Welcome to ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR’s Apprentice Center! We’ve put together a selection of resources specialized to your interests and experience level as an electrical apprentice.
Working on wiring fire alarm systems? Check out our Fire/Life Safety column and Life Safety Systems quizzes to test your chops. How about other integrated systems? Take a look at fiber optics and dig into the world of low-voltage.
Want to read about where the industry is going? We’ve got you covered with our Profile of the Electrical Contractor,
a comprehensive report that details the rise and fall of profits in the industry, contractor demographics, supply and demand updates and more.
Even with these valuable resources, we’re still missing something—your ideas. Email [email protected] to tell us what other topics you want to see on this page.
Be sure to bookmark this page, because we’ll be updating it periodically with new resources tailored just for you.
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And don’t forget about our quarterly supplements. Find tips and tricks for keeping workers safe on the ground in Safety Leader,
and go to Line Contractor for project profiles on high-voltage projects all around the country. If electrical
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Electrical Codes and Standards
Want to know more about commonly used NFPA codes and standards? Check out articles on the National Electrical Code, NFPA 70E, NFPA 70B and much more. If you’re learning it, we’re covering it.
Electrical codes and standards are routinely updated (e.g., the NEC is updated on a three-year cycle) to reflect the changing needs and technologies in the electrical industry, and are developed on the basis of extensive research and development. Codes and standards released by the NFPA are commonly used by the electrical industry, but other codes such as the International Building Code, the WELL Building Standard, LEED and ANSI/ASHRAE standards may also be referenced when appropriate.
- The National Electrical Code codifies the requirements for safe installation of electrical wiring and equipment into a single, standardized source. It is the cornerstone of electrical safety regulations in the United States.
- 70B, Standard for Electrical Equipment Maintenance, details preventive maintenance for electrical, electronic, and communication systems and equipment to prevent equipment failures and worker injuries.
- 70E, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, provides requirements for safe work practices to protect personnel by reducing exposure to major electrical hazards.
- NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, provides the latest safety provisions to meet society's changing fire detection, signaling, and emergency communications demands.
- 101, the Life Safety Code, is the most widely used source for strategies to protect people based on building construction, protection, and occupancy features that minimize the effects of fire and related hazards.
Read all about these and other electrical codes & standards.
Electrical Safety for Apprentices
Safety is a top priority in the electrical industry. Learn about employer safety programs and procedures, the tips you need for safety and the rationale behind certain requirements, including OSHA regulations and NFPA 70E.
Here’s some examples of common workplace safety topics that you may encounter as an electrical apprentice or later in your career:
- What does it mean to be a “qualified person”?
- How to wash and maintain FR clothing
- Working in enclosed spaces – OSHA requirements and employer responsibilities
- Trench shoring and shielding
- Proper ladder use
- Trench shielding and shoring for worker safety
- Arc flash safety
- Awareness about the importance of mental health is growing in the industry. Read about prioritizing mental health in the construction industry and how safety standards like ISO can apply to mental health in the workplace.
- New and younger workers are at greater risk of injury, so making sure you get all the necessary safety training and oversight is critical
Test your knowledge on safety topics with our Safety Quizzes.
Tools for electrical apprentices
Every electrical worker, from electrical apprentices to journeymen, need the right tools for the job, and the knowledge on how to use each tool correctly and safely. We've got numerous articles about tools that can help you find what you need.
- Are you curious about what tools experts recommend putting in your first tool bag? Or electricians’ most-used tools? Or check out lineworkers’ most-used tools.
- For those interested in learning about tool trends, check out the monthly Cool Tools column. Articles include handheld power tools, developments in hand tools and much more.
- The Product Library has just about every tool someone working in the industry could use, from a wide variety of manufacturers.
Training for electrical apprentices
Whether in the classroom or on-the-job, training is a vital tool in every electrical worker’s toolbox. Training is vital to ensuring you can perform procedures and operate machinery/tools correctly and efficiently, while staying safe on the job. Training is also an important aspect of becoming a "qualified electrical worker." Read about some of the common types of training for those new to the industry:
- Horizontal directional drilling for underground cable installation
- Getting ICT certified with BICSI training
- Training in low-voltage technologies
- On-the-job training in fiber optic installation
- Installation of electric vehicle charging equipment
Behind the scenes of the electrical construction industry
There’s more to the electrical contracting industry than just on-site work. The electrical construction industry involves many other aspects that go on behind the scenes, including office administration, team management, human resources, estimating and design. As an electrical apprentice, having a well-rounded understanding of the different aspects of the industry will serve you well as you progress in your career.
- Good healthcare coverage is critical for electrical workers. Rising healthcare costs and other challenges are affecting insurers, employers, workers and workers’ families, but some insurers are working to ameliorate those challenges.
- Onboarding is an important step when starting work for a new company, and some contractors are working to improve that process.
The nitty gritty of electrical construction
Electrical construction and maintenance isn’t all glamorous. It often involves working in crawlspaces, outside in bad weather or rough terrain, high heights and more. Here’s some examples of the “dirty jobs” you might find yourself involved in and how to make the best of it:
- Read about one company who works on wastewater treatment plants.
- Contractors working in places like Alaska might have to deal with extremely cold weather and remote locations.
- Electrical work sometimes involves encounters with animals, so it’s important to understand how to deal with nature safely on the job.
- Some jobs might involve more than one of these challenges. Here’s how one contractor dealt with both wildlife and weather while building a hotel.
- Read about a contractor who rebuilt a transmission line through rugged terrain
- Learn about fall prevention tactics and equipment for working at heights
- Some vegetables like Brussels sprouts aren’t for everyone, but you might just find yourself working in a plant that processes them for sale.
- What to know about working in confined spaces
Electrical apprenticeship news
Finally, it's helpful to stay up-to-date on news about electrical apprenticeships as you navigate through your own apprenticeship. Hear about what other electrical apprentices are doing and learning, find out about public policy related to apprenticeships and more.
- Keep up with the news about apprenticeships across the country
- Every year, NECA celebrates apprentices with Apprentice Appreciation Day at the NECA Show, with special programming with speakers for apprentices working at all levels of electrical construction. Among other topics, speakers at 2022’s Apprentice Appreciation Day highlighted the growing diversity among apprentices with each year.
Ready to test your knowledge on these topics and more?
About The Author
Colleen Beaty is senior editor at ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR magazine. She has been writing about topics such as outside line work, wildlife and habitat conservation for more than 15 years. Reach her at [email protected].
Holly Sauer is Electrical Contractor magazine's associate editor. Reach her at [email protected].