Amp Up Your Career With Electrician Training At North Montco Technical Career Center

Amp Up Your Career With Electrician Training At North Montco Technical Career Center


Denise Collins•          Tue, Jun 16, 2020, 11:06 AM

If you are considering a career that can offer an opportunity for specialization in one of a number of areas, the electrical trade may be right for you. The three primary areas of employment for electricians are residential, commercial, and industrial. Each offers pathways for job growth, and according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, outlook for employment in this industry is growing at a rate of 10% projected to 2028. While demand is excellent for electricians, so are apprenticeships, employment and salary prospects!

North Montco Technical Career Center’s electrical trade program collaborates with local businesses for curriculum advisement and employment opportunities for students. Gillespie Electric and Universal Electrical are just two of the partners that serve on the program’s Occupational Advisory Committee (OAC). These industry partners want to make sure Montgomery County has enough qualified electricians to fill the job gap. Both Gillespie and Universal Electric elaborated on the electrical trade and the benefit of students continuing with an employer-funded apprenticeship program once they found employment.

Matt Sauers, chief estimator of Gillespie Electric, is a former graduate of North Montco and the Pennsylvania Youth Apprenticeship Program (PYAP).

“Electricians can make a very, very good living, and right now, our demand for qualified electricians has never been greater,” said Sauers. “Many of those trained in the electrical field are retiring, but replacing those individuals isn’t enough, and the industry needs more people with these skills.”

Most employers recommend electricians continue learning as apprentices after they are hired.

“Apprenticeships are a great way to get paid and continuing learning after you are hired,” Sauers said. “In addition, most companies will pay for your apprenticeship training (4 years), so at 22-years-old, you can become a journeyman making over $40,000 per year. And that’s just the beginning. As years go by, electricians can make between $80,000 to over $100,000 per year.”

Rich Nyce, director of Universal Electric’s Apprenticeship Program, sees the opportunity for apprenticeship and job growth much the same way as Sauers.

“Many companies currently have to turn down work projects due to lack of employees,” said Nyce. “While people want to have good job prospects, they do need to learn skills that will give them the background they need.”

Nyce has high faith in North Montco’s co-op and technical programs and understands that these students have a great foundation for the next step. He adds,

“If you learned electrical work from the military or from a family business, you might also be a good candidate for apprenticeship,” Nyce said. “Can you name a career where you train while your employed, the training cost is low (about $120 per month), and if you graduate with a “B” or better, you get back your investment? Only in the trades.”

The route to becoming a certified electrician is straightforward for the day or the evening continuing education program. The first step is attending a technical program where you can learn the basics.

The electrical trades program at North Montco covers all three areas of electrical work:

*The residential component of the program provides students a basic understanding and hands on experience with residential branch circuits, residential electrical services including 100 amp and 200 amps single-phase systems. The typical devices and systems the students are introduced to include GFCI receptacles, switching for lighting, recessed lighting, smoke detectors and doorbell systems. The students produce basic schematic drawings for each project.

*The commercial component of the program will provide the students the basic understanding and hands on experience with commercial wiring systems. The commercial electrical learning builds onto the electrical residential wiring the students learn first. The commercial projects are very similar to the residential, except they use different materials, which are typically installed on metal stud structures. The types of material consist of metal clad cable (MC), flex tubing (seal tight) and electrical metallic tubing (EMT). The students produce basic schematic drawings for each project.

*The industrial component of the program is a (value added) learning (or additional course for the adult program). If a student is in the electrical trades program for three to four years, they typically will experience the industrial applications. The electrical industrial component consists of conduit bending (EMT and ridged), threading rigid conduit, wiring single phase and tree phase motors, motor controls and variable frequency drives (VFDs). The students produce advanced schematic drawings for the projects for each project.

North Montco’s instructors have years of industry experience to impart to their students. Robert Catanzaro, has been working in the electrical industry since 1980.

“I was first exposed to electrical work while I was in the co-op program in high school working as a maintenance person at a Holiday Inn. I then enlisted into the Army Corps of Engineers as an electrician, which I did for four years. After leaving the Army, I entered into an apprenticeship program through an electrical contractor,” said Catanzaro.

He then spent the next twenty years working for electrical contractors, working on projects such as airports, hospitals, schools, emergency generators and water treatment plants. In 2004, he started his own electrical contractor business, bidding and working on projects that were familiar, mainly school renovations and emergency generators. In 2012, he was presented with the opportunity to teach the electrical trades at North Montco.

There are many avenues to take in the electrical industry, such as a general electrician installing conduit, wiring, lighting and receptacles. There are also specialties in this field, such as security systems, fire alarm systems, CCTV systems, automation and Lineman (transmission power).

Many of those in the skilled trades have had similar interests as a youth, and that may have helped them to hone their ability to become good problem solvers. For example, as a child, Sauers shared that he liked to take things apart (the telephone in his case) to see how they worked.

“I was inquisitive and liked to work with my hands and became good at it,” Said Sauers. “if you don’t like to be outside, this trade might not be for you. A career as an electrician is great for people who don’t like to be at the same place all of the time.”

Register today at

Other continuing education courses are available at North Montco Technical Career Center. With multiple programs offered in six high-demand occupation sectors, you can increase workplace skills and earn the certifications employers want most: construction trades, culinary arts, engineering, manufacturing, health careers, driver’s education and commercial driver license (CDL).

Key components to training in all of the programs reflect current industry trends and advances in technology. Partnerships with business and industry, manufacturing and schools have kept NMTCC’s programs state of the art to meet the demands of local employers. Various apprenticeships are available. Call today for more information (215) 855-3931.