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How to Become an Electrician in Idaho

The electrician trade is always been one known to offer stability, and this is especially true in Idaho. The Idaho Department of Labor expects a 24.2% increase in the number of jobs for electricians in the state through 2024. This means that now is the time to get the experience and training you need to earn your license and get your career started.

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The Idaho Division of Building Safety is responsible for issuing journeyman, master and electrical contractor licenses.

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

Gain the Hands-on Work Experience and Classroom Hours Required to Become a Journeyman Electrician
Take the Examination Required to Become a Journeyman
Earn a Master Electrician Certificate 
Consider Becoming Licensed as an Independent Electrical Contractor

 


 

Step 1. Gain the Hands-on Work Experience and Classroom Hours Required to Become a Journeyman Electrician

Licensure as a Journeyman Electrician through the State of Idaho Division of Building Safety requires:

  • 6,000 hours of practical experience as an Idaho Electrical Apprentice performing residential, commercial and industrial wiring work (no more than 75% of these hours can be in any one category.

OR

  • Completing a formal four-year apprenticeship program

You can also pursue a limited Electrical Specialty Journeyman License (Elevator, Sign, Manufacturing, Limited Energy, Well Driller/Pump Installer, Refrigeration/Heating/Air, Outside Lineman, Solar Installer) by completing a minimum of 2 years (4,000) hours of work experience within the scope of the specialty.

There are two primary ways to meet these requirements:

  • Enroll in a technical college electrical program then transition to the workforce as an entry-level electrical technician or apprentice
  • Join the union apprenticeship program or participate in a non-union apprenticeship program

Technical Program and Transition to the Workforce

For a more traditional educational experience, you can enroll in a technical college, community college or private trade school program and earn a two-year associate of applied science in electrical systems technology (or similar degree) or a trade certificate or diploma in even less time. The licensing board has provided a short list of pre-approved colleges in the state:

These programs meet the education requirement set by the Idaho Department of Labor and the Division of Building Safety, but not the experiential requirement for journeyman licensure.

With your degree in hand, you can transition into the workforce by finding employment with a local electrical contracting company. You will likely find job placement assistance through your school’s career counseling office, which may help you make the transition to entry-level employment with a local employer. You would remain in a basic position while you complete the work-hour requirements for your journeyman license.

You may end up working for one of Idaho’s major electrical contracting companies:

  • Magic Valley Electric in Twin Falls
  • Affordable Electric in Athol
  • Same Day Electric in Boise

Apprenticeship Programs

In addition to college programs, Idaho has also approved three different union apprenticeships you can choose from in Boise, Pocatello, and Spokane. These Joint Apprenticeship & Training Committee offices have been established through the joint efforts of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), who have come together to form the National Training Alliance to ensure a high quality education for everyone. The admission to these programs requires you to:

  • Be 18 years of age
  • Provide a photo ID
  • Be able to physically perform the requirements of the trade
  • Be able to transport yourself to the classroom and job site
  • Pass a general aptitude test
  • Have a high school diploma/GED

Joining the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) through the union’s local chapter is required.

If a non-union apprenticeship program interests you, you’ll be able to find similar education and training at the IEC of Idaho.

The Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) is a trade group membership organizations that, among other things, helps facilitate apprenticeship programs with non-unionized electrical contracting companies.

Apprentice Registration

To legally participate in an apprenticeship, you need to be registered. You will need to fill out the apprenticeship registration packet after you enroll in an apprenticeship program and find employment.

 


 

Step 2. Take the Examination Required to Become a Journeyman

Journeyman electricians work independently doing installation and repair work on electrical equipment and on commercial and residential construction projects.

The requirements for this license are:

  • Completing the application
  • Submitting notarized proof of at least 6,000 hours of experience as an electrical apprentice in Idaho
  • Have experience performing actual installations under the supervision of a journeyman or master electrician
  • Passing the Journeyman Electrician Exam with a 70%

The Idaho Division of Building Safety will mail you information about the exam after you submit your application. Information about the exam can be found online.

The journeyman exam is four hours long, has 100 questions, and is open book. The resources you can use for the exam are:

  • 2014/2015 Idaho Electrical Statutes and Rules
  • 2014 National Electrical Code, NFPA
  • Ferm’s Fast Finder Index, IAEI
  • Ugly’s Electrical Reference, George V. Hart
  • Tom Henry’s Key Word Index – 2014 Code

After you receive your license, you need to renew it every three years by completing 24 continuing education credits. These 24 credits must cover three different topics:

  • 8 hours on National Electrical Code changes
  • 8 hours on other code related training
  • 8 hours on industry related training

The list of classes can be found in a schedule posted by the IDBS. Information about how to renew your license can be found on the IDBS FAQ.

Additionally, you can earn a specialty journeyman electrician license. The primary difference in this kind of license is that licenses allows you to do very specific electrical work. In order to earn a specialty electrician license, you need to have 2 years and 4,000 hours of experience in the specialty you are applying for. The specialties are:

  • Outside Wireman
  • Photovotalic (Solar) Electrician
  • Elevator, Dumbwaiter, Escalator or Moving Walk Electrician
  • Electrical Signs
  • Irrigation Sprinkler Electrician
  • Refrigeration, Heating, and Air Conditioning Electrician

To earn a specialty journeyman license, you need to:

  • Complete this application
  • Submit notarized documentation of 2 years and 4,000 hours of experience in your specialty
  • Pass specialty journeyman electrician exam with a score of 70%

The specialty journeyman electrician exam is different for each specialty. It is open book for each of them, using the same study materials as the standard journeyman electrician exam, and last 2-2.5 hours depending on the specialty. You can see information about the exam on this test bulletin.

Specialty journeyman electricians also have the same renewal period and continuing education credits.

 


 

Step 3. Earn a Master Electrician Certificate

After earning a journeyman or specialty journeyman license, you can take the next step and earn a master electrician license. A master electrician licenses authorizes you to plan, lay out, and supervise the installation and repair of electrical equipment.

The requirements for this license are:

  • Completing the application
  • Four years experience as a registered journeyman electrician
  • Passing the Master Electrician Exam with a 75%

The Idaho Division of Building Safety will mail you information about the exam after you submit your application. Information about the exam can be found online.

The master electrician exam is four hours long, has 90 questions, and is open book. The resources you can use for the exam are:

  • 2014/2015 Idaho Electrical Statutes and Rules
  • 2014 National Electrical Code, NFPA
  • Ferm’s Fast Finder Index, IAEI
  • Ugly’s Electrical Reference, George V. Hart
  • Tom Henry’s Key Word Index – 2014 Code

After you receive your license, you need to renew it every three years by completing 24 continuing education credits. These 24 credits must cover three different topics:

  • 8 hours on National Electrical Code changes
  • 8 hours on other code related training
  • 8 hours on industry related training

The list of classes can be found in a schedule posted by the IDBS. Information about how to renew your license can be found on the IDBS FAQ.

 


 

Step 4. Consider Becoming Licensed as an Independent Electrical Contractor

In order work as an electrical contractor in Idaho, you will need to complete the proper registration. With the contractor license, you can hire master electricians and run a business as a local contractor in one of multiple classes defined by the State.

The requirements for this license are:

  • Completing the application
  • Hold or hire someone who holds a master electrician license, known as the qualifying individual
  • Pass exam with a 70% score or higher

You must also submit proof of $300,000 of liability insurance and current worker’s compensation insurance.

There are a few different types of contracting licenses in Idaho, and they determine how much your individual projects can be valued at before you have to upgrade your license or stop working on the project. The licenses are:

  • Class Unlimited– more than $5 million
  • Class AAA– up to $5 million
  • Class AA– up to $3 million
  • Class A– up to $1.25 million
  • Class B– up to $600,000
  • Class CC– up to $400,000
  • Class C– up to $200,000
  • Class D– up to $50,000

There are two possible exams, a Class D exam and a non-Class D exam. If you are applying for a Class D license, you need to complete this exam. If you applying for a non-Class D license, you need to apply for the exam with this form. More information about the non-Class D exam can be found here.

Electrical contractor licenses need to be renewed every year.

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