What is an Electrician Apprenticeship? How the Process Works

Photo: Electrician apprentice learning from a licensed journeyperson

Hoping to become a licensed electrician in Ontario? Your journey begins with getting an electrician apprenticeship.

An electrician apprenticeship combines classroom learning with paid on-the-job training under an experienced journeyperson (licensed electrician).

Apprentices get to "earn while they learn." It's an excellent alternative to other university and college programs, where most students don't get real work experience and end up in debt.

Once you successfully complete your electrician apprenticeship, you can write the certification exam that allows you to become a licensed electrician.

Sounds simple enough, right? Actually, there are a few more things to know about how this whole process works.

How long is the training? What can you expect during your apprenticeship? How do you get hired as an apprentice?

In this post, we answer all those questions and more.

Here's everything you need to know about how electrician apprenticeships work in Ontario.

 

WHAT DOES AN APPRENTICE ELECTRICIAN DO?

Apprentice electricians are trainees who work under the supervision of a journeyperson electrician.

As an apprentice, your job is to follow directions and assist with the electrician's duties as directed.

You will likely start out with basic tasks like collecting materials and tools and cleaning up the site at the end of the day.

But as your training progresses and your skills expand, you could be responsible for tasks like:

☑️ Interpreting electrical drawings and circuit diagrams

☑️ Installing wiring, cables, and fixtures

☑️ Pulling wiring through conduits

☑️ Testing malfunctioning components or systems

☑️ Repairing and replacing switches, inverters, relays, or circuit breaker panels

 

HOW LONG DOES AN ELECTRICIAN APPRENTICESHIP TAKE?

In Ontario, an electrician apprenticeship takes a total of 9,000 hours, or roughly 5 years.

During that time, you will complete:

☑️ 8,160 hours of paid on-the-job training

☑️ 840 hours of classroom instruction

So you'll spend more than 90% of your time earning a wage and getting hands-on experience in the electrical trade.

An apprenticeship is all about learning on-the-job from certified electricians who are experts in the field.

 

HOW MUCH DO APPRENTICE ELECTRICIANS MAKE?

First-year apprentice electricians make $15 to $20 per hour in Ontario.

As you gain skills and experience, your wages will go up. By the fourth or fifth year of your electrician apprenticeship, you could make anywhere from $25 to $35 per hour.

According to Indeed, apprentice electricians earn an average of $22.13 per hour in Ontario.

 

HOW DO YOU GET AN ELECTRICIAN APPRENTICESHIP?

Here's what you need to do:

☑️ Find an employer willing to take you on as an apprentice. You can find potential sponsors through college placement offices, unions, trade associations, or online job boards.

 

☑️ Apply for an electrician apprenticeship through the Ministry of Labour, Training, and Skills Development (MLTSD). You must provide the details of your work arrangement with your sponsor, including your start date and the number of hours you will work or train each week.

 

☑️ Sign the training agreement the MLTSD sends you. Your sponsor will also sign, and the MLTSD will register your agreement.

 

☑️ Become a member of the Ontario College of Trades. This requires an annual membership fee.

 

Note: It's not always easy to find an employer willing to sign you up as an apprentice.

Hundreds of people apply for electrician apprenticeships in Ontario every year. One way to stand out is by completing pre-apprenticeship electrician training.

This type of training teaches you a solid foundation in electrical installation, repair, safety, and codes. 

Many employers prefer to hire apprentices who have already completed this program. We'll talk about this more a bit later in the post.

 

WHAT WILL YOU LEARN IN AN ELECTRICIAN APPRENTICESHIP?

The Ontario College of Trades has specific guidelines about the skills apprentice electricians need to learn.

For example, you must be able to:

☑️ Interpret drawings, blueprints, and specifications

☑️ Follow electrical regulations and codes

☑️ Work with wiring, conductors, transformers, and generators

☑️ Maintain electrical equipment

☑️ Use proper grounding and bonding techniques

Your sponsor is responsible for making sure you develop those abilities.

As you go through your apprenticeship, your sponsor will document your progress in a training logbook.

 

WHAT'S THE ELECTRICIAN CERTIFICATION EXAM LIKE?

Once you complete your apprenticeship and receive a Certificate of Apprenticeship from the MLTSD, you can write the electrician certification exam from the College of Trades.

☑️ The exam is entirely multiple choice. You'll have up to 4 hours to finish it.

☑️ You need a grade of 70% or better to pass. If you fail, you can take it again after 15 days.

☑️ Passing the test means you can apply to the College of Trades to become a licensed journeyperson electrician.

 

Tips to land your first electrician apprenticeship

Like we mentioned before, it can be tricky to get that very first apprenticeship job, especially if you're a complete beginner.

You have a much better chance of landing an electrician apprenticeship if you complete pre-apprenticeship electrician training first.

Employers don't want to train you from scratch. They'd rather hire apprentices who already have the basic skills to be useful (and safe) on a job site.

A quality pre-apprenticeship electrician course will teach you fundamental skills like:

☑️ Reading blueprints

☑️ Using power and hand tools

☑️ Installing wiring and fixtures

☑️ Applying the Canadian Electrical Code

☑️ Following safety regulations

A good trade school will also help you find sponsors and land an electrician apprenticeship after graduation.

 

EXPLORE ELECTRICIAN PRE-APPRENTICESHIP TRAINING AT HERZING

Herzing College offers a 24-week Electrician Pre-apprenticeship program that's built around helping students get hired as apprentices. We have campuses in Toronto and Cambridge.

The program includes important safety certifications like working at heights, lockout and tag safety, and confined spaces hazard awareness.

Our graduates have been hired by Mayfair Electric, Jake Electric, BFG Enterprise Services, and other Ontario companies.

Wondering if this program is right for you? Talk to an Admissions Advisor.

An Advisor will explain what to expect in class, how Herzing helps you find an apprenticeship, and how to apply.

Click below to explore the electrician program and chat live with an Advisor. We're here to help!

Explore the Pre-apprenticeship Electrician program

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