter’s program orientation.

No need to worry! If you’re looking to refresh your skills, Khan Academy’s Algebra 1 Course is a fantastic resource.

It’s free!

If you do fail your math assessment you may be required to attend a 3-day math class,

It’s not a huge deal, but you might save yourself some time if you brush up using the course link above.

Once your application is processed you’ll be notified if you’ve been accepted into the program.  

In the meantime, it’s crucial to begin your job search. Leverage every tool at your disposal, from networking with acquaintances to online searches and directly reaching out to companies.

Does the IEC Have Different Apprenticeship Programs?

Yes, the IEC offers two training programs:

#1. Electrical Apprentice Training

iec electrical apprenticeship conduit bendingFor those looking to work in the commercial or industrial electrical environment, this program is for you. 

This training program is four years long and allows the electrician apprentice to accumulate at least 8,000 hours of paid on-the-job training.

During this time you’ll receive over 576 hours of instruction from your local chapter. 

NEC 2014 Electrical Code

Topics covered throughout your training include:

• Safety, First Aid, and CPR
• Mechanical Skills
• Electrical Skills
• Electrical Theory
• Codes and Standards
• Residential, Commercial, and Industrial Wiring
• Fire Alarm, Signaling, and Life Safety Systems
• Lighting Systems
• Transformers
• Motors and Control
• Electrical Troubleshooting

#2. Residential Electrical Specialist Apprentice Training

IEC Electrician apprentice training

This residential electrician apprentice program is for individuals who wish to work in single and multi-family dwellings (homes). Maybe even an apartment complex, if your state allows it.

This program varies between two to three years in length, depending on state requirements. As a residential electrical specialist apprentice, you’ll gain a minimum of 4,000 hours OJT as well as 288 hours of academic instruction.

iec electrical apprenticeship residential wiringTopics covered throughout your training include:

• Safety, First Aid, and CPR

• Mechanical Skills

• Electrical Skills

• Electrical Theory

• Codes and Standards

• Residential Wiring

• Residential Fire Alarm, Signaling, and Life Safety Systems

• Residential Lighting Systems

• Transformers

• Motors and Control

• Electrical Troubleshooting

IEC Electrician Apprentice Pay Scale

Probably the most sought after answer regarding joining the electrical trade is, “How much does an electrician apprentice make?” (i.e. what is an electrician apprentice salary?)

Well, Payscale.com states that on average an electrician apprentice makes $13.64 per hour. Pay rates or wages are specific to local areas but can range from $9.94 – $18.88 per hour. 

You’ll have to check the going rate for your area. 

Remember that you’re applying for an entry-level position and the pay starts relatively low. Get out on the job and really hustle. Show the boss your commitment, drive, and initiative.  

After 6 months you possibly can renegotiate your wages by stating to the boss, “I believe I bring value to the team and company, and I’m $XX.XX per hour.”

Many apprentices have successfully boosted their wages by over 20% simply by confidently expressing their value to their employers.

(It’s a pretty good return on your time)

You can learn more about how many dollar bills you’ll make as an electrician apprentice in this post (includes a breakdown by state, union vs. non-union, and how much you’ll make once you become a journeyman electrician)

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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