Alaska Electrical License: How to Become an Electrician in Alaska
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Being an electrician isn’t just a job, it’s a solid career path. Electrical contractors enjoy a wide range of employment opportunities and earn a respectable income. There’s also job security—customers will always need skilled trade professionals to install and service electrical systems in their homes and businesses. The process of becoming an electrician takes time, but you get paid while you learn and gain experience!
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Licensing Requirements for Electricians in Alaska
Is a license required to be an electrician in Alaska? Yes.
But it's called certification, not a journeyman license or residential electrician license like in most states. However, to run your own business as an electrical administrator, you need to have an electrical certification or hire someone who has one.
To perform electrical work in the state of Alaska, journeyman and residential electricians must obtain a certificate from the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Then, if you want to become an independent electrical contractor in order to run your own business, you must take an extra step and obtain professional licensing from the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development. However, before you can begin the certification and licensing process, you must register as an apprentice with the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
Steps to Get an Electrician's Certificate or License in Alaska
Enroll in an electrical apprenticeship with the Alaska Joint Electrical Apprenticeship and Training Trust (AJEATT).
Register as an apprentice with the Department of Labor and Workforce Development and pay the $50 apprentice licensing fee. (The apprenticeship license must be renewed each year until you complete your apprenticeship.)
Complete 4,000 hours of hands-on experience and 1,400 hours of classroom training.
Take the exam required to obtain certification as a journeyman or residential electrician.
Consider becoming licensed as an independent electrical contractor if interested in owning your own electrical contractor business or provide electrician services as an independent electrical contractor.
AJEATT REQUIREMENTS: Alaska's primary union apprenticeship training program is the Alaska Joint Electrical Apprenticeship and Training Trust (AJEATT). Those who wish to become an electrical apprentice must first submit an application to the AJEATT. Potential applicants must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, a valid Alaska driver's license and a copy of their driving record, an official copy of their high school transcript, and pass an Algebra 1 class or a Work Keys placement test with the State of Alaska Job Center. Once those requirements are met, an application should be filled out and submitted to the AJEATT.
COMPLETE NECESSARY TRAINING: In Alaska, apprentice electricians are required to complete 4,000 hours of hands-on experience and 1,400 hours of classroom training. Classroom instruction covers a variety of topics including: electrical theory, algebraic equation manipulation for electric circuits, AC/DC currents, welding, motors and transformers, blueprint reading, first aid/safety/OSHA regulations, and electric code standards.
APPLY FOR JOURNEYMAN OR RESIDENTIAL ELECTRICIAN CERTIFICATION: Once you have completed the apprenticeship requirements, you can apply for either a journeyman electrician or residential electrician certificate. A journeyman certificate allows you to work on both commercial and residential properties. A residential certificate means you can only perform residential electrical work.
To apply for residential certification, you must have 4,000 hours of work experience and 500 hours of classroom training time can count toward that total. Next, submit a residential application. Once you are approved, you can take the residential certification exam.
To apply for a journeyman certification, you must have 8,000 hours of work experience. Of those 8,000 hours, 6,000 hours must be in commercial or industrial properties. No more than 2,000 hours can be in residential settings. You can use 1,000 hours of classroom work toward the 8,000 hours required. Once those requirements are met, you can apply for journeyman certification. Once approved, you can take the journeyman certification exam.
COMPLETE CERTIFICATION OF FITNESS FORM: Those applying for residential and journeyman certifications are also required to obtain a Certification of Fitness from the Alaska Department of Labor. This application covers many components, including experience verification. It is a necessary step when applying for either residential or journeyman certification.
TAKE THE PROFESSIONAL LICENSING CERTIFICATION EXAM: The certification exam costs $50. There is a four-hour exam time limit for both residential and journeyman certification. The exams are open book, and cover subjects such as circuits, conductors, grounding, lighting, safety, electricity categories, conduit supports and fittings, and electrical installation for residential, commercial, and industrial properties. A passing score is 70% or higher.
OBTAIN YOUR ELECTRICIAN CERTIFICATION: Electrical licenses are issued by the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development. A $200 application fee is required to obtain your electrician license. Residential certifications need to be renewed every two years, and there are no continuing education requirements. Journeyman certifications also need to be renewed every two years. Journeymen are required to complete 16 hours of continuing education, eight of which must be a review of the National Electrical Code (NEC).
BECOME A LICENSED ELECTRICAL ADMINISTRATOR: Before you can become a licensed independent electrical contractor in Alaska and operate your own business, you either need to get an electrical administrator license, or hire someone who already has this status. To become an electrical administrator, you need to fill out an application, selecting a specific category of administration. Available categories include: unlimited commercial wiring, residential wiring, controls and control wiring, inside communications, outside communications, or unlimited line work outside. Your application must also include your resume, three references, and official school transcripts. Once the application is submitted, you must pass the electrical administrator exam and obtain an Alaska business license.
ELECTRICIAN INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS: Alaska requires worker's compensation insurance if you employ even one person on a regular basis. Alaska law also states all business-owned vehicles must carry commercial auto insurance. It is also a good idea to consider a business owner's policy, which combines general liability insurance with commercial property insurance.
What are the different types of electrical licenses in Alaska?
Alaska offers five types of electrical licenses/certifications:
Electrical Trainee: In Alaska, before you can begin the electrical certification and licensing process, you must register as an apprentice with the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
Electrical Journeyman: A certified journeyman can work on residential, commercial, and industrial properties.
Electrical Residential: Certified residential electricians can only work on residential properties.
Journeyman Power Lineman: Professionals who maintain electrical power and telecommunications systems. They are responsible for installation, repairs, and maintenance.
Power Lineman Trainee: A total of 960 hours of classroom training. Must complete an eight-week training school, with two additional eight-week sessions of on-the-job training. Classes are held at the Electrical Training Centers in Anchorage and Fairbanks, and meet eight hours per day, five days per week.
Licensed independent electrical contractors who possess an electrical administrator's license may operate their own businesses.
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Benefits of Getting an Electrician License in Alaska
There are many benefits you’ll see from pursuing Alaska electrician professional licensing:
Licensed electricians in Alaska have high earnings potential, depending on their skill level and area of expertise. The average electrician in Alaska earns $34.87 per hour, or about $78,800 per year. In 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said Alaska's electricians earned the highest average salary of any state.
Most importantly, it is required by law in Alaska to be certified through the state to legally perform electrical work.
A trade certification is proof of your experience and skill.
Only licensed electricians can: operate a business and advertise services, obtain commercial insurance, pull building permits and pass inspections, bid on public and government projects.
Having a certification protects your company and customers.
It gives you a competitive advantage in the job market.
Also increases your earning potential.
Alaska Electrician Programs and Schools
There are several programs that offer the training you will need to become an electrical contractor professional in Alaska, and they are located all over the state, in major cities and smaller communities. The average cost for electrician trade school is about $10,000. Whether you join a union apprenticeship program or seek independent electrical schooling, there are plenty of options.
The union's Alaska Joint Electrical Apprenticeship and Training Trust (AJEATT) hosts four training locations:
The Tom Cashen Training Center in Anchorage: (907) 337-9508
The Kornfeind Training Center in Fairbanks: (907) 479-4449
The IBEW Local 1547 location in Juneau: (907) 586-3050
The IBEW Local 1547 location in Ketchikan: (907) 225-1547
Several independent electrical schools exist in Alaska:
AVTEC — Alaska’s Institute of Technology Anchorage Campus 1251 Muldoon Road Anchorage, Alaska 99504 (907) 334-2230
Ilisagvik College 100 Stevenson Street PO Box 749 Barrow, Alaska 99723 907-852-3333
Alaska Technical Center 834 4th Street Kotzebue, AK 99752 (907) 442-1502
AVTEC — Alaska’s Institute of Technology Seward Campus 809 2nd Avenue Seward, Alaska 99664 (907) 224-3322
On-the-Job Experience: While on the job, you will gain an understanding of electrical standards, as well as math and scientific principles. Electricians need keen eyesight and good hand-eye coordination, as well as proper time management skills. They also have to possess good customer service skills, work independently, exhibit good physical endurance, and use logical problem-solving techniques. Electricians also learn how to read blueprints, circuit diagrams, and other technical documents.
Who issues electrical licenses and certifications in Alaska?
In Alaska, journeyman and residential electrician certifications are issued by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Independent electrical contractor licenses are issued by the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development.
Does my Alaska electrician license work in any other states?
Yes! Alaska's electrician's license enjoys reciprocity in Arkansas, Colorado, Minnesota, Montana, Oklahoma, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Utah.
National Electrician Certifications
While optional, national certifications can help you demonstrate your proficiency in certain aspects of the electrical trade to potential employers and clients, which often translates into more job opportunities and higher pay.
These include the Independent Electrical Contractors Certified Professional Electrician (CPE) distinction, certification through the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), among dozens of additional electrician certifications available.
You can stay up to date on all electric industry news several ways: