Electrician Schools and Training in Rhode Island
Want to become a Rhode Island trades worker, and make a great living as an electrician? We've got all the info you need to get started!
Your First Steps Towards Becoming An Electrician
Most electricians get into the profession through an apprenticeship, or through training at an electrician training program at a tech school or a community college. There are positives and negatives to both opportunities, so let's take a look in closer detail.
- An apprenticeship is one of the oldest ways to get into the trades, and there's a reason for that: it's an excellent way to get all the training you need, and make professional connections while you do so. As an apprentice, you'll go to various job sites, and work side-by-side licensed electricians. You'll "learn by doing," and take some night classes to round out your theoretical knowledge of electricity. The best part is, you'll get a paycheck for all the work you do. The only down side to apprenticeships is that they can be difficult to get. There is an entrance exam that can be pretty difficult, and you'll have to go through multiple rounds of interviews. Not only that, but there is often a waiting list full of people (there are usually more candidates than there are apprentice spots). So an apprenticeship is an incredible option if you can get it, but it can be difficult to get. Which is my many people opt for...
- Tech Schools and Community Colleges. An educational institution is a great place to *safely* learn the electrical trade. You'll do lab work and get "hands on" knowledge on how to wire residential structures, commercial structures, and even industrial structures. You'll learn how to bend conduit, check other electricians' work and make sure it's up to code, and draw and work from blueprints. Once you graduate, you'll be employable and can start an entry-level job as an electrician's assistant or helper. School is a GREAT place to begin an electrician career, especially if you want to get started right away.
We've put together an index of the apprentice programs and electrician schools in Rhode Island (see the sections below). We'd urge you to contact each of them and get a feel for what your options are.
You'll Eventually Want A License
On average, an electrician with a license has a higher income, more career stability, and more job offers than an electrician without one. If you're going to make "electrician" your career, you'll eventually want to accrue the on-the-job work hours necessary to get your license.
Rhode Island offers a number of different licenses: they offer the standard Journeyperson Electrician license, that allows you to take on a wide variety of jobs, but they also offer more specific licenses, such as an Oil Burnerperson license, a Fire Alarm Installer license, an Electrical Sign Installer license, a Lightning Protection Installer license, and a few others. As you enter the profession, think about where you want your career to take you.
Also, as you work, make sure that the hours you work count towards your license. Usually, the work that you'll do in an apprenticeship counts towards a license; if you're working but you don't have an apprenticeship, make sure that the hours you log actually count towards a license. Contact the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training / Workforce Regulation and Safety Department to see if the work you're doing counts towards a license, or if you'll need an apprenticeship.
Your Earnings and Salary
The U.S. government maintains a vast database that records the employment records of citizens from each state. We consulted their research to put together the following graph comparing trade salaries in Rhode Island:
|Rhode Island||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Wage|
|All Occupations in RI||$23.83||$49,570|
(We sampled only five trade professions; the U.S. government's database is a little larger than ours!)
As you can see, the salaries of plumbers, HVAC professionals, and licensed electricians in The Ocean State are very similar, and each of those professions averages more than $50,000 per year. Carpenters and construction workers earn less, at $44,040 and $38,730, respectively.
Some interesting notes about that data:
- Each of the skilled trades earn more than $20 per hour, whereas the trade that requires the least training (construction) earned less than that.
- The income of the average electrician--$50,580--is above that of the average Rhode Island resident, who makes an average of $49,570 per year.
- Something to remember: the numbers above are averages. Your earning potential will be affected by many different variables, including your work experience (seasoned pros make more than newbies), the specialty you choose (different types of electricians earn more than others), and how much effort you're willing to put in. On a lot of projects, overtime is available, and it can DRAMATICALLY increase your annual salary. If you're willing to work, you can see your salary go up year after year.
Electrician Development Opportunities in Rhode Island
As of our last survey, there are two electrician schools in Rhode Island, and one apprenticeship opportunity:
New England Institute of Technology — East Greenwich Campus
One New England Tech Boulevard
East Greenwich, RI 02818
Community College Of Rhode Island
400 East Ave
Warwick, RI 02886
(the school has multiple locations—check their website for a location near you)
Union Apprenticeship Programs in Rhode Island
JATC OF Local 99
40 Western Industrial Drive
Cranston, RI 02921