How to Become an Electrician in North Dakota

After the 2008 collapse of the housing market, a record number of Americans lost their jobs. For most of the nation, it took quite a few years for the economy to get back on track, but one state didn’t experience the unemployment that the rest of the nation did: North Dakota. In fact, in North Dakota the number of jobs grew in the years following the economic recession. Despite a recent downturn due to low oil prices that has been impacting the state’s fossil fuels industry, optimism is still high among those in the skilled trades.

You will earn your electrician license from the North Dakota State Electrical Board. You’ll begin by gaining experience under a licensed electrician, and then earn a journeyman license before testing for a noncontracting master electrician license. After working as a master electrician, you may decide to go on to become licensed as an independent electrical contractor.

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

Gain the Job Experience and Training Required for a Journeyman License
Take the Examination Required to Become a Journeyman
Earn a Non-Contracting Master Electrician License 
Consider Becoming Licensed as a North Dakota Independent Electrical Contractor

 


 

Step 1. Gain the Job Experience and Training Required for a Journeyman License

State licensing regulations in North Dakota require you to complete the following in order to earn a journeyman electrician license:

  • 8,000 hours of job experience and on the job training completed over a period of no less than three years

OR

  • 6,000 hours of job experience and on the job training completed over a period of no less than three years AND the completion of a two-year or longer electrical school program

The Board will also consider additional experience you may have in areas like construction to reduce the 8,000-hour requirement even further.

“Class B” electrician licenses for farmstead and residential wiring work for one- and two-family homes only are available in North Dakota in lieu of a journeyman license and require just 3,000 hours of related experience. This requirement would be reduced to just 2,000 hours for graduates of two-year or longer electrical programs.

The different paths to gaining training and job experience offer flexibility for learners of all kinds. You can enroll in a local technical college, join a unionized apprenticeship program, or join a non-union “open shop” program.

Technical College

Technical colleges are a standard option for starting a new career. Getting an education in electrical engineering from a technical college will result in at least a two-year associate’s degree, which meets the state’s requirements for reducing the experience requirement for journeyman licensure down to 6,000 hours. You may also elect to pursue a career diploma or certificate in electrical technology (usually a 12-18 month program) and gain the remainder of your classroom training through a formal apprenticeship program after graduation.

Here are some fundamental topics you can expect to become proficient in during your program:

  • Basic Math Computations
  • Blueprint Reading
  • Algebra with Trigonometry
  • Electrical Theory
  • OSHA Regulations and First Aid
  • Electrical Code
  • Telecom Cabling
  • Basic Telecommunications
  • Motor Controls
  • Basic Alarm Technology
  • Semi-Conductors
  • Logic Circuits and Programmable Controllers
  • Motor and Generator Theory
  • Fire Access & CCTV Systems
  • Power Distribution and Load Calculations

As for the work experience, you have a number of options. Some schools will involve a field experience component, which may allow you to transition into an electrical technician trainee position with the same employer. The second option is to simply look through job postings on your own for local contractors looking to take on a technician trainee or apprentice. Electrical contractors like to post listings with local union chapters and non-union organizations.

Union and Non-Union Apprenticeship Programs

Many electricians begin their career working as an apprentice or trainee for at least three years. This initial period of job training would involve working on job sites with a state-licensed electrical contracting company under the supervision of a journeyman or master electrician, and earning a highly specialized education in the electrician trade.

Local electrical union chapters are in place largely for the purpose of training new union electricians. Together, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) have formed JATCs, or Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committees throughout the nation to provide training under through what is known as the National Training Alliance, which helps regulate the education experience for new electricians around the nation.

In North Dakota, the local unions have created the Dakotas Area Electrical Apprenticeship and Training Fund JATC. It’s based in Fargo and offers locations in Fargo/Moorhead, Grand Forks, Bismarck, Minot, and Williston. IBEW membership is required.

The non-union apprenticeship program through the Independent Electrical Contractors of the Dakotas located across he border in Pierre, South Dakota, offers many of the educational qualities of union programs, but they open the door to working with non-unionized electrical contractors.

Apprentice Registration in North Dakota

Once you are enrolled in an apprenticeship and employed with a local licensed electrician, you need to complete the application for apprenticeship registration within six weeks of being employed. You need to renew your registration every year by January 31 at this page.

 


 

Step 2. Take the Examination Required to Become a Journeyman Electrician

After completing your apprenticeship, you can jump into working as a journeyman electrician. Unlike working as an apprentice, as a journeyman electrician you can work without supervision.

To qualify for a journeyman electrician license, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • 8,000 hours of experience
  • Registered as an apprentice electrician in North Dakota
  • Complete your apprenticeship classroom training program

After meeting the qualifications, you need to fill out an application for examination. Along with the application, you need to send the following documents:

  • Employment verification record (in the application)
  • Apprenticeship Training Completion Certificate

Once you are approved to take the exam, you’ll be sent an invitation to take an exam administered by the Electrical Board. You will have to pick a date of examination and tell the Board. You’ll also be notified of the necessary study materials and exam details. You have to pass the exam with a 70% score to get your license.

After you get your license, you have to renew your license annually, by March 31. To renew your license, you need to complete the continuing education requirements. This means taking 8 hours of classes, half of which must cover the 2014 National Electric Code or most recent National Electric Code. These continuing education hours are valid for up to two years.

 


 

Step 3. Earn a Non-Contracting Master Electrician License

After working as a journeyman electrician for a year, you can choose to get a noncontracting master electrician license in North Dakota. Holding this license gives you the same responsibility as a journeyman electrician and indicates your experience. To hold this license, you need to be employed with a contracting master or master of record.

The qualification of a noncontracting master electrician is to have worked as a journeyman electrician in North Dakota for a year.

If you meet those qualifications, you need to fill out an application for examination. Along with the application, you need to send the employment verification record, which is in the application.

Once you are approved to take the exam, you’ll be sent an invitation to take an exam administered by the Electrical Board. You will have to pick a date of examination and tell the Board. You’ll also be notified of the necessary study materials and exam details. You have to pass the exam with a 70% score to get your license.

After you get your license, you have to renew your license annually, by April 30. To renew your license, you need to complete the continuing education requirements. This means taking 8 hours of classes, half of which must cover the 2014 National Electric Code or most recent National Electric Code. These continuing education hours are valid for up to two years.

You can also work as a Master of Record in North Dakota. The Master of Record license allows you to work as an electrician for a company, corporation, or other association. The primary difference is that you are only allowed to work on buildings and properties owned or leased by the company you work for.

To get this license, you need to fill out the same examination application and complete the exam. You also need to have $500,000 of general liability insurance through your company.

 


 

Step 4. Consider Becoming Licensed as a North Dakota Independent Electrical Contractor

To work as an independent contractor in North Dakota, you need to earn a contracting master electrician license. The requirements for this license are identical to the noncontracting license in addition to general liability insurance requirements.

The qualifications of a contracting master electrician are:

  • Work as a journeyman electrician in North Dakota for a year
  • Have $500,000 of general liability insurance
  • Contribute to the undertaking fund

After meeting the qualifications, you need to fill out an application for examination. Along with the application, you need to send the employment verification record, which is in the application.

Once you are approved to take the exam, you’ll be sent an invitation to take an exam administered by the Electrical Board. You will have to pick a date of examination and tell the Board. You’ll also be notified of the necessary study materials and exam details. You have to pass the exam with a 70% score to get your license.

After you get your license, you have to renew your license annually, by April 30. To renew your license, you need to complete the continuing education requirements. This means taking 8 hours of classes, half of which must cover the 2014 National Electric Code or most recent National Electric Code. These continuing education hours are valid for up to two years.

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