Starting an Electrical Pre-apprenticeship: Tips & Job Options

Updated May 2023

The rules are clear: if you want to become an electrician in Ontario, you must complete an apprenticeship.

That’s a five-year process of learning the trade, mainly through paid on-the-job training, but also through classroom study. You need to prove you have the skills and expertise to do the work safely.

But before starting any of that, most people complete an electrical pre-apprenticeship. That gives you a solid foundation of skills that employers value in new apprentices.

So what is an electrical pre-apprenticeship all about? How do you get started, what do you learn, and what career options will you have when you graduate?

Keep reading to find out.


There’s no law that says you have to do any kind of pre-apprenticeship training to get started in the electrical trade. So why go this route?

The truth is that if you’re a total beginner, it can be tough to land an apprenticeship. Most employers don’t hire apprentices who have zero training or experience.

Instead, they look for candidates who already know the basics of installing wiring, following electrical codes, and staying safe, as Herzing instructor Lakeram Ramkaran explains.

“It is much easier to get hired as an apprentice if you do the Pre-apprenticeship Electrician program.

Many employers want people with actual knowledge of the job site, including the basics of electrical installation and safety knowledge (working at heights, fall protection, using scissor lifts, etc.)

In an electrical pre-apprenticeship, you get theory and hands-on skills. You graduate with everything you need to know to be useful on the job site. This is what employers want.”

Plus, a good trade school will actively help you find apprenticeships and connect with sponsors who commonly hire their graduates.

So pre-apprenticeship electrician training has a lot of benefits.



Typically, you need to have a high school diploma or equivalent. Some trade schools also require an entrance test and an interview.

Math skills are important for aspiring electricians. But Lakeram says that doesn’t mean you had to have top marks in school.

“Students need to learn some equations, like Ohm’s Law, so they can calculate voltage, resistance, current, box fill, etc. But these are fairly basic equations, and we spend a good amount of time practicing them.

Even if you didn’t do really well in high school math, you can work hard and develop the skills you need to succeed in this program.”



Quality pre-apprenticeship training will teach you how to:

☑️ Read and interpret blueprints

☑️ Use power and hand tools

☑️ Construct an electrical circuit

☑️ Install wiring and fixtures

☑️ Measure take-offs

☑️ Apply the Canadian Electrical Code

☑️ Follow safety procedures

Lakeram says students develop their skills through lots of hands-on projects.

“We install doorbells, smoke alarms, washer and dryer receptacles, kitchen circuitry including the stove range, counter receptacles, split receptacles…everything that is required in a home. Hands-on practice is a key part of our electrical pre-apprenticeship training.

Students learn the correct way to install electrical fixtures and components the first time around. If the boss has to come and correct your work, it looks very bad for you as an apprentice, because lost time means lost money.

Doing things right the first time is key.”



The whole goal of an electrical pre-apprenticeship program is to help you get hired as an apprentice so that you can eventually become a licensed electrician.

In terms of career paths, residential construction is an obvious option. But you can also pursue opportunities in:

☑️ Commercial or industrial construction or maintenance

☑️ Renovation

☑️ Electrical sales

☑️ Electrical utilities (i.e. becoming a lineworker who works with high-voltage power lines)

☑️ Fire or security alarm installation

Lakeram says graduates often get hired by construction companies and high-rise maintenance firms.

“They start out doing rough-in work, like installing receptacle boxes, running the wires, drilling studs, etc.

They will also be doing clean-up, running errands, and keeping themselves busy. I train our students to be responsible and proactive, so they’re not just waiting to be told what to do.

As an apprentice, you need to keep your eyes open and find ways to contribute.”



Check out the 24-week Electrician Pre-apprenticeship program from Herzing College. It’s available in Ottawa, Toronto, and Cambridge.

Students get thorough training in installing electrical wiring and controls and making sure everything is up to code.

The program also includes several key safety certifications, such as WHMIS, lockout and tag safety, elevating work platforms, and working at heights.

Plus, we draw on our connections with industry partners and help graduates find and apply for available apprenticeships.

Click below to get complete details on the training and chat live with an Admissions Advisor. We’re here to help!

Explore the Pre-apprenticeship Electrician program



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