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How to Become an Electrician in Nebraska

According to a research study published by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Bureau of Business Research, Nebraska’s construction industry is projected to be the fastest-growing economic sector in the state through 2018. With commercial development and residential construction on the rise, and the demand for licensed electricians continuing to grow, there’s no better time to pursue a career as an electrician. In fact, the Nebraska Department of Labor expects that employment opportunities for electricians will increase by 15.5% between 2010 and 2020.

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In Nebraska, journeyman and residential electricians are licensed by the Nebraska State Electrical Division before finally becoming eligible for licensure as an electrical contractor.

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

Gain the Work Experience Required for a Journeyman License
Become Licensed as a Journeyman Electrician or Residential Journeyman Wireman
Consider Becoming Licensed as an Electrical Contractor

 


 

Step 1. Gain the Work Experience Required for a Journeyman License

The Nebraska State Electrical Division (NSED) has two different licensing categories for journeyman electricians, each with different requirements and exams.

Residential Journeyman Wireman (appropriate for residential wiring work only):

  • At least three years experience in the electrical trade

OR

  • Two years experience and an associate’s degree in electrical technology

Journeyman Electrician (appropriate for residential and commercial/industrial wiring work):

  • At least four years experience in the electrical trade

OR

  • Three years experience and an associate’s degree in electrical technology or equivalent military training

Additionally, the NSED licenses Fire Alarm Installers separately, requiring candidates to have two years experience as an assistant installing fire alarm systems.

You have the following options for attaining the requisite experience to apply for the licensing exams:

  • Enroll in a five-year, 8000 hour field apprenticeship that includes no less than 900 hours of classroom-based technical training in electrical theory and National Electrical Code (NEC)

OR

  • Acquire a two-year associate’s degree in electrical technology (or equivalent military training as an electrician) and gain three years of on-the-job experience

Note: College education may be used to substitute for actual years of practical experience subject to approval by the board.

Fremont, Hastings and Lincoln have separate municipal licensing requirements. If you wish to be licensed in one of these three cities you must pass a municipal licensing exam in addition to meeting similar experience requirements as determined by the local licensing authority for each city.

Apprentice Registration

In order to ensure that work experience as an apprentice is counted, it is necessary to pre-register with the NSED as an electrical apprentice when enrolling in an apprenticeship program.

To register as an electrical apprentice, you can apply online, or contact the NSED directly:

State of Nebraska
State Electrical Division
521 South 14th Street
Box 95066 Suite 400
Lincoln, NE 68508

The registration fee is $20 in even-numbered years and $40 in odd-numbered years. Renewal while still an apprentice is required every two years.

Community College Apprenticeship and Associate Degree Program

Metropolitan Community College in Omaha offers an Electrical Apprenticeship Program (ELAP) offered in combination with four-years of verified work experience to meet all the requirements for state licensure as a journeyman electrician. The four-year (2-quarter) program involves two weekly evening classes for 11 weeks during each of the two quarters.

Alternately, Metropolitan CC also offers an Associate of Applied Science in Electrical Technology that can be applied toward the experience hours required for licensure. Students of the program are only required to gain three years of on-the-job experience in order to earn a journeyman license as opposed to the customary four years. Classes are held in the evening, allowing students to secure employment with an electrical contractor during the day as they gain the required experience.

Union Apprenticeship

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) coordinates with the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) to organize local Joint Apprenticeship & Training Committees (JATC) to facilitate apprenticeships with unionized electrical contracting companies in Nebraska. These apprenticeships combine both field training and classroom education. There are two JATCs in Nebraska, the Omaha Joint Electrical Apprenticeship Training Committee (OJEATC) and the Lincoln Electrical JATC.

Nebraska JATC programs have the following requirements for entry:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Provide a copy of your birth certificate
  • Provide a copy of your social security card
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Provide high school or GED transcripts
  • Provide proof that you completed one year of high school algebra with a passing grade or one post-high school algebra course with a passing grade
  • Provide documentation of any previous electrical experience
  • Pay the $20 application fee

Apprenticing with the union would involve becoming a dues-paying, card-carrying member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).

Non-Union Apprenticeship

It’s also possible to meet apprenticeship requirements via a non-union apprenticeship program. In Nebraska, all merit shop apprenticeships are managed by the Cornhusker Chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) trade association in coordination with local non-unionized electrical contracting companies.

Applicants are required to apply in person at either the Lincoln or Omaha locations. The following requirements must be met:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Provide a copy of your social security card
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Have a dependable means of transportation
  • Be physically capable of performing the essential functions of the apprenticeship program, with or without a reasonable accommodation, and without posing a direct threat to the health and the safety of the individual or others (an agility test may be required)
  • Pay a $25 registration fee
  • Pass a math test

 


 

Step 2. Become Licensed as a Journeyman Electrician or Residential Journeyman Wireman

The next thing you’ll do is apply for a journeyman electrician license or residential journeyman wireman license.

Journeyman Electrician License

A journeyman license allows you to install electrical wiring, apparatus, and equipment as well as supervise apprentice electricians. To be eligible for a journeyman license, you’ll need to meet the following requirements:

  • Complete an application
  • Meet the experience requirement
  • Pay the licensing fee ($25 in even-numbered years, $50 in odd-numbered years)
  • Pay the $60 examination fee
  • Receive a passing score (76%) on the journeyman electrician exam administered by the NSED

You must have at least four years of experience in the electrical trade. However, if you have a two-year degree in electrical technology, it can be used to substitute one year of practical experience. Additionally, if you served in the military and received electrical training during that time, that experience can be used to substitute one year of practical experience as well.

Once you’ve met these requirements, the NSED will approve you for the journeyman examination. The test is both designed and proctored by the Nebraska State Electrical Division. The exam is open book, consists of 50 questions, and has a three-hour time limit. Test content includes:

  • National Electrical Code (NEC) 2014
  • Basic electricity
  • Nebraska State Electrical Act
  • Blueprint reading
  • Emergency circuits
  • Fire alarm circuits

Once you pass the exam, you’ll receive your journeyman electrician license. Your license must be renewed biennially by December 31. The renewal fee is $25. You must also accrue at least 12 contact hours of continuing education in order to renew your license; at least six hours must on the study of NEC.

At the journeyman level, the Nebraska State Electrical Division has reciprocity agreements with Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. If you are reciprocating your journeyman license from another state, you’ll pay a registration fee equal to the cost of the journeyman exam plus the licensing fee.

Residential Journeyman Wireman License

A residential journeyman wireman license allows you to wire or install electrical wiring, apparatus, and equipment for residential installations and to supervise apprentice electricians. The work you perform is restricted to residential installations of single-family or two-family structures. If the structure is a multi-family dwelling, it cannot be more than three stories in height.

In order to get licensed, you’ll need to meet the following requirements:

  • Complete an application
  • Meet the experience requirement
  • Pay the licensing fee ($25 in even-numbered years, $50 in odd-numbered years)
  • Pay the $60 examination fee
  • Receive a passing score (76%) on the residential electrician exam administered by the NSED

A minimum of three years of experience in the electrical trade is required, although if you have a two-year degree in electrical technology, it can be used to substitute one year of practical experience. In addition, if you’ve served in the military and received electrical training during that time, it can also be used to substitute one year of practical experience.

Next, the NSED will approve you to take the residential journeyman exam. The test is designed and administered by the Nebraska State Electrical Division. The exam is open book, consists of 50 questions, and has a three-hour time limit. Test content includes:

  • National Electrical Code (NEC) 2014
  • Basic electricity
  • Nebraska State Electrical Act
  • Blueprint reading
  • Emergency circuits
  • Fire alarm circuits

Once you receive a passing score on the exam, you’ll get your residential journeyman wireman license. Your license must be renewed every two years by December 31. The renewal fee is $25. Renewing your license also requires that you obtain at least 12 contact hours of continuing education, with six hours focused on the study of NEC.

Hastings, Fremont and Lincoln Only

Three cities in Nebraska issue their own electrician licenses that are also recognized by the state. A local electrician can pursue those qualifications rather than the state requirements.

Hastings, Fremont, and Lincoln all offer independent electrical licensing programs. In addition to meeting experience requirements similar to those for state licensure, these municipal licenses require evidence of having passed either the regular NSED exam, or exams offered by the National Inspection Testing and Certification Corporation (NITC) or the Education Testing Service (ETS).


 

Step 3. Consider Becoming Licensed as an Electrical Contractor

Typically, your next step would be to get licensed as a master electrician. However, in 1993, changes made to the Nebraska State Electrical Act resulted in the master electrician license being repealed. As a result, the Nebraska State Electrical Division no longer licenses electricians at the level of master electrician.

If you’re interested in running your own contracting business, you’ll need to get licensed as an electrical contractor. Requirements include:

  • Complete an application
  • Meet the experience requirement
  • Pay the licensing fee ($125 in even-numbered years, $250 in odd-numbered years)
  • Pay the $125 exam fee
  • Receive a passing score (76%) on the electrical contractor exam administered by the NSED

There are three ways in which you can meet the experience requirement. Any of the options listed below satisfy the experience requirement:

  • A four-year degree in electrical engineering AND at least one year of experience as a journeyman electrician
  • At least one year of experience as a licensed journeyman electrician
  • At least five years of experience planning for, laying out, supervising and installing wiring, apparatus, or equipment for electrical light, heat, and power

Next, you’ll take the electrical contractor exam. The test is open book, contains 50 questions, and has a three-hour time limit. Test topics include:

  • National Electrical Code (NEC) 2014
  • Basic electricity
  • Nebraska State Electrical Act
  • Blueprint reading
  • Emergency circuits
  • Fire alarm circuits

After passing the exam, you’ll receive your electrical contractor license. Your license has to be renewed every two years by December 31. The renewal fee is $125. Renewing your license also requires that you complete a minimum of 12 contact hours of continuing education, with at least six hours dedicated to the study of code.

As an electrical contractor and business owner, you’ll also need to secure the following liability insurance limits:

  • Minimum $100,000 per person
  • Minimum $300,000 per accident
  • Minimum $100,000 property damage

The Nebraska State Electrical Division has reciprocity agreements for electrical contractors with Minnesota and South Dakota. If you are reciprocating your electrical contractor license from one of these states, you’ll pay a registration fee equal to the cost of the electrical contractor exam plus the licensing fee.

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