How to Become an Electrician in Kansas

In Kansas, the electrical trade offers stability, great pay and a strong occupational outlook. In fact, the US Department of Labor expects a 12.5% increase in the number of jobs for electricians in Kansas during the ten-year period leading up to 2022. This makes now the perfect time to get the experience and training you need to start your career as a licensed electrician.

In Kansas, licenses for the electrical trade are issued by individual cities and counties. Though your license will be issued at the local level for the city in which you’ll be employed, you will still be able to practice your trade throughout Kansas since practice standards are pretty consistent statewide.

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

Gain the Experience and Technical Training Required to Earn a Journeyman License
Take the Examination Required to Become a Journeyman
Earn a Master Electrician Certificate or License in Your Area
Consider Becoming Licensed as an Independent Electrical Contractor

 


 

Step 1. Gain the Experience and Technical Training Required to Earn a Journeyman License

Electrician licensing in Kansas is handled at the local level, with each municipal/county licensing body responsible for establishing requirements and managing the licensing process for the electricians in their jurisdiction. The state legislature does, however, set certain minimum requirements for the issuance of journeyman electrician licenses.

  • Each municipality must administer an exam covering the National Electrical Code (NEC)
  • Applicants must provide proof of a minimum of two years of field experience under the supervision of a licensed electrician
  • Applicants must have undergone at least 240 hours of classroom instruction

The legislature provides for two general routes to obtaining a journeyman license.

  • Enroll in an approved electrical apprenticeship program to accumulate both the two years (4,000 hours) of required field experience and the necessary classroom education of 240 hours

OR

  • Obtain at least one year (2,000 hours) of field experience on-the-job and attend a trade school or community college to obtain the required 240 classroom hours

(Different municipalities may have different licensing categories for electricians. Topeka, for example, offers a separate license for low voltage alarm system installers, which does not require either the experience or education requirements shown above. Wichita, on the other hand, issues certificates for general electrician, residential wireman, elevator installer, and alarm wiring installers, all of which require field experience and classroom learning).

Trade School or College Degree Plus Work Experience

Attending a trade school or technical college program and earning a certificate or Associate of Applied Science in Electrical Technology is one of the options outlined by the state legislature as an option for acquiring the necessary classroom hours for a journeyman electrical license.

Additionally, successful completion of such a program is allowed to count for up to one year of the required two years of practical field experience. So graduates of a trade school or college electrical program only need to obtain one year of on-the-job training under the supervision of a licensed journeyman or master electrician in order to sit for the journeyman licensing exam.

Though technical school programs involve studying electrical theory and safety in the classroom, the goal of these programs is to provide students the opportunity to learn by doing. This is accomplished through Intensive hands-on training in the shop. Topics covered in electrical technology trade school programs include:

  • Electromechanical Systems
  • OSHA Safety
  • Print Reading
  • Workplace Skills
  • National Electrical Code (NEC)
  • Electrical Math
  • AC/DC Circuits
  • Residential and Commercial Wiring I
  • Electrical Circuits, Instruments and Measurements
  • Troubleshooting Techniques
  • Motor Controls
  • Programmable Controllers

Candidates taking this route to licensing are responsible for lining up their own entry-level positions to gain the remaining one-year of minimum experience required to earn a journeyman license (or master electrician license as is the case in Wyandotte County where there is no options to become licensed as a journeyman).

Applying for an apprentice position or entry-level technician job with non-union shops is the best option. These entry-level positions often result in long-term employment. As you become familiar with the types of jobs your employer bids (whether residential, commercial, industrial or otherwise), you become an asset.

Your school’s career resources center can assist you in finding placement, while trade groups like the Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) post openings for entry-level and apprentice positions for qualified candidates that have completed technical school programs.

Apprenticeship Programs

Joining an apprenticeship program is the most common way to satisfy the licensing requirements in Kansas. In fact, since most apprenticeships align with national standards, they far exceed the minimum state requirements for journeyman licensing, offering four years and 8,000 hours of on-the-job experience and as many as 900 hours of classroom and shop-based technical training.

There are two options for entering an electrical apprenticeship program in Kansas: union-sponsored, or open shop.

For union-affiliated apprenticeships, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) coordinates with the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) to organize local Joint Apprenticeship & Training Committees (JATC) to facilitate apprenticeships with unionized electrical contracting companies in the area. These apprenticeship programs are offered by local IBEW branches together with the JATC to bring together field training and classroom education.

Kansas has three JATCs in the state:

They share the following admission requirements:

  • Be 17 years old to apply, 18 by the time they are selected for the program
  • Have a high school diploma/GED, or if unavailable, a 2-year associate’s degree
  • Prove successful completion of an algebra class,
  • Hold a valid driver’s license
  • Score a 4 or higher on an aptitude test (covers reading comprehension and algebra skills)
  • Be physically capable of working in the trade

If you are accepted to one of these programs, you will be assigned to positions at the union’s discretion to attain the required supervised work experience.

Formal apprenticeship programs that would involve working with non-unionized electrical contracting companies in Kansas are available through the Wichita Chapter of the Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) trade group. The admissions requirements are:

  • Copy of birth certificate
  • High School or GED Diploma and transcript
  • Copy of DD214 form if you are a veteran
  • College or other trade school transcripts if available

Unlike the union programs, candidates in the IEC apprenticeship will have to find and apply for their apprenticeship positions directly with merit shop contractors.

 


 

Step 2. Take the Examination Required to Become a Journeyman

At the end of your initial training and experience phase, you will have the opportunity to apply for further licensure/certification as a journeyman electrician in your city of residence.

Sedgwick County/Wichita

In Sedgwick County, you can earn a journeyman electrician certificate after completing an apprenticeship and passing the journeyman electrician exam.

For a journeyman certificate, you need to have documented proof of:

  • At least two years of field experience (or one year with the completion of a qualifying trade school program)
  • A copy of the transcript from the school attended
  • 75% on the International Code Council Exam

First, you need to fill out the trade certificate application for Sedgwick County and file it with the Sedgwick County Metropolitan Area Building and Construction Department, which issues certificates for trade workers in the county. Once the county approves your application for taking the exam, they will notify you.

The exam details can be found here. You will be taking the “558 Kansas (Sedgwick County) Standard Journeyman Electrician” exam, which is 4 hours long, has 80 multiple choice questions, and is open book. The resources that can be used for the exam are the 2014 National Electrical Code and any edition of Ugly’s Electrical Reference. The breakdown of exam content is shown here:

  • General Knowledge – 8%
  • Services and Service Equipment – 13%
  • Feeders – 3%
  • Branch Circuits and Conductors – 20%
  • Wiring Methods and Materials – 26%
  • Equipment and Devices – 13%
  • Control Devices – 3%
  • Motors and Generators – 5%
  • Special Occupancies, Equipment, and Conditions – 11%

You need to renew the certificate every two years and keep up with the continuing education requirements. If you earn your certificate in the first year of the two-year certification cycle, you need to complete 12 hours of continuing education credits. If you earn your certificate in the second year, you only need to complete 6 hours of continuing education credits. The class list for continuing education credits can be found here.

After two years as a journeyman electrician, you will be prepared to apply for a master electrician certificate.

Topeka

In Topeka, you can earn a journeyman electrician license after two years of experience performing electrical work under the supervision of a licensed electrician.

As a part of your application to earn a journeyman electrician license, you need to provide proof of scoring a minimum of 75% on the journeyman electrician exam. The exam details can be found here.

The exam is the “558 Kansas Standard Journeyman Electrician” exam. The journeyman electrician exam has 80 multiple choice questions, is 3 hours long, and is open book. The resources that can be used for the exam are the 2014 National Electrical Code and any edition of Ugly’s Electrical Reference. The breakdown of exam content is shown here:

  • General Knowledge – 6%
  • Services and Service Equipment – 11%
  • Feeders – 4%
  • Branch Circuits and Conductors – 19%
  • Wiring Methods and Materials – 26%
  • Equipment and Devices – 13%
  • Control Devices – 4%
  • Motors and Generators – 6%
  • Special Occupancies, Equipment, and Conditions – 11%

After passing the exam, you need to contact the Topeka Development Services Division at 785-368-3704 for information on licensing.

Once you have your journeyman electrician license, you need to renew the license every year and keep up with the continuing education requirements. The City of Topeka requires six hours of continuing education per year, three of which must cover updates to electrical code.

Wyandotte County/Kansas City

Kansas City does not offer a journeyman electrician license, but their equivalent is the master residential electrician. To qualify for a master residential electrician license, you need:

  • Evidence of two years of training under an electrical contractor
  • 75% on the master residential electrical exam

First, you need to fill out the application to take the exam and send it with written proof of your job experience. When you are cleared to take the exam, you will receive a notification from the Building Inspection Division of Kansas City’s Neighborhood Resource Center no less than 30 days before the exam.

The exam you’ll be taking is 100 questions long, takes 4 hours, and is open book. You can use the 2014 National Electrical Code as a reference on the exam. The breakdown of exam content is shown here:

  • General Electrical Knowledge – 10%
  • Raceways and Enclosures – 10%
  • Services, Feeders and Branch Circuits – 10%
  • Overcurrent Protection – 5%
  • Conductors and Cables – 9%
  • Grounding and Bonding – 16%
  • Equipment for General Use – 9%
  • Special Occupancies – 5%
  • Special Equipment and Conditions – 5%
  • Motors and Controls – 12%
  • Low Voltage and Communication Circuits – 6%
  • Safety – 3%

Once you pass the test, you will be granted a master residential electrician license. This needs to be renewed annually. Wyandotte County does not have any continuing education requirements.

 


 

Step 3. Earn a Master Electrician Certificate or License in Your Area

After earning a journeyman certificate or license or equivalent, you can take the next step and earn a master electrician certificate. Master electricians have more experience than journeyman electricians and are typically authorized to get permits from the county to perform work on residential properties.

Sedgwick County/Wichita

In Sedgwick County, you can earn a master electrician certificate by meeting the following requirements:

  • Two years in the trade with a journeyman license
  • Pass the Master Electrician International Code Council Exam

First, you need to fill out the trade certificate application as a master electrician and file it with the Sedgwick County Metropolitan Area Building and Construction Department. Once the county approves your application for taking the exam, they will notify you.

The exam details can be found here. You will be taking the “554 Kansas (Sedgwick County) Standard Master Electrician” exam, which is 5 hours long, has 100 multiple choice questions, and is open book. The resources that can be used for the exam are the 2014 National Electrical Code and any edition of Ugly’s Electrical Reference. The breakdown of exam content is shown here:

  • General Knowledge and Plan Reading – 12%
  • Services and Service Equipment – 16%
  • Feeders – 4%
  • Branch Circuits and Conductors – 16%
  • Wiring Methods and Materials – 19%
  • Equipment and Devices – 10%
  • Control Devices – 3%
  • Motors and Generators – 8%
  • Special Occupancies, Equipment, and Conditions – 12%

You need to renew the certificate every two years and keep up with the continuing education requirements. If you earn your certificate in the first year of the two-year certification cycle, you need to complete 12 hours of continuing education credits. If you earn your certificate in the second year, you only need to complete 6 hours of continuing education credits. The class list for continuing education credits can be found here.

Topeka

As a part of your application to earn a master electrician license, you need to provide proof of scoring a minimum of 75% on the master electrician exam. The exam details can be found here.

The exam is the “K9D Kansas Standard Master Electrician” exam. The master electrician exam has 100 multiple-choice questions, is 5 hours long, and is open book. The resources that can be used for the exam are the 2011 National Electrical Code and any edition of Ugly’s Electrical Reference. The breakdown of exam content is shown here:

  • General Knowledge and Plan Reading – 12%
  • Services and Service Equipment – 16%
  • Feeders – 4%
  • Branch Circuits and Conductors – 16%
  • Wiring Methods and Materials – 19%
  • Equipment and Devices – 10%
  • Control Devices – 3%
  • Motors and Generators – 8%
  • Special Occupancies, Equipment, and Conditions – 12%

After passing the exam, you need to fill out the trade license application for Topeka and attach the exam results.

Once you have your master electrician license, you need to renew the license every year and keep up with the continuing education requirements. The City of Topeka requires six hours of continuing education per year, three of which must cover updates to electrical code.

Wyandotte County/Kansas City

In Kansas City, you can earn a master electrician license by meeting the following requirements:

  • Proof of one year of planning, supervising, and installation of electrical equipment
  • Proof of three years of practical experience under supervision of an electrical contractor or master electrician
  • Proof of two years experience in commercial or industrial work
  • 75% on the master electrician exam

First, you need to fill out the application to take the exam and send it with written proof of your training. When you are cleared to take the exam, you will receive a notification from the Building Inspection Division of Kansas City’s Neighborhood Resource Center no less than 30 days before the exam.

The exam you’ll be taking is 100 questions long, takes 4 hours, and is open book. You can use the 2014 National Electrical Code as a reference on the exam. The breakdown of exam content is shown here:

  • General Electrical Knowledge – 10%
  • Raceways and Enclosures – 10%
  • Services, Feeders and Branch Circuits – 10%
  • Overcurrent Protection – 5%
  • Conductors and Cables – 9%
  • Grounding and Bonding – 16%
  • Equipment for General Use – 9%
  • Special Occupancies – 5%
  • Special Equipment and Conditions – 5%
  • Motors and Controls – 12%
  • Low Voltage and Communication Circuits – 6%
  • Safety – 3%

Once you pass the test, you will be granted a master residential electrician license. This needs to be renewed on a yearly basis. Wyandotte County does not have any continuing education requirements.

 


 

Step 4. Consider Becoming Licensed as an Independent Electrical Contractor

In order to provide electrical services to the public independently, you will need to earn an electrical contractor license. With this license, you can hire other electricians and run a business as a local contractor.

Sedgwick County

In Sedgwick County, there are multiple classes of contractor’s licenses that apply to any construction related trade, including electrical work. The contractor’s licenses are issued by the Sedgwick County Metropolitan Area Building and Construction Department. The classes are:

  • Class A General license
  • Class C Residential License
  • Class D Maintenance License

These licenses allow for the remodel, installation, repair, and maintenance of electrical utilities in a residential home. Class A license holders are also authorized to work in a commercial building.

The requirements for any of these contractor’s licenses are:

  • A filled out application
  • Minimum of $300,000 in coverage
  • Worker’s compensation insurance
  • Automotive insurance as required by Kansas

Licenses will be given to electricians that are qualified by examination or training and experience, according to the Wichita/Sedgwick County Unified Building and Trade Code. The Metropolitan Area Building and Construction Department is authorized to order exams should they feel an applicant needs to pass an exam to earn a contactor’s license.

The contractor’s license expires biennially in Sedgwick County and must be renewed within a month of the license expiring in January. Contact the Metropolitan Area Building and Construction Department for more information, and consult the Unified Building and Trade Code for more specifics.

Topeka

In Topeka, applicants for contactor’s licenses must either:

  • Pass a master level exam with a 75%

OR

  • Hire someone at the master level that is not the designated master at another contracting company.

Applicants must also pass with a 75% on one of three building contractor exams. The application for a contractor’s license has more details on the second page.

The insurance requirement for a contractor’s license is $300,000 covering bodily injury, property damage, product completion and worker’s compensation.

Contractor’s licenses must be renewed on a yearly basis with proof of eight hours of continuing education per year. Contact the City of Topeka Development Services Department for more information.

Wyandotte County/Kansas City

Wyandotte County offers two types of electrical contractor’s licenses:

  • Master Electrical Contractor
  • Master Residential Electrical Contractor

First, the designated master needs to apply for a Certificate of Qualification that will prove to the Chief Building Inspector of the Building Inspection Department that your business employs at least one licensed electrical master. You can be the designated master. You can only move forward in earning your contractor’s license after the Chief Building Inspector issues this certificate.

The requirements for both licenses are:

  • Submission of a $5,000 bond to the county government
  • Evidence of financial responsibility as determined by the county government
  • A designated master electrician or master residential electrician, based on which contractor license you are applying for

Contact the Neighborhood Resource Center, which issues these licenses, for more information.

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