Electrician Training Program - Online Electrician School | Penn Foster Career School

Online Electrician Training Program

Why Penn Foster Career School?

  • Regionally & Nationally Accredited
  • Self-Paced
  • Supportive
  • Low monthly payments

Residential Electrician Career Diploma

If you want to learn how to become an electrician, Penn Foster Career School can help you take the first steps. In our Career Diploma Program, you can learn to install and repair home electrical systems in electrician courses that cover topics like conductors, multimeters, circuit analysis, transformers, and much more. This program complies with the latest version of the National Electrical Code,® and includes student discounts from Snap-on.

This in-demand field is expected to grow by 20% between now and 2022,¹ faster than the average for all occupations. Plus, with Penn Foster Career School's online Residential Electrician training program you can enjoy the convenience of training at home, at a pace that's right for you. We can help you learn the skills to take the first step towards a new career as a residential electrician, including a Work Experience Option and the most up-to-date NEC® Codebook.

Curriculum Details

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal

To prepare students for an entry-level career as an electrician at the apprentice level in the residential and light commercial construction field.

Program Outcomes

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Recognize formulas and their applications to determine quantities and sizes of materials required and their installation processes
  • Compute measurement methods and mathematical processes necessary for the preparation and implementation of electrical related projects
  • Recognize regulations and procedures related to workplace safety
  • Comprehend the principles of interpreting basic electrical blueprints and technical drawings to follow the required specifications of electrical projects
  • Understand the composition and usage of materials and processes required for electrical system installations and repairs
  • Identify procedures for evaluating and diagnostic testing of electrical components and circuits
  • Demonstrate knowledge and application of the National Electrical Code

Unit 1

Starting Your Program

Succeed by learning how to use your Penn Foster program.


  • Understand how to use your Student Portal.
  • Access the Penn Foster Community and use it to find answers.
  • Connect with Penn Foster on various social media sites.
Getting Started as a Residential Electrician

This lesson introduces you to the basics you’ll need to get started in your new career as a Residential Electrician.


  • Study a simplified introduction to electricity.
  • Summarize the different types of careers available to electricians.
  • Learn about voltage and current.
  • Identify the basic components used in a residential circuit.
  • Discover the function of each component in a service entrance.
  • Understand how electrical power is distributed from a power plant to homes and businesses.

Unit 2

Working Safely with Electricity


  • Study the major electrical classifications and describe the job functions associated with each.
  • Learn how to discuss the National Electrical Code® with manufacturers, installers, and users of electrical equipment.
  • Find out how to design safe work habits that lessen the chances of serious electric shock by avoiding those conductive paths most dangerous to your body.
  • Identify the safety equipment that you’ll be required to wear when installing or repairing electrical equipment.
Electricians’ Tools


  • Find out about the hand tools you’ll use as an electrician.
  • Learn how to use hand tools and power tools safely.
  • Discover how to perform basic calculations and measurement conversions using the metric system.
  • Use Ohm’s Law to explain the relationship between current, voltage, and resistance in a circuit.
  • Study how electrical measuring instruments are used to measure current, voltage, and resistance.
  • Understand the definitions for many of the basic electrical terms that electricians use every day.
  • Identify the basic symbols used in electrical schematic drawings.
Additional Unit Materials

Video: Safe Use of Hand Tools

Equipment: Parts Kit for Electrical Fundamentals

Practical Exercise

Practical Exercise: Electrical Fundamentals

Unit 3

Nature of Electricity


  • Discover what electricity is and how it’s used.
  • Understand many of the important fundamental concepts related to electricity.
  • Study the dangers and benefits of static electricity.
  • Learn about volts, amperes, ohms, series circuits, and parallel circuits.
Electrical Equipment, Part 1


  • Study several common types of wiring equipment.
  • Learn the important terms that apply to electrical equipment and the electrical symbols that relate to electrical equipment.
  • Discover when and where boxes, cabinets, and panels are used in electrical installations.
  • Understand how to properly install boxes, cabinets, and panels.
  • Note when and where cable and conductor fittings and conduit fittings are used in electrical installations.
  • Learn how to install cable and conductor fittings and conduit fittings.
Electrical Equipment, Part 2


  • Identify various types of control devices, including hand-operated switches, automatic switches, magnetically controlled devices, and remote-control systems.
  • Discover how to install various types of control devices.
  • Learn about various types of protective devices, including fuses, circuit breakers, and ground-fault circuit interrupters.
  • Study the installation of various protective devices.
  • Find out about various types of electrical loads.
Additional Unit Materials

Video: Installing Switches, Receptacles, and Lampholders


  • Combination Wiring Tool
  • Screwdriver Set
  • Safety Goggles
  • Parts Kit for Installing Electrical Equipment
Practical Exercise

Practical Exercise: Installing Electrical Equipment

Unit 4



  • Identify the physical properties and characteristics of conductors.
  • Identify the electrical properties and characteristics of conductors.
  • Work with tables that define conductor characteristics.
  • Learn to install and connect wires and cables in residential circuits.
  • Discover how to size conductors to match circuit requirements.
Working with Conduit


  • Learn to identify and define the types and characteristics of conduit.
  • Discover how to install various types of conduit fittings and supports.
  • Study the tools needed to bend conduit and use those tools correctly.
  • Determine conduit sizing when given a particular wiring job.
Additional Course Materials

Video: Doing Conduit Work


  • Parts Kit for Conduit and Conductors
  • Transformer
Practical Exercise

Practical Exercise: Conduit and Conductors

Unit 5

Wiring Electrical Components, Part 1


  • Study the function of various electrical components.
  • Work with various types of electrical systems.
  • Learn the function of grounding wires and explain how they’re properly connected.
  • Identify terminals on electrical equipment and properly connect them to circuit conductors.
  • Select the proper switches, receptacles, and device boxes needed for given applications and describe how they’re wired.
  • Discover the terminals on light fixtures and explain how they’re wired.
Wiring Electrical Components, Part 2


  • Study how old work differs from new electrical-construction work.
  • Learn several ways to run wire in existing structures.
  • Discover the steps to take when installing new electrical devices in existing structures.
  • Outline the acceptable procedure for adapting existing aluminum wire for use with modern devices.
  • Find out how electricians rely on electrical measurements to troubleshoot an existing circuit.
Math for the Trades


  • Apply your math skills to solve real-world, trades-related problems.
  • Learn about fractions, which are a must for working in any trade.
  • Study units of length and angles, as well as methods of measuring lengths and angles.
  • Learn about the concept of solving problems with formulas.
  • Discover how to set up formulas to find a needed quantity and how to solve the formula.
Circuit Analysis and Ohm’s Law


  • Study circuit resistance.
  • Learn about Ohm’s Law, and discover how it’s used to identify the amount of current, voltage, or resistance that’s in a circuit.
  • Learn about power and how to take basic meter readings in circuits.
Working with Multimeters


  • Learn about voltage, current, and resistance and their relationship in a circuit.
  • Discover how voltage, current, and resistance are measured with a multimeter.
  • Find out some of the important safety precautions you must take when using a multimeter.
  • Learn the purpose of a continuity test.
  • Perform tests for short circuits and resistance tests on resistors, switches, and transformers.
  • Measure current by using a direct series connection and the output voltage of a DC power supply.
Additional Unit Materials

Video: Special Wiring Applications


  • Digital Multimeter
  • Parts Kit for Working with Circuits

Supplement: Multimeter Operation Manual

Practical Exercise

Practical Exercise: Working with Circuits

Unit 6

Electric Heating


  • Acquire an understanding of different heating sources and some of the benefits of electric heating.
  • Learn basic terms used in electric heating.
  • Study the basics of heat loss and how insulation, ventilation, and other factors affect heat loss calculations.
  • Discover how heating requirements for buildings are estimated with the degree-day method of calculation.
  • Compare the major selections of heating equipment.
  • Study the relationship of heat, current, resistance, and voltage.
  • Learn the main types of electric thermal-storage systems available, including the advantages of each.
  • Study the various heating controls available.
  • Compare and select electric-heating systems for residential applications.
Controls for Air Conditioning


  • Discover the function of common components within a building’s HVAC system, a pneumatic automatic control system, and an electric automatic control system.
  • Learn about the operation of an electric automatic control system using ladder logic diagrams.
  • Study the operation of an automatic control system for an HVAC system based on ladder logic and schematic diagrams.
Reading Electrical Schematic Diagrams


  • Learn standard electrical symbols and their meanings.
  • Discover the parts of a schematic diagram.
  • Study the flow of electrical current through circuit devices.
  • Learn about electrical drawings, block diagrams, wiring diagrams, and electrical schematic diagrams.
  • Interpret switch status and describe a switching circuit’s operating behavior.
  • Trace wiring diagrams for motor controls.
  • Study a ladder diagram and its function.
Additional Unit Materials

Learning Aid: HVAC System Schematic

Practical Exercise

Practical Exercise: Wiring HVAC Circuits

Unit 7

Electrical Blueprint Reading


  • Discover how blueprints are prepared.
  • Learn how to talk about the relationship of electrical blueprints to the architectural drawings and drawings of other trades.
  • Study the information presented on blueprints.
  • Understand the different methods of presenting information on blueprints.
  • Interpret the common symbols and abbreviations used on electrical blueprints.
  • Trace a wiring diagram and understand it.
Wiring Electrical Circuits


  • Learn about feeder and branch circuits.
  • Identify the correct type of general or special-purpose circuit when given a list of circuit descriptions.
  • Discover how wiring is installed for branch circuits in a residence under particular situations.
  • Differentiate among portable, fixed, and stationary appliances, and describe how each type is wired.
  • Study the components needed for an electrical circuit.
  • Calculate the current in a neutral conductor and the size of a service-entrance conductor needed for a residence.


  • Learn the main parts of a transformer.
  • Understand how mutual inductance makes it possible to change an AC (alternating current) voltage or current from one value to another.
  • Determine the turns ratio when the primary and secondary voltages or currents are known.
  • Calculate primary or secondary voltage or current when either of these and the turns ratio are known.
  • Study why transformer cores are laminated (layered).
  • Connect three single-phase transformers for three-phase operation.
  • Calculate line current (if phase current is known) in delta-connected transformers.
  • Discover the principle of operation of an autotransformer.
Additional Unit Materials

Learning Aid: Electrician Blueprint Set

Practical Exercise

Practical Exercise: Advanced Electrical Work

Unit 8

The National Electrical Code®


  • Gain an understanding and appreciation of the National Electrical Code.®
  • Get in-depth coverage for all of the essential elements of the code including terminology, structure, and specific applications and interpretations.
  • Study conductor fill, load, and voltage drop calculations.
  • Learn GFCI requirements, grounding rules, and wiring requirements for hazardous locations.
  • Learn code variables based on single-family and multi-family classifications and residential and commercial classifications.
  • Study code requirements specific to health-care facilities.
Additional Unit Materials


  • NEC® 2014
  • Electrical Systems Based on the 2014 NEC®
Supplement: Work Experience Option

Unit 9

Troubleshooting Electrical Systems


  • Understand the concept of troubleshooting.
  • Outline the fundamental steps of electrical troubleshooting.
  • Apply the basic fundamentals of troubleshooting to electrical problems.
  • Learn the methods of approach applied in troubleshooting.
  • Find out the correct method of approach or a combination of approaches to electrical problems.
Electrical Estimating


  • Study the basics of electrical estimating.
  • Learn about the projected cost of getting a job done.
  • Prepare an estimate based on methods to install equipment, man-hours worked, and doing the job right.
  • Study the bidding process.
  • Master electrical estimating by using various methods.
  • Calculate overhead.
  • Complete an estimate summary.
  • Experience a real-life electrical estimating and bid process for a two-story custom home that’s to be built.
The Business of Electrical Contracting


  • Learn the important considerations of starting an electrical contracting business, including the advantages, disadvantages, skills required, and finances.
  • Outline the very basic requirements and some suggested actions one might take when opening a business.
  • Study some of the preliminary management responsibilities and challenges associated with owning any electrical contracting business.
Additional Unit Materials

Textbook: Electrical Estimating

Graduation Gift

When you graduate, you'll receive...

Journeyman Exam Preparation Guide

Code Check Electrical Guide

(Sent to you when all program requirements and financial obligations have been met.)

Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need high-speed internet access to begin your program. In addition, you will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows 7® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running OS X® or later, and an email account to participate in and complete your program.

We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.
Microsoft, Windows, and Windows XP are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
Apple, Mac, and OS X are trademarks of Apple, Inc registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.

Sample Lesson

To view a Residential Electrician sample lesson, click here.

Electrician State Requirements

Please review your state board requirements that are applicable to your field of study. State boards may impose a variety of different requirements, which vary from state to state. This is particularly important for those searching for electrician schools in California.

Snap-on Student Excellence Program

Students enrolled in our online electrician courses are eligible to participate in the Snap-on Student Excellence Program. This program allows students in trades and technology education programs to purchase high-quality Snap-on tools at a preferred student discount. Some restrictions may apply for total purchase and quantities of certain items. Click here to see the new Snap-on Catalog.


State Licensing Information

Licensing and/or certification requirements for jobs in this field are not the same in every state and may include educational, testing, and/or experiential requirements beyond those offered by your Penn Foster Program. You should contact the state professional licensing board or similar regulatory body in the state(s) where you plan to work to determine their requirements before enrolling in your Program. Please click here for contact information for state licensing/regulatory boards and certain industry licensing information.

Electrical Training Online

Here are a few qualities that successful residential electricians have in common:

  • Patient: Repairing or installing electrical units is a step-by-step process that can take time.
  • Problem solver: Finding the missing piece can be challenging and fun.
  • Persistent: You will work hard until you can successfully solve the problem at hand.
  • Detail oriented: It’s important to have a sharp eye and check things twice.
  • Cautious: Being cautious helps prevent accidents or injury.
  • Reliable: Clients can rely on you to work hard and perform consistently.

I took the knowledge that I gained through the program and opened my own electrical contracting company. During this first year in business, I have exceeded all my goals and expectations. Penn Foster exceeded my expectations with this program. After working as an electrician for seven years, I was shocked at how much I was able to learn from the courses. I am currently discussing sending all my electrician employees through this program, so that they can move ahead in their careers. I recommend Penn Foster to anyone who wants a great program that will prepare you with the skills required to start in this field.

- Jeffery B., Residential Electrician Graduate

Your program includes:

  • Customized payment plans with 0% interest
  • Books, learning aids, and the most up-to-date NEC® Codebook
  • Snap-on Student Excellence Program offering up to a 50% discount on Snap-on products
  • Goal-setting and progress-tracking tools
  • Instructional support from our experienced faculty
  • Access 24/7 to Penn Foster’s online community, plus immediate membership in the Residential Electrician academic group
  • Your personalized online student homepage and learning portal
  • Additional resources such as our online library and career guidance from Career Cruising

Does Penn Foster Career School’s Residential Electrician Career Diploma program comply with the National Electric Code®?

Yes. Penn Foster Career School’s Residential Electrician Program complies with the most up-to-date version of the NEC® Codebook, and this book is included in the materials provided with the program.

More FAQs >

¹ Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Electricians, on the Internet here. Statistics found in the United States Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook are based on national data, so job growth in your area may be different.

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