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Haven’t Been Selected for IBEW Apprenticeship Yet? Here Are Steps You Can Take Now


It’s no secret that an IBEW apprenticeship is an excellent first step towards a rewarding career in the electrical trade. Our training programs produce some of the best trained workers anywhere in the country, and graduates are always in high demand.

(View all of our current jobs for electricians now.)

That means demand for the apprenticeship program is also high. The hard truth is that each year we have more applications than spots available. This can lead to frustration for those who are not able to get into the program right away.

But that doesn’t mean you don’t have options available to you in the meantime. Below, we’ll explore some of the pre-apprenticeship resources available to help you prepare for successful entrance to the IBEW apprenticeship program.

Pre-Apprenticeship Programs

In 2016, The National Electrical Contractors Association and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers -  Electrical Training Center (NIETC) conducted our first pre-apprenticeship program, and we haven’t looked back since. 

The pre-apprenticeship program is designed to expand access to the IBEW and provide career opportunities for underrepresented populations, including women, BIPOC, persons with disabilities, and veterans. It can help those who are interested in apprenticeship gain the skills and knowledge they will need for a career in the trades. These programs offer participants a chance to see if apprenticeship is the right choice for them and provides helpful courses tailored to a career in the trades.

Program participants receive eight weeks of classroom and lab training. They then work as material handlers for a minimum of two weeks to gain valuable on-the-job experience.

Learn more about the NECA-IBEW Pre-Apprenticeship Program.

Gain Useful Experience as a Material Handler

Only licensed electricians and registered apprentices are legally allowed to perform electrical work in Oregon. However, material handling is an entry-level position that does not require a license, but will provide you with valuable experience in the electrical field. You must be 18 or older to become a material handler, and you can get started by signing the Material Handler/Inside Support book at the IBEW Local 48 Dispatch Office. You can also view a list of our employers to see which companies are hiring material handlers

Volunteer Your Time

If you are looking to gain relevant experience in the construction industry to help you fill out your resume, volunteering can be another great option. You’ll not only gain real world experience in the trades, you’ll also often be doing work that directly benefits those in need.  

Local Portland-area volunteer groups include:

Keep Learning While You Are Waiting

If it’s been awhile since you completed coursework, you may want to study up to help you prepare for the IBEW apprenticeship aptitude test. Essential math skills are one area in particular that you will want to be sure you are up to speed on. These include basic algebra and geometry as well as fractions and decimals.

Likewise, you’ll want to make sure your reading and writing skills are up to the challenge of reading and comprehending technical information. 

There are many online courses as well as community college classes available that can help you hone your skills and ensure you are ready for apprenticeship coursework as well as the aptitude test. is one excellent resource. The website was created by the Joint National Apprenticeship and Training Committee and includes loads of helpful courses, from interview prep to math.

In addition to these skills, it will be helpful for you to educate yourself about the electrical field. Put in the time to understand types of electrical jobs and how their roles differ.

And finally, don’t give up! There are many resources available to assist you and ensure that you’re ready when it’s time to apply, and steps you can take now to put you in the best possible position to get started on your way to an amazing career! 

Good luck!

Electrician Apprenticeship
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