We briefly mentioned licenses above, but it’s an important topic, so we’ll give you a few more details you need to know.
Once you complete an apprenticeship—or complete a specific number of supervised work hours on the job—you’ll need to get your license to become a journeyman electrician. In most cases, licenses are granted by the state, but there are certain states (Illinois is one) that licenses people at the local municipal level.
Each state has different rules about what it takes to become a journeyman, but the general requirements are usually the same.
The requirements are usually related to:
the number of on-the-job training hours you’ll need to complete;required coursework you’ll need to take during your training; andan exam that deals with electrical theory, the National Electric Code, and local electric codes and building codes.
Why Do Need to Know This?
You may be wondering why we’re discussing licenses, when you’re at the beginning of your career, and just figuring out how to become an electrician.
There are two main reasons we bring it up.
Here’s the first:
Because each state has unique licensing requirements, you’ll (usually) want to do your apprenticeship or go to school in the state you want to work in. The requirements you meet to become a journeyman in one state may not be enough to meet the requirements to become a journeyman in another state.
Some states recognize licenses from others states—that’s known as “reciprocity”—but not all states have reciprocity. So, in many cases, it makes sense to receive your training in the area where you want to live and work.
Here’s the second reason:
While most states have licenses for journeyman electricians, some have different types of journeyman licenses—as well as other electrician licenses (Florida is one such state that has many different types of licenses; another state with a bunch of different license types is North Carolina). You don’t need to figure all of this out now, but it’s something to keep in mind as you move through your career.
If you would like to learn more about the electrician licensing boards and licensing requirements for each state, you can check the National Electrical Contractors Association site, or talk to your apprenticeship leader or college advisor.