Arkansas Electrical License: How to Become an Electrician in Arkansas
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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 Arkansas contractors 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 work experience!
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Licensure Requirements for Electricians in Arkansas
Is state licensing required to become an electrician in Arkansas? Yes.
Contractors wishing to perform electrical work in the state of Arkansas must have an electrician license, unless you have completed eight years or 16,000 hours of electrical construction work experience and training.
A license is not required to become an electrical apprentice in Arkansas. However, you must fill out an application with the Arkansas Board of Electrical Examiners for registration as an electrical apprentice and pay a $10 application fee. To qualify, you must provide proof of enrollment in a training course for electrical apprenticeships. The course must be certified by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training. Apprenticeship applications must be renewed each year.
Steps to Get an Electrician License in Arkansas
Must be at least 18 years old, with a high school diploma or GED
Have a valid driver’s license
Pass one course in Algebra, along with a drug test and aptitude test
Complete a training program
Apply for the appropriate electrical licensing exam
Take the appropriate Arkansas electrical exam
Obtain your electrician license from the state board
Consider becoming an independent electrical contractor
How to Get an Electrician License in Arkansas
OBTAIN NECESSARY TRAINING: This varies by license type.
Electrical Apprentice: Be at least 18 years old, with a high-school diploma or GED, a valid driver’s license, a passing Algebra grade, pass a drug screening and aptitude test.
Journeyman Electrician: Acquire 8,000 hours of on-the-job training, plus 800 hours of classroom time, to become eligible for an Arkansas journeyman electrician license.
Master Electrician: To be eligible for an Arkansas master electrician license, you will need one of the following:
A degree in electrical engineering and two years of construction-related work experience.
Six years’ experience in the construction industry working on both residential and commercial properties, and two years’ experience working as a journeyman electrician.
Any combination of work experience approved by the Arkansas Board of Electrical Examiners.
Residential Journeyman Electrician: To be eligible for an Arkansas residential journeyman electrician license, you will need the following:
Two years’ experience of wiring one or two-family dwellings.
A combination of two years’ experience approved by the Arkansas Board of Electrical Examiners, such as a formal apprenticeship.
A signed letter from a trade, vocational, or technical school verifying the licensee applicant’s training hours.
Residential Master Electrician: To be eligible for an Arkansas residential master license, you will need the following:
Three years’ experience in wiring one or two-family dwellings, and one year of experience as a licensed residential journeyman electrician, or any combination of experience approved by the state licensing board.
Air Conditioning Electrician: To be eligible for an Arkansas air conditioning license, you will need the following:
Two years’ experience wiring heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration equipment, or any combination of experience approved by the Arkansas Board of Electrical Examiners.
An HVACR electrician’s license issued by an Arkansas municipality, or an HVACR Class A or Class B license, issued by the state HVACR licensing board.
Industrial Maintenance Electrician Licensee: Four years of supervised experience under a master electrician, engineer, journeyman electrician, or industrial maintenance electrician in the maintenance of electrical conductors and equipment.
APPLY FOR LICENSING EXAM: You must schedule Arkansas electrical exams in advance. Exams can be taken via computer, or traditional paper-and-pencil method. Exams can be scheduled online, over the phone by calling 866-720-7768, or by faxing 386-518-6419. You can also schedule an exam by mailing one of the testing centers in Conway, El Dorado, Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Little Rock, Paragould, or Searcy.
In order to take the exam, you must submit an application to the Arkansas Board of Electrical Examiners. Applications must be received by the state board at least five days before the board’s regularly-scheduled meetings. Exams will be offered every six months, and are administered by Prov., Inc.
TAKE LICENSING EXAM: The journeyman electrician, master electrician, and residential master electrician licensing exams each contain 60 questions that must be answered within three hours. The exams are open book and a passing score equals at least 70%. The residential journeyman electrician licensing exam contains 40 questions that must be answered within two hours. Also an open-book exam, it requires a passing score of 70%.
OBTAIN YOUR ELECTRICIAN LICENSE: After you pass the exam, you must pay a licensing fee to obtain your license. Journeyman electrician, residential journeyman, air conditioning, and industrial maintenance electrician licenses each cost $25. The price for master and residential master electrician licenses totals $50. Licenses must be renewed each year, and you have the option to pay in advance for up to three years of renewals. The cost for yearly renewals is the same as the licensing fees.
CONTINUING EDUCATION: Both journeyman and master electricians must complete at least eight hours of continuing education for each National Electrical Code (NEC) cycle. An updated National Electrical Code gets published every three years, with 2020 being the most recent edition.
PROOF OF INSURANCE: Electricians in Arkansas must carry electrical contractors’ insurance, which includes liability insurance and worker’s compensation insurance. Additional insurance options include Errors and Omissions insurance, which protects against negligent claims that may be filed against you, or those that suggest you failed to perform a promised service.
Commercial property insurance can protect your business building and its contents, while commercial auto insurance covers company vehicles and their contents while traveling to jobs.
CONSIDER BECOMING AN INDEPENDENT ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR: To be an independent electrical contractor in Arkansas, you must hold a master electrician's license with five years of experience. You also must pass the business and law exam. The test contains 50 questions and must be completed in two hours. The open-book exam covers the following topics:
Estimating and Bidding
Insurance and Bonding
After passing the electrical contractor exam, you need to submit several documents before you can begin servicing the public. Those documents include:
Evidence of passing the Business and Law Exam
A surety bond of $10,000 to the State of Arkansas
Proof of worker’s compensation insurance
Three references from former employers accounting for 5 years of experience
A financial review, no more than one year old, from a Certified Public Accountant
In Arkansas, an independent electrical contractor’s license must be renewed once per year.
Types of Electrical Licensure in Arkansas
What are the different types of electrician licensing in Arkansas?
The Arkansas Department of Labor provides the following definitions for various electrician licenses:
ELECTRICAL APPRENTICE: A registered person working under the supervision of a licensed journeyman electrician or master electrician in order to obtain necessary training to apply and receive their own electrician license.
JOURNEYMAN ELECTRICIAN: An individual who possesses the necessary qualifications, training, and technical knowledge to install, maintain, and extend electrical conductors and equipment. He or she must be capable of doing such work in accordance with plans and specifications, furnished in accordance with standard rules governing the work.
RESIDENTIAL JOURNEYMAN ELECTRICIAN: Licenses and electrical work of journeyman electricians limited to the installation, alteration, repair, maintenance, or renovation of electrical facilities for one and two-family dwellings.
RESIDENTIAL MASTER ELECTRICIAN: Licenses and electrical work of master electricians limited to planning and supervising the installation, maintenance, and extension of electrical facilities for one and two-family dwellings.
AIR CONDITIONING ELECTRICIAN: Limited to a license classification possessing the necessary qualifications, training, and technical knowledge for the installation, maintenance, and extension of electrical conductors and equipment, solely for the purpose of supplying heating and air conditioning, and refrigeration units.
INDUSTRIAL MAINTENANCE ELECTRICIAN: Possesses the necessary qualifications, training, and technical knowledge to maintain and extend electrical conductors and equipment for electrical power and control systems, on or within industrial, manufacturing, or similar type of facilities. Must be capable of doing such work in accordance with standard rules governing that work.
MASTER ELECTRICIAN: An individual who possesses the necessary qualifications, training, and technical knowledge to plan, layout, and supervise the installation, maintenance, and extension of electrical conductors and equipment.
Benefits of Becoming a Licensed Electrician in Arkansas
The Arkansas Department of Workforce Services estimates the state will need 130 new electricians each year through 2022. Arkansas electricians earn a salary between $35,000 and $57,000 per year.
There are many benefits you’ll see from pursuing Arkansas electrician licensing:
Most importantly, it is required by law in Arkansas to be licensed through the state board to legally perform electrical work.
A trade license provides 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.
A trade license protects your company and customers.
Becoming a licensed electrician gives you a competitive advantage in the job market.
It also increases your earning potential.
How Much Does It Cost for Electrician Licensing in Arkansas?
There are several costs associated with obtaining an electrician license in Arkansas.
Registering as an apprentice costs $10.
All exams cost $80 to take online, or $56 for a paper-and-pencil format.
The licensing fee for journeyman, residential journeyman, air conditioning, and industrial maintenance electrician licenses equals $25.
The licensing fee for master and residential master electrician licenses is $50.
Licenses must be renewed each year, and you have the option to pay in advance for up to three years of renewals. Annual renewals cost the same as the licensing fees.
Tuition at Arkansas electrical schools range from $3,500 to $6,000 per year for in-state students, depending on the desired college and program. Study materials average another $1,500 per year.
How Long Does It Take to Get an Electrician License in Arkansas?
It takes about four to five years to become a licensed journeyman electrician in Arkansas. Most apprenticeship programs require 8,000 on-the-job training and around 800 hours of classroom instruction. Additional time may be required to complete specialty courses and training required for higher-level licenses.
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Arkansas Electrician Training Programs and Schools
There are many programs to get the training you need to become an electrical professional in Arkansas. They are located all over the state, in major cities and smaller communities.
Arkansas offers several union-based joint apprenticeship and training programs known as Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committees (JATCs). There are training locations in El Dorado, Fort Smith, Jonesboro, and Little Rock.
A non-union program is available through the Mid-South Chapter of the Independent Electrical Contractors. You can also search the Arkansas Apprenticeship Directory.
Some top Arkansas electrical schools include:
University of Arkansas Electronics Technology- Associate Program 5210 Grand Ave. Fort Smith, Arkansas 72913-3649 479-788-7000
Pulaski Technical College Electrical Systems – Certificate Program, Construction Management – Electrical – Associate Program 3000 W Scenic Drive North Little Rock, Arkansas 72118-3347 501-812-2200
Arkansas State University Electrical Apprenticeship – Certificate Program 1000 Iowa St. Beebe, Arkansas 72012-1000 501-882-3600
Program Prerequisites: Program prerequisites vary. Most programs, however, require you to be 18 years old, obtain a high-school diploma or GED, hold a valid driver’s license, show a passing Algebra grade, pass a drug screening, and aptitude test.
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 need to demonstrate good customer service skills, be able to work independently, have good physical endurance, and use logical problem-solving techniques. Electricians also learn how to read blueprints, circuit diagrams, and other technical documents.
Arkansas Electrician Licensing Exam Prep Details
In Arkansas, there are various exams, depending on the type of electrician license you desire. A passing score of 70% is required for all tests.
Master Electrical Exam: Contains 60 questions that must be completed within three hours. Applicants may use the 2017 National Electric Code.
Topics covered in the exam:
Grounding and Bonding
General Knowledge of the Electrical Trade and Calculations
Service, Feeders, Branch Feeders, and Overcurrent Protection
Raceways and Enclosures
Motors and Controls
Utilization and General Use Equipment
Special Occupancies and Equipment
Low Voltage Circuits, Including Alarms and Communications
Journeyman Electrician Exam: Contains 60 questions that must be completed within three hours. Applicants may use the 2017 National Electric Code. Topics covered in the exam are the same as those included in the Master Electrical Exam.
Residential Master Electrical Exam: Contains 60 questions that must be completed within three hours. Applicants may use the 2017 National Electrical Code (NEC).
Topics covered in the exam are as follows:
NEC-Chapter 1 through Chapter 7
Residential Journeyman Electrical Exam Prep: Contains 40 questions that must be completed within two hours. Applicants may use the 2017 National Fire Code. Topics covered in the exam include NEC-Chapter 1 through 7, and General Theory.
Industrial Maintenance Electrical Exam Prep: Contains 50 questions that must be completed within two hours. Applicants may use the following reference materials: 2017 National Fire Code, and Industrial Maintenance Electrical and Instrumentation Levels 1-4.
Topics covered in the exam are as follows:
Introduction to Construction Math
Introduction to Test Instruments
Electrical Theory: Two
Electrical Test Equipment
Introduction to Electrical Blueprints
Wiring: Commercial and Industrial
Conductor Terminations and Splices
Circuit Breakers and Fuses
Standby and Emergency Systems
Electrical Heating and Air Conditioning Exam Prep: Contains 60 questions that must be completed within three hours. Applicants may use the 2017 National Fire Code during the exam.
Topics covered in the exam are as follows:
Efficiency Power Factor & Neutral Loads
Motors and Branch Circuit
Who Issues Electrician Licenses in Arkansas?
The Arkansas Board of Electrical Examiners.
Does My Arkansas Electrical License Work in Any Other State?
Yes! Arkansas electrician's licenses enjoy reciprocity in Alaska, Colorado, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, and Utah. Arkansas also has a master reciprocal agreement with Oregon.
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 electrician industry news several ways: