Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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Why this site?

I created this site after being asked a thousand times: How do I become an electrician?  Unfortunately there is no definite answer but there are routes to take if you are serious about getting qualified rather than ‘short circuiting’ the process. Hopefully the information you find within this site will give you enough to make a reasoned judgement.

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How much do electricians earn?

It depends on several things, experience, responsibility, the economy, employed, self-employed, sub-contract etc. As a general rule, expect somewhere between £11 and £17 an hour or between £21k and £40k a year directly employed. JIB rates, as published on their website, are a good yardstick, although their members tend to be the much larger contracting companies.

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How long does it take to become an electrician?

It all depends on your situation. An apprentice is funded by the government for 42-48 months, or approximately 4 years. This is not always straight forward and does need a pro-active approach by the apprentice to complete within the set time. An adult usually has more enthusiasm and can complete sooner and one working in the industry can feasibly complete in a 2-3 years if they push themselves. If they have a lot of experience and a good assessor, this can be reduced further still. If you are retraining, expect around 3-4 years, again, depending on experience.

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I want to be an elektrishun(sic) yesterday, can I?

Look at the routes in the links above to become an electrician. They are all recognised and if you meet those requirements, your validity as an electrician cannot be questioned. Many training providers offer short courses which are all valid qualifications in their own individual right, but there is no substitute for actual direct experience. Think about it, an employer is presented with 2 people with the same qualifications but one has 5 years experience the other none. Who will he take on? It is something to think about before you part with cash for qualifications that will not move you further forward to becoming a recognised electrician.

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I have seen the 5 day/4 week courses advertised, are they any good?

The sum of the qualifications isn’t as good as their individual worth. In times of limited work, it is unlikely an employer would view this type of fast track qualification as worthwhile. Many employers have gone through the full apprentice route (anything between 3.5 years and 5 years for the more mature employers) and would view the fast track option  with scepticism. This route will also not let you get JIB graded so you couldn’t get an ECS Gold Electrician’s card at the end of the course, although you may still get a lesser card. The decision is ultimately yours in conjunction with your wallet, but I would certainly do some research and ask many questions before you part with hard-earned money.

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I have some related qualifications, like a BTEC ONC or HNC, can I become an electrician?

It is a difficult question to answer outright. Certainly in the science modules of the current electrician qualification, you will be covering old ground but you will not have the installation side or experience or of working through the various books such as BS7671. Registration with the JIB is very strict and they insist on an NVQ or the C&G 2357/5357 at the very least.  Our advice is to speak to a local assessor and see what can be RPL’d (recognition of prior learning) across and see what you need to do to complete the qualification.

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I am from another country and want to work in the UK, where do I start?

As a bare minimum, you will be expected to complete the C&G 2382 17th Edition Wiring Regulations to the latest amendment.  Most employers will ask for it anyway so it will not be in vain or a waste of money. You can also contact an official agency called NARIC (www.naric.org.uk) who specialise in officially comparing international qualifications with the UK equivalent, although they do charge for the service.

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Who should I train with?

Check internet forums for advice from other people in your situation, speak with friends for word of mouth, talk directly with several local options; don’t just accept advice from one organisation. The local college is a good place to start as the fees may be subsidised by the Government and there are also many individual training providers. Various industry bodies themselves, such as the NICEIC and the IET may be able to help.

Do some research first, find out exactly what you want and approach a provider armed with this knowledge.  Many of the electrical forums mentioned on the useful links page have direct feedback of the different training providers giving you a bit more information to go on.

You mentioned the AM2, will I need to take it?

You will need to take it to get your ECS card as part of the 2357 or the 5357.

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I want to do the 2360! It’s meant to be the best, everyone tells me so!

Gone unfortunately, sorry about that.  It was a good qualification and highly regarded and there are many in the business would like to see it return.  The C&G 2365 though is proving to be a decent replacement. It is widely considered that the 2360 is no longer recognised as a current qualification to be RPLd into the 5357 qualification.

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The 2330 then?

Also gone. Your option is the C&G 2365 or the C&G 2357/5357 or EAL 1605

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The 2356 NVQ?

It has been replaced by the C&G2357/5357 which amalgamates the two qualifications, technical and performance units. Some private providers may continue to offer the 2356-99 route.

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What happened to the 2360?

After high drop out rates with apprentices, the 2360 was scrapped in favour of the rather poor 2351. Although it is a recognised qualification, the 2351 was somewhat lambasted by industry as being a sub-standard substitute to the 2360.  It managed to survive for a few years but was eventually replaced by the 2330 and then the 2365.  The 2360 had an enormous amount of respect, largely in part to the length of time it ran for, but now it is considered superceded.

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What is a “Domestic Installer”?

The introduction of Part P into the Building Regulations meant that for the first time, electrical work on a property needed to be notified in certain instances to the local building control office. Various competent person schemes started recognising the “Domestic Installer” route after one of the awarding bodies created an expensive qualification allowing people to be able to register with competent persons scheme and carry out domestic work. It is not regarded as someone being a qualified electrician but is a useful qualification if you are an allied trade such as a plumber, kitchen fitter or alarm engineer wanting to install a fused spur perhaps to the correct regulations or replace a shower and ensure it is in compliance. The whole “Domestic Installer” scenario split the industry and created some controversy and was not one of the industry’s better ideas.

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Additional Questions

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