What Qualifications Do I Need To Become A Fully Qualified Electrician?
At first glance trying to understand the different range of electrician qualifications and awards available can be quite daunting. To make matters worse, there are old websites in the public domain that have not been updated for years that contain out of date qualifications that are no longer available. This only serves to confuse people further.
To help you, our Electrical Training Manager, Richard Woolgrove, has put together an easy to follow guide that will help you make sense of it all. For avoidance of doubt, Richard has over 40-years industry experience. He holds current assessor and verifier qualifications and has been involved in education for the past 15-years.
If you are looking to re-train as an electrician, the following guide will help you to understand the stages to follow in order to gain the electrician qualifications that you need and require.
Step One – Our Domestic Electrical Installers Course
17th Edition Wiring Regulations
Domestic Electrical Installers Award (Formerly known as Part P Full Scope Award)
What am I & What Can I Do?
You are a qualified Domestic Electrician that can do the following:
- Join a Competent Persons Scheme that is ran by providers such as NICEIC/ ELECSA/ ECA etc.
- You can legally maintain and install on all single phase electrical installations in domestic properties, new build environments and light commercial premises (i.e. office or shop).
- You can ‘sign off’ and notify on your own electrical installations to your local council via your chosen Competent Persons Scheme provider.
- You can obtain an ECS/ JIB card which will allow you access to building and construction sites. At this stage of your development you are still classed as a trainee and will only be awarded with a card that states you are an Electrical Labourer* (see explanation below). Every ‘would be’ electrician has to start here. In order to gain a JIB Gold Card – you must first complete your NVQ Level 3 Electrical Qualification that includes commercial and industrial training and on-site assessment. See below for further details.
- You can start to earn money as a Domestic Electrician straight away. You will then be in a position to ‘self-fund’ further training and qualifications.
Step Two – Testing and Inspection Course
Periodic Inspection & Testing Award
Initial Inspection, Testing & Verification Award
What am I & What Can I Do?
You are qualified in Inspection and Testing. You can do the following:
- Inspect, test and write condition reports against existing electrical installations. i.e. on behalf of landlords and mortgage providers.
- Inspect, test and sign off against electrical installations where the physical installation has been undertaken by a 3rd party, i.e a plumber, builder or non-qualified electrical installer.
- You can test and inspect on single phase and 3 phase electrical installations.
Step Three – NVQ Level 3 + AM2
Electrical NVQ Level 3
What am I & What Can I Do?
You are a qualified Level 3 Electrician that can do the following:
- Apply for a JIB Gold Card which will allow you access to building and construction sites as a ‘qualified’ electrician. However, you must be aware that even with a full suite of qualifications JIB will not guarantee you a Gold Card - they will look at each case individually in addition to electrician qualifications they will want to see a broad variety of electrical work being undertaken by you the applicant.
- Apply for employed roles within the industry as an NVQ Level 3 Qualified Electrician What do I need to do to gain the qualification?.
- In addition to Steps One & Two you will need to undertake further centre led training. This will include a further 8 modules that will develop skills and understanding of commercial and industrial installations, 3 phase installations, conduit etc.
- You will need to be assessed on site where you will be observed by a qualified assessor. The only way that this can happen is if you are employed on-site as an electrician’s labourer* or trainee.
- The whole process will require a further 12-18 months following Stage One
- You cannot gain NVQ Level 3 by attending college, a training centre or through home study alone – you must be working in the industry as you have to go through on-site assessment.
- You must also gain the AM2 qualification before you will be awarded the NVQ Level 3. This is usually undertaken by 3rd party, independent assessment.
Do I need to complete Steps One and Two before I move onto Step 3?
Ideally, yes. Whilst you can gain an NVQ Level 3 without completing Step One you cannot then legally work on domestic, single phase installations without holding the qualifications in Step One as you will not be able to join a Competent Persons Scheme without 17th Edition and DEI Awards.
Step Two – Testing and Inspection is one of the modules that you would need to gain as part of your NVQ Level 3.
Most new entrants to the industry follow these steps as it is a logical way to develop their career. It also means that you can start to earn money as a Domestic Electrician or as an Electricians Labourer* whilst you develop further skills and gain additional qualifications over time. * The term labourer is unfortunate and can be misconstrued. It does not mean that you can only hump and lump for people, your card will show your current qualifications, such as 17th Edition Wiring Regulations etc. This means you will be able to do electrical work under the ‘technical supervision’ of the electrical site manager. Remember that you will need to be doing this work so that you can be assessed in order to gain the NVQ Level 3.
We are now offering a route for trainees to gain NVQ Level 3 – please ask us for more details.
Remember – you will only gain a JIB Gold Card after you have gained a NVQ Level 3 qualification. It is a road that requires dedication and commitment. It is however achievable.
The question you need to ask yourself is, ‘do I need an NVQ Level 3?
If your intention is to work as a Domestic Electrician – then the answer is no. You do not need to make a decision to do an NVQ Level 3 immediately. You can enrol onto the NVQ Level 3 at any stage in your career. We recommend that you work for 12-months as a Domestic Electrician or as an Electricians Labourer on-site. This will help you determine whether this is the right course of action for you. We do encourage people to keep building a work based portfolio of evidence whilst working as a Domestic Electrician or Electricians Labourer.
By doing this you may be able to work through the NVQ Level 3 much quicker by undertaking what is known as APL (Approved Prior Learning) version of the NVQ.
Please remember NVQ Level 3 is an additional qualification to the 17th Edition and Domestic Electrical Installers Award contained within Step One. It is not instead of nor in place of. They are different qualifications that will both allow you to earn a living.
We’re here to help. Please feel free to ask any questions that you can think of.
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Reviewer: Les Poole, Cambridge -19-Jun-2017
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