How to Become an Electrician in Canada: A Step-by-Step Guide

So, you have set your sights on becoming an electrician in Canada. Well, congratulations, you have chosen a solid career path in the skilled trade industry. It is a well-known fact that this kind of job is very rewarding. However, it should also be noted that electrician jobs in Canada are not easily achieved. The path to becoming a full-fledged electrician is a long and often tasking process. Traditionally, before you can become an electrician, you have to undergo a 5-year learning process; essentially, an apprenticeship.

This is a prerequisite for you to obtain the license to operate unsupervised. You may wonder why it takes so long, and the answer is quite logical. Quite simply, you need to prove that you have the technical expertise and theoretical knowledge to work safely in this field.

An Overview of Being an Electrician's Apprentice

Generally speaking, you will have to undertake an apprenticeship with an already licensed Electrician in the field. This will consist of on-the-job training, for which you get paid. Parallelly, you will also have to tackle classroom studies to cover the theoretical side of things.

There are many ways in which you could apply to be an apprentice. One way is to apply to the College of Trades and get certified through said institution. If this doesn’t suit your fancy, there are many other institutional bodies such as the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), the Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC), or the Association Building Contractors (ABC). Whichever you choose you will need to write an entrance exam. You will also need to pass a drug test as well as a one-on-one interview.

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. – Steve Jobs, Co-Founder of Apple

Understanding the Landscape of Becoming an Electrician in Canada

Before securing electrician jobs in Canada, you should know that most people tend to complete an electrical pre-apprenticeship before anything else. This is done to gain an upper hand in the industry. It gives you solid foundational skills that employers value in their new apprentices.

It can also give you the added benefit of advancing your chances of getting licensed. With the traditional route of college degrees that take students an average of five years or so to complete, more and more people are opting for trade schools. 

Understanding the landscape in Canada

This is, as mentioned before, the more preferred method. At the end of the day, it is a long process and there is no way around that. However, in this blog, we will explore this path in a more simplified manner to gain a holistic understanding of the issue.

How to Become an Electrician in Canada: 5 Steps You Need to Take

We have already established that the path to becoming an electrician in Canada is a long and arduous process. The very reason being people need to be well-versed in their skill sets before they can apply them as it is a dangerous line of work. This makes taking these five steps that much more important.

The path to becoming an Electrician in Canada

Step 1: Make Sure This Is the Path for You

While the perks of electrician jobs in Canada is great and the pay is quite good, depending on the specific line of work you do, you need to ask yourself this question. Is it the field that you want to work in? If so, why? Since it’s a long road to getting an electrician job in Canada, you don’t want to spend years on end training for something that you don’t enjoy doing.

The best way to get a better idea of the field is to talk to pre-existing professionals in the field and even shadow them if possible. This should give you an idea of what the work is really like. Make sure that the ground reality matches your expectations.

Step 2: Are You the Right Person for the Job?

To start the journey to becoming an electrician in Canada, you need to make sure that you meet the requirements. This means that you need to be at least 18 years of age. In some provinces in Canada, the minimum age limit is 16 years old, so keep an eye on that. Secondly, you need to have a high school diploma or GED.

Then we come to some of the more intrinsic job requirements that you need to meet. For example, are you a person who is in good physical condition? The job is quite demanding. You also need to have a reliable source of transportation to get to and from the job sites. You need to be a team player and need to be able to follow instructions to a tee. If you can meet these basic parameters, then you’re good to go!

“Everyone’s dreams can come true if you just stick to it and work hard. – Serena Williams, American Tennis Player

Step 3: Getting Your Educational Qualifications Straight

Now that you have started down the path, the next step is to make sure that you have the educational backing. As mentioned before, to become an electrician in Canada, you need to qualify for an apprenticeship. This can be achieved through a trade school. If you do opt for the trade school method, make sure that you go for one that is approved and recognized by the governing body of that specific state. It adds weight to your certificate.

Alternatively, you could just go straight for the apprenticeship and get qualified that way. Either way, this is just step-one in the journey, even if it is a five-year journey. Now, keep in mind, even with the direct apprenticeship method, you still need to attend classes side-by-side.

The certifications themselves are required in all provinces and territories. It tells employers that you put in the work and that you are a qualified and skilled individual.

Step 4: Gearing up for the Exam

Once you have the apprenticeship under your belt, you need to get ready to write the qualifying Electrician License Exam that is overseen by the Canadian Electrical Contractors Association (CECA). Once you pass the exam, you will officially be a licensed electrician in Canada! However, this may only be valid for a particular region in Canada.

To gain a license to work everywhere in Canada, you need to take the Interprovincial Standards’ Red Seal exam. This will give you the authority to work as a professional journeyperson all around the country and you can land electrician jobs anywhere in Canada!

Studying to become an Electrician in Canada

Step 5: Keep Yourself Ahead of the Game!

You may think that the journey to becoming an electrician in Canada ends when you get your license, but that’s a misconception. You need to keep yourself up to date with the ever-changing technologies and methods in the industry. Attend seminars, talk to others in the field and keep gaining knowledge. You will need it if you want to become a specialist in your field of expertise!

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