Career Development

How To Become an Electrical Panel Builder: Step-by-Step Guide

Learn about the steps important to pursuing a career as an electrical panel builder, including education, skills, salary and more.

An electrical panel builder is responsible for the construction and maintenance of electrical panels. This can be a very rewarding career for those who are interested in electrical work and enjoy working with their hands. In this article, we discuss what an electrical panel builder does, the average salary of an electrical panel builder and the steps to take to pursue this career path.

What Does an Electrical Panel Builder Do?

An electrical panel builder is responsible for the construction of control panels used in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, food and beverage processing, and power generation. Panel builders must have a strong understanding of electricity and be able to read and interpret blueprints or schematics.

The duties of an electrical panel builder include:

  • Reading and interpreting blueprints or schematics to determine the layout of the control panel
  • Assembling the components of the control panel, including switches, breakers, fuses and wiring
  • Installing the control panel in the designated location
  • Connecting the control panel to the power source
  • Testing the control panel to ensure it is functioning properly
  • Troubleshooting any issues with the control panel
  • Repairing or replacing any defective parts
  • Maintaining accurate records of all work completed

Electrical Panel Builder Salary and Job Outlook

The average salary for an electrical panel builder is $48,577.89 per year. This figure can vary based on the level of experience, education, industry and geographical location of the builder.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects job prospects for electrical panel builders to grow at a slower than average rate over the next decade. This is due in part to the increasing automation of the manufacturing process. With fewer panel builders needed to complete projects, those who are employed may find themselves competing for jobs with other professionals in the field.

How to Become an Electrical Panel Builder

Here are several steps you should take to become an electrical panel builder.

1. Complete a high school diploma or equivalent

While a high school diploma or equivalent is the minimum education requirement for electrical panel builders, some employers may prefer candidates who have completed an associate degree program. An associate degree can help you develop your skills and knowledge in electrical engineering and provide you with more career options after you complete your apprenticeship.

If you decide to pursue an associate degree, consider choosing one that focuses on electrical engineering. This will allow you to learn about topics such as circuit theory, power distribution systems, transformers, motors and generators.

2. Consider completing an electrician certificate program from a vocational school

Some vocational schools offer certificate programs for aspiring electrical panel builders. These programs teach students about the design, installation and maintenance of electrical systems in buildings and other structures. You can enroll in a certificate program after completing high school or have completed some college coursework.

The length of time it takes to complete an electrician certificate program depends on whether you attend full-time or part-time. Some programs take one year to finish while others require two years.

3. Pursue an apprenticeship offered by unions, contractor associations, and some employers

Some employers offer apprenticeships to individuals interested in becoming electrical panel builders. These programs are typically three years long and include classroom instruction, on-the-job training and a combination of paid and unpaid work experience. Apprenticeship programs teach you how to read blueprints, use tools and equipment and apply safety protocols while working under the supervision of an experienced professional.

4. Obtain a license to practice in your state

Most states require electrical panel builders to obtain a license before they can work in the state. The requirements for licensure vary from state to state, but most include passing an exam that covers topics such as wiring and safety codes, blueprint reading and schematic analysis. Some states also require candidates to pass a drug test and background check.

5. Work in the industry for several years before seeking positions at a nuclear facility

Most nuclear facilities require electrical panel builders to have at least five years of experience before they can be considered for a position. The reason for this is that most positions at these facilities are highly specialized, and employers want employees who have developed the skills necessary to do their jobs well.

If you’re interested in working at a nuclear facility, consider pursuing an apprenticeship or other training program so that you can gain experience and develop your skills before applying for a job.

6. Gain experience working with electrical systems

After completing the necessary training and certifications, you can begin working as an electrical panel builder. While gaining experience in this role, you can also work on projects that involve electrical systems to help you develop your skills and knowledge of these tasks. You can also pursue roles at nuclear facilities once you obtain all necessary licensure and clearance requirements.

7. Learn how to read blueprints and schematics

Blueprints and schematics are drawings that show the layout of a building’s electrical system. They include information about where power sources, switches and outlets will be placed in a structure. Reading blueprints can help panel builders understand how to build an electrical system based on a client’s specifications.

Schematics also provide detailed information about how circuits should work. Studying these documents can help you learn more about wiring systems and ensure your panels meet industry standards.


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