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How to become an Electrician in the UK

Updated for the 2012-2013 qualification changes!

How to become an electrician? Well, it is not a short or easy process. There are many different paths to your qualifications. It can be very confusing since you might easily receive contradictory answers from different colleges or course providers. The qualifications framework has changed in 2012 and the way to become an electrician is more complicated than ever.

The old City & Guilds Technical Certificate in Electrotechnical Technology (2330) is replaced by the new C&G 2365 level 2 and C&G 2365 level 3 Diploma in Electrical Installations (Buildings and Structures).

The C&G 2357-13 NVQ Level 3 Diploma in Installing Electrotechnical Systems and Equipment is still kept for now and is still the best qualification to get in order to become an electrician in the UK. However, this qualification is apprenticeship based, which could pose difficulties for some candidates.


This means that in order to become an electrician you will have to gain the following qualifications:

  • Since January 2011 one of the following new C&G 2357 NVQ Level 3 Diplomas are necessary: C&G 2357-13 NVQ Level 3 Diploma in Installing Electrotechnical Systems and Equipment (Buildings and Structures) or C&G 2357-23 NVQ Level 3 Diploma in Electrotechnical Services (Electrical Maintenance)
    You can gain these qualification through apprenticeship or, at the later stage, by completing it at your workplace.
    If you can sign up for an apprenticeship, than this is the best qualification to get in order to become an electrician.

Or

  • Form September 2012 you will need to gain the C&G 2365 Level 2 and C&G 2365 Level 3 Diploma in Electrical Installations (Buildings and Structures) in order to become an electrician.

In order to become a fully qualified electrician you will also need:

  • 17th Edition of the Wiring Regulations BS 7671:2008 (Requirements of Electrical Installations - City & Guilds 2382-10 Level 3).
    The IEE Wiring Regulations are the British standard to which all commercial, domestic and industrial electrical installation works must comply. You can gain this qualification through your local college or any other course provider. Usually it is a short, four-five day course with an online assessment at the end.
    Feel free to read through our Guide for the 17th edition of the Wiring Regulations.

  • City & Guilds Level 3 Certificate in Inspection, Testing and Certification of Electrical Installations (2391-10).
    In order to work on your own you will need to inspect, test and sign off your work. This qualification allows you to do just that. It is also a proof that you are a competent installer or tester, and are up to date with the national requirements for the industry (BS7671).

Important update:

From February 2013 the old and highly respectable C&G 2391 Inspection, Testing and Certification of Electrical Installations qualification will be divided into three different parts: C&G 2394 Level 3 Award in the Initial Verification and Certification of Electrical Installations, the C&G 2395 Level 3 Award in the Periodic Inspection, Testing and Certification of Electrical Installations and the C&G 2396 Level 4 Electrical Design course (replacing the old C&G 2391-20 course).

Complicated? Yes, it is.

In order to become an electrician and be able to work on your own, you will have to complete at least the C&G 2394 Level 3 Award in the Initial Verification and Certification of Electrical Installations qualification, which will allow you to sign of your work (new installation work only).

In order to be able to Inspect and Test existing electrical installations (Periodic Inspection) you will have to complete the C&G 2395 Level 3 Award in the Periodic Inspection, Testing and Certification of Electrical Installations which will entitle you to complete Electrical Installation Condition Reports.

Becoming an electrician has never been more simple?

You might not agree with that... (Neither do we)


Additional qualifications you can gain:

  • The City & Guilds In-service Inspection and testing of Electrical Equipment (2377) is a course which will allow you to do portable appliance testing (also known as PAT testing). This is a short, two-day course with an online assessment at the end. You can do this through your local college or any other provider offering this course.
  • Emergency Lighting Course. This two-day course covering the design, installation, commissioning, testing and certification of emergency lighting systems could be essential for you if you are required to install emergency lighting systems.

Now you know how to become an electrician. Remember this next time you read ads saying that by finishing a four-week course you can become a qualified electrician. That is simply not true. Becoming an electrician takes years of studying and many years of practice. As simple as that!

hintOne more thing! If you wish to work as an electrician on a construction site, you must hold an ECS/CSCS card which proves your identity, competence and qualified status. In this guide you will found out how to get one.


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