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How to Become an Electrician in Indiana

No other skilled trade offers the same level of stability, opportunities to specialize, and the freedom to go into business for yourself as the electrical trade does. With the Indiana Department of Workforce Development expecting a 14.6% increase in the number of jobs for electricians in the state during the ten-year period leading up to 2024, now is an ideal time to get the experience and training you need to start your career as a licensed electrician.

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Indiana does not have a statewide regulatory board in place for the electrical trade. This means electrician licenses are issued at the local level. 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 Indiana since practice standards are pretty consistent statewide.

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

Gain the Hands-on and Classroom Hours Required to Become a Journeyman or Residential Electrician
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 Hands-on and Classroom Hours Required to Become a Journeyman or Residential Electrician

The regulations for journeyman electrician licenses in Indiana vary by city and county jurisdiction. In general, a journeyman (referred to as a “residential electrician” in Indianapolis and some other jurisdictions) electrician needs about 4 years of hands-on practical job experience and about 150 hours of education during each of those years:

  • Indianapolis – 6 years job experience or 4 years job experience with relevant college courses
  • Allen County – 4 years job experience (up to 2 years can be substituted for formal education courses or a degree in electrical technology)
  • St Joseph County/South Bend – 4 years job experience
  • Evansville – 4 years job experience

There are three primary ways of going about getting the experience and classroom based education you need: attend a technical college, enroll in a unionized JATC program, or enroll a formal non-union apprenticeship program.

Technical Colleges

Enrolling in a technical college is the most straightforward option. You can select an accredited community college or technical school, get hands on technical training and classroom based instruction, and often also have the opportunity to gain on-the-job experience through an internship with an electrical contractor.

Completing a program at a technical college can earn you a certificate of competency, or an associate’s degree in electrical technology.

You can also find entry-level employment opportunities and apprenticeship opportunities on your own by searching through job postings, or by participating in a formal union or non-union apprenticeship program.

Union Apprenticeships

Union apprenticeships are sponsored jointly by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) through what is known as the Electrical Training Alliance. These apprenticeship programs are delivered through local Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (JATC) offices. The education and training you recieve in Indiana is very similar to that of other states. This can be very useful if you work for a multi-state contractor or move to a different state at some point.

Union apprenticeship programs in Indiana are available through these local JATCs:

Apprenticeships through the different JATCs differ a bit to align with local licensing requirements, but they all follow a similar model.

To meet the general entry requirements, you need to:

  • Be 18 years of age
  • Hold a high school diploma/GED
  • Hold a valid and current driver’s license
  • Pass a general aptitude test (covering algebra knowledge and reading comprehension)
  • Live in the jurisdiction of the JATC being applied to

Non-Union Apprenticeships

Non-union programs share a lot of similarities with union programs, but with the key difference of opening up opportunities to work with a different pool of non-union electrical contractors, sometimes referred to as “open shops” or “merit shops.” Here are the non-union programs in Indiana:

 


 

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

At the end of your apprenticeship, you will have the opportunity to apply for a journeyman electrician or residential electrician license. This is required to move on to a master electrician license later on in your career.

Indianapolis

In Indianapolis, electricians can earn residential electrician licenses. Residential electrician licenses authorize electricians to work on one- or two-family homes under the employment of a master electrician. You have to pass the residential electrician exam before earning that license. Licenses are issued by the Indianapolis Department of Code Enforcement.

The requirements for applying for the residential electrical exam are:

  • An electrical exam application
  • Notarized letter from an employer documenting six years of experience (two years of education may count towards the total)
  • Three signed customer reference letters for the individual
  • Photocopy of the driver’s license
  • Photocopies of any current licenses, certificates and diplomas

The Indianapolis Department of Code Enforcement will deliver details about the exam upon acceptance of the application. In general, the test subjects cover:

  • Services and Service Equipment
  • Wiring Methods and Materials
  • Equipment and Devices
  • Special Occupancies, Equipment, and Conditions
  • General Knowledge

These exams are generally multiple choice, are three to four hours long, have 80-100 questions, and are open book.

Once you earn a license, it needs to be renewed every two years by filling out this application. There are no continuing education requirements, but local electrician unions may have different requirements for membership.

Fort Wayne/Allen County

In Fort Wayne, you can earn a journeyman electrician license. Journeyman electrician licenses authorize electricians to work on commercial and residential buildings, so long as they are under the supervision of a master electrician. Licenses are issued by the Allen County Building Department.

A journeyman needs to have worked as an apprentice for 8,000 hours and 4 years to qualify for a journeyman license.

Upon acceptance of the application, you are approved to take the journeyman electrical exam. The Allen County Building Department will deliver details about the exam upon acceptance of your application. In general, the test subjects cover:

  • Services and Service Equipment
  • Wiring Methods and Materials
  • Equipment and Devices
  • Special Occupancies, Equipment, and Conditions
  • General Knowledge

These exams are generally multiple choice, three to four hours long, 80-100 questions long, and open book. You will need to score a 70% on the exam to pass and receive your license in Fort Wayne.

Once your license is earned, it needs to be renewed every year or you will have to retake the exam. There are no continuing education requirements, but local electrician unions may have different requirements for membership.

For the initial application and renewal application for electrician licenses in Fort Wayne, contact the Allen County Building Department.

South Bend

In South Bend, you can earn an industrial electrical license. Industrial electrical licenses allow electricians to do electrical work primarily on industrial premises. Licenses are issues by the South Bend Building Department.

To apply for an industrial electrician license, you need to have four years of experience, proven with a resume and letters of recommendation. Apprenticeships do not necessarily count towards this total in South Bend. Upon acceptance of the application, found on the City of South Bend website, you are approved to take an electrical exam. Details about the exam can be seen in the application document.

Once your license is earned, it needs to be renewed every year. The renewal application can be filled out from the City of South Bend Contractor Licenses webpage. There are no continuing education requirements, but local electrician unions may have different requirements for membership.

Evansville

In Evansville, you can earn a journeyman electrician license. Journeyman electrician licenses are given to capable electricians, and they must be hired under master electrician license holders. Licenses are issued by the Vanderburgh County Building Commission.

To apply for a journeyman electrician license, you need to prove four years of work experience with notarized reference letters. You’ll also need to fill out an application to take the electrical exam.

Once your application is accepted, you are approved to take the journeyman electrical exam. The Vanderburgh County Building Commission will send you details about the exam. The exam is open book, 80 multiple choice questions long, and 3 hours long. The breakdown of the topics on the exam is:

  • General Electrical Knowledge – 10%
  • Wiring and Protection – 25%
  • Wiring Methods and Materials – 20%
  • Equipment for General Use – 20%
  • Special Occupancies – 10%
  • Special Equipment – 5%
  • Special Conditions – 5%
  • Communication Systems – 5%

You have to pass the exam with a 70% to earn the journeyman electrical license.

Once your license is earned, it needs to be renewed every year or you will have to pay a late fee. There are no continuing education requirements, but local electrician unions may have different requirements for membership. Please visit the Vanderburgh County Building Commission website for more information on licensing in the county.

 


 

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 or license. Master electricians have more experience than journeyman electricians and are typically authorized to get permits from the county to perform work on residential properties. Here are the requirements and instructions for earning a master electrician license in Indiana.

Indianapolis

In Indianapolis, you can earn a master electrician license. Master electricians can hire residential electricians as employees in their business, covered later in this guide.

The requirements for applying for the master electrical exam are:

  • An electrical exam application
  • Notarized letter from an employer documenting six years of experience (two years of education may count towards the total)
  • Three signed customer reference letters for the individual
  • Photocopy of the driver’s license
  • Photocopies of any current licenses, certificates and diplomas

The Indianapolis Department of Code Enforcement will deliver details about the exam once they accept your application. In general, the test subjects cover:

  • Services and Service Equipment
  • Wiring Methods and Materials
  • Equipment and Devices
  • Special Occupancies, Equipment, and Conditions
  • General Knowledge

These exams are generally multiple choice, three to four hours long, 80-100 questions long, and open book.

Once you earn a license, it needs to be renewed every two years. The renewal application can be filled out here. There are no continuing education requirements unlike other states, but local electrician unions may have different requirements for membership.

Fort Wayne

In Fort Wayne, you can earn a master electrician license. To apply for a master electrician license, you need to have:

  • Worked as an electrician for a total of eight years
  • Been a journeyman electrician for four years

Once they accept your application, you are approved to take the master electrical exam. The Allen County Building Department will deliver details about the exam. In general, the test subjects cover:

  • Services and Service Equipment
  • Wiring Methods and Materials
  • Equipment and Devices
  • Special Occupancies, Equipment, and Conditions
  • General Knowledge

These exams are generally multiple choice, three to four hours long, 80-100 questions long, and open book. You will need to score a 70% on the exam to receive your license in Fort Wayne.

Once your license is earned, it needs to be renewed every year or you will have to retake the exam. There are no continuing education requirements unlike other states, but local electrician unions may have different requirements for membership.

For the initial application and renewal application for electrician licenses in Fort Wayne, please contact the Allen County Building Department at their website.

South Bend

South Bend does not offer a master electrician license. They offer electrical contractor licenses, which are in the next section of this guide.

Evansville

In Evansville, electricians can earn a master electrician license. Master electrician licenses are given to electricians desiring to work as an electrical contractor, which will be covered later in this guide.

To apply for a master electrician license, you need to prove four years of work experience with notarized reference letters. You’ll also need to fill out an application to take the electrical exam. Additionally, you need to prove you have liability insurance for your company, which is covered in the next section.

Once your application is accepted, you are approved to take the master electrical exam. The Vanderburgh County Building Commission will deliver details about the exam. The exam is open book, 100 multiple choice questions long, and is 4 hours long. The breakdown of the topics on the exam is:

  • General Electrical Knowledge – 10%
  • Wiring and Protection – 25%
  • Wiring Methods and Materials – 20%
  • Equipment for General Use – 20%
  • Special Occupancies – 10%
  • Special Equipment – 5%
  • Special Conditions – 5%
  • Communication Systems – 5%

You have to pass the exam with a 75% to earn the master electrical license.

Once your license is earned, it needs to be renewed every year or you will have to pay a late fee. There are no continuing education requirements, but local electrician unions may have different requirements for membership. Please visit the Vanderburgh County Building Commission website for more information on licensing in the county.

 


 

Step 4. Consider Working as an Electrical Contractor

In order to market your electrical services to the public as an independent contractor in Indiana, you will need to earn an electrical contractor license. With this license, you can hire electricians and run a business as a local contractor.

Indianapolis

The requirements for working as an electrical contractor in Indianapolis start with having a master electrician license, covered in the previous section. As a part of holding a master electrician license, you also need to have the following insurance requirements:

  • General liability insurance with $500,000 in the event of bodily injury, and $100,000 in the event of property damage
  • Worker’s compensation insurance if employees are hired
  • Surety bond or bond continuation certificate in the amount of $10,000

See this document for a detailed breakdown of all the requirements of being an electrical contractor in Indianapolis.

Fort Wayne

Fort Wayne does not have any listings for the amount of insurance or the kind of insurance an electrical contractor needs to operate. You do need to hold a distinct electrical contractor license separate from the master electrician license and pass the same test as a master or journeyman. More information can be received by contacting the Allen County Building Department at their website.

South Bend

You need to have an electrical contractor license to operate as an electrical contractor in South Bend. Electrical contractor licenses allow you to do electrical contracting work.

To apply for an electrical contractor license, you need to have four years of experience, proven with a resume and letters of recommendation. Apprenticeships do not necessarily count towards this total in South Bend. Upon acceptance of the application, found on the City of South Bend website, you are approved to take an electrical exam. Details about the exam can be seen in the application document.

Once your license is earned, it needs to be renewed every year. The renewal application can be filled out from the City of South Bend website. There are no continuing education requirements, but local electrician unions may have different requirements for membership.

You also need to submit a surety bond for the period of 1 year in the amount of $5,000.

Evansville

To work as an electrical contractor in Evansville, you need to have a master electrician license, covered in the previous section. You need the following insurance:

  • General liability insurance of $1 million
  • Worker’s compensation insurance
  • Surety bond of $15,000

Statewide

If your company is a corporation, it must be registered with the Secretary of State. Information about that process can be found at the Secretary of State website.

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