Applying and Qualifying for Apprenticeship in the Electrical Industry

This information is intended to help you make an informed decision about whether or not you would like to pursue an electrical apprenticeship. It will explain how the application process works. It has three parts:

LEARNING ABOUT ELECTRICAL WORK— provides information about the work done in electrical work specialties and the abilities those specialties require. It contains an abilities checklist you can complete to determine whether or not electrical work suits you.

APPLYING FOR APPRENTICESHIP — provides information about the qualification requirements and application process. It contains a reminder list to help you with the testing process.

PREPARING FOR THE TEST—provides sample questions and answers from the NJATC Aptitude Test Battery, which is a part of the application process

Inside Wiremen

Inside Wiremen install Electrical piping (conduit), electrical wiring, fixtures, and electrical apparatus inside residential, commercial and Industrial buildings and facilities.

Major duties for Inside Wiremen include:

·         Planning and Initiating Projects

·         Establishing Temporary Power during Construction

·         Establishing Grounding Systems

·         Installing Service to Buildings and Other Structures

·         Establishing Power Distribution within a Project

·         Planning and Installing Raceway Systems

·         Installing New Wiring and Repairing Old Wiring

·         Providing Power and Controls to Motors, HVAC, and Other Equipment

·         Installing Receptacles, Lighting Systems, and Fixtures

·         Troubleshooting and Repairing Electrical Systems

·         Installing and Repairing Traffic Signals, Outdoor Lighting and Outdoor Power Feeders

·         Installing Fire Alarm Systems

In performing these duties, Inside Wiremen must use a variety of tools, ranging from simple one handed (such as pliers, screwdrivers, and cable-cutters) to larger two-hand tools  (such as power assisted tools like electric drills and cable pullers). We may occasionally operate heavy equipment such as trenchers and aerial lifts.

Over the course of the five-year Inside Wiremen apprenticeship program, apprentices must acquire a wealth of technical and hands on knowledge. A recent job analysis identified 83 specific knowledge areas that are important for successful job performance.

A few of the most important ones are knowledge of:

·         The National Electrical Code

·         How to Work With Energized Circuits

·         Blueprints (Including Symbols Used)

·         Electrical Schematic Diagrams

·         State and Local Electrical Codes

·         First Aid

·         Hazardous Materials

·         Specific Job Safety Rules

Some of the most important skills to be learned are:

·         Skill at Performing CPR

·         Skill at Reading a Wire Table to Determine Conductor Size Required

·         Skill at Terminating Aluminum or Copper Cable

·         Skill at Terminating High Voltage Cable

·         Skill at Splicing High Voltage Cable

Abilities Checklist

Electrical work can be challenging, complex, physically demanding, and very rewarding. We have found that applicants who have not worked on construction projects are often unfamiliar with the wide range of tasks electrical workers perform, or the skills needed today to be a successful electrical worker.

We have prepared the following checklist to help prospective applicants measure their interest in day-today electrical work, and whether they will have the ability to succeed at the completion of their apprenticeship.

Thirty-five core abilities for an electrical worker are listed on the following page.

Using the space next to the bullets check to indicate your interest as well as your capability to perform any of the listed task. If you have interest in performing work that task place a checkmark under the column labeled “Interest.” If you believe that you are capable of performing that task place a checkmark in the “Capable” column.

Interest  Capable

·         add, subtract, multiply, divide, and use algebraic formulas

·         read complex technical documents written in English

·         develop alternative solutions to a problem and choose the best alternative

·         communicate in writing with others

·         read and understand graphs, charts, and diagrams

·         plan and organize tasks to meet deadlines

·         understand how an electrical or mechanical system works

·         picture the way a construction project will appear before it is finished

·         be self-motivated, responsible, and dependable without close supervision

·         remain calm in an emergency situation

·         communicate orally with others in English

·         work smoothly with others as a team to complete a task

·         maintain good relations with others in a work setting

·         discriminate between colors

·         understand verbal instructions and warnings given in English

·         hear warning signals

·         maintain balance and perform construction tasks while on a ladder

·         coordinate body movements when using tools or equipment

·         reach and stretch to position equipment and fixtures while maintaining balance

·         bend or twist the body into unusual positions while working

·         traverse irregular surfaces while maintaining balance

·         perform physical tasks all day without becoming overly tired

·         use hands to manipulate small wires and objects

·         work with both hands

·         operate two-handed power equipment

·         regularly lift objects weighing up to 50 pounds

·         on occasion, lift objects weighing above

·         pounds carry objects weighing up to 50 pounds for short distances

·         apply muscular force quickly to objects and equipment

·         push or pull heavy objects into position

·         climb ladders and poles up to 25 feet in height

·         work at heights

·         work in extreme hot and cold temperature conditions

·         work in a noisy environment

·         work at depths, such as in trenches, manholes or deep vertical shaft

A particular employer might not require every one of these abilities for every electrical worker, and the importance of each may vary by the type of electrical job or employer and the level of experience. Our research has shown, however, that the listed abilities are significant on most job sites, and they are all usually needed in order to perform the essential functions of the job of an electrical worker.

That is why all of these abilities, and others, are usually viewed by the NJATC as necessary to successful completion of any electrical apprenticeship program.

If you checked interest and/or capable in many of the task, you may be well suited for electrical work. If you checked relatively few abilities, or were unsure about checking them, you should take steps to learn more about electrical work. The fact that you do not have or cannot acquire a particular ability does not prevent you from applying for the apprenticeship programs, but it could present a problem during your training and/or on the job.

Best of luck in your future decisions.

For further information or books on electrical construction work.

Access the NJATC website at It provides detailed job descriptions for electrical work specialties, as well as other relevant information.


Ask the IBEW/NECA Training Director John DiBiase

At The Cranston Training Facility

40 Western Industrial Drive

Cranston, RI 02921

(401) 946-9908

Monday / Friday         8:00am – 4:00pm

Learning more about the work done by electrical workers will help you determine how well suited you are for a career in electrical construction.