Residential Electrician

Career Diploma

Program Outline

Penn Foster College's online Residential Electrician program consists of nine courses to help you gain the knowledge and skills relevant for performing residential electrical jobs in a variety of settings - including construction or maintenance companies, manufacturing and wholesale suppliers, and government agencies.

Here's how it works
You receive the first course as soon as your enrollment has been accepted, and other courses will follow as you complete your exams.

Note: Graduates of the Residential Electrician Program also earn 6 credits toward an Associate Degree in Industrial Electronics and Electrical Maintenance Technology at Penn Foster College.

Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need access to high-speed internet to begin your program. In addition, you will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows 10® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running macOS® or later, and an email account to complete this program with Penn Foster. We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.

Here is an overview of what you'll learn and the order in which you'll access your lessons.

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
  • Describe measurement methods and mathematical processes necessary for the preparation and implementation of electrical related projects
  • Outline regulations and procedures related to workplace safety
  • Explain how to interpret basic electrical blueprints and technical drawings to follow the required specifications of electrical projects
  • Explain 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
  • Identify how to apply and comply with the National Electrical Code



Electrical Fundamentals
In this course, you’ll learn tips for how to be a good Penn Foster student. Then, you’ll get a general overview of the skills and knowledge required of a residential electrician. You’ll learn about the job opportunities for electricians; basic electrical terms and concepts such as power, voltage, and current; and how power is supplied to and throughout a residence. Then, you’ll discover how both AC and DC circuits are formed and how to calculate the power supplied through these circuits.


  • Identify skills needed to be a confident and independent online learner
  • Define an electrician’s role and how to get started in the electrical field
  • Describe how electricity is generated and how it moves through a circuit
  • Explain Ohm’s Law and the relationship between voltage, current, and resistance
  • Define the characteristic values of alternating current

Electrical Safety and Tools
In this course, you’ll learn about the various hand and power tools used by electricians on common and specialized jobs. You’ll learn how to use these tools properly and care for them to keep them operational. You’ll take a more in-depth look at the digital multimeter and why it’s such an important tool in the electrician’s kit. You’ll then learn about the ways to keep yourself and others safe when working with electricity. You’ll also learn about the organizations responsible for publishing and enforcing electrical and workplace safety codes. Finally, you’ll learn about math principles that electricians use on the job.


  • List the various tools an electrician uses and their functions
  • Describe how to use a multimeter to take electrical measurements
  • Explain how to work safely with electricity
  • Develop math skills for use in residential electrical applications

Additional Course Material:
Equipment: Digital Multimeter

Reading Electrical Drawings, Schematics, and Blueprints
Schematic diagrams and blueprints are vital for both the planning and installation phases of a residential electrician's work. Understanding the wiring job in full allows an electrician to be prepared and complete the job efficiently. In this course, you'll discover how schematics and blueprints are prepared. You'll also learn to read schematics and diagrams and to trace wiring diagrams for motor controls.


  • Analyze electrical drawings, block diagrams, wiring diagrams, and electrical schematic diagrams
  • Analyze electrical blueprints, logic controller diagrams, and wiring plans for residential and light commercial applications

Additional Course Material:
Learning Aid: Electrician Blueprint Set

Conduits, Cables, and Conductors
In this course, you'll learn to identify the physical and electrical properties and characteristics of conductors. You'll also learn about the types and characteristics of conduit. Both of these areas of knowledge are essential for any wiring job you'll work on throughout your entire career. Many of the skills you'll learn later on in your program build on these basic fundamentals.


  • Describe how to select and install various types of conductors, wires, and cables
  • Identify how to install various types of conduit fittings and supports

Electrical Components and Devices
In this course, you'll study several common types of wiring equipment. You'll also learn to identify various types of control devices, including hand-operated switches, automatic switches, magnetically controlled devices, and remote-control systems.


  • Explain how to install various types of control and protective devices
  • Describe several common types of wiring equipment, electrical fittings, and boxes, cabinets, and panels

Working with Residential and Small Commercial Electrical Systems
In this course, you'll learn to identify and understand common wiring terms and symbols and to use diagrams and plans to connect branch circuits. You'll also learn about transformers and how they're used to transmit electrical power. Then, you'll study how to connect electrical equipment and conductors to wire new circuits. Finally, you'll apply what you learned about wiring new circuits to old work. You'll also discover how electricians use circuit measurement techniques to troubleshoot problems.


  • Describe the types and requirements of different circuits used for specific applications
  • Explain the uses, operations, and types of transformers
  • Describe how to install various electrical components in new work
  • Describe how to install various electrical components in existing structures and how to update old work

Additional Course Material:
Learning Aid: Residential Wiring Simulation

HVAC Systems
In this course, you'll gain an understanding of different heating sources and some of the benefits of electric heating. You'll also discover the function of common components within a building's HVAC system, a pneumatic automatic control system, and an electric automatic control system.


  • Explain the fundamentals, uses, and control mechanisms of electric heating
  • Describe the functions and components of air conditioning systems

The National Electrical Code®
This course is designed to teach you how to use the National Electrical Code (NEC) as a practical tool to ensure your work complies with the NEC's codes. Engineers, designers, and technicians actually installing systems and components need to comply with the NEC. It's important to think of the NEC as a tool in your collection, something you'll need and use as often as cutting pliers and wire strippers. You should always have this tool close at hand, so there's no need to try and memorize the NEC. This course will teach you how to use and interpret the NEC so you can be sure your work complies with code.


  • Describe how to use the NEC to find wiring codes for residential applications
  • Summarize the NEC codes regarding load calculations, electrical service, and conductors
  • Explain the NEC Articles pertaining to grounding, bonding, wiring, and raceways
  • Summarize the NEC codes related to equipment, including switching devices, panelboards, fixtures, and appliances
  • Summarize the NEC codes covering commercial and industrial installations
  • Determine whether various electrical scenarios comply with the National Electrical Code

Additional Course Material:

  • National Electrical Code®
  • Electrical Systems Based on the NEC®

Learning Aid: Residential Wiring Diagram

Troubleshooting and Electrical Contracting
In this course, you'll learn about the concept of troubleshooting and the methods of approach applied in troubleshooting. These troubleshooting techniques will apply all of the skills learned throughout your program. Then, you'll learn about a potential career path for residential electricians — starting your own business. This course covers the important considerations of starting an electrical contracting business, including the advantages, disadvantages, skills required, and finances.


  • List the methods of approach and steps to electrical troubleshooting
  • Identify the considerations involved in starting an electrical contracting business


Online Library and Librarian
Students in Penn Foster College have access to an online library for use during their studies. Students can use this library to do the required research in the courses they complete or can use it for general reference and links to valuable resources. The library contains helpful research assistance, articles, databases, books, and Web links. A librarian is available to answer questions on general research-related topics via email and to assist students in research activities during their studies with Penn Foster College International.

We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.

You must have completed the 8th grade to enroll in this program.

Microsoft and Windows are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.

Apple, Mac, and macOS are trademarks of Apple, Inc. registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.

National Electric Code and NEC are trademarks of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.