November 30, 2023

How to become an electrician or electrical installer

Looking to start or switch your career path? You'll want to read this!

How to become an electrician or electrical installer

Modern life depends on electricity. So, as more of our everyday activities switch to using this energy source, the UK’s need for electricians and tradespeople with electrical qualifications also grows!

If you’re thinking of becoming a fully qualified electrician, or would like to get started working with domestic electrical installations, there’s no better time to qualify. 

You’ll be in high demand from the moment you start, on a decent wage, and with lots of career opportunities for the future. (Including working in peoples’ homes, on construction sites, in large companies or as a self-employed person). 

But how do you get to the point where you can carry out electrical work independently? 

Below we discuss the different options, how long they’ll take you and what you can do by the end of your training.

Becoming an electrician  

To become an electrician, you’ll need to complete the following training and assessments, which are usually bundled into one 4-year course: 

  • Level 2 and Level 3 Diplomas in Electrical Installation
  • NVQ Level 3 in Electrotechnical Technology 
  • Assessment of Competence (AM2)

Completing all of the above allows you to become a registered electrician who is able to apply for an ECS Gold Card and carry out work independently, for both commercial and domestic installations i.e. in construction environments as well as in peoples’ homes. 

There are two routes to achieving this:

1. The apprenticeship route

Here are the essential facts to know about the apprenticeship route:

  • You must be employed before you can enrol on an apprenticeship.
  • You do not pay for your training, your employer does.
  • Your employer will also pay you a wage, while you learn.
  • There’s no age limit to when you can begin; it’s never too late to switch careers! 

2. The self-funded route

If you’re already in the workforce, you might have the funds and resources available to pay for your course upfront, without the pressure of finding an employer before you start. 

However, whilst you can complete your Diplomas without an employer, you would have to find suitable employment to be able to progress to NVQ training and qualification. This is due to the portfolio element of completing an NVQ, for which you must be working in the industry.

Once you have found an employer to take you on as an apprentice, your course costs could be passed over to them. 

Note: Whether you choose an apprenticeship, or self-fund your training, we recommend that you have passed your English and Maths GCSEs first. 

This is because electrical work often requires mathematical problem solving; if you have not got a maths GCSE you might find your qualification incredibly challenging. 

electrician or electrical installer zipping up their black jacket

Becoming a domestic electrical installer

This route to the electrical industry doesn’t qualify you as a registered electrician, but it can be a great place to start. Especially if you’re looking to become qualified more quickly. 

As a domestic installer, you still have a diversity of potential work to carry out in peoples’ homes - from lighting and smoke alarms to underfloor heating systems, electric showers and electric vehicle (EV) charge points. You just can’t work on commercial projects.

You’d still be in demand by organisations and homeowners alike - depending on where you choose to work for yourself or in employment.

A domestic installer training course requires just 6 weeks of initial training, then approximately 2 years of building experience for you to become fully qualified and join a Competent Person Scheme. 

This route is mostly taken by those who have been in the workforce for several years and wish to try a new role or industry. Becoming a domestic installer allows you to work as a sole trader from the beginning, so it can be an attractive solution if you’re thinking of alternative career paths.

Here’s how to get support: 

From apprenticeships to career changers, we’ve taken hundreds of aspiring electricians and electrical installers through their qualifications and into successful careers. 

In fact, we’re one of the UK’s leading training providers in this field! 

Reach out to our friendly training team at Universal Skills Group for tips and support on the best pathway for you.

Speak to a member of our team today.

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