What Training and Certification Are Required to Become an Electrician?
Before thinking of starting your own business, you need to complete mandatory electrician training and certification.
The process requires time and commitment and varies from province to province. But you can begin training and completing an electrician apprenticeship in Ontario if you are over 16 years of age and have completed Grade 12. Your apprenticeship will likely take five years while you alternate back and forth between classrooms and paid on-the-job training. Contact a local branch of the IBEW in your region for assistance finding a placement with an electrical contractor.
Once initial training is complete, you can apply to write the Certificate of Qualification exam for electricians. You can register as a Journeyperson Class with the Ontario College of Trade if you pass.
You may also want to consider earning the Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program designation for electricians. It is recognized across Canada and stands for a high standard of excellence. It allows you to work as an electrician anywhere in Canada and could help make your future business stand out from the rest.
Once you’re trained and certified, it is advised that you acquire several years of experience working for someone else to learn the intricacies of the business and gain some on-the-job skills practice. Securing an apprenticeship and gaining valuable experience as an electrician can also help you when applying for electrician insurance. One of the things an insurance company will ask about is your years of experience.
What Types of Services Do Electricians Provide?
Being your own boss by starting an electrical business is an exciting and empowering venture, but it can be overwhelming to get it started. There are a lot of steps and requirements involved, so it’s essential to know what that’s going to take.
Your electrician business could choose to focus the services you provide on either of the two main types of electrical work:
1. Indoor electricians or linemen: An electrician that works on electrical transmission networks. They operate at higher voltages on wires that move electricity from substations to customers.
2. Outdoor electricians or wiremen: An electrician that installs, maintains, and repairs interior wiring systems. They may install alarm and door and gate systems, receptacles, light fixtures, and fans.
You can then choose to concentrate on performing your electrician services in one of the following areas:
- Residential electrical services: The focus is primarily on working for homeowners in their houses. Residential home energy consumption is relatively low, and homes use only single-phase power.
- Commercial electrical services: The focus is on electrical installations in buildings, offices, shopping malls, and schools for industries such as construction. Commercial buildings draw a lot of power, and you must use three-phase power.
- Industrial electrical services: The focus is on electrical installations, troubleshooting, and repairing in power plants, processing plants, factories, and mines.
What Equipment Do Electricians Need?
Electricians need to invest in high-quality tools and safety gear, including:
- Pliers. The two most common ones required are side-cutting pliers and long-nose or needle-nose pliers.
- Screwdrivers and nut drivers. You will need several screwdrivers and nut drivers to work with various fasteners and applications.
- Wire strippers.
- Fishing tools. You should have fish tapes (fibreglass and steel tapes) and fish poles (fish pole wire-installation tools facilitate wire pulling in drop ceilings, walls, or under raised floors).
- Measuring devices. Laser measuring tools are becoming popular but getting a traditional tape measure with magnetic tips to stick to iron and steel surfaces.
- Labelling machines. These handheld tools save time when making moves, adds, and changes.
You will also need some power tools, including:
- Power drills and drivers, hammers, drills – consider multipurpose options, as the type needed varies with the application.
- Power saws – for versatility and dependability, handheld reciprocating saws are one of the most popular. Other types of saws used for electrical work include spiral saws, hole saws, cut-off saws and portable band saws. Needs vary based on the application.
Also, be sure to acquire the following miscellaneous supplies:
- Headlamps, magnetic trays, knee pads, safety goggles, and cut-resistant gloves.
- A reliable equipment supplier for wiring, solder, and other items.
- A van, truck, or a large car for jobs.
- An office to work and store your tools and supplies.