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How to Become an Electrician in Minnesota

According to Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, electricians in Minnesota earn an average wage of $29.17 per hour, which is above the statewide median income. The job outlook for electricians in Minnesota is strong, with a projected growth rate of 10.6 percent expected for the ten-year period leading up to 2024. It is estimated that at least 2,870 new electricians will need to be licensed during this ten-year period to meet the growing demand.

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The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry – Board of Electricity regulates the licensing of qualified applicants interested in becoming electricians.

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

Gain the Training and Experience Required to Become Licensed 
Pass the Examination Required to Become a Journeyman Electrician in Minnesota
Earn a Master Electrician License 
Think About Becoming an Electrical Contractor in Minnesota

 


 

Step 1. Gain the Training and Experience Required to Become Licensed

 

Qualifying for a Journeyman Electrician license through the Minnesota Department of L&I – Board of Electricity can be accomplished in one of two ways:

  • Complete a two-year, post-high school electrical course (associate, certificate or diploma) approved by the Board of Electricity and gain 36 months (7,000 hours) of experience performing supervised electrical wiring work

OR

  • Obtain 48 months (8,000 hours) of experience performing supervised electrical wiring work

The Minnesota Department of L&I – Board of Electricity offers several license classes for electricians, each with different experience requirements:

  • Journeyman Class A Electrician – 48 Months/8,000 hours
  • Maintenance Electrician – 48 Months/8,000 hours
  • Outside Lineman – 48 Months/8,000 hours
  • Power Limited Technician – 36 Months/6,000 hours
  • Journeyman Elevator Constructor – 36 Months/6,000 hours
  • Installer B – 12 Months/2,000 hours

This guide will focus on Journeyman Class A Electrician licensing, the most common primary licensing option and the one aligned with reciprocity agreements in neighboring states. Additional information on the other licensing classifications can be found in the Minnesota Administrative Rules.

Technical College

Technical school programs in electrical technology or a similar vocational focus provide a unique opportunity to gain hands on training and learn fundamentals of electrical theory before entering the job market to pursue an entry-level technician position or beginning an apprenticeship. Qualified technical school programs also significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to qualify for a journeyman license so you can begin earning a wage commensurate with your skill level and training a full year sooner than through other means.

Your program’s career counseling center will help you transition to full-time employment with a local electrical contracting company interested in hiring new graduates for entry-level and apprentice positions.

These schools are available statewide in the cities of Anoka, Minneapolis, Duluth, St. Cloud, Rosemount, Hibbing, Cass Lake, Moorhead, Wadena, Canby, Jackson, Bemidji, Willmar, Albert Lea and St. Paul. The Minnesota Board of Electricity also approves programs located in Mitchell, South Dakota; Wahpeton, North Dakota; Calmar, Iowa; and Sheldon, Iowa.

A full list of approved technical school programs may be found here.

Apprenticeship Programs

The Minnesota Career Pathways website lists apprenticeships in the state by region.

For every year of on-the-job practical experience you gain during your apprenticeship, you must complete 144 hours of classroom instruction.

Courses that you will take will likely include:

  • Cable splicing
  • Code calculations
  • Electrical grounding
  • Instrumentation
  • National Electrical Code
  • Electrical safety work practices
  • OSHA/construction safety
  • Basic welding

Before you may apply for an electrical apprenticeship in Minnesota, you must:

  • Be at least 17 years old
  • Hold a high school diploma or be working towards a GED
  • Be physically capable of performing electrical work
  • Provide your own transportation

Each apprenticeship has its own entry requirements, which may also include taking an aptitude test.

Your apprenticeship will include a written contract between you and your employer, detailing what is expected of each of you. This written contract will be registered with the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry Apprenticeship Unit.

As an apprentice in Minnesota, you will usually be paid about half of what a Journeyman Electrician makes. If you complete a state-registered apprenticeship, at its conclusion you will receive a Certificate of Completion and a Journeyworker Card from the Department of Labor and Industry Apprenticeship Unit.

 


 

Step 2. Pass the Examination Required to Become a Journeyman Electrician in Minnesota

Upon completion of your initial training and experience, you should be well prepared to pas the Journeyman Electrician Exam.

Complete the Individual Electrical License Examination Application. Include a check or money order for $50 payable to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, as well as a copy of your apprenticeship Certificate of Completion and Journeyworker Card. Original transcripts from electrical education programs must also be attached to the application. You must also enclose a Work Experience Verification form completed by you and your employer verifying the number of practical hours of experience you have completed.

After submitting your application, the Construction Codes and Licensing Division will notify you if you are qualified to take the Journeyman Electrician Exam and direct you to schedule it online. Exams are offered in St. Paul, Duluth, Detroit Lakes, St. Cloud, Owatonna and Granite Falls.

Review this License Examination Guide provided by the Department of Labor and Industry, which includes sample questions. The examination consists of 80 questions, and you must get 70 percent of them correct to pass. You are given five and a half hours to complete the exam.

The exam will test your knowledge of:

  • General electrical concepts
  • Wiring and protection
  • National Electrical Code (2014 version)
  • Wiring methods and materials
  • Equipment for general use
  • Special occupancies
  • Special conditions
  • Tables
  • Applied electrical theory, systems and equipment

You will receive your examination results in writing approximately two weeks after taking it. Enclosed will be directions on how to obtain your Journeyman Electrician License. Your license renews every two years, and you may renew it online. To maintain your license, you must complete 16 hours of continuing education credit, four of which must be on the National Electrical Code. A directory of approved continuing education courses can be found here.

If you have a Journeyman Electrician license in one of the following states, contact the Board for information on reciprocal licensing:

  • Alaska
  • Colorado
  • Iowa
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Wyoming

 


 

Step 3. Earn a Master Electrician License

Once you have gained one year of experience working under your Journeyman Electrician license, you are eligible to apply to take the license to become a Master Electrician in Minnesota.

Complete the Individual Electrical License Examination Application. Include a check or money order for $50 payable to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.

Once again, you may wish to review the License Examination Guide, paying particular attention to the content of the Master Electrician Exam. It will include much of what you were tested on in the Journeyman Electrician Exam, with additional questions on more advanced areas. Again, the exam is 80 questions long, and you must get 70 percent of the answers correct to pass. You have five and a half hours to complete the exam.

You will receive your exam results in writing via mail, with instructions on getting your Master Electrician License. It renews every two years. During your first pro-rated term, you need not complete any continuing education. After that, you must complete the same 16 hours as noted above every two years to maintain your Minnesota Master Electrician License.

Minnesota recognizes reciprocity at the Master Electrician level with the following states:

  • Iowa
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Nebraska

 


 

Step 4. Think About Becoming an Electrical Contractor in Minnesota

Once you have your Master Electrician License in Minnesota, you might wish to become an Electrical Contractor to open your own business. Before seeking an Electrical Contractor License, you must:

  • Choose a business structure. Talk to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development for information on starting a business in Minnesota.
  • Register your business entity/name in Minnesota through the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office.
  • Obtain a State Tax ID number and Federal Employer Identification Number by contacting the agencies at the phone numbers listed on the application
  • Complete the Electrical Contractor Business License Application. Submit a $168 fee payable to the Department of Labor and Industry.
  • If you have employees, you must provide your Unemployment Insurance Number (call 651-296-6141 for more information)
  • Make sure to complete the Electrical Contractor Surety Bond section of the application, which requires you to carry a $25,000 surety bond
  • Make sure to complete the Certificate of Insurance Covering General Liability and Property Damage section of the application. You must carry general liability insurance of $100,000 per occurrence ($300,000 aggregate limit for bodily injury) and property damage insurance with limits of at least $50,000.
  • Make sure to complete the Certificate of Compliance–Minnesota Workers Compensation Law.
  • Make sure to complete the Certificate of Responsible Individual-Master Electrician section, stating that you have at least one Master Electrician (who may be you or someone else) licensed and responsible for all work of the business.

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