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How to Become an Electrician in South Dakota

Every single large business, small business, and resident of South Dakota needs their property to have properly working electricity – including South Dakota’s largest employers: Sanford Health employs over 26,000 people between the two Dakotas; Tyson Foods has an information systems office in Milbank; and CitiBank, one of the largest banks in America, employs over 16,000 people in offices around the state.

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With the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation projecting a 12.5% job growth rate for electricians during the ten-year period leading up to 2024, now is a great time to earn your professional electrician license.

In South Dakota, electricians are licensed through the South Dakota Electrical Commission. Through the Commission, you’ll register as an apprentice, then take an exam to work as a journeyman before having the option of becoming licensed as an independent electrical contractor.

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

Gain the Job Site Experience and Technical Training Required to Become a Journeyman Electrician
Take the Examination Required to Become a Journeyman in South Dakota
Consider Becoming Licensed as an Independent Electrical Contractor

 


 

Step 1. Gain the Job Site Experience and Technical Training Required to Become a Journeyman Electrician

Qualifying for an electrical journeyman license in South Dakota requires:

  • Electrical apprenticeship consisting of 8,000 hours (4 years) of field experience and hands on technical training (unspecified, but most apprenticeships would consist of 576 hours over 4 years)

OR

  • Associate of Applied Science in Electrical Trades and 6,000 hours (3 years) of documented job site experience

You can learn the fundamentals of the electrical trade by enrolling in an electrical trade school program and transitioning to an apprenticeship or by enrolling in an apprenticeship program directly.

If you have had previous experience as an outside electrical power lineman and are getting back into the trade, four years of verified experience will count towards one of the four years required for journeyman licensure.

Technical Colleges

Technical colleges offer a familiar path to starting a career as an electrician. Most technical schools in South Dakota offer a 2-year Associate of Applied Science Electrical Trades degree, or similarly titled degree. There are some obvious benefits that come with participating in a technical school program:

  • Upon completing the programs you would be well-qualified for an entry-level apprenticeship position
  • Upon completing the program you would only need 3 years of experience instead of the standard 4 years in order to earn your journeyman license

Your associate’s degree program will consist of some classroom instruction, but for the most part you will “learn by doing,” which means participating in hands-on training. You can expect to cover topics that include:

  • Basic Math Computations
  • Blueprint Reading
  • Algebra with Trigonometry
  • Electrical Theory
  • OSHA Regulations and First Aid
  • Electrical Code
  • Telecom Cabling
  • Basic Telecommunications
  • Motor Controls
  • Basic Alarm Technology
  • Semi-Conductors
  • Logic Circuits and Programmable Controllers
  • Motor and Generator Theory
  • Fire Access & CCTV Systems
  • Power Distribution and Load Calculations

After earning your associate’s degree, you would be a strong candidate for entry-level employment as an apprentice during which time you will gain the three years of supervised job experience necessary to qualify for your journeyman license.

To land an entry-level job as an apprentice, you can start by using the resources available at your college to search for open apprenticeship positions. Some of the technical schools in South Dakota are proud to report a 100% job placement rate for graduates of their electrical trade programs.

Some of South Dakota’s leading electrical contracting companies frequently hire on new graduates for apprenticeship positions:

  • Cherne Contracting
  • AL Sutton Electric
  • Freeman Electric
  • Conrad’s Big C Electric
  • Kennecott Energy Company
  • American Electric
  • Clarke Electric
  • Muth Electric, Inc

Union and Non-Union Direct Entry Apprenticeships

Direct entry electrical apprenticeships consist of both classroom and lab-based technical training and the four years (8,000 hours) of job experience required to become a journeyman.

Together, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) facilitate apprenticeships through unionized electrical contracting companies under the Electrical Training Alliance.

The local IBEW chapter through which these apprenticeships are available is the Dakotas Electrical Joint Apprenticeship & Training Committee, which covers North Dakota, South Dakota, and parts of Minnesota. There are offices in both Rapid City and Sioux Falls.

The requirements for enrolling in an apprenticeship through the Dakotas Electrical JATC are as follows:

  • A copy of your birth certificate showing you are at least 18 years old
  • A copy of your high school diploma or GED
  • Proof of passing an algebra 1 class or higher
  • Hold a valid driver’s license

A non-union apprenticeship program with a local non-unionized electrical contracting company is available through the Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC). Apprentices will go through 576 hours of classroom education as part of the IEC program. If you are interested in a non-union program, contract the IEC Dakotas office in Pierre.

The South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation also approves apprenticeship opportunities available directly through Muth Electric Inc in Mitchell, one of the state’s largest and most well established electrical contracting companies.

At the end of your apprenticeship, you will have completed 8,000 hours of professional experience and approximately 576 hours of classroom and lab-based technical training over the course of four years, qualifying you to test to become a journeyman electrician.

The South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation also lists the following municipalities and contracting companies as providing electrical power lineman apprenticeships:

  • City of McLaughlin
  • City of Volga
  • Govert Powerline Services in Newell
  • Rosebud Electric Co-op in Gregory

Apprenticeship Registration

You are required to register for an apprentice license with the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation Electrical commission. Complete this application and submit it to:

South Dakota Electrical Commission
Department of Labor & Regulation
308 S. Pierre Street
Pierre, SD 57501

Once you are registered, you need to be sure to renew your registration with this application every two years until you have completed your apprenticeship.

 


 

Step 2. Take the Examination Required to Become a Journeyman in South Dakota

Holding a journeyman electrician license indicates that you are able to meet the code standards set by the State Electrical Commission without supervision.

Begin the process by filling out this application. In the application, be sure to accurately fill out your work experience as an apprentice and any additional experience you may have.

After the Commission approves your application, they will send you a letter with details on scheduling and preparing for your exam.

After you pass the exam and earn your license, you need to renew your license every two years with this form. Before you can renew your license, you need to meet the continuing education requirements. You must complete 16 hours of continuing education each renewal period, and 8 of those hours have to cover the electrical code and any updates. To find a continuing education provider, visit the continuing education page.

 


 

Step 3. Consider Becoming Licensed as an Independent Electrical Contractor

In South Dakota, you can work as an independent contractor after spending two years (4,000 hours) as a journeyman electrician. This will allow you to sell your electrician services to the public.

To get licensed as an electrical contractor, fill out the electrician application.

As part of being an electrical contractor, you also need to meet certain insurance requirements. In South Dakota, you need to submit the following to the State Electrical Commission to get your contractor license:

  • A $10,000 bond to the Commission (use this form)
  • Proof of $100,000 of pubic liability insurance
  • Proof of $300,000 of bodily injury and property damage insurance

After the Commission approves your application, they will send you a letter with details on scheduling and preparing for your exam.

After you pass the exam and earn your license, you need to renew your license every two years using this form. Before you can renew your license, you need to meet the continuing education requirements. You must complete 16 hours of continuing education each renewal period, and 8 of those hours have to cover the electrical code and any updates. To find a continuing education provider, visit the continuing education page.

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