The electrician trade can be an attractive career path in Ontario, where many cities offer wages above CA$30/hour. If you want to specialize in solar PV system installations in particular, Ontario offers plenty of opportunities - as of 2017, 98% of all solar arrays in Canada are installed there!
Before becoming an apprentice electrician, there are some requirements to meet. The Trades Qualification and Apprenticeship Act requires having completed at least grade 10, but many programs require a complete high school education up to grade 12, including Physics, Math and English.
If you have completed the requirements above, you can become an Apprentice Electrician. The Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship act establishes a minimum length for an electrical apprenticeship depending on the specialization field, but some unions may also require you to complete a pre-apprenticeship program as well. You may be awarded a reduction in the total apprenticeship hours if your academic qualifications exceed the minimum entry requirements - each case is reviewed individually since there is no general guideline.
Keep in mind that not all electrical apprenticeships are the same, so you must make sure you choose one focused on the field in which you want to work. The following are three common career paths:
The Electrical Contractors Association of Ontario (ECAO) has a website where you can review the process to become an electrician, and get in touch with apprenticeship councils in your location.
A Construction and Maintenance Electrician works with installations in residential, commercial, institutional and industrial locations. After completing the apprenticeship you are qualified to work in the planning, construction, troubleshooting, reparation and maintenance of electrical systems. The most common installations you can expect to work with are:
The apprenticeship for a Construction and Maintenance Electrician has a duration of 9,000 hours, split between 8,160 hours on-the-job and 840 hours of classroom training.
A Domestic and Rural Electrician specializes in small-scale installations, such as those found in homes, small multi-family dwellings and farms. The activities you can carry out are similar to those performed by a Construction and Maintenance Electrician: planning, construction, troubleshooting, reparation and maintenance. You can expect to work with building systems such as heating, lighting, power outlets, communication, control and security.
The apprenticeship for a Domestic and Rural Electrician has a duration of 7,200 hours, split between 6,660 hours on-the-job and 540 hours of classroom training.
As an Industrial Electrician, you work with installations normally found in manufacturing facilities, such as the following:
The apprenticeship for an Industrial Electrician has a duration of 9,000 hours, split between 8,160 hours on-the-job and 840 hours of classroom training.