Trade School

ABC TEI Training Institute

At the ABC TEI Training Institute, founded in 2020, we offer our apprentices the chance to work and learn at the same time. Our school provides both classroom and one-on-one jobsite hands-on learning and holds to the main value that our founder Don Thompson wanted the school to be based upon: learning the fundamentals of electrical work to prepare the next generation of tradesmen for their future career. This opportunity allows them to build their career in the classroom while also getting paid for hands-on training in the field. 

Getting Enrolled

State regulations in Arkansas require apprentices to meet the following qualifications:

  • Must be 18 years of age
  • Must hold either a high school diploma or GED

The apprenticeship journey starts with prospective students applying for a job at Thompson Electric, then enrolling in our apprenticeship program. For a first-year apprentice, the ideal time for beginning the trade school journey is May through June.  

School Overview

Apprentices typically begin by working in the field for a pre-set number of months before beginning classes, to become fully immersed in the electrician trade. The TEI School is formatted much like a traditional college: four years containing two semesters each. Apprentices get summer and a Christmas break from classes each year, for a total of 36 weeks of in-class hours. Each apprentice group will attend one night a week for four hours after work. All apprentices are full-time Thompson employees, and receive competitive pay and full benefits while attending school.

For each semester an apprentice completes their on the-job hours, classroom hours, and presents passing grades, they advance to the next apprenticeship level. Graduation is held after the fourth year is completed and apprentices can then apply to take their Journeyman Electrician exam through the state. 

The Journey

  • Brief introduction to the National Electrical Code (NEC) book
  • Core Construction Textbook
    • Basic Construction Safety
    • Communication Skills
    • Introduction to Power and Hand Tools
    • Construction Math
  • Electrical 1 Book
    • Electrical safety
    • Electrical Theory
    • Wireways
    • Raceways
    • Fittings
  • Conduit Hand Bending
  • Electrical Testing Equipment
  • Hands-On Work
    • Digging Trenches
    • Installing Raceways
    • Pulling Wire
    • Installing Devices
    • Shadowing on job sites
  • More practice in the National Electrical Code (NEC) Book
  • Electrical 2 textbook
    • In-depth conduit bending
    • Conductor wire installation
    • Grounding and bonding
    • Intro to Motors
    • Junction Boxes
  • Hands-On Work
    • Equipment use training
    • Reading blueprints
    • Schematics
    • Pulling and terminating different practice conduit runs
  • Practice NEC tests in the first 30 minutes of classes
  • Electrical 3 Textbook
    • Electrical services
    • Distribution equipment
    • Load calculations
    • Motor controls and calculations
  • Hands-on work
    • Transformer work
    • Laying out conduit runs
    • Learning and practicing to start seeing the finished picture of a project to make sense on the smaller steps that have been learned
  • Work on the NEC layout to get better at using the book
  • Electrical 4 Textbook
    • Fundamentals of crew leadership
    • Load calculations
    • Fire alarm systems
    • Special locations
    • + more
  • Hands-on
    • Begin working own jobs and projects

What Happens After Trade School?

Once an apprentice has completed and passed the required number of classroom hours and on-the-job training hours, they may apply to take their Journeyman test. After an apprenticeship and examination, a Journeyman must hold their license for two years while working actively in the field. After these two years, a Journeyman may take the Masters exam to become a Master Electrician, opening further career opportunities like project manager, project estimation or even field supervision.


Brian Cotten, PE, CHFM
Associate Vice Chancellor of Campus Operations
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Over the past several years UAMS has grown significantly and Thompson Electric has been involved in several projects across the campus. As part of the team on the new Patient Tower project, Thompson Electric was a key player to help ensure we were getting the best possible building for our money and staying within budget
Doug Carmichael
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Thompson has been the Acxiom preferred contractor since 2001. They have been involved with 20 plus projects for Acxiom Corporation, including new construction and renovation of data centers and office buildings…I have personally worked with numerous contractors around the world and would classify Thompson Electric and Mike Brady as the “Best of the Best”.
Rick Terry
President of Baldwin & Shell, Northeast Arkansas
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Thompson Electric has completed multiple projects with Baldwin & Shell over the years ranging in price. Their commitment to stay on schedule, quality control, and budgeting are unsurpassed. They will do whatever is needed to ensure the project owner is satisfied.
Earl Ballentine
Project Executive
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Nabholz has had many opportunities to work with Thompson Electric Inc. on numerous projects in the past 35 years. Thompson has conducted themself professionally and conveys a great deal of expertise. Nabholz can rely on Thompson for budgeting and value engineering on some of our projects because of their knowledge in their field which reinforces their experience in the electrical industry as an invaluable asset to any project.
Scot Worth
Facilities Manager
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MISO has had great success dealing with Thompson Electric. Their team provides outstanding service and support to each and every critical project at MISO and is the only electrical company that MISO trusts within its critical facility. Thompson employees have the highest integrity, and we trust them to be there when we need them.

Ready to Start Your Project?

Let’s talk about your goals and needs and put together a plan that works best for you.