Electrician Schools and Training in California

Welcome to ElectricianCareersGuide.com! We are your #1 spot for electrician career guidance, professional development, and training. If you've got questions, we've got answers.

On this page, we have all the information you'll need to begin your career as an electrician in California. We have:

  • A step-by-step guide on how to begin your career and find work;
  • Salary data about how much you can expect to earn as you build your skills and experience in your local economy;
  • A full list of all electrician schools in California; and
  • Apprenticeship opportunities with union and non-union organizations.

Are you ready to make a lot of money doing work you can be proud of? Good. Let's get to it.

How To Become An Electrician In California​

There are two main ways that electricians in California start their careers. Most either:​

  • Attend an electrician school and then find a job as an Electrician Trainee; or
  • Get accepted into an apprenticeship program and receive on-the-job training.

Each options has its own pros and cons, so let's describe each and take a closer look.

California Electrician Schools​

For many people, a community college or technical school is the perfect place to receive training. Working with electricity can be dangerous, and schools provide a safe and secure atmosphere in which to build professional skills.

Students are given specific instruction on how to:

  • Work with blueprints, and plan the layout and construction of electrical systems, based on job specs and local electrical codes;
  • Physically install the wiring in an electrical system, and test the flow of electricity using gauges called voltmeters, ohmmeters, and oscilloscopes;
  • Work with the pipes and tubes inside walls (called conduit) to direct the flow of energy through a building;
  • Inspect electrical systems that have already been installed, and diagnose faulty wiring and/or potential hazards;
  • Maintain systems that have already been installed, particularly in industrial settings such as factories, power plants, and hospitals; and
  • Work with other construction professionals to build residential homes, office buildings, and industrial centers.

Electrician schools in California do an excellent job of readying students for the worksite, and students are usually able to find a job upon graduation as Electrician Trainees (more on that term in a second), and build their careers from there.

If you choose to start your electrician career by going to an electrician career or electrical training program, you will need to follow these steps:​

1. Find an electrician school or community college that has electrical training courses. We've included a full list of state-approved schools below. Contact the school and make sure that their curriculum meets the state's requirements, and complete any paperwork they require.

2. Register with the state of California as an "electrician trainee". California wants to be certain that people entering the electrical trade are being properly trained, so they make each person sign up as an official trainee. You can find all the forms you'll need here.​

3. Complete the school's "Electrician Trainee Program Enrollment Form", submit it to them, and sign up for classes.

4. Complete your schooling, and get a job!​

Apprenticeships and On-the-Job Training​

The "apprentice" model of training has been around for many, many years. Here's how it works:

Apprentices are paired with an experienced electrician, and follow that electrician from jobsite to jobsite. They watch and learn, and are eventually given small tasks to complete. As they gain competency, they are given larger and larger tasks, and build their skills one day at a time. All training is done OJT ("on the job"), and apprentices are paid for every hour they work.

Apprenticeships are long--they usually last four to five years--but upon completion of the program, trainees have all the skills needed to work any kind of job.

Because California wants to be certain that apprentices are learning the correct skills, apprenticeship programs are usually registered with the state, and trainees progress at a set pace. There is some classroom learning involved, particularly for topics that are difficult to teach OJT, such as electrical theory.​

For more information about apprenticeships, you can check out our list of all the programs in California (see below). Each program has specific requirements, so visit each program's websites to see how you should apply.​

Which Of The Options Is Right For You?

So, most people either go to an electrician school or find an apprenticeship. Which should you choose?

There are advantages and disadvantages to each option:​

  • Apprenticeships can be very difficult to obtain, and the entrance exam can be very difficult. Plus, there is usually a pretty intensive set of interviews that applicants need to go through. And, because there are so many people trying to get into a program, there is often a very long waiting period. It's not uncommon to wait for a couple of months to a couple of YEARS before getting accepted and starting an apprenticeship.
  • Electrician Schools are a tried-and-true option (and California actually has a few programs that are very affordable), but they're not perfect, either. Community colleges can be an affordable option, but may not provide a top-notch education; private tech schools often do an incredible job of preparing students for "the real world," but they can be very, very pricey.

So what should you do? If you can find an apprenticeship (or find an entry-level job that will lead to an apprenticeship), that should be your first choice. You'll learn the trade, you'll make professional connections, and you'll have very little debt when you finish. If the waiting list for apprenticeships is very long, you can take a look at community colleges or trade schools. Just be very, very careful that the schools you apply to don't cost too much---student loan debt can be a real drag, and while some schools are worthwhile and affordable, some are not. Keep a list of all your options, determine the best choice, and then DO IT.

Electrician Schools in California

Information About Licensing​

Your ultimate goal as an electrician should be to get a license.

Licensed electricians earn (significantly) higher salaries, are able to take on a wider range of jobs, and are more sought after in the marketplace.

California offers a number of different licenses to electricians, including:

  • General Electrician (sometimes called a Journeyman Electrician)
  • Residential Electrician (sometimes called a Residential Journeyman)
  • Voice/Data/Video Technician
  • Fire/Life Safety Technician
  • Nonresidential Lighting Technician
  • Electrical Contractor

You can attain these licenses through an apprenticeship, or by completing a specific of on-the-job work hours (see here for more details).

This is important: you want to make sure that the hours you work actually count towards your license, so contact the California Contractors State License Board to make sure you're on the right track.

Your license isn't something that you'll need to start thinking about now, but it's something you should consider as you start your career.

A Video of Electricians on the Job​

Below we have a few clips of various electricians at a job site. In the video, the electricians ​handle large conductors, install light fixtures, pull and lay cable, install cable trays, and do a whole lot of other tasks:

Keep in mind, there are many different types of electricians (and we discuss those different types on our homepage); the video above shows industrial electricians at work.

Electrician Salary In California​

The United States collects detailed information about what people earn every year. In fact, the U.S. has an agency called the Bureau of Labor Statistics (or "BLS," for short) that is solely dedicated to tracking what people do for a living and how much they make.

According to the BLS's latest measurements, the following California tradespeople made the following salaries:​

California Average Hourly Wage Average Annual Wage
Electricians $30.95 $64,370
Plumbers $29.89 $62,170
HVAC $26.09 $54,270
Carpenters $25.63 $53,300
Construction Laborers $20.08 $41,760
All Occupations in CA $25.91 $53,890

The most notable aspect of the figures above is the variance in income among the trades sampled. Licensed electricians and plumbers earn a comparable income, making between $60,000 and $65,000 per year. Heating/ventilation/air conditioning workers and carpenters make about $10,000 less per year, and constructions workers make more than $20,000 less. If you're a Californian interested in the trades, "electrician" is the way to go!

Here are some other interesting facts about the data:​

  • Electricians earn a much higher salary than the average Californian. Whereas the average income for all occupations in California was $53,890, the average income for electricians in California is $64,370---that's a 19.45% increase in salary, or $10,480 more per year than the average Californian.
  • Electricians are the only tradespeople surveyed who make more than $30 an hour; in fact, construction workers only make about $20 an hour.
  • California electricians are among the highest-paid electricians in the United States, and there are only six states where electricians earn more: Alaska ($78,800 per year), Illinois ($69,940 per year), New York ($69,820 per year), Oregon ($68,690 per year), New Jersey ($67,570 per year), and Washington ($65,590 per year).

Remember, the statistics listed above are averages. There are many tradespeople who earned more than the figures above, and many who earned less. What you, personally, can make is determined by a number of factors, including:

  • Where you live (electricians in metropolitan areas tend to earn more than electricians in less-populated areas);
  • The strength of the local and national economy;
  • Your area of expertise (certain electrical occupations earn more than others; for instance, an outside lineman will most likely make more than a telecommunications technician);
  • Your work experience and the number of years you've been an electrician; and
  • How much you're willing to take on new jobs!

Electrician Training and Electrical Schools in California

Below is a list of state-approved community colleges and electrician schools in California where you can attend classes and enter the electrician trade as an Electrician Trainee. We found most of these schools on the state's website. After that, we've included a full list of apprenticeships you can apply for.

Here a two things to keep in mind, as you look at the list:

  • You must make sure that the school you plan on attending is recognized by the state of California. There are some programs out there that are NOT recognized by the state, and if you attend of them, you'll graduate with a lot of debt and nothing to show for it. It's happened to other people; don't let it happen to you. We got the schools on our list from the California state website, so they should be OK, but you'll want to ask the schools you're interested in just to make sure, because schools sometimes lose certification.
  • If you're not sure which programs are near you, you can call the State Certification Unit at (510) 286-3900 and they will link you with an electrician school/electrical training program in your area.

Electrical Training Programs

SCIT — Southern California Institute of Technology
525 North Muller Street
Anaheim, CA 92801
(714) 300-0300

Baldwin Park Adult School
4640 North Maine Avenue
Baldwin Park, CA 91706
(626) 856-4105

Barstow Community College
2700 Barstow Road
Barstow, CA 923111
(760) 252-2411

InterCoast College
175 East Olive Ave
Burbank, CA 91502
(818) 500-8400

InterCoast College
One Civic Plaza
Carson, CA 90745

Orange Coast College
2701 Fairview Road
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 432-5072

InterCoast
9355 East Stockton Boulevard
Elk Grove, CA 95624
(916) 714-5400

College of the Redwoods
7351 Tompkins Hill Road
Eureka, CA 95501
(707) 834-2156

Electrical Schools in Fresno, CA

Fresno City College
1101 East University Avenue
Fresno, CA 93741
(559) 442-4600

Glendale Community College
1500 North Verdugo Road
Glendale, CA 91208
(818) 240-1000

College of the Sequoias — Hanford Educational Center
925 13th Avenue
Hanford, CA 93230
(559) 583-2500

Construction Craft Training Center of Hayward
26200 Industrial Boulevard
Hayward, CA 94545
(510) 785-2282

Imperial Valley College
380 East Aten Road
Imperial, CA 92251
(760) 355-4457

Bassett Adult School
943 North Sunkist Avenue
La Puente, CA 91746
(626) 931-3134

Antelope Valley Community College
3041 West Avenue K
Lancaster, CA 93536
(661) 722-6300

Long Beach City College
4901 East Carson
Long Beach, CA
(562) 938-4294

Electrical Schools in Los Angeles

Abram Friedman Occupational Center
1646 South Olive Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 765-2400

Durousseau Electrical Institute
2526 West Jefferson Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90018
(323) 734-2424

East Los Angeles Occupational Center
2100 Marengo Street
Los Angeles, CA 90033
(323) 223-1283

LA Trade Tech College
400 Washington Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 763-3701

Modesto Junior College
435 College Avenue
Modesto, CA
(209) 575-6550

Napa Valley Adult School
1600 Lincoln Avenue
Napa, CA 94558
(707) 253-3915

Norco College
2001 Third Street
Norco, CA 92860
(951) 739-7811

Electrical Schools in Oakland, CA

Laney College
900 Fallon Street
Oakland, CA 94607
(510) 464-3283

InterCoast College — Orange County
3745 West Chapman Avenue
Orange, CA 92868
(714) 712-2900

Santiago Canyon College
8045 East Chapman Ave
Orange, CA 92869
(714) 628-4900

Pasadena City College
1570 East Colorado Boulevard
Pasadena, CA 91106
(626) 585-7123

Flintridge Center Apprenticeship Preparation Program (free for previously incarcerated or gang-affiliated community members)
236 West Mountain Street
Pasadena, CA 91103

Los Medanos College
2700 East Leland Road
Pittsburg, CA 94565
(925) 439-2181

Diablo Valley College
321 Golf Club Road
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
(925) 969-2377  

Chaffey College
5885 Haven Avenue
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91737
(909) 652-6000

National Career Education
11080 White Rock Road
Rancho Cordova, CA 95670
(800) 915-3593

The Trade School
5800 Airport Road
Redding, CA 96002
(530) 222-1917

InterCoast College
1989 Atlanta Avenue
Riverside, CA 92507
(951) 779-1300

InterCoast
1200 Melody Lane
Roseville, CA 92678
(916) 786-6300

Electrical Schools in Sacramento, CA

American River College
4700 College Oak Drive
Sacramento, CA 95841
(916) 484-8521

Center for Employment Training
8376 Fruitridge Road
Sacramento, CA 95828?
(916) 393-7401

Hartnell College
411 Central Avenue
Salinas, CA 93901
(831) 755-6700

San Bernardino Community College District
114 South Del Rosa Drive
San Bernardino, CA 92408
(909) 382-4000

San Bernardino Valley College
701 South Mount Vernon Avenue
San Bernardino, CA 92410

Electrical Schools in San Diego

San Diego City College
1313 Park Boulevard
San Diego, CA
(619) 388-3565

Electrical Schools in San Jose

Center for Employment Training
701 Vine Street
San Jose, CA 95110
(408) 534-5360

San Jose City College
2100 Moorpark Avenue
San Jose, CA 95128
(408) 288-3781

Silicon Valley Career Technical Education
760 Hillsdale Avenue
San Jose, CA 95136
(408) 723-6400

Cuesta College
Highway 1
San Luis Obispo, CA 93403
(805) 546-3264

Santa Barbara City College
721 Cliff Drive
Santa Barbara, CA 93109
(805) 455-3187

Institute for Business Technology
2400 Walsh Avenue
Santa Clara, CA 95051
(408) 492-8083

California Electrical Training
3301 East Hill Street
Signal Hill, CA 90755
(877) 225-9562

NLCAA — National Lighting Contractors Association of America
3301 East Hill Street
Signal Hill, CA 90755
(877) 225-9562

College of the Sequoias — Tulare College Center
4999 East Bardsley Avenue
Tulare, CA 93274
(559) 688-3000

Construction Craft Training Center of Turlock
2480 Acme Court
Turlock, CA 95380
(510) 785-2282

Ventura College
4667 Telegraph Road
Ventura, CA 93003
(805) 654-6366

InterCoast College — LA County
1400 West Covina Parkway
West Covina, CA 91790
(626) 337-6800

Rio Hondo College
3600 Workman Mill Road
Whittier, CA 90601
(562) 692-0921

Union Apprenticeship Programs in California
Note: “JATC” stands for “Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee”

JATC of Kern County
3805 North Sillect Avenue
Bakersfield, CA 93308
(661) 324-0105

JATC of the Tri-County Area
10300 Merritt
Castroville, CA
(831) 633-3063

The Electrical Training Institute of Los Angeles County
6023 South Garfield Avenue
Commerce, CA 90040
(323) 221-5881

JATC of Fresno, Madera, Kings and Tulare Counties
5420 East Hedges Avenue
Fresno, CA 93727
(559) 251-5174

JATC of Contra Costa County
Martinez, CA 94553
(925) 372-7083

JATC of the Central Valley
1925 Yosemite Boulevard
Modesto, CA 95354
(209) 579-5417

JATC of Solano and Napa Counties
720 Technology Way
Napa, CA 94558
(707) 251-0315

JATC of Ventura County
201 Bernoulli Circle
Oxnard, CA 93030
(805) 604-1155

JATC of Shasta / Butte
900 Locust Street
Redding, CA 96001
(916) 646-6688

JATC of California / Nevada
9846 Limonite Avenue
Riverside, CA 92509
(951) 685-8658

JATC of Sacramento
2836 El Centro
Sacramento, CA 95833
(916) 646-6688

JATC — Riverside Area
1855 Business Center Drive
San Bernardino, CA 92408
(909) 890-1703

JATC of San Mateo County
625 Industrial Road
San Carlos, CA 94070
(650) 591-5217

Electrical Training Trust of San Diego
4675 Viewridge Ave
San Diego, CA 92123
(858) 569-6633

JATC of San Francisco
4056 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94112

JATC of Alameda County
14600 Catalina Street
San Leandro, CA 94577
(510) 351-5282

JATC of Northern California
3033 Alvarado Street
San Leandro, CA 94577
(408) 453-3101

JATC of San Luis Obispo County
6363 Edna Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Electrical Training Trust of Orange County
717 South Lyon Street
Santa Ana, CA 92705
(714) 245-9988

JATC of Redwood
1726 Corby Avenue
Santa Rosa, CA 95407
(707) 523-3837

JATC of San Joaquin and Calaveras Counties
1531 El Pinal Drive
Stockton, CA 95205
(209) 462-0751

JATC of Santa Barbara County
222 West Carmen Lane
Santa Maria, CA 93458
(805) 686-0903

JATC of Santa Clara County
908 Bern Court
San Jose, CA 95112
(408) 453-1022

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Apprenticeships (Non-union)

ABC SoCal
1400 North Kellogg Drive
Anaheim, CA 92807
(714) 779-3199

ABC of Central California
19466 Flightpath Way
Bakersfield, CA 93308
(661) 392-8729

ABC of NorCal
4577 Las Positas Road
Livermore, CA
(925) 474-1300

ABC San Diego
13825 Kirkham Way
Poway, CA 92064
(858) 513-4700

ABC of Los Angeles/Ventura
12797 Arroyo Avenue
San Fernando, CA 91340
(818) 898-2099

Western Electrical Contractors Association (WECA) Apprenticeships (Non-union)

WECA of the Sacramento Region
3695 Bleckely Street
Rancho Cordova, CA 95655
(877) 444-9322

Riverside Training Facility
1180 Spring Street
Riverside, CA 92507
(877) 444-9322

WECA of San Diego
9320 Hazard Way
San Diego, CA 92123
(877) 444-9322

“I-TAP” Independent Training & Apprenticeship Program (Non-union)

I-TAP
9856 Business Park Drive
Sacramento, CA 95827
(916) 332-3332

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