How To Join The IBEW Apprenticeship


What is the IBEW Apprenticeship?

The apprenticeship is a joint program between the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA). This training program was formally known as the National Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee or NJATC, and is now the electrical training Alliance.

Alliance was developed to reach beyond the textbook and use blended learning by enabling, "students to continue training remotely, bridging the gap between an apprenticeship and learning in the classroom."

Alliance is encouraging the use of new technologies so instructors and students can connect virtually. The allows instructors to spend less time reviewing homework and increase the amount of hands-on instruction for students.

As of now, not every apprenticeship has transitioned to blended learning.

IBEW Apprenticeship Training

Trade-related classroom training produces competency and pride that leads to true craftsmanship. This is what the union prides itself on!

In addition to on-the-job training, you'll receive a true hands-on environment that mimics work in the field and covers a variety of aspects you'll encounter on the job.

Classroom education can't teach you everything, however, it does provide a solid foundation for you to build on and develop your skills.

The five step process to starting your IBEW Apprenticeship:

# 1. Decide Which Program Is Right For You

The first thing is to locate an IBEW apprenticeship learn about the training programs they offer.

Choices can include:

Outside Lineman, Inside Wireman, Technician (Sound & Communication), and Residential Wireman

You need to understand that each apprenticeship does not offer all programs. The outside lineman apprenticeship is only offered at training centers specifically tailored to that program.

In some cases, you may find an apprenticeship like the Puget Sound Electrical JATC that offers three programs; Construction Apprentice (inside wireman), Sound and Comm (technician), and Residential.

Wages for an apprentices are based on a percentage of Journeyman scale. At first glance the wages for a 1st year apprentice are low. However, they do increase in increments following a time frame of 6 to 12 months or 1000 hours of work completed.

Wages fluctuate between IBEW local unions, from city to city, and state to state. The west coast and upper east coast apprentices earn higher wages than those in the south, but you must remember the cost of living is must higher in those areas as well.

# 2. Applying To The Apprenticeship

A few training centers have online applications but in most cases you'll have to fill out actual paperwork. Filling out lengthy paperwork can be a dreadful task, but fortunately for you this time will be different because a new beginning is right around the corner.

Once you begin you're going to have to start digging for high school or college transcripts and try to remember the last four addresses you've lived.

Fill out everything. Write legibly. If your handwriting is poor, have someone who can write legibly fill it out.

Don't leave anything blank! If you absolutely have to leave something blank call the training center office and ask them what you should do. Its always better to check with the ones who will be handling your application.

General requirements for applicants are as follows:

Minimum age 18
Be a high school graduate, or have your GED, or have a two-year Associate Degree or higher
Show successful completion of high school algebra or post high school algebra course with a passing grade
Provide an official transcript for high school and post high school education and training. If applicable, GED records must be submitted

Note: Some programs have additional basic requirements such as drug testing, a physical examination, security background check, or a valid driver's license. If you have been working in the electrical construction industry and meet specific work hour requirements, the training center you're applying to may wave the minimum requirements as long as you provide indisputable documentation proving your work hours.

# 3. Preparing For and Passing The Aptitude Test

This is where you want to do your absolute best and make a very high score! I can't stress this enough because applicants for the apprenticeship are ranked highest to lowest, and those scoring highest are invited to interview first. The aptitude test consists of two parts; Algebra and Functions, and Reading Comprehension. The test takes approximately two and a half hours to complete with a break between the two parts.

IBEW Apprenticeship Math Test

Algebra and Functions portion has 33 questions with a 46 minute time limit. Reading Comprehension has 36 questions with a 51 minute time limit. With only 33 questions there is little room for error. You need to be prepared so you can limit wrong answers.

Here's a few math problems to test your ability.

Algebra Sample

1. Consider the following formula: A = B + 3 (4 – C)

If B equals 5 and C equals 2, what is the value of A?


2. Consider the following formula: y = 3 (x + 5) (x – 2)

Which of the following formulas is equivalent to this one?

A. y = 3 x 2 + 9x-30
B. y = x2 + 3x-lO
C. y = 3 x 2 + 3x-lO
D. y = 3 x 2 + 3x-30

3. Consider the following pattern of numbers: 110, 112, 107, 109, 104

What is the next number in the pattern?

B. 99
C. 106

4. Consider the following formula: a = 1/2 b – 4

Which of the following statements is true for this formula?

A. When the value of b is less than 8, a is negative.
B. When the value of b is greater than 8, a is negative.
C. When the value of b is less than 8, a is positive.
D. When the value of b is greater than 4, a is positive.

If you need to brush up on your math skills then you may want to check out Khan Academy's Algebra 1 course. This is a FREE course!

Also check with your local community college to see if Algebra courses are offered.

IBEW Apprenticeship Reading Comprehension

The reading comprehension measures your ability to retain information. Its simple to read a paragraph but to understand the context can be tricky. Here is a sample of what you're likely to see on the exam.

The timing of New Year's Day has changed with customs and calendars. The Mayan civilization, on what is now called the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, celebrated the New Year on one of the two days when the noonday sun is directly overhead.

In the equatorial regions of the earth, between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, the sun is in this position twice a year, once on its passage southward, and once on its passage northward. At the early Mayan city of Izapa in the southern Yucatan, the overhead date for the sun on its southward passage was August 13.

The Mayans celebrated this as the date for the beginning of the New Year. Later at the more northerly Mayan site at Edzna, the corresponding overhead date is July 26. Analyzes of Mayan pictorial calendars indicate that they celebrated the New Year on August 13 prior to 150 AD, and on July 26 after that year.

This change has been explained by archaeological dating showing that 150 AD was the time that the Mayans moved the hub of their civilization from the southern to the northern site.

1. According to the passage, the sun at Edzna was directly overhead at noon on:

A. July 26 only
B. August 13 only
C. July 26 and one other date
D. August 13 and one other date

2. If the Mayans had moved their civilization's center south of Izapa, their new date for celebration of the New Year would probably have been closest to which of the following dates?

A. January 1
B. February 20
C. March 25
D. September 15

3. Based on the information in the passage, which of the following statements is true?

A. Mayans made Edzna the capital because it was more temperate than Izapa.
B. All Mayans moved to Edzna in 150 AD.
C. Mayans used calendars to mark the passage of time.
D. The Mayan city of Izapa was destroyed in 150 AD.

Answer Key:


1. B
2. A
3. C
4. A

Reading Comprehension

1. C
2. D
3. C

# 4. Waiting For Your Interview

This is by far the most frustrating and nerve racking part of the whole process. Many training centers only accept applicants once or twice a year and having to wait for months without knowing if you'll be accepted can drive you crazy.

Stay calm and don't call the apprenticeship office a thousand times asking why you haven't heard anything back. Be patient, they'll notify you when you've been selected and set up a time to do an interview.

# 5. The Interview

The interview panel consists of members from the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). Based on the interview and a review of your qualifications, you will receive an overall ranking.

Sample questions you may be asked during the interview:

Why do you want to be part of this program?

What kind of electrical experience do you have?

Do you work better as a team or alone? Why?

Describe a time where you did a project from start to finish?

Tell us a situation when you had to complete a project where you did not have the necessary tools to finish it?

If you've been involved with a conflict tell us how you resolved it?

Here's a few tips for interviewing.

When answering questions make an effort to give a straight forward answer and don't ramble on.

Keep your answers on topic and don't use filler words like "um" or "uhh".

Don't cross your arms. Clasp your hands together and sit still, don't squirm.

Take time to formulate your response before speaking.

Have a positive attitude, it speaks volumes about you.

Present yourself in a professional manner. No suit and tie, but dress for success. A pair of slacks or nice jeans, nice shirt (no T-shirts), clean shoes, and a fresh haircut and shave (or at least trim your gruffy face).

Be honest! Tell them what you're looking to get out of the program and why you think you're an ideal candidate. Remember that your dedicated, show initiative to learn, and have a strong work ethic.

Maintain eye contact. Look whomever is questioning you in the eye and give them solid answers.

Give everyone in the interview room a firm handshake and look them in the eye.

Don't smell like alcohol or cigarettes.

Get good rest at night.

Remember that as an apprentice you're starting from the bottom tier. That means you're more labor than skill and you'll be put to work accordingly; ie. digging trenches, setting up scaffolding and ladders, crawling in dark and dirty places, carrying material.

Safety is priority # 1 and must be taken into consideration when answering questions. Example answer: "whatever it takes to get the job done; safely and by the book."

Post Interview

After the interview your name will be placed on an eligibility list for two (2) years. As new positions become available in the apprenticeship program, names will be taken off the eligibility list in order of the ranking score. If you are not selected to begin an apprenticeship during that two-year period, you will need to reapply if you are still interested.

But don't fret, you nailed the interview and scored highly on the aptitude exam. Now its time to wait for the letter that will change your life.