Electrical Trade Schools And Vocational Schools In The U.S.

Recent high school graduates and working professionals can enroll in electrical trade schools and vocational schools to advance their careers. 

Electricians work installing and maintaining electrical and, sometimes, other power systems, so during an electrician program, students complete technical instruction and experiential learning requirements, earning a vocational certificate or diploma. 

Various programs are available at the undergraduate level, and graduates are qualified for both electrical construction and maintenance positions.

This article contains all available information on electrical trade schools and vocational schools in the U.S.

About Electrical Trade Schools And Vocational Schools In The U.S.

A high school diploma meets the entry-level education requirement for electrician careers, but most electricians complete additional training through electrical trade schools or vocational schools in the U.S. 

Students in electrician programs can specialize their training by taking courses in specific fields, like elevators, fire alarm systems, LEED certification, and other niche fields.

While earning a vocational certificate or diploma, enrollees also strengthen their practical skills through laboratory and practicum requirements. 

One of the most common covered skills is soldering, which students learn in a supervised setting with experienced, licensed electricians on hand for apprenticeship-style training.

The other route to an electrician career is through an apprenticeship program. 

Apprentices work under a master electrician for 4-5 years, during which time they complete 2,000 hours of on-the-job training each year. 

In addition to paid work experience, apprentices develop their skills through technical instruction.

Graduates from electrical trade schools and vocational schools or apprenticeships typically meet the requirements for electrician licensure, though requirement details vary by location. 

With work experience, electricians can become master electricians or take on supervisory responsibilities. 

Electricians can also complete training to qualify for specialized professional certifications.

Courses Offered At Electrical Trade Schools And Vocational Schools In The U.S.

Various courses are usually covered during the programs at electrical trade schools and vocational schools, they include:

  • Electrical theories
  • Trade math
  • Residential, commercial, and industrial electrical concepts
  • Blueprint reading
  • Local, national, and state regulations
  • Building codes
  • Safety practices
  • Tools and equipment for the electrical trade
  • Low- and high-voltage systems
  • Design, repair, calibration, and modification of electrical components, equipment, and machinery
  • Inspection and troubleshooting of electrical systems
  • Power distribution
  • Grounding and wiring
  • Conduit and wiring protection
  • Electrical panels
  • Load calculations
  • Appliance, lighting, and ceiling fan installation
  • Motors and generators
  • Alarm systems
  • Telecommunications

Electrical Trade Schools And Vocational Schools In The U.S. Programs

1.Undergraduate Certificate Programs

There are two types of undergraduate certificate programs available for aspiring electricians. 

The first type is an apprenticeship program, in which students get four to five years of paid training under the supervision of an experienced journeyman. 

They also usually take supplemental courses through the school that facilitates the apprenticeship. 

Another certificate-level program in electrical technology provides three semesters of conceptual and technical coursework that can prepare students for the state licensure exam that they must pass to work in the field. 

Although, before graduation, students may be required to submit a capstone project.

2. Associate’s Degree Programs

Associate’s degree programs provide two years of basic training for aspiring electricians and include both theoretical studies and lab-based training with electrical equipment. 

Students take a wide range of electrical technology-focused courses that prepare them for work in industrial, construction, and residential settings. 

They must also fulfill general education requirements before applying. These programs usually award an Associate of Applied Science (AAS), and graduates are eligible for state licensure exams. 

Graduates may find jobs as electricians, or they may pursue more specialized careers as construction consultants or contractors.

Electrical Trade Schools And Vocational Schools In The U.S. Certifications and Licensures

In most states, an electrician must hold a license to work independently but each state and municipality sets specific requirements, so prospective electricians should carefully review the requirements in their area.

Electricians-in-training may need an electrical apprenticeship license while completing their on-the-job training. 

After meeting training requirements, electricians can apply for a journeyman license and this step typically requires passing scores on an electrical journeyman exam.

Experienced electricians who work as journeymen for several years can apply for master electrician licenses in most states. 

The license requires passing scores on the state’s master electrician exam.

Like in Washington state, electricians apply for licenses with the Department of Labor and Industries. 

The trainee license recognizes apprentices or students working under certified electricians. 

Each certified general journeyman-level electrician in the state must complete at least 8,000 hours of supervised work experience and 96 hours of classroom instruction while master electricians need 2-4 years of professional experience as licensed electricians.

Many states also offer specialty licenses to contractors who operate electrical businesses that employ electricians, such as electrical administrators or electrical contractors.

In addition to licensure, electricians can apply for professional certifications in areas like lighting systems or solar photovoltaic systems.

What To Look For In Electrical Trade Schools And Vocational Schools In The U.S.

When choosing an electrical trade school and vocational school in the U.S., applicants should consider several factors. 

First, determine the program’s requirements and length, including how students gain practical experience.

Students who want to complete an apprenticeship should find out whether the school offers a program and what setting they would work in.

Because many courses involve hands-on work, students should find out about the lab facilities offered at a school and make sure that they contain industry-standard equipment.

Students who want to gain experience in particular areas of the field, such as green technology, should make sure that programs offer coursework in that subject.

Second, check whether the program will meet licensure and certification requirements in your state.

Students should also consider the licensure exam pass rates for students who graduate from the school.

Many schools offer certificates and associate’s degrees for electricians, so depending on what kind of educational experience you are looking for, you may want to look for a school with an apprenticeship program.

Finally, aspiring electricians should check the accreditation status of their prospective programs. 

Electrical trade schools are usually considered vocational, which means they should be nationally accredited by an approved accrediting organization. 

Benefits Of Electrical Trade Schools And Vocational Schools In The U.S.

1.Students Are Prepared for an Occupation

Professional certifications and diplomas are offered by career-focused vocational schools and possible majors include technology for maintaining airplanes, culinary arts, and electronics.

Part-time enrollment is common among students who want to work or start a family. 

Students who haven’t decided on a career path could think about getting an associate’s degree and graduates can transfer to a bachelor’s program with an AA or AS.

2. Students Can Graduate Quickly

While AS degrees need six semesters to finish, typical certificate programs take four semesters to complete. 

By enrolling in more courses each semester or taking summer courses, students can finish either option more quickly. 

By receiving credit for prior professional experience that is relevant, students can also shorten completion times.

3. Typically Classes Are Smaller

Compared to community colleges and four-year institutions, most trade schools have smaller class sizes. 

Programs for vocational education often close enrolment at 25 students. 

More individualized instruction from professors is typically the result of smaller class sizes and this individualized support can benefit students having academic difficulties. 

Additionally, small class sizes foster peer professional relationships.

4. Students Receive Hands-On Training

Students who attend vocational schools receive intensive hands-on training to prepare them for careers. 

Students receive instruction in the classroom and on the job. Students might work in an IT center, a site, or a professional workplace. 

Through these opportunities, students can hone their skills and build connections with potential employers.

5. Trade School Costs Less

Most electrical trade schools and vocational schools in the U.S. are significantly cheaper than two- and four-year colleges. 

The cheaper tuition can aid students in avoiding debt and making sound financial plans for the future. 

Additionally, students may be eligible for both private and government scholarships. Some students can also attend vocational school programs for free due to financial aid.

6. Better Chances Of Landing A Suitable Apprenticeship

You will be better qualified than the competition because there are frequently many applicants for electrical apprenticeship positions. 

Finishing a brief electrical technology program at a trade school demonstrates your dedication to completing your training and your aptitude for getting started right away as a new apprentice.

7. A Forgiving Learning Environment

It’s possible that you’d feel safer practicing necessary trade skills in a classroom than in front of an employer who is paying you to learn them. 

And if you require additional assistance with math or other related subjects, many trade schools provide free tutoring.

8. Greater Confidence And Credibility

Your electrician training from a trade school can give you confidence as you start an apprenticeship. 

Your trainer and coworkers might take you more seriously if you can show that you are familiar with the fundamentals of the subject than they would if you were an absolute novice.

Top Electrical Trade Schools And Vocational Schools In The U.S.

1.Davis Technical College (Utah)

All the components you would anticipate from a top electrical training program are included in the Davis Technical College Electrician Student Program.

The program combines in-class instruction with compensated on-the-job training to help participants acquire the skills needed to do maintenance or construction work.

The program’s teaching staff consists of part-time instructors who share their real-world experience with students as well as full-time instructors who help students meet their academic requirements.

Even better, Davis Technical College offers this top-notch instruction for an astonishingly low cost, and with the additional costs for books and fees, the cost of basic tuition is only $3,400.

Davis Technical College also offers a variety of scholarships for those in need, including ones for high school students and adults pursuing degrees.

2. Ridgewater College (Willmar, MN)

The aim of the electrical engineers and electricians program at Ridgewater College is problem solving. 

It includes all of the program’s intended components, including reading connections, blueprints, and building codes.

There are two ways to learn in this curriculum such as the typical curriculum which comprises both on-campus day classes and hands-on training.

Students now have the option to perform practical sessions in person while taking theoretical lectures online on their schedules due to the new method of teaching electrical engineering.

Students will profit from Ridgewater’s excellent resources regardless of the decision they make. 

More than a century’s worth of collective electrical experience is shared by instructors at Ridgewater with their students.

Students also gain experience working with local organizations and businesses on campus and have the opportunity to work on the latest efficient and environmentally friendly technologies.

3. Rock Valley College (Rockford, Illinois)

The electrical engineering program at Rock Valley College prepares students for the apprenticeship program by combining classroom instruction and real-world experience.

Together with the National Association of Electrical Contractors and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Engineers, the Rock Valley training program was created.

Under the direction of these agencies, students make sure they are equipped with the knowledge that current employers demand.

Students in the program conclude their studies with more than 8,000 hours of practical training, ensuring that they are completely equipped to handle any challenges they may encounter in their future jobs.

Codes and connections are important concepts that students at Rock Valley College learn. 

4. Washburn Institute of Technology

Washburn University, which has roughly 6,000 students and is based in Topeka, Kansas, includes the Washburn Institute of Technology. 

The university provides skilled instruction in a convenient style for pupils.

To help newcomers into this lucrative, useful sector, Washburn Institute of Technology also offers an online electrical degree.

The professional training program in electrical technology at Washburn Institute of Technology equips students with professions in construction and maintenance.

The Southern curriculum takes two semesters to complete and is available to both high school and adult students. 

Printing, residential wiring, commercial wiring, the International Housing Code, and the National Electrical Code II are among the subjects discussed.

After finishing the program, students may also receive a professional license because the Washburn Tech Technical Center has received accreditation from the Higher Education Commission.

5. Salina Area Technical College

Located in Salina, Kansas, Salina Area Technical College is a public technical college with about 800 students. 

Students can get an electrician’s degree from the university in two years, and also offers certificates of professional training as well as junior specialist degrees.

A professional curriculum at Salina Area Technical College called Electrical Technology teaches students how to compute, utilize proper electrical language, and comprehend drawings, diagrams, and schematics.

Technical mathematics, commercial posting, drawing interpretation, and technical sheet are further courses that are available.

After graduation, students may find employment as electrical apprentices, water system electricians, or electrical and device technicians. 

Meanwhile, after earning 60 credits in the program, a junior specialist degree is earned.

A high school diploma or its equivalent is also required, along with acceptable ACT, SAT, or Accuplacer scores during application. 

Students with a GPA of 2.0 or higher who have earned college credits from another recognized institution are also eligible to transfer courses.

6. Central Louisiana Technical Community College

Eight campuses make up the public community college, Central Lousiana Technical Community College which serves about 2,000 students in Alexandria, Louisiana. 

One of the options the college offers is a 45-credit diploma in electrical engineering.

The Central Lousiana Technical Community College electricians professional development program offers technical diplomas and certificates of proficiency in seven areas, including industrial electrical, solar systems, and commercial wiring.

Among the subjects addressed in these classes are electrical tracks, circuit interpretation, technical mathematics for electricians, and an introduction to programmable logic controllers.

Students must maintain a 2.0 GPA to receive a diploma, and the program for electricians must be finished in 1350 hours. 

But if students take 15 credits per semester, they can complete their degree in about two years.

Admission procedures require a high school diploma, GED, or HiSET in addition to scores from the ACT, SAT, or Accuplacer. 

Central Lousiana Technical Community College received accreditation from the Vocational Education Council.

7. TESST College of Technology

At TESST College of Technology, they work hard to deliver top-notch instruction in healthcare, criminal justice, computer technology, and vocations.

For aspiring commercial electrical contractors, TESST College, situated in Baltimore, Maryland, provides commercial and industrial wiring programs.

The training also covers transformer installation and maintenance.

You will gain knowledge from their trade in electricity that will help you open up new career opportunities. 

You will gain the practical skills you need to thrive in your career through group discussions, lectures, and hands-on exercises with equipment that is frequently used in this field.

The Accreditation Board of Independent Colleges has granted TESST College of Technology accreditation.

8. Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI)

The electrical technology department at Michigan State University, which is housed within the Institute of Agricultural Technology, offers apprenticeship training to meet the requirements of state and federal construction codes.

Students study energy efficiency and alternative power systems and learn about the principles of electrical engineering, pertinent codes, and installation procedures.

Students can join a variety of clubs while completing their apprenticeships to improve their educational experience.

The Student Builders and Contractors Association and Sigma Chi, the construction honors society, are two student clubs in the Built Environments program that are relevant to electricians.

Students connect and develop relationships that will help their future careers through these clubs.

9. Southeast Technical College (Sioux Falls, SD)

Students are taught how to become top electricians at Southeast Technical College, preparing them for a variety of vocations. 

This two-year associate’s degree program equips graduates with the skills they need to start their careers as apprentices.

The program covers various activities including reading blueprints, designing circuits, installing wire systems, and working with sophisticated power equipment. 

Students will learn about state and local building rules as well as the process of wiring and installing equipment while working under the supervision of qualified professionals.

The program curriculum was created based on the suggestions of professional electricians, and it includes all of the necessary trade-specific skills. 

During the first semester, students study classes covering the principles of construction and electrical. 

But by the fourth semester, students are enrolled in building automation courses.

10. Central New Mexico Community College (Albuquerque, NM)

There are numerous paths available to students in Central New Mexico Community College’s Electrical Trades program. 

These diverse programs provide specialized training in specializations while also giving students the knowledge they need to pursue a variety of occupations in the public and commercial sectors.

The associate of applied science degree in electrical technologies with a focus on photovoltaics is offered by Central New Mexico Community College to those who want to work in the electrical and photovoltaic installation industry. 

The degree program equips students with the knowledge they need to pursue this cutting-edge field, from electrical theory to large-scale solar education.

A certificate in programmable logic control systems is also available to students who are interested in getting involved in controller installation, programming fundamentals, and industrial wiring.

The certificate is only four hours long semesters, earning 52 credit hours by taking classes such as electrical theory, blueprint reading, and programmable logic controls installation.

11. Anoka Technical College (Anoka, MN)

Anoka Technical College’s construction electrician diploma program, one of the nation’s most condensed, prepares students for the sector with just 82 credit hours. 

The effectiveness of program helps students develop their wiring, local code, and electrical theory skills.

Along with the Twin Cities Joint Apprenticeship Committee and the Minnesota State Board of Electricity, numerous chapters of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in the upper Midwest support the degree and learning objectives.

The Construction, Manufacturing & Technology department at Anoka Technical College is so proud of its program that it prominently features it in all of its departmental advertisements.

The school provides weekly online and in-person orientation sessions to orient prospective students to the curriculum and start them on the path to a fulfilling career.

12. Southeast Community College (Beatrice, NE)

One of the most comprehensive electrical programs in the country is offered by Southeast Community College. 

The five-year curriculum, which was developed in partnership with the Nebraska Department of Labor, entails 900 hours of classroom teaching and more than 8000 hours of practical training at nearby business and governmental facilities.

While classroom education takes place in the Local training facility, on-the-job training happens at a location where chapter members provide services. 

Students learn the value of their connections through this partnership with the local union, which is just as important as the technical knowledge they acquire.

The curriculum at Southeast Community College is not more expensive than others simply because it is lengthier than the majority of programs of its kind. 

Only $8,885 is projected to be spent overall on the program, which is a fairly tiny sum to pay for such thorough instruction.

13. Northwest Iowa Community College (Sheldon, IA)

The industrial and commercial wiring program at Northwest Iowa Community College is advanced by the electrical technology program there, enabling students to not only comprehend the foundations of wiring but also use it with modern plant automation and technologies.

Students who complete the program depart with some of the most in-demand talents thanks to training in specialist disciplines including temperature control, electric pressure and liquid flow, and motor drives.

Graduates of the curriculum pursue professions in a variety of fields, including managers and electricians in the maintenance of industrial plants as well as residential and commercial wiring. 

They can transition into these positions quickly because they can finish the curriculum in just one summer and autumn semester.

14. Dunwoody College of Technology (Minneapolis, MN)

Students at the Dunwoody College of Technology acquire more than only the knowledge and abilities required of an apprentice-level electrician, such as how to interpret wiring diagrams and designs and how to use solar and wind energy efficiently.

They also have the opportunity to consider every possibility the industry has to offer, which provides them the chance to find their true passion.

The breadth of its program and its linkages to the larger electrical community help Dunwoody College of Technology accomplish this goal.

This institution even hires guest lecturers with specialized knowledge to complement its staff of seasoned professionals and introduce students to the needs and potential of emerging technologies. 

The curriculum includes frequent field trips that allow students to observe how electricians put their training into practice.


Since quality education can distinguish between basic electricity and electricity with the knowledge and practical experience to solve more complex systems and technologies, a suitable curriculum to become an electrician is required.

A college, electrical trade schools, and vocational schools all provide programs for those who desire to pursue a career as an electrician.

Although it depends on the requirements of the school of electricians, they typically don’t need more than a high school diploma to enter these electricians’ programs.

In conclusion, electricians receive practical training in addition to some study of the electrical code, electrical theory, and electrical technology in general.


How many vocational schools are in the US?

As of 2022, there were 7,109 Trade & Technical Schools companies operating in the US, a 0.8% growth from 2021.

What is vocational school in USA?

Students have the option to enroll in a two-year program at a US vocational college, also referred to as a trade school in the US, that focuses on job-specific training and gets them ready for the workforce with international training in the US.

What is the number one trade school in America?

According to our rankings for 2023, Montana Tech’s Highlands College is the top institution in the country for anyone pursuing a degree from a trade school.

What is vocational education now called?

Depending on the country, vocational education goes by a variety of names, including career and technical education or acronyms like TVET (technical and vocational education and training) and TAFE.

Which state pays electricians the best?

With an average salary of $80,537 annually, Alaska is the state with the highest pay for electricians.

What is the highest-paid electrician?

  • Avionics technician.  
  • Commercial electrician.  
  • Lineman. 
  • Marine technician. 
  • Wind turbine technician. 
  • Electrical technician. 
  • Maintenance electrician. 
  • Electrical foreman.

What is an example of a vocational school?

  •  Mechanical and automotive schools. 
  • Business schools.

What is vocational school equivalent to?

Many of these are equivalent to a Bachelor’s or even a Master’s degree, and some even grant professional certificates and accreditations.

What is the difference between a vocational school and college?

A bachelor’s degree requires four years while the majority of vocational programs last two years or less. You can decide between trade school and college based on costs, earning potential, and employment demand. Graduates from both trade schools and colleges are prepared for a range of professions.

What is the highest paying trade job in America?

  • Radiation Therapists. 
  • Nuclear Medicine Technologists. 
  • Dental Hygienists. 
  • Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians. 
  • Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanics and Technicians. 
  • Boilermakers. 
  • Construction and Building Inspectors. 
  • Electricians.

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