Electrical work can be challenging, complex, physically demanding, and very rewarding. We have found that applicants who have not worked on construction projects, received specific training, or who do not have friends or relatives in the industry are often unfamiliar with the wide range of tasks electrical workers perform, or the skills needed today to be a successful electrical worker. NJATC has prepared a checklist to help prospective applicants measure their interest in day-to-day electrical work, and whether they will have the ability to succeed at the completion of their apprenticeship.
Thirty-five core abilities that are important for all four electrical worker specialties are listed on the checklist. The checklist provides boxes on the left provide space to indicate your interest, as well as your capability, to perform the ability. If you are interested in performing work that requires the ability, place a checkmark under the column labeled “Interest.” If you believe that you are capable of performing work that requires the ability, place a checkmark in the “Capability” column. In a few cases you might be unsure about your capability, especially if you have not worked with blueprints or technical documents. Consider your interest and capability based upon similar activities, such as automotive repair.
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. Many electrical contractors are required by federal or state law to consider making reasonable accommodations for otherwise qualified employees with disabilities, and in some cases accommodations might be available. 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 capability in many of the abilities, 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. Some preparatory steps you can take include:
• Look for books on electrical construction work in the library.
• Access the NJATC website at http://www.njatc.org. It provides detailed job descriptions for the four electrical work specialties, as well as other relevant information.
• Enroll in the NJATC’s online Tech Math course. To access the course, go to http://www.njatc.utk.edu.
• Ask the Training Director at the IBEW/NECA training center in your area whether he or she could refer you to someone in the electrical industry who can answer any questions you may have.
Learning more about the work done by electrical workers will help you determine how well suited you are for a career in electrical construction.