How to Become an Electrician in Illinois
Electrician jobs in Illinois are an excellent option for those hoping to begin well-paying careers in the skilled trades.
Pursuing an electrician career requires extensive study at an accredited institution, plus hands-on training to help you sharpen your skills.
Once you achieve this, you’ll need to check local guidelines for becoming a licensed electrician in your area.
Education and Training
Those wondering how to become an electrician in Illinois can learn the tools of the trade by undergoing extensive training.
Aspiring electricians in IL can complete a traditional education program at an Illinois trade school, taking classes on basic electrical principles like:
- Understanding Voltage, Direct and Alternating Current, Resistance, and Power
- Load Calculations
- Communication and Professionalism
- Blueprint Reading and Interpretation
- Motors and Electrical Controls
- Field and Shop Safety
Courses also include hands-on training through workshop modules. During this portion of their programs, students develop the dexterity and hand-eye coordination they need to succeed in this profession. You might consider taking some fundamental business classes as well if you hope to become a private contractor.
Electrician Apprenticeships in IL
In addition to undergoing traditional instruction, electricians in IL must gain industry experience through an apprenticeship. An apprentice electrician works with a master electrician or experienced supervisor, performing different tasks around the shop and at various job sites. Supervised training gives students a chance to perfect the skills they learned in school so they can qualify for electrician jobs in Illinois.
Specialized Electrician Training
You’ll need to undergo specialized training if you want to qualify for certain electrician jobs in Illinois. For example, aspiring automotive, marine, and aviation electricians will need to learn the specific skills required for installing, repairing, and maintaining electrical systems in cars. Electricians in IL can also specialize in handling security, smoke, and fire alarm systems if they complete the proper training.
How Long is Electrician School in IL?
Aspiring electricians in IL usually take at least 18 months to complete the required 500 to 800 hours of training. However, it might take as much as two years to earn your diploma from some schools. Four-year degree programs are also available for students planning to become master electricians and private contractors.
Electrician apprenticeships are usually about four years long, meaning electricians in IL generally complete all of their training in roughly five years. If you can meet the minimum 8,000 work hour requirement for your license sooner, you may be able to finish your apprenticeship in closer to three years.
Students who enroll in electrician school pay for books and study materials in addition to tuition. Although total program costs vary by institution and course length, most students pay between $8,000 and $15,000 for their training and classes. Longer degree programs might cost closer to $30,000.
Depending on which program you enroll in, your apprenticeship may include a regular paycheck. For example, some supervisors pay apprentices about $20.00 an hour for their services. However, others may cover the cost of your training program tuition rather than adding you to their payroll.
Illinois Electrician Requirements
Electrician licenses in Illinois are issued locally rather than by the state. As such, the requirements to become electricians in IL vary across different counties. For example, the Department of Buildings works with Continental Testing Services to proctor certification exams and issue electrical contractor licenses in Chicago.
The Journeyman Electrician Certification Exam
To take the journeyman electrician certification exam in Chicago, you must submit the following:
- Proof of Identification, certifying that you are at least 21 years of age
- An original signed letter from your current or former employer verifying your dates of employment and documenting at least two years of cumulative electrician experience
- Letter must include your supervisor’s Electrical Contractor license number or a photocopy of their Electrical Contractor license photo ID card
- A completed exam application form
- Payment of exam and application fees
Other counties, including Monroe County, skip journeyman licensure and require aspiring electricians in IL to become electrical contractors after training. Check the local guidelines for your region to determine the requirements for obtaining a license and qualifying for electrician jobs in Illinois.
Electrician Salaries in IL
Entry-level electricians in IL typically make about $55,855 per year. However, the average electrician salary in Illinois varies. Depending on which region of the state you live in. Take a look at the following list of regional salary information to discover how much electricians make in Illinois:
- Chicago $63,260
- Elgin $60,372
- Decatur $52,910
- Springfield $45,013
- Kankakee $51,603
- Rockford $62,028
Annual earnings for more experienced electricians in IL may be upwards of $80k, depending on where you live and work. Those working for their local or state governments might make even more than that in some cases. Eventually, you might decide to become a private contractor and earn closer to $100k annually.
What Do They Do?
Electrician jobs in Illinois require exceptional attention to detail, physical stamina, and hand-eye coordination. Depending on whether the job takes them to a construction site, a commercial building, or a residential area, an electrician in IL may need to perform the following duties:
- Restore power to local businesses and residences after storms and outages
- Installing outlets and light fixtures in homes and offices
- Upgrading electrical panels to power more appliances
- Consulting with building contractors and architects to wire new structures
- Maintaining and repairing electrical systems and backup generators
- Inspecting homes and businesses to ensure their electrical systems are up to code
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, aspiring skilled trades workers in the U.S. should see a seven-percent increase in the demand for electrician jobs over the next decade. Because of this projected growth rate, qualified electricians in IL should have an easier time finding work between 2021 and 2031.