Union Apprenticeship Programs Through IBEW - NECA Joint Apprenticeship & Training Committees

Sponsored School Search


One of the coolest things about becoming an electrician is that it’s standard practice to receive paid on-the-job training in the form of an apprenticeship. And as apprentice electricians gain more skills and experience over the four-to-six years it takes to complete an apprenticeship program, their earnings also increase accordingly.

When looking for an apprenticeship program, the big decision every aspiring electrician faces is whether to join the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and become part of the long-standing tradition of unionized tradesmen, or to try to find a non-union shop looking to take on a trainee.

Apprenticeship programs with unionized electrical contracting companies are coordinated through Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committees (JATCs), which have multiple offices in every state to cover virtually every major city and surrounding area in the nation. JATCs are sponsored through a partnership between local chapters of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA). This partnership is known as the Electrical Training Alliance.

Participating in an apprenticeship through the Electrical Training Alliance means becoming a life-long, card-carrying, dues-paying member of the IBEW union and getting all the benefits and collective bargaining rights that come along with that.

Getting into a Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee Electrical Program

Getting into a union apprenticeship program will usually require you to meet the following qualifications:

  • A high school diploma or GED
  • Completion of an algebra class
  • A driver’s license or state issued identification
  • Passing a drug test
  • Being able to work in a physically demanding environment
  • Passing an admittance exam
  • Being at least 18 – some programs accept younger applicants if the JATC is included in a high school job training program

How Training Programs Are Organized

Every jurisdiction establishes its own requirements for electrician training in accordance with local laws and licensing regulations, and local JATCs develop their programs specifically to meet these requirements. Depending on the journeyman licensing requirements in your jurisdiction, these programs can take between four and six years to complete and incorporate:

  • Between 576 and 1,000 hours of classroom-based instruction
  • Between 8,000 and 10,000 hours of on-the-job experience and training

Once you’re admitted you can expect to start learning a lot, both on the job and in the classroom. Depending on the rules in place in your jurisdiction, you may be expected to complete required classroom hours related to safety and electrical theory prior to being admitted into an apprentice program. In most cases, classroom hours are completed through classes scheduled for certain days during the years you are in your apprentice program. JATC apprenticeship programs will include the classroom hours as part of the program, with classes usually held at the local JATC office.

What You Learn in an Electrician Apprenticeship and Training Program

Transitioning from the classroom into the actual workplace is exciting. As you begin your on-the-job training you can expect to start with the basics. By the end of your first week you’ll be an expert in stripping a wire and bending conduit. Just hang in there – it quickly gets a lot more technical than that.

The wide range of skills you learn on the job as part of your apprenticeship and training program will include:

  • Installing residential, commercial, and industrial wiring systems
  • Reading and understanding blueprints and schematics
  • Working with systems that involve differing voltages
  • Repairing and installing electrical machinery
  • Using voltmeters, ammeters, harmonics testers, and ohmmeters
  • Installing fuses and circuit breakers
  • Learning how to inspect a completed electrical system
  • Replacing new circuit breaker boxes

Your on-the-job training will take place in a wide variety of settings, which will have a significant bearing on what you learn. Examples of different locations include:

  • City utility companies
  • Aviation companies
  • Military contractors
  • Manufacturing factories
  • Arenas and coliseums
  • Construction companies
  • Internet and telephone companies
  • Power plants, including solar
  • Hospitals, schools, and prisons
  • Government offices

As you progress through the weeks and months of your apprenticeship program you’ll learn skills that become increasingly more complex and technical in nature, building on what you have already mastered. Your classroom-based and on-the-job training is divided into relevant segments that will eventually cover all of the important knowledge and skills you need to pass the journeyman examination.

Locating a Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee Apprenticeship Program in Your Area

The following is a list of all the JATC Electrical Training Alliance locations nationwide as of July 2016:

Alabama

Alaska

Arizona

Arkansas

California

Colorado

Connecticut

Delaware

District of Columbia

There are no union apprenticeships based in DC at this time. See opportunities available in neighboring states.

Florida

Georgia

Hawaii

Idaho

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi

Missouri

Montana

Nebraska

Nevada

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota

Ohio

Oklahoma

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Vermont

Virginia

Washington

West Virginia

Wisconsin

Wyoming

Back to Top