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How do I Get an Electrician's License in Illinois?

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Good electricians are always in demand to keep electrical systems in our homes and businesses functioning properly. Illinois is a state that does not have a state-wide licensing system for credentialing electricians. Individual municipalities have licensing requirements of their own. These requirements vary from town to town, with some requiring up to four years of journeyman experience. Some municipalities may accept licensing issued by larger cities. Chicago has some of the most stringent licensing requirements.

How do I get an electrician's license in Illinois?

Get training. Those interested in becoming electricians generally train at a technical school or at schools that offer a certificate program for electricians. Such schools include Illinois Valley Community College in Oglesby; Triton College, which offers an associate's degree; or technical schools, like Coyne College, which offers an AAS (Associate in Applied Science) degree in electrical construction and planning.

Apply to an apprenticeship program. Working as a journeyman apprentice under a master electrician for a number of years, usually four, is a requirement to gain licensing in many Illinois municipalities. Apprenticeship programs often require sponsorship by an employer or through a union member. Wages and health benefits are provided during apprenticeship.

Research the requirements for licensing in the municipality in which you wish to work. Find these online at the municipality’s division of professional licensing or at the office of professional licensing. Provide exam results and licensing from other communities if required. Provide bonding by an insurance company, as is generally required. Very small communities may have no electrical contractor licensing.

Take the municipality’s electrical exam. Pay the exam fee. This fee may be deducted from the license fee after you pass the exam. Most exams conform to the National Electrical Code which covers electrical issues in great depth and demands a high degree of technical expertise. Previous apprenticeship or up to 8,000 hours of on-the-job training is needed to prepare the applicant sufficiently for a passing grade. You must get 70% of the answers correct to pass the test, which can last up to seven hours.

Wait for your results. You will be usually be notified of the results within 10 days to two weeks of taking the exam. If you do not pass, arrange to re-take the exam. If you pass, you may be required to provide proof of insurance for licensing.

Tip

Some municipalities in Illinois accept military training or verifiable on-the-job training instead of apprenticeship experience.

Veterans may be given priority on acceptance into apprenticeship programs.

You can get a copy of National Electrical Code through the National Fire Protection Association.

Contact the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers or the Northeastern Illinois Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association for further information on training and apprenticeship programs to prepare for licensing in Illinois.

Warning

Apprentice programs include both classroom time and on-the-job training under an experienced electrician. In Illinois, requirements to apply include at least one year of residency in the state of Illinois, graduation from high school, completion of a high school algebra course with a C grade or better and being at least 18 years of age.

You must be 21 years old to apply for an electrician's license in Illinois.

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