Careers in the Electrical Industry

Career Opportunities for Trained Electricians

One of the keys to the success of the IBEW and Local 48 is the incredible opportunities afforded to the quality workers our electrical training programs produce. Whether you are fresh out of high school, graduating from college, or looking to change careers, IBEW Local 48 and the Oregon-Columbia Chapter of NECA (National Electrical Contractor’s Association) would like to offer those opportunities to you. Many industries require you to use your mind. Other industries require your muscle. The electrical construction industry requires you to be able to use your mind and body to create and install some of the most complex systems in the world. Our programs are not easy and placement is extremely competitive. If you are willing to put in the effort, a rewarding career in the electrical industry is within your reach.

Benefits of Choosing an IBEW Electrician Apprenticeship

Electrical Industry projections forecast a need higher than current graduation rates can fill. 

Most of the construction dollars for electrical work spent in our jurisdiction are spent on IBEW Electricians. Since our members have retirements that they can rely on, as they begin to enjoy those retirements, we need to replace them. But replacement doesn’t account for the growth in demand for our electrical services. We are proactively working on filling those future needs now and by learning the electrical trade with us, you insure that you are ready for those jobs when they arrive.

Five years of electrical training in a nationally recognized training center. 

Our electrical training center is one of the most respected trade school facilities in the country. NIETC Instructors are experts in their field. All instructors are graduates of the NJATC National Training Institute and spend countless hours honing their teaching style and lesson plans. Class sizes are small so that individual attention can be given to anyone who is willing to put in the effort. Our members invest in the school for every hour they work, which insures that future journeymen will maintain that reputation. Our instructors are passionate about electrical education and it shows in our graduation rates. When you are done with school, you will be confident enough to pass just about any journeyman wireman’s examination in the country.

On-the-job training with the most talented men and women in the electrical industry. 

Our members are proud of their skills and they enjoy the ability to pass them on. It is part of our commitment to the industry and the IBEW. We go to work knowing that the skills we have save lives and power the world. Our profession is vital to the world economy and learning to approach the trade with pride is just as important as learning the mechanics of the work. While college costs can be $60,000 or more for a four-year degree, you have the potential to earn $140,000 or more in the same amount of time as an electrical apprentice.

We actively recruit and empower disadvantaged classes to insure that everyone has access to this industry. 

Many electrical contractors want access to a diverse workforce. While we don’t discriminate against any applicant for any reason, some segments of society remain under-represented in the electrical industry. Diversity strengthens a workforce in many ways and a diverse workforce strengthens our communities.

We will make an investment in you. 

Many electrical apprenticeship programs will ask you to pay for the classes or the books or both. IBEW Local 48 and NECA team up to cover all of your costs as long as you remain a hard-working student. All that we ask in return is that, upon completion of your training, you use your training to benefit one of the contractors who believed in you enough to help fund your education. Upon acceptance into our program you will receive all the tools you will need to perform the work expected of you on the job and at the beginning of each term you will be provided with the books and materials necessary for your success in school.

Traditional post-secondary education is not the only option after high-school. 

Most if not all Americans have grown up with the idea that going to college is the most respectable next-step for a high-school graduate to take. The reality is that the university system in the United States provides training, but no real opportunity attached to that training. Electrical apprenticeship provides an excellent foundation for further education if a graduate chooses to continue schooling and many large corporations prefer employees with field experience. But even if the apprenticeship is the end of a graduate’s formal education, the learning experience keeps going throughout your electrical career and there are plenty of opportunities for advancement within the trade.

Once you graduate you are viewed as an electrical industry professional. 

Upon completion of your apprenticeship and passing of all state-required testing you are a professional electrician. Graduation from college is only the beginning of what could be a long job search and a fight for recognition in the field of your choice but by the time you have graduated your apprenticeship, you have already begun as many as three pensions, a flexible spending account, health insurance, and other benefit plans that it may take years to get through other career tracks. Many apprentices continue working for the employer they were working for when they passed their test, although it is not required nor is it necessary for a successful career. 

The people you work with become life-long friends. 

As IBEW Local 48 union members we often refer to each other as brother or sister. Brotherhood and sisterhood develop not simply out of blood relationship, but out of shared experience, sacrifice, and commitment. When you are a journeyman wireman there will be times that you will hold the lives of your fellow workers in your hands. There will be times when you have to trust other journeymen with your life. That trust builds a bond that is as strong as any blood relation.

Are you ready to take the next step?

Visit the NECA / IBEW Electrical Training Center:

NECA/IBEW Electrical Training Center Application Information. You can also attend an orientation session where you can have all of your questions answered on the third Tuesday of any month from 4:00 to 5:00 PM at the NECA/IBEW Training Center, 16021 NE Airport Way, Portland, OR 97230. The orientation is also available via podcast.

Get started today as a Material Handler.

There is no reason to wait to get into the electrical industry. It is a good idea to begin working as a Material Handler prior to starting your apprenticeship. Material handlers get training in an aspect of the industry that is critical, but not formally taught. If you advance to the interview portion of the selection process, being able to show some level of interest prior to committing to the five-year apprenticeship reflects positively. It shows that you have made an effort to adequately assess the trade that you intend to make your career.

Learn as much as you can about your future electrical trade. 

Below are some resources for you to explore at your convenience. If, after looking through all the resources on this page, you still have questions, attend an orientation or contact NIETC Workforce Development Coordinator Bridget Quinn by email at bquinn@nietc.org or by phone at 503.501.5069. Good luck in your career search!

Current Electrician Wage Rates

Additional Resources for Electricians and Electrical Apprentices

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