Berkeley Lab

Why is QEW training so long? After all, I’m not trying to be an electrician!

Skills and knowledge of electrical equipment, installations, and methods generally comes from years of training and experience. For example, most electrician apprenticeship programs are four(4) or five(5) year programs that require approximately 8000 hours of work experience (on-the-job training), and between 600 and 800 hours of classroom training (depending on the specialty) during the program. Adding or changing specialties usually requires additional on-the-job and classroom training in most states. But many QEWs are not, and don’t want to be, electricians. While we can validate skills and knowledge through documented adult education programs and on-the-job experience and training, the third key part of qualification is safety training.

The training required for QEW status is about gaining skills and knowledge to perform the task safely. We need to ensure that all QEWs have at least a minimal knowledge of the hazard exposure, and how to perform their work in a manner safe for not only themselves, but those working around them.