Updated December 2022
Planning to become an electrician apprentice in Ontario? You'll need to follow a specific set of steps from total beginner to licensed journeyperson.
Those steps usually start with some kind of pre-apprenticeship electrician training. This is followed by a mandatory apprenticeship with a licensed electrician.
Once your electrician apprenticeship is complete, you can challenge the certification exam. Pass the exam, and you can get registered as a licensed journeyperson in the trade.
How long do all these steps take? And what kinds of tasks will you perform as an electrician apprentice?
In this post, we break down the training and certification process, including typical tasks for beginner electricians.
Here's how you become an electrician apprentice (and ultimately a licensed electrician) in Ontario.
The rules for becoming a certified electrician
Construction and Maintenance Electrician is a compulsory trade in Ontario. This means you must obtain a Certificate of Qualification (C of Q) to legally work in this field.
To get your C of Q, you'll need to:
- Complete your electrician apprenticeship (and get a Certificate of Apprenticeship)
- Pass the electrician certification exam
You must show you have the skills, knowledge, and experience to work safely in this trade. This is how the province enforces high professional standards and protects the public from amateurs posing as real electricians.
getting started with your Electrician Apprenticeship
Electrician apprenticeships take 9,000 hours (or about five years) to complete.
That breaks down into:
- 8,160 hours of on-the-job work experience
- 840 hours of in-school training
For example, you might work as an apprentice during the day and take electrician courses at night. There are full-time and part-time options out there.
The biggest advantage is that you'll get paid to learn. You'll be working as a paid apprenticeship while you complete the courses.
Options for completing the in-school portion of your apprenticeship include:
- Online electrician training
- Intensive, full-time electrician programs (that run for a set number of weeks)
- One day per week training
- Night school programs
However you go about it, you must achieve both in-class learning outcomes and on-the-job performance goals.
Your employer will sign your apprentice training log book to verify that you have met the requirements for each designated skill area. This is how your progress is documented and tracked as you work toward finishing your electrician apprenticeship.
What electrician skills are you tested on?
The skills you must learn during your apprenticeship are laid out by Skilled Trades Ontario. Your trainer/sponsor is responsible for assigning you the tasks (and providing the training) that help you develop these abilities.
The essential skills you'll be learning during your electrician apprenticeship include:
- Interpreting blueprints, drawings, and specifications
- Applying electrical codes and regulations
- Working with transformers, generators, conductors, and cables
- Instrumentation and power distribution
- Installation methods
- Fire alarm and building systems
- Electrical equipment maintenance
- Grounding and bonding
- Protective devices
The exact ways you'll approach learning these skills depends entirely on your trainer/sponsor and the type of electrical work he/she does.
For example, you might become an electrician apprentice for a construction and maintenance company. Or find work with a service company.
Regardless of where you complete your apprenticeship, the learning goals remain the same. You must fulfill the guidelines set out by Skilled Trades Ontario, and your trainer must sign off on your mastery of those essential skill areas.
It's not uncommon to begin your apprenticeship with one company and finish it with another. Along the way, you will gain experience in different kinds of electrician work so you can decide which career path you want to follow.
Pre-apprenticeship Electrician Training
How do actually get hired as an electrician apprentice? Companies don't usually hire people straight off the street. You can make yourself a better candidate by completing quality pre-apprenticeship electrician training.
Most employers are looking for apprentices who already have basic knowledge of power tools, electrical installation, the Electrical Code, and safety regulations.
Companies want apprentices they don't have to train from scratch, who can actually be helpful on the job site. The more you know starting out, the better chance you'll have of landing an apprenticeship with a good company.
Pre-apprenticeship electrician programs typically run for about 24 weeks. Courses include fundamental skills you can carry with you into your apprenticeship, such as :
- Blueprint reading
- Safety certifications (WHMIS, Working at Heights, Lock Out & Tag Safety, Confined Spaces Hazard Awareness, etc.)
- How to use common hand and power tools
- Electrical installation methods
- Rules and regulations of the Canadian Electrical Code
By the time you graduate, you will know how to install a wide variety of household electrical fixtures. You will understand how job sites work, how to be a useful apprentice, and how to protect yourself and others from electrical hazards.
A good trade school will also help you find and apply for apprenticeships and connect you with local employers who regularly hire their graduates.
Have questions about pre-apprenticeship electrician training? Your next step is to talk with an admissions advisor at a trusted trades school.
An advisor will walk you through admission requirements, courses, financial aid options, and employment support. They will explain the electrician apprenticeship and certification process and help you figure out if this trade is right for you.
Click below to explore the electrician pre-apprenticeship program and chat live with admissions right away. We're here to help!