How to Become an Electrician in Illinois

residential electrician working

According to the US Bureau of Labor Illinois is #4 state in the nation for electrician pay.

Education and Training

Pursuing an electrician career requires extensive study at an accredited institution, plus hands-on training to help you sharpen your skills.

A great way to start is through an online course at a local trade school.

Local Trade School Programs

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Get information on Electrician programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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What Will You Study?

Most courses will cover topics such as:

Core Electrical Concepts:

  • Electrical Theory and Principles: Basic and advanced electrical theory, including understanding voltage, current, resistance, and power.
  • Mathematics for Electricians: Basic electrical math and technical math for precise calculations and load assessments.

Technical Skills Development:

  • Electrical Systems: DC and AC fundamentals, transformers, and electrical system operation principles.
  • Wiring and Controls: Techniques for wiring, including single-phase and 3-phase motors, and electrical controls.

Safety and Compliance:

  • Safety Practices: Comprehensive coverage of field and shop safety, electrical safety, and jobsite safety.
  • National Electrical Code (NEC): In-depth study of the NEC to ensure all work is up to code.

Materials and Tools:

  • Materials Handling: Building materials knowledge, including conductors, cables, enclosures, and terminal devices.
  • Tool Proficiency: Proper use of hand tools and power tools for various electrical tasks.

Installation Techniques:

  • Wiring Systems: Residential and commercial wiring practices.
  • System Installations: Installation of residential services, feeders, separate buildings, and specific circuit protection like GFCI and AFCI.

Specialized Electrical Applications:

  • Renewable Energy Systems: Installation and troubleshooting of solar photovoltaic systems.
  • Generator Systems: Understanding generators, including code compliance and operation.

Practical Skills and Project Management:

  • Practical Applications: Grounding, bonding, installing, and inspecting various electrical systems.
  • Project Execution: Skills in project planning and management for effective execution of electrical projects.

Advanced Applications and Troubleshooting:

  • Troubleshooting Skills: Diagnosing and resolving electrical issues.
  • Advanced Circuit Design: Design and management of required branch circuits and appliance connections.

Professional Skills and Career Preparation:

  • Soft Skills Development: Enhancing communication and other interpersonal skills (optional).
  • Career Path Insights: Introduction to the electrical industry and potential career paths.
  • Drawing and Documentation: Understanding and utilizing construction drawings for projects.

Certification and Evaluation:

  • Certification Preparation: Study materials for national certification exams and course completion certificates.
  • Capstone Challenge: A comprehensive course challenge to assess readiness for professional certification.

How Long is Electrician School in IL?

Most programs designed for entry level electricians with little or no experience last 7 to 12 months.

Some online programs allow you to control the pace of study and you can finish as quickly as you can study.

Program Costs

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.

Salary Range in IL

The Bureau of Labor states that the average pay in the state is $88,040.

Here are some numbers from top employment websites:

Below is regional salary information from the BLS:

Area Hourly Annual
Bloomington $37.63 $78,280.00
Carbondale-Marion $40.83 $84,930.00
Champaign-Urbana $40.57 $84,380.00
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin $44.02 $91,560.00
Danville $35.60 $74,040.00
Decatur $42.33 $88,050.00
East Central Illinois $34.41 $71,560.00
Kankakee $38.17 $79,400.00
Northwest Illinois $38.12 $79,290.00
Peoria $37.76 $78,540.00
Rockford $36.18 $75,250.00
South Illinois $40.96 $85,200.00
Springfield $38.78 $80,660.00
West Central Illinois $34.69 $72,150.00

Occupation:Electricians(SOC Code472111)

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.

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.


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.

Length of Time

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.

Paid Internships

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.

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.

The Journeyman Electrician Certification Exam

To take the journeyman electrician certification exam in Chicago, you must submit the following:

  1. Proof of Identification, certifying that you are at least 21 years of age
  2. 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
    1. Letter must include your supervisor’s Electrical Contractor license number or a photocopy of their Electrical Contractor license photo ID card
  3. A completed exam application form
  4. Payment of exam and application fees

Additional Options

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.

Job Description

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

Career Outlook

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.

Search Electrician Programs

Get information on Electrician programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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