Idaho Electrical License: How to Become an Electrician in Idaho
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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 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are 711,200 electricians nationwide and 4,630 work in Idaho. The national number is predicted to grow 7% from 2021 to 2031, adding more than 50,000 of these skilled workers to the ranks. That growth rate is expected to be dramatically higher in Idaho — projected at 32%, according to CareerOneStop, the U.S. Department of Labor’s job search website.
There are so many contractors trying to find skilled tradesmen. According to the Associated General Contractors of America, 2020 AGC-Autodesk Workforce Survey, 60% of firms in the U.S. and 83% of firms in Idaho had unfilled hourly craft positions.
The process of becoming an electrician takes time, but you get paid while you learn and gain experience.
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License Requirements for Electricians in Idaho
Is a state license required to be an electrician in Idaho? Yes.
The state of Idaho requires a license to perform electrical work. The Idaho Division of Building Safety (IDBS) issues electrical licenses. Before you begin the path to becoming an electrician in Idaho, you must register with the state as an electrical apprentice. To become an electrical apprentice, you must be at least 16 years old, submit a notarized application, and pay a $15 registration fee. Idaho offers four apprenticeship levels, depending on the number of hours worked and the level of electrical schooling completed.
Steps to Get Electrician Certification in Idaho
Gain the necessary experience (both full-time work experience and classroom training) through a state-approved apprenticeship program.
Apply for and take the journeyman electrician exam.
Earn a master electrician certificate.
Consider becoming a licensed electrical contractor.
How to Become an Electrician in Idaho
GAIN APPRENTICESHIP OR HOURS OF WORK EXPERIENCE: To be eligible to take the journeyman electrical exam, you must obtain 6,000 hours of work experience in residential, commercial, and industrial wiring. No more than 75% of those can fall into one category.
You can also earn 6,000 hours by completing a formal four-year apprenticeship program. Union apprenticeships through the Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (JATCs), are available in cities like Boise, Pocatello, and Spokane.
Most apprenticeship programs require you to be at least 18 years old, have a photo ID, maintain reliable transportation, be physically fit, earn a high school diploma or GED, and pass an aptitude test. Non-union apprenticeship programs are available through the Independent Electrical Contractors of Idaho (IEC).
APPLY FOR AND TAKE JOURNEYMAN ELECTRICIAN EXAM: Once you obtain the necessary 6,000 hours of work experience, you must submit an application to take the journeyman electrician license exam. You must score at least 70% to pass. Licensed journeyman electricians must renew their licenses every three years. License renewal requires 24 Continuing Education Credits. Continuing education must total eight hours from each of the following categories: National Electrical Code updates, industry-related training, and other code-related training.
EARN A MASTER ELECTRICIAN CERTIFICATE: Before you can earn a master electrician license in Idaho, you must log four years of on-the-job experience as a journeyman electrician and pass the master electrician exam with at least a 75% score. Licensed master electricians in the state of Idaho must renew their state licenses every three years. License renewal requires 24 Continuing Education Credits. Continuing education requirements include eight hours from each of the following categories: National Electrical Code (NEC) changes, industry-related training, and other code-related training.
CONSIDER BECOMING AN ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR: To register as an electrical contractor, you must submit the appropriate application and either possess a master electrician certification yourself, or hire someone with one. You must also pass the electrical contract exam with a score of at least 75%. Electrical contractors must submit proof to show they hold at least $300,000 of liability insurance and maintain worker’s compensation insurance. Electrical contractor licenses must be renewed every year. The state of Idaho offers different categories of electrical contractor licenses that determine the value assigned to projects. Electrical contractor license types and their values include:
Class Unlimited – more than $5 million
Class AAA – up to $5 million
Class AA – up to $3 million
Class A – up to $1.25 million
Class B – up to $600,000
Class CC – up to $400,000
Class C – up to $200,000
Class D – up to $50,000
Types of Electrician Licensure in Idaho
Idaho features several different types of electrician licenses. The two most common are journeyman and master electrician. However, the state also offers various types of specialty licenses.
State electrician license types, as defined on the Idaho Division of Building Safety, include:
Apprentice Electrician: Any person who, for the purpose of learning the trade of journeyman electrician, engages in the installation of electric wiring or equipment, while under the constant on-the-job supervision of a qualified journeyman electrician.
Journeyman Electrician: Any person who personally performs or supervises the actual physical work of installing electric wiring or equipment, under the direction of an electrical contractor. You must pay a $15 application fee to take the journeyman electrical exam, as well as a $55 licensing fee after you pass the exam.
Master Electrician: Any person who personally performs the actual physical work of installing electric wiring or equipment, working as a journeyman electrician for at least four years under the direction of an electrical contractor. You pay a $15 application fee to take the master electrician exam, as well as a $65 licensing fee after you pass the exam.
Electrical Contractor: Any person or entity providing or offering electrical contracting services that include, but not limited to, submitting a bid. You must either be a master electrician or employ at least one full-time Idaho Master Electrician. There's a $15 application fee, as well as a $125 licensing fee.
Limited Electrician: There are several types of limited electricians, including: elevator, irrigation sprinkler, limited energy, manufacturing/assembling, outside wireman (lineman), refrigeration, heating and air-conditioning, HVAC, sign, and well driller/pump installer. These specialty licenses require a minimum of two years of work experience—or 4,000 hours—within the specialty area. Specialty electrician licenses follow the same renewal requirements as journeyman electricians.
Limited Trainee Electrician: Any person who, for the purpose of learning the trade of specialty journeyman electrician, engages in the installation of electric wiring or equipment, while under the constant on-the-job supervision of a qualified specialty journeyman electrician of the same category. Limited trainee electricians pay a $30 license registration fee.
Limited Electrical Installer: Any person who personally performs or supervises the actual physical work of installing specialty electric wiring or equipment, while under the direction of a specialty electrical contractor of the same category. You must pay a $15 application fee, as well as a $55 licensing fee.
Limited Electrical Contractor: Any person or entity providing or offering specialty electrical contracting services that include, but are not limited to, submitting a bid. Must either hold a Specialty Electrician license or employ at least one full-time Idaho Specialty Electrician of the same category, who has held a license for a minimum of two years. There is a $15 application fee and a $125 licensing fee.
Benefits of Becoming a Licensed Electrician in Idaho
There are many benefits to pursuing Idaho electrician licensing:
Most important, it is required by law in Idaho to be licensed through the state to legally perform electrical work.
A trade license provides proof of your experience and skill.
Only licensed electrical contractors can: operate a business and advertise services, obtain commercial insurance, pull building permits, and pass inspections, bid on public and government projects.
Having a license protects your company and customers.
A license gives you a competitive advantage in the job market.
It also increases your earning potential.
What Is the Mean Wage for an Electrician in Idaho?
The annual mean wage for electricians in Idaho is $52,180 per year according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics. That salary, as you might expect, increases as you acquire more experience, according to Indeed.com.
Electrician Apprentice: The average salary for an electrician apprentice is $21.10 per hour in Idaho and $6,000 overtime per year.
Electrician: The average salary for an electrician apprentice is $30.69 per hour in Idaho and $9,438 overtime per year.
Master Electrician: The average salary for an electrician apprentice is $38.80 per hour in Idaho.
Salary ranges can vary widely, depending on the city and many other important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, and the number of years you have spent in your profession.
What Business Owners Need to Know
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How Much Does It Cost for Electrician Certification in Idaho?
The average cost of tuition for in-state students at most Idaho colleges, like Idaho State University, totals $7,166 per year. You must also factor in the application fees required to take various electrician licensing exams, as well as fees that must be paid to the state to receive your license once you pass the exam.
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How Long Does It Take to Get an Electrician License in Idaho?
Obtaining a journeyman electrician license in Idaho takes about four years or 6,000 hours of working as an Idaho electrical apprentice. This experience can be obtained through full-time work experience, and in some cases, classroom instruction. Once you reach at least four years of work experience as a licensed journeyman electrician, you can work on achieving your master electrician certification.
Idaho Electrician Training Programs and Schools
Idaho residents can choose from a wide variety of community colleges, trade schools, technical, and vocational schools to get the training required to become an electrical contractor. They are located all over the state, including smaller communities and big cities.
The Idaho electrical board keeps a list of pre-approved colleges that offer either two-year associate degrees in electrical systems technology, or other accepted trade certificates, including:
Program Prerequisites: Program prerequisites vary. Most programs, however, require you to be 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, maintain a valid driver’s license, and show a passing algebra grade.
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 time management skills. They also must demonstrate good customer service skills, work independently, maintain good physical endurance, and use logical problem-solving techniques. Electricians also learn how to read blueprints, circuit diagrams, and other technical documents.
Idaho Electrician Licensing Exam Details
The journeyman electrical exam contains 100 questions that must be answered within four hours. You must score at least 70% to pass. The open-book exam allows test takers to reference the following materials during the test:
Idaho Electrical Statutes and Rules
Ferm’s Fast Finder Index, IAEI
Ugly’s Electrical Reference, George V. Hart
Tom Henry’s Key Word Index
The specialty journeyman electrician exam varies, depending on the specialty. The open-book specialty exams take up to 2.5 hours to complete. They use the same materials as the journeyman licensing exam, and you must score a 70% or higher to pass.
The master electrician exam contains 90 questions that must be answered within four hours. The open-book test allows applicants to use the same study and reference materials as the journeyman licensing exam. A passing score is at least 75%.
You must take one of two exams for an electrical contractors license: Class D and Non Class-D. Each test takes about four hours to complete. You must score at least 75% to pass. Materials permitted during the electrical contractor’s exam include the current Idaho Electrical Statutes and Rules, as well as the Division of Building Safety Contractor’s Business and Law Reference Manual.
Who Issues Electrician Licenses in Idaho?
The Idaho Division of Building Safety (IDBS) issues electrician licenses in Idaho.
Does My Idaho Electrician License Work in Any Other State?
Yes. The state of Idaho maintains reciprocity agreements with several states, including Colorado, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.
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 in several ways: