Anyone interested in problem solving and working with technology should consider becoming a certified electrician.
Electricians are always in high demand due to their usefulness in repairing, installing, and maintaining electrical power systems. Because both businesses and private homes require that work, a career as an electrician is one with a lot of job security as well. Demand for electricians is predicted to increase by 8% in the next 10 years, according to U.S. Department of Labor Statistics.1 And perhaps best of all, you only need a high school diploma (or equivalent).
But how do you get started in the electrical trade?
Online prep classes go a long way towards preparing you for your certification test. They’ll teach you everything you need to know in an affordable and timely manner. All you need to do is find one that’s right for you.
To that end, I’ve gone ahead and found the 4 best online electrician courses currently on the market. Check them out below!
Electricians are always in high demand due to their usefulness in repairing, installing, and maintaining electrical power systems.
1. Penn Foster Electrician Course Review
First up is Penn Foster’s training program, which uses NEC (National Electric Code) compliant course materials for their online electrician training. There’s another feature they provide that you’ll have a difficult time finding somewhere else— individual courses based on each state’s requirements.
When you sign up, you’ll have ten courses that teach you the relevant skills and knowledge involved in a residential electrical career. You’ll also be tested on how to apply these skills in different settings, such as government work, manufacturing, residential and commercial.
Similar to their plumbing training, each of Penn Foster’s courses consists of a set of lectures, study sheets, and quizzes. Thanks to a range of materials that aren’t too long, you can easily plot out a study schedule without getting burnt out a few weeks in
Penn Foster has plenty of materials to offer, such as:
- 140 Skilled Trade Lessons
- Mobile Friendly Platform
- Progress Tracking
- Interactive Flashcards
- Video Lectures
- Student Discussion Board
- Committed Support System
Pro: On Demand Learning
Materials from Penn Foster are made available on demand. That means you won’t have any time limits when studying; feel free to take their electrical courses at your own pace. Additionally, each lesson has intentionally been made short and easy to understand— so you don’t need to devote hours to each study session.
Pro: Goal Setting Tools
Penn Foster includes several different progress tracking and goal setting tools. Using these makes it much easier to create and stick to a study schedule. Doing this will ensure you know exactly when you’ll be ready to pass the electrician certification exam.
Con: Software Requirements
The one downside to this training program is that they have a set of software requirements in order to use their materials: high speed internet, Windows 10 or macOS, and Microsoft 365. Unfortunately, this means that mobile users, most tablet users, and any Chromebook/Linux users won’t be able to access this electrician school.
2. Mike Holt Enterprises
Mike Holt Enterprises offers a self-paced program that exhaustively covers all the vital concepts for professional electricians in a series of videos and textbooks.
The Mike Holt course materials include
- 4 textbooks
- Series of 22 instructional DVDs
- Simulated practice exams
You can purchase the practice exams and books separately or as part of a larger study package. There are three courses available, but I recommend their Comprehensive Library. Just keep in mind that these are physical study materials, not digital ones that you can access from the internet with a smartphone or tablet.
Pro – Well-Designed Curriculum
The practice questions, lecture content, and study texts are all derived from the National Electrical Code (NEC), which is the commonly accepted standard for those who work in the electrical trades.
Pro – Well-Written Textbooks
Each book included with Mike Holt’s electrician course features clear examples and illustrations of each important electrician-related concept. It’s extremely effective at teaching you the material, especially alongside the DVDs and practice exams.
Con – Instructor Support
Although you can ask questions to other students on a community forum, there aren’t any easy ways to contact the lecturer if you need clarification on something included on one of the DVDs.
3. Ashworth College Electrician Training Review
Next up is Ashworth College. They’re unique among online electrician training courses in that they also help you find an apprenticeship program post-certification. Plus, all of their course materials are NEC compliant.
Ashworth’s Electrician Training program teaches students the theory and work practices required for employment in the electrical trades. It does so by covering safety for electrical equipment installation and tool usage, installation procedures, and basic electricity and AC current theory.
Lessons are split up into 13 different parts based on different aspects of the job. Each lesson corresponds to a set of chapters in a textbook and a series of lectures. Ultimately, it’s designed to deliver important information quickly— limiting the time it takes to get started with your future career.
Here’s a quick list of what you’ll get with Ashworth College electrician training:
- 3 Textbooks
- Binder Mobile App
- Student Portal
- Learning Resource Center
- Thousands of Research Sources
- Online Student Community
Pro: Self Paced
While other courses follow a strict and regimented schedule, Ashworth College allows you to set your own pace through their materials. If you have a busy life with lots of time commitments, this will help you find a schedule that won’t interfere with other aspects of your life.
Pro: Job Search Prep
Ashworth College makes sure to include a job search prep program into each course. That way you’ll be able to apply your new skills in a professional format as soon as possible. These tools even remain available after completing the course.
Unfortunately, Ashworth College can be costly if you need several months to prepare. The longer it takes for you to prepare, the more you’ll have to pay.
4. ETCO Electrician Class
Third on this list is Electrical Training Courses Online, a site offering 4 different electrician prep courses.
Currently, their biggest selling point is the certification program bundled into their program. Anyone who completes an ETCO course receives a verified ETCO certificate to prove their skills and dedication to prospective employers.
You can expect the following materials in their small catalog of electrician courses:
- 9 Course Sections
- 8 Quizzes
- 30 Lessons
- 1 Final Exam
Similar to Penn Foster, ETCO offers both basic and advanced training in electrical engineering. They also cover requirements by each state, so you don’t need to worry about being left out when picking a course. Plus, each course has been designed by practicing professional electricians. As a result, you can rest assured that all information is up to date.
ETCO is also much more affordable than a lot of other online electrician courses. If you’re okay with no lecture content or textbooks, this can be a good budget pick.
5. SCI Training Electrician Classes
Instead of being a full blown exam prep course, Stratford Career Institute’s electrician training is more of an introduction to electrician work in general. This is because it’s less detailed than other courses and doesn’t use NEC materials.
SCI training courses are intended to teach students entry level concepts and requirements for their chosen vocation. They don’t meet any certification requirements but are useful for anyone starting out on their career path. You’ll learn everything you need to know in order to land an apprenticeship and start gaining work experience. However, you’ll probably want to supplement with Ashford College’s residential training program if you want to pass your state exam.
FAQ about Electrician School and Certifications
Q: What’s the difference between a certificate and a license for electricians?
A: Certain states require licenses in order to work, and others require certificates.2 Typically a license proves you have the authority to work in your chosen field, while certifications display your experience level. This distinction is especially useful in states that offer both licenses and certifications.
Q: How much do electricians make?
A: According to Glassdoor, electricians make an average of $47,000 a year.3 More experienced professionals can earn up to $68,000 a year, but that requires a master level license and years of experience.
Q: Can I work as an electrician without a license?
A: Unlicensed electrician jobs do exist, but are rare. That’s because what you can do as an unlicensed electrician is very limited, and you can be liable for your work.
Q: How long does it take to become an electrician?
A: It can take anywhere between 2 to 4 years to become an electrician. You need to complete 8000 hours of an apprenticeship and complete a certification exam in order to start your career.