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Electrician Training: College or Apprenticeship?


When pursuing a career as an electrician, it is important to research all types of Electrician Training and understand all your options in regards to gaining the correct qualifications you need to take on such a role. 

People are often put off when considering changing their career at the concept of returning to a place of education such as a college or university. 

That’s why the alternatives to gain the skills and knowledge you need to become a qualified and accredited electrician are becoming all the more popular. There are a few ways to get the electrical training you need – The two most common ways at present are enrolling in a Trades school or taking an apprenticeship. 

Either way, both are great routes to pursue and will lead you down the right path to becoming an electrician. However, there are some differences between the two routes you could pursue such as the costs, time, and learning styles. These are both great routes to take, but like any form of education, it comes down to the individual as to which route is the right one for them. 

That’s why we are going to take a look and compare both of these paths in order to help you gain further understanding as to which electrical course is the one best suited for you and your lifestyle. 

Trades College or Apprenticeship: Cost

In a large world filled with student debt, the cost of education is often the deciding factor when it comes to enrolling in training courses. Most of us don’t like the idea of using our wages to pay off the place that enabled us to begin our career, regardless of how small the fee may be. 

Trades schools are often far more affordable than enrolling in a community college – Those who attend a trades school have much smaller debts than those who pursue alternative education pathways. There are also grants and some funding available to help support your trades journey, alternatively, some existing employers may offer to support this if it is relevant enough to your current position. 

When it comes to cost, this is a place where apprenticeships really come to shine. Each apprenticeship will pay different amounts just like a regular job although as you learn more and gain more experience your wage should increase. Learning to do the thing you love whilst getting paid to do it often feels like a no-brainer for some. However, it’s important to be mindful that you won’t be on a full salary during the time of your apprenticeship. The current minimum wage for an apprentice in the Uk (2021) is £4.30 an hour. 

Electrician Training – Trades College or Apprenticeship: Time

As you may have already figured, electrician courses require time. Learning the wide range of tasks an industrial, commercial or domestic electrician may need to perform unfortunately can’t be learned and mastered in a short few hours. 

It is important to understand the length of time it will take you for Electrician Training to help you plan your future career far more effectively. Apprenticeships tend to three to five years to complete lasting much longer than vocational training paths. Although you are getting paid throughout the entire training, apprentices are often required to sign a contract to complete the entire program. If you end up hating the environment or people you work for, this can be an extremely long time.

Trade school degrees often only take two years to complete and more recently have been transferred over to the hybrid learning pathways. Studying your theory from the comforting location of your own home, within time frames that work for you; meaning you can continue your day job whilst you study and attending training centers with like-minded people to gain your practical knowledge.

For both paths, it’s worth reviewing how many hours per week you will be required to engage with your training to have a clearer understanding of whether the pathway is suitable for your lifestyle. 

Trades College or Apprenticeship: Learning style 

As mentioned briefly previously, Electrician Training is split between two different styles. Theoretical and practical training. Within your theory, you learn the classroom-based side of things such as the importance of inspection and testing and wiring regulations. In your practical training, you learn all forms of electrical installations, repairs, and maintenance tasks. Due to the pandemic, a lot of trades college courses have been transformed into the hybrid learning experience. Which for many, has been a more successful route – learning from home in their own time and attending training centres when safe and required to. This form of course also provides security from any lockdown fears that may arise, meaning their education would simply carry on unaffected by any pandemic.  

If all you want is hands-on learning then an apprenticeship may be the route for you. Apprenticeships are structured however the employer desires. Therefore, they may incorporate some theoretical learning but a majority will be practical. The downside of having all hands-on learning is that it is harder to learn and understand the science behind automotive technologies. In a trade school, these will be taught through models and instruction in the classroom.

Like any form of education, you will get as much out of these options as you put into it. It’s important when choosing a way to further your career to think and plan carefully about your goals and plans for your future. If you need further advice or support, you can always speak to us! We are always happy to help provide you with the guidance and knowledge you need to make an informed decision for your career. 

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