How to Become an Electrician in Alabama

In Alabama, the housing market has been booming in recent years, and new construction means new custom wiring projects. This means that skilled tradesmen are in greater demand than ever.

The Alabama Department of Labor has reported that the number of electrician jobs in the state will grow by 12.9% through 2024.

If you are interested in becoming an electrician in Alabama, you’ll need to become familiar with the Alabama Electrical Contractors Board. Electricians start out as apprentices, before going on to become journeyman and earning electrical contractor licenses issued by the Board.

Follow these steps to learn how to become a licensed electrician in Alabama:

Gain the 8,000 Hours of Hands-on Experience Required to Become a Journeyman
Take the Examination Required to Become a Journeyman
Consider Becoming Licensed as an Independent Electrical Contractor

 


 

Step 1. Gain the 8,000 Hours of Hands-on Experience Required to Become a Journeyman

As you work toward becoming a professional electrician, you will work for four to five years as an apprentice or helper to gain the experience required to earn a journeyman license. This would involve working for electrical contractors licensed in the state of Alabama in a variety of settings, getting trained on the job while completing required technical training hours in the classroom. As an apprentice or helper, your pay will start out lower than a typical journeyman electrician, but it will scale up as you work more hours and gain more experience.

To become a journeyman electrician in Alabama, you are required to:

  • Gain a minimum of 8,000 hours (4 years) of field experience and 576 hours of classroom instruction

OR

  • Enroll in a two-year technical school program and gain 6,000 hours (3 years) of field experience

You have two options for gaining the required number of field experience and classroom-based technical training hours required to become a journeyman electrician:

  • Enroll in technical school and transition to an entry-level job or apprenticeship
  • Enter an apprenticeship program directly

Technical school 

You can enroll in an electrician career diploma program or an Associate of Applied Science in Electrical Technology program through a vocational school in your area before gaining the required experience.

The Alabama Electrical Contractors Board allows you to substitute up to two years of education for 2,000 of the 8,000 hours of on-the-job experience required for a journeyman license. This means that even if you complete a two-year associate’s degree program, you must still gain 6,000 hours of on-the-job experience before earning your journeyman license.

To do this, you would find an electrical contractor looking to take on an apprentice or trainee who is willing to document the hours you complete.  Employers, including Alabama’s largest electrical contracting firms, often reach out to local unions, non-union organizations or place open ads on job boards looking for candidates they can train and retain as long-term, loyal employees. Holding an associate’s degree or career diploma will be very helpful as you look to land a job with potential employers in your area.

Some of the biggest electrical contractors in Alabama include:

  • Alabama Electrical Contractors of Cullman
  • Alabama Electric Company, Inc in Dothan
  • North Alabama Electric in Decatur

Apprenticeship

If you choose to go the union route, your local Joint Apprenticeship & Training Committee (JATC) will help you find a union contractor that is interested in taking on an apprentice. These apprenticeships are made available through a partnership between Alabama chapters of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union. Together these organizations sponsor apprenticeships in Alabama through the Electrical Training Alliance. Union membership would be required to participate in apprenticeships through the Electrical Training Alliance.

In Alabama, there are four main JATCs:

Before applying for an apprenticeship with any of these JATCs, you will need to meet these basic requirements:

  • 18 years old
  • High school diploma/GED
  • Passing grade in a high school algebra class
  • Driver’s license and reliable transportation
  • Pass a general aptitude test
  • Show up for an interview

If you opt for a non-union apprenticeship, you would need to find an employer that is looking to take on an apprentice. These organizations would be the best resource available for finding a non-union employer to provide an apprenticeship in Alabama:

By the time you complete your apprenticeship, you will have worked with an electrical contractor for 8,000 hours (4 years), and completed 576 hours of technical education.

 


 

Step 2. Take the Examination Required to Become a Journeyman

A journeyman electrician license will allow you to receive the full pay of a journeyman electrician and work without the supervision of another journeyman electrician or electrical contractor.

To qualify for a journeyman electrician license, you need to prove you have completed 8,000 hours of work as an electrical apprentice (or an equivalent combination of education and work experience) through a Work Affidavit filled out by your employer.

To start, you need to fill out this application. Be sure to fill out the form completely and submit it to the Board. Once they approve your application, you’ll be allowed to schedule your journeyman examination.

The journeyman electrician exam must be completed in four hours. It has 80 questions on it, and you are allowed to reference the 2014 National Electric Code and the American Electricians Handbook during the exam. Here is the break down of the topics that will be on the exam:

  • General Electrical Knowledge – 10 questions
  • Service, Feeders, and Branch Circuits – 9 questions
  • Grounding and Bonding – 8 questions
  • Conductors and Cables – 10 questions
  • Raceways and Boxes – 10 questions
  • Special Occupancies and Equipment – 6 questions
  • Electrical Power – 2 questions
  • Motors – 6 questions
  • Low Voltage – 2 questions
  • Lighting – 3 questions
  • Illuminated Signs – 2 questions
  • Fire Detection and Alarm Systems – 2 questions
  • Safety Information – 5 questions
  • Overcurrent Protection – 5 questions

Once you pass the exam, you’ll be allowed to pay the licensing fee and pick up your journeyman electrician license. You are required to renew your license each year with this form, but you don’t need any continuing education credits.

 


 

Step 3. Consider Becoming Licensed as an Independent Electrical Contractor

After working as a journeyman electrician, you have the option of starting your own business as an independent electrical contractor. You’ll need to earn an electrical contractor license from the Electrical Contractors Board in order to operate your own business.

To qualify for this license, you need to have 8,000 hours of experience, but you also need to have managerial experience. Additionally, hours spent doing maintenance work do not count towards the 8,000 hours required.

To start this process, fill out this contractor application completely and submit it to the board. Once they approve your application, you’ll be allowed to schedule your contractor examination.

The electrical contractor exam must be completed in five hours. It has 110 questions on it, and you are allowed to reference the following books during the exam:

  • 2014 National Electric Code
  • The American Electricians Handbook
  • Contractors Guide to Business, Law and Project Management
  • Alabama Electrical Contractors Supplement to the Contractors Guide

Here is the break down of the topics that will be on the exam:

  • General Electrical Knowledge – 10 questions
  • Service, Feeders, and Branch Circuits – 10 questions
  • Grounding and Bonding – 9 questions
  • Conductors and Cables – 10 questions
  • Raceways and Boxes – 8 questions
  • Special Occupancies and Equipment – 4 questions
  • Electrical Power – 3 questions
  • Motors – 6 questions
  • Low Voltage – 2 questions
  • Lighting – 3 questions
  • Illuminated Signs – 2 questions
  • Fire Detection and Alarm Systems – 2 questions
  • Safety Information – 5 questions
  • Overcurrent Protection – 6 questions
  • Business Organization – 1 questions
  • Risk Management – 2 questions
  • Project Management – 2 questions
  • Estimating – 4 questions
  • Safety and Environmental – 2 questions
  • Labor Laws – 3 questions
  • Tax Laws – 4 questions
  • Financial Management – 4 questions
  • Contracts – 3 questions
  • Lien Law – 1 questions
  • Licensing Law – 4 questions

Once you pass the exam, you’ll be allowed to pay the licensing fee and pick up your electrical contractor license. You are required to renew your license each year with this form, and you also need to be sure to complete the continuing education requirements. You can find information on continuing education on their dedicated page or by contacting the Board directly.

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