So you’ve decided to become an electrician. Your apprenticeship is sorted, you’re set on a trade school and can’t wait to get started, but what happens after your four years?
If you want to become a fully licensed electrician in Victoria, you will have to pass the Licensed Electrician’s Assessment after your apprenticeship. So what do you need to take the Electrical License Assessment?
What is the Licensed Electrician’s Assessment?
The Licensed Electrician’s Assessment (LEA), sometimes known as an ‘A Grade Exam’, is a set of exams that all electricians take before being awarded their licence. Passing the assessment and becoming a licence holder means that you can do all types of electrical installation work without a supervisor. So in some sense the LEA is the final stepping stone on your way to becoming a fully qualified electrician.
The LEA includes three assessments:
- The Licensed Electricians Theory (LET): A written exam that tests a broad range of knowledge. It takes two hours 15 minutes in total.
- The Licensed Electricians Practice (LEP): A practical test split into four parts: wiring a meter box and switchboard, MEN system testing, identifying visual defects, and testing an installation. Takes four hours total.
- Safe Working Practice (SWP): Tests whether you can safely disconnect then reconnect a piece of electrical equipment. Takes 40 minutes total.
To pass each section you need to score 75 per cent and above.
If you have any circumstances that should be taken into account for taking written exams, such as learning disabilities, you can apply for special consideration. This could include time extensions, or the use of scribes (must be approved by ESV).
Where can you take the LEA?
The LEP exam can be taken at either Melbourne Polytechnic or with Future Energy Skills.
The LET and SWP can be taken at the Future Energy Skills, Melbourne Polytechnic or certain registered training organisations in the state of Victoria.
When are you eligible to take the LEA?
The LEA isn’t open to everyone. To sit the assessment you will need to provide the assessors (at whichever institution you choose to do your exams) with evidence that you are authorised to sit the assessments.
For most electrical apprentices this means proving that:
- You have completed the necessary units and your profiling is up to date. Your trade school will provide you with an authorisation letter stating you meet these requirements.
- You can start sitting your SWP & LET as soon as you finish school.
For most assessors this will mean giving them one of the following documents:
- Signed Authorisation to Undertake form from your Registered Training Organisation or Trade school.
- An Electrician’s (A/E Class) license for REC Technical Assessment.
- An Offshore Technical Skills Record (OTSR) or Australian Recognised Trade Certificate (ARTC).
- An Electrician (Supervised) Licence (ES Class).
- A Supervised Worker’s Licence (L Class).
Can you take it early?
If you are on track to finish your apprenticeship before fours years is up, you may want to become licensed straight away. This may sound like a good plan in theory and it is possible, but there are a lot of hoops to jump through to get there.
The Electricity Safety (Licensing and Registration) Regulations 2010 require an apprenticeship to be a four-year contract of training. This means anything less than that can make it difficult to prove that you have successfully completed the requirements to sit your licensing exams.
If you are successful in getting early release from your apprenticeship from the VRQA and your employer, you will still only be eligible for the LEA if you have skipped less than six months of the full four years.
If this is not the case, you can still work but only by to holding a Supervised Workers Licence until you have made up the remaining time.
Can you prepare?
After finishing four years of your apprenticeship the prospect of a final set of exams before you start your career can be daunting. But don’t worry, there are lots of ways that you can prepare.
The best resource for the theory assessment is past papers. The majority of assessment organisations provide a selection of these on their websites so you won’t run out of practice questions to get you in shape.
Your trade school should also be able to provide you with some resources to help with studying and preparation for the big day.
To give yourself the best chance of passing with flying colours you could consider taking an optional preparation course. Some trade schools, including NECA Education & Careers, around the state provide specialised tuition on exactly what you will need to know for each assessment.
NECA Education & Careers provides a thorough tutorial program where you can brush up on your knowledge for all three assessments or just the ones you think need the most attention. Get in contact with the NECA Education & Careers team to learn more about how they can help you prepare and our LEA tutorials.