The Non-Apprenticeship Route to Becoming a Qualified Electrician in the UK

If you are looking for information on how to become an electrician in UK without apprenticeship, this short but informative guide will walk you through the non-apprenticeship route to becoming a qualified electrician, helping you make an informed decision about your future career.
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Why Choose the Non-Apprenticeship Route?

The non-apprenticeship route is an ideal choice for those who prefer a more flexible and self-paced learning experience. It allows you to acquire the necessary qualifications while managing your existing commitments, such as work or family life. Additionally, this pathway often appeals to career-changers or those with prior experience in a related field. This route is also faster and more suitable for adult learners who are looking for a new career in electrical installations.

What qualifications do you need to be an electrician UK

To become a qualified electrician without an apprenticeship, you'll need to complete several key qualifications and courses. These include:

City & Guilds 2365 Level 2 Diploma in Electrical Installations (Building and Structures) – This entry-level qualification covers the basics of electrical installations and is the perfect starting point for aspiring electricians. It is also an essential first step to become an electrician. This course will introduce you to basic electrical science, onsite health & safety, electrical installation technology and you will also get training for electrical installation such as working with conduit, trunking, different cables and basic inspection and testing. If you are looking for a self-study or online electrical course please click this link. This electrical course provides more flexibility than an evening, night school, or weekend course. 

City & Guilds 2365 Level 3 Diploma in Electrical Installations (Building and Structures) – Building on the foundation of the Level 2 Diploma, this advanced course is the 2nd step to become an electrician and covers more complex installation techniques and prepares you for work as a professional electrician. It includes advanced electrical theory which introduces you to three-phase systems, basic introduction to environmental technologies. You will also learn about electrical design, inspection and testing of electrical installations and fault finding. Similar to Level 2 this 2365 Level 3 course offered by Total Skills offer complete flexibility. You can find more information on this course by clicking this link.

City & Guilds 2357 Level 3 NVQ – During or after completing your Level 3 Diploma, you'll need to pursue the City & Guilds 2357 Level 3 NVQ Diploma to become a fully qualified electrician. This course is essentially a work based portfolio to show that you can apply your training to onsite work. It is important that you are working in the electrical industry and doing installation work to complete this course. You have to evidence your installation work with pictures and videos and assessors helps you to map these to a vast criteria. As part of the NVQ you also must complete an AM2 assessment at an external provider. Once you finish your NVQ you will be qualified and can apply for a JIB Gold Card. You can find more information on the NVQ at this link.

18th Edition Wiring Regulations (BS 7671) – This mandatory course ensures you're familiar with the latest wiring regulations and industry standards. It is a short course and can be completed with most training providers in 2-3 days or you can also opt for online course or an exam only option. You can find more information on this link.

City & Guilds 2391-52 Inspection and Testing Course – This course teaches you how to inspect, test, and certify electrical installations safely and competently. It is recommended you take this course once you have worked onsite for at least 6 months and understand the requirements for Inspection & Testing of electrical installations. Completing this course lets you issue Electrical Installation Certificates and also Periodic Inspection & Testing certificates. Most training providers offer this as a 5 day course varying the class sizes from 6 to 15. Smaller class sizes help in this course with a more 1 to 1 experience with the trainer. For more information please see this link.

Gaining Practical Experience & Becoming Fully Qualified

While working through your qualifications, it's essential to gain practical experience. Many course providers offer work placement opportunities or can help you find suitable work experience. Working with a qualified electrician or an electrical contractor can help you develop hands-on skills and build a professional network. Once you've completed the necessary qualifications and gained sufficient practical experience, you can apply to join a relevant Competent Person Scheme, such as the NICEIC or NAPIT. Registration with a Competent Person Scheme enables you to self-certify your work, demonstrate your competence, and adhere to industry standards.

Advancing Your Career as an Electrician

With your qualifications and registration in place, you're ready to embark on your career as a qualified electrician. As you gain experience, you may choose to specialise in a particular area, such as renewable energy or home automation, or pursue further qualifications to advance your career.

Conclusion: The non-apprenticeship route to becoming a qualified electrician in the UK, offered by Total Skills, provides a flexible and self-paced alternative to traditional apprenticeships.

With Total Skills, you can acquire the necessary qualifications and develop comprehensive practical experience to register with a Competent Person Scheme, all while benefiting from the adaptability of our training programs.

Upon completing your qualifications, you can also apply for the Joint Industry Board (JIB) Gold Card, which demonstrates your expertise and commitment to excellence within the electrical industry. Embrace this rewarding and successful career path with the flexibility that Total Skills offers, and become a confident, qualified electrician in the electrical industry.

Beware of Scams and Rogue Training Companies

If you’re considering a package, check carefully what’s included – many contain courses that are not essential or suitable for new entrants and are not required for ECS card applications, or recognition under the Electrotechnical Assessment Specification (EAS).

We strongly advise you not to pay for expensive training packages that tie you in and often include unnecessary courses or qualifications.

Don’t be misled by terms such as ‘Professional Electrician’ or ‘Full Scope Electrician’ – these are not official terms and most of these packages contain a mix of knowledge qualifications and other courses that are best taken only once you are qualified.

Below are some courses offered in packages which are not essential:

Domestic Electrical Installer (DEI) Certificate

This is the ‘5 day wonder’. Basic knowledge and skills in a classroom setting.

There is NO industry recognition for this qualification and it will not help you in the career.

Level 3 Certificate in the Building Regulations for Electrical Installations in Dwellings

This is a knowledge qualification that provides awareness of Approved Document P: Electrical Safety, dwellings. It is not required for industry recognition as an electrician.

Level 3 Award in Requirements for Electrical Installations

Awareness of BS 7671:2018 Requirements for Electrical Installations (IET Wiring Regulations, 18th Edition). Covers technical knowledge only on how to interpret the requirements. This is required for qualified electrician status and multiple options are available, including self-study and exam only.

Level 3 Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) Qualification

This is a CPD (ongoing development once qualified) style course for portable appliance testing.

It is not required for industry recognition as an electrician.

Level 3 Award in the Initial Verification and Certification of Electrical Installations

This is required for industry recognition as an electrician but should be taken within or alongside more detailed technical training and after getting practical onsite experience in the industry.

Level 2 Certificate in Fundamental Inspection & Testing

This is not required for industry recognition as an electrician.

Level 3 Award in Periodic Inspection, Testing & Certification of Electrical Installations

This is a CPD qualification intended as further development for qualified electricians. It is not suitable for beginners.

If you are asked to conduct an affordability assessment, be aware of the following warning signs:

Being instructed to submit your parent’s or partner’s details for the credit check if it’s unlikely you can pass the credit check on your own.

Being encouraged to falsify figures on the affordability statement, or having the salesperson tell you what to write in order to pass.

The affordability paperwork indicating you do not have sufficient funds for the finance agreement. We have seen cases where people have signed up for a finance agreement even though the affordability assessment showed they were living with parents, unemployed, and lacked sufficient funds for training.

At Total Skills, we do not run any credit checks and offer you simple payment options without any financial agreement. You are free to stop paying at anytime and can even resume the course at a later date if you are facing financial difficulties.

Frequently asked questions

What qualifications do you need to be an electrician UK? 

To become an electrician in the UK, you have to start with the City & Guilds 2365 Level 2 Diploma in electrical installations, followed by the City & Guilds 2365 Level 3 Diploma in electrical installations and then City & Guilds 2357 Level 3 NVQ Diploma. 

How long does it take to become an electrician in the UK and get a Gold Card?

It can take 2 to 3 years to complete the necessary qualifications and become a Gold Card electrician.

How much do electricians earn?

In UK trainee electricians start earning around £14 and hour and qualified electricians can earn even £35 an hour.