With much of Alaska’s economy focused on fishing, mining and tourism, electricians in the state fill an important auxiliary role. Though there aren’t as many electricians in Alaska as in many of the mainland states, they are essential to keeping residential, tourist, commercial, and government properties running.
If you are interested in working as a professional electrician in Alaska, you’ll start your career as an apprentice, then earn a journeyman or residential electrician certificate from the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Then, if you want to run your own business as an independent electrical contractor, you can get a contractor license from the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development.
Follow these steps to learn how to become a professional electrician in Alaska:
Step 1. Enroll as an Electrical Apprentice with the AJEATT to Gain the 4,000 Hours of Hands-on Experience Required to Become a Journeyman
To begin your career as an electrical apprentice in Alaska, you would enroll in your local union’s apprenticeship training program and complete the required classroom hours. Local unions often pool their resources to offer training through Joint Apprenticeship & Training Committees (JATCs).
In Alaska, the one primary JATC is known as the Alaska Joint Electrical Apprenticeship & Training Trust (AJEATT), offered as a combined effort between the Alaska Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1547 under the Electrical Training Alliance.
In Alaska, your apprenticeship will include at least 4,000 hours of hands-on experience and 1,400 hours of classroom-based instruction in electrician school.
To enroll in an apprenticeship with the AJEATT, you need to meet the following requirements:
- Be 18 years old
- Have a valid Alaska driver’s license and a copy of your driving record
- Have a high school diploma/GED/college degree
- Present an official copy of high school transcripts
- Pass the Algebra 1 class, online math course, or the Work Keys Placement Test with the State of Alaska Job Center
If you meet those qualifications, fill out an application and submit it to the AJEATT.
You’ll also need to register as an apprentice with the Department of Labor and Workforce Development with this application. Be sure to renew it every other year until you finish your apprenticeship.
Once you are enrolled, your apprenticeship will be made up of two components: full time work with an electrical contractor and classroom-based education studying electrical science and theory. The topics covered in class would include:
- Electrical Theory
- Algebraic Equation Manipulation for Electric Circuits
- AC/DC Currents
- Motors and Transformers
- Blueprint Reading
- First Aid/Safety/OSHA Regulations
- Electric Code Standards
At the end of your apprenticeship, you will have completed at least 1,400 hours of classroom training and 4,000 hours of on the job training over four years.
Step 2. Take the Examination Required to Become a Journeyman or Residential Electrician
After completing your apprenticeship, you can apply for a journeyman or residential electrician certificate in Alaska. A journeyman certificate allows you to work on both residential and commercial properties, whereas a residential certificate only allows you to work on residential properties.
The requirement for a residential certificate is 4,000 hours of work experience. 500 classroom hours can count towards your total. Fill out this application as a residential electrician and wait for approval to take the exam. Once you are approved, you can schedule the exam. You’ll be contacted with information about the exam.
Once you pass the exam, you will receive your license. You need to renew your license every two years. Residential journeyman electricians do not have continuing education requirements.
The requirement for a journeyman certificate is a total 8,000 hours of work experience. Here’s how it breaks down:
- 6,000 of those hours must be in commercial or industrial properties.
- No more than 2,000 hours of experience can be in residential properties.
- 1,000 classroom hours can count towards your total.
Fill out this application as a journeyman electrician and wait for approval to take the exam. Once you are approved, you can schedule the exam. You’ll be contacted with information about the exam.
Once you pass the exam, you will receive your license. You need to renew your license every two years. As a journeyman, you also need to complete continuing education requirements. You need to complete 16 hours of continuing education, and 8 hours must be a comprehensive review of the National Electric Code. You have to complete these hours in the 24 months before your license needs to be renewed.
Step 3. Consider Becoming Licensed as an Independent Electrical Contractor
If you are interested in working as an independent electrical contractor, there are two key parts to the process: hiring or becoming an electrical administrator, and obtaining an Alaska Business License.
To become an electrical administrator, you need to follow the instructions in this application form:
- Select a specific category of administrator
- Unlimited Commercial Wiring
- Residential Wiring
- Controls and Control Wiring
- Inside Communications
- Outside Communications
- Unlimited Line Work Outside
- Complete the application with the following documents
- Resume detailing your experience for your category
- References from three people to verify your experience
- Official transcripts from college, university, or trade school
- Pass the matching exam, administered by PSI Exams, found in this exam bulletin
After you receive your electrical administrator license, you need to renew it every two years and keep up with continuing education requirements. You can find approved continuing education courses online.
Once you have earned an electrical administrator license or hired someone who has one, you need to become an Alaska Business. Follow these steps:
- Register your business and receive an Alaska entity number with the appropriate form
- Apply for the business license by following the instructions on this page
- Maintain your license by renewing it every one or two years (you choose how often when you first get a business license)
Once you’ve completed all these steps, you’ll be able to operate as an electrical contractor in Alaska.