May 21, 2024

How Do You Become an Electrician Specializing in EV Charger Installations?


7 Min. Read

As we transition into a more electrified future driven by advancements in cutting-edge technology and a desire for increasing sustainability and energy independence, electric vehicles (EVs) are rapidly becoming the transportation of our future.

But without a skilled workforce capable of installing EV charging stations in homes and businesses across the country, this electrified future may find itself without fuel. Electricians specializing in EV charger installations are in tremendous demand that shows no signs of stopping.

Demand for this specialized trade will grow for the foreseeable future as the EV market accelerates. Given the current shortage of trained installation experts, more people should be encouraged to ask, “How do you become an electrician?”

EV Adoption Trends

EVs are expected to comprise 23% of U.S. new car sales by 2025, five years before most automakers have announced their intentions to cease production of gas-powered vehicles.

To keep those cars and trucks on roadways, an estimated 28 million home and workplace EV chargers must be operational by 2030, along with the 1.2 million public chargers planned along highways and around popular destinations.

The surging demand for EV charger installations—along with demand for solar panel integrations, battery storage, and other electrification projects—presents a fantastic opportunity for electricians. Capitalizing on this opportunity requires electricians to continually update their skills and knowledge of the latest technologies, especially as the technology continues to rapidly advance.

Understanding EV Charger Equipment

You must have comprehensive knowledge of the three levels of EV charging equipment if you intend to pursue a career specializing in electrification and EV charger installation as an electrician.

Level 1 Chargers

Most EVs come with a Level 1 EV charger that can be plugged into a standard 120V outlet.

Unfortunately, they charge exceptionally slowly, replenishing a vehicle’s range at about only five miles per hour and often taking over 50 hours to fully charge an EV. As a result, they are inadequate for most EV drivers’ needs.

Although Level 1 EV chargers can typically be used safely in any household outlet, you should still schedule an inspection with the homeowner to ensure the outlet meets National Electric Code (NEC) requirements and presents no safety hazards.

Level 2 Chargers

There are a variety of charger brands and models designed for residential or commercial usage, and some EVs will come with a Level 2 EV charger.

Capable of fully charging an EV in four to 10 hours, all Level 2 EV chargers require a dedicated 240V circuit and use anywhere from 32 to 80 amps, depending on the manufacturer. These chargers can be installed through a hardwired connection or by using a commercial-grade NEMA 14-50 outlet with GFCI breakers.

As a licensed electrician, you should always perform a load calculation prior to beginning any type of EV charger installation to ensure the electrical panel has sufficient capacity for the EV charger and determine if a panel upgrade or load management device is necessary to support the charger.

Level 3 or Direct Current Fast Chargers (DCFC)

DC Fast chargers, also known as Level 3 electric vehicle chargers, are strictly for commercial use due to their DC voltage requirements, which cannot be accommodated in many areas. These high-powered EV charging stations utilize a dedicated 480V-1,000V circuit and will require additional specialized training as a commercial EV charger installer.

These stations are powerful enough to charge a vehicle’s battery in under an hour but are not recommended for daily use as they can lead to increased battery degradation over time.

Ongoing Education

These are the three main types of EV charging equipment currently on the market, but newer equipment and technologies are being developed. These include wireless charging using electromagnetic induction to eliminate the need for cables, bidirectional charging which allows for electricity to be sent back from the vehicle into the home (V2H), another energy storage device or load (V2X), or directly into the grid (V2G).

The continual evolution of the EV marketplace means that electricians must stay informed about the latest advancements in EV charging. Affiliation with an industry leader and developing strategic partnerships allows electrical contractors to obtain state-of-the-art training in the EV charger installation market.

Electricians Needed

As a generation of electricians nears the age of retirement and many have already retired, the shortage of electrical workers has become significantly more pronounced. And with fewer vocational training programs available to remaining electricians and new workers interested in entering the workforce, there simply aren’t enough new electricians in the job market to replace the loss of this retiring workforce. Nonetheless, the demand for electricians continues to grow.

How Do You Become an Electrician?

If you are interested in this career opportunity and want to learn how to become an electrician, the first step is a training or apprentice program.

One of the key differences and benefits of entering into an apprenticeship program versus attending a college or university program is earning paid on-the-job training and experience. Once your training program is complete, you must pass licensing tests to obtain certifications demonstrating your specialized training, however, specializing in EV charger installation and other energy transition technologies will require additional training and experience.

Electrical licenses are issued by each state to show that an electrical contractor is legally able to work in that state, however, the education and experience required varies per state so it is important to train in the state you expect to work and live in.

For example, California requires 4,500 hours of on-the-job work before trainees can take the residential electrician exam and 8,000 hours before they can attempt the general electrician exam. An additional 150 hours of classroom and lab-based electrical training are required annually.

Texas also requires 8,000 hours of work to become a licensed master electrician and even more classroom training than California.

Electrical Contractor Certificates and EV Charger Installation Training

If you intend to set yourself apart by offering electrification services such as EV charger installation, specialized training is crucial.

While work experience for general electrical services provides practical hands-on training in a variety of electrical support scenarios to determine where your interests and aptitude are best served, undergoing additional training and earning certifications will ensure you are knowledgeable about the best safety and installation techniques for dealing with these technologies.

There are a variety of training programs and courses offered by reputable organizations, and partnering with a strategic organization that offers this training can help ensure you stay up-to-date on your necessary certifications and training.

An improperly installed EV charging station can lead to a loss of property, damages to your professional reputation, and even injuries or a loss of life, so it is vital that you use the right materials and installation techniques for these services to avoid disastrous losses to your business and customers.

How Do You Become an Electrician? Build a Professional Network.

Training, on-the-job experience, and certifications can help you get started as an electrician, but in order to launch and build a successful, thriving electrical contractor business you will need to establish and maintain professional relationships.

Create solid connections within your local community and the industry to establish your reputation and encourage referrals.

Additionally, attending events such as Chamber of Commerce events or other local business group functions can be beneficial. Beyond attending events, connecting with local EV car dealers, auto parts stores, charging equipment suppliers, and fellow electricians is also invaluable to your business development.

Partnering with nationally respected brands and businesses gives you further credibility as they can help you establish a reputation as a trusted tradesperson and leader, further expanding your electrical contracting business.

Getting Started in the EV Charger Installation Field

Becoming an electrician is the first step in actively pursuing a successful career as an EV charging station installer. The need for trained electrical contractors is growing rapidly as electric cars and trucks, battery storage systems, solar panels, and other electrification efforts become standard.

How do you become an electrician? With rising demand and a growing market for experienced EV charger installers, it’s crucial for electricians to prepare for the energy transition by becoming skilled in EV charger installation. Qmerit can help.

As the largest network of certified EV charger installers in North America, Qmerit is the most trusted EV charger installation partner recommended by automakers, EV charger manufacturers, utilities, businesses, and homeowners alike. Our network of certified electricians has installed more EV chargers and other electrification technologies in the last decade than anyone else in the industry—more than 450,000 EV charging stations in homes and businesses across the U.S. and Canada!

By joining our unique Certified Solutions Partner program, you can access essential training and certifications such as the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program (EVITP) program, among other benefits designed to help you build your business for the future.

With the training opportunities to master new techniques in the energy transition field, and tools and resources to help grow your business and develop a well-trained workforce, Qmerit offers electrical contractors the opportunity to stay current on the latest electrification technologies through in-depth training and continuing education programs.

Partner with Qmerit today to build your EV business for the future.

Author: David Santillo

David Santillo

Senior Vice President, Contractor Support