Indiana Electrical License: How to Become an Electrician in Indiana
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Does My Indiana Electrical License Work in Any Other State?
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 14,020 work in Indiana. The national number is predicted to grow 7% from 2021 to 2031 adding more than 50,000 to the ranks of this skilled workforce. That growth rate is expected to be even higher in Indiana — projected at 9%, according to CareerOneStop, the U.S. Department of Labor’s job search website.
Many contractors nationwide are 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. had unfilled hourly craft positions like plumbers, electricians, and HVAC technicians. So, if you get the training you need you will have a lot of jobs to choose from when you’re ready.
The process of becoming an electrician takes time, but you get paid while you learn and gain experience.
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Because the job requires so much knowledge, most states have licensing requirements for electrical workers and contractors. Those regulations vary from state to state and from locality to locality. Unlike plumbers in Indiana, there is no statewide license for electrical contractors or HVAC contractors. Rather, the state defers to the ordinances and licensing boards in place in its cities, counties, and towns. Several other states follow this model, such as New York, Maine, and Colorado.
License Requirements for Electricians in Indiana
Is a license required to be an electrician in Indiana? Yes.
Indiana requires a license to perform electrical work. However, unlike plumbers, there is no statewide regulatory board for electricians. Electrical licenses are issued by local municipalities, instead of at the state level.
Steps to Get an Electrician License in Indiana
Gain necessary hands-on work experience and required classroom training to become a journeyman or residential electrician.
Take the journeyman or residential electrician electrical exam.
Earn a master electrician license.
Become a licensed independent electrical contractor.
How to Become an Electrician in Indiana
GAIN NECESSARY EXPERIENCE: In the state of Indiana, the requirements to earn a journeyman license vary by city and county. Electrical licensing is available through municipalities and local licensing boards. In the Indianapolis and South Bend areas, for example, the terms journeyman and residential electrician are often used interchangeably.
Generally speaking, electricians in most Indiana counties need about four years of work experience under the supervision of a master electrician, as well as 150 hours of classroom instruction each year, before they can take the journeyman or residential electrician exam. To obtain the required job experience, you can enroll in a technical school or join a union- or non-union-based apprenticeship program.
Most technical schools and apprenticeship programs require you to be 18 years old, possess a high school diploma or GED, hold a valid driver’s license, and pass an aptitude test.
Some non-union apprenticeship programs include:
Central Indiana IEC (Indianapolis)
IEC Kentucky and Southern Indiana Chapter (serving Indiana localities in Louisville, Kentucky)
IEC Southern Indiana Chapter (Evansville)
IEC of Greater Cincinnati (serving Indiana localities in Cincinnati, Ohio)
Midwest IEC (Crown Point)
ABC-Indiana/Kentucky Chapter (Indianapolis)
Union apprenticeship programs through the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) include:
IBEW Local 305, Fort Wayne
IBEW Local 481, Indianapolis
IBEW Local 16, Wabash County
IBEW Local 153, South Bend
IBEW Local 725, Terre Haute
IBEW Local 855, Muncie
IBEW Local 873, Kokomo
IBEW Local 668, Lafayette
TAKE JOURNEYMAN ELECTRICIAN EXAM: A journeyman electrician license or residential electrician license is required before you can earn a master electrician license.
In Indianapolis, for instance, licenses are issued by the Indianapolis Department of Code Enforcement, also known as the Indianapolis Department of Business and Neighborhood Services. This department also provides licenses for HVAC electrical work.
To take the residential electrician exam, Indianapolis requires a completed application, a notarized employer letter documenting six years of electrical trade experience, three signed customer reference letters, a photocopy of a valid driver’s license, and photocopies of any other licenses, diplomas, or educational records.
Once you earn a journeyman or residential electrician license, you must follow municipality regulations on renewal requirements. Some counties require yearly renewal, while others require renewal every three years.
EARN A MASTER ELECTRICIAN LICENSE: After you earn a residential or journeyman license from your local jurisdiction, you will become eligible to earn a master electrician license. Master electricians are usually authorized to pull permits from the city or county they are working in to perform work on residential properties.
In Fort Wayne, for example, to be eligible to take the master electrician exam, you must demonstrate eight years of electrician experience—four of which must be served as a licensed journeyman electrician. Once you earn your master electrician license in Fort Wayne, it must be renewed every year or you will have to retake the exam. Fort Wayne does not have any continuing education requirements for master electricians.
BECOME A LICENSED INDEPENDENT ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR: Being a licensed contractor means you can hire electricians and run your own business.
In the city of Evansville, for instance, you must obtain a master electrician license before you can get an electrical contractor license. Electrical contractors in Evansville must provide proof of $1 million in general liability insurance, secure a surety bond of $15,000, and maintain workers' compensation insurance.
Indiana state contractors' licensing requirements vary by city/county, so check with your local department of labor or consumer affairs division for more information.
Types of Electrical Licensure in Indiana
Journeyman Electrician or Residential Electrician: In most Indiana cities and counties, journeyman electricians or residential electricians can work on one- or two-family homes.
Master Electrician: Authorized to pull work permits from various cities and counties to perform residential electrical work. Master electricians must demonstrate more years of work experience than journeyman or residential electricians.
Electrical Contractor: Can hire electricians and advertise their services to the public. Typically must possess master electrician certification. If operating an electrical business as a corporation, you must register with the Indiana Secretary of State.
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Benefits of Becoming a Licensed Electrician in Indiana
There are many benefits to pursuing an Indiana electrician license:
Most important, it is required by law in Indiana to be licensed to legally perform electrical work. Properly trained electricians throughout the United States are well-versed in fire prevention measures, as well as electrical distribution systems.
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.
A license protects your company and customers.
It also gives you a competitive advantage in the job market and increases your earning potential.
What Is the Mean Wage for an Electrician in Indiana?
The annual mean wage for electricians in Indiana is $63,440 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 $19.76 per hour in Indiana and $6,000 overtime per year.
Electrician: The average salary for an electrician apprentice is $24.77 per hour in Indiana and $9,438 overtime per year.
Master Electrician: The average salary for an electrician apprentice is $33.05 per hour in Indiana.
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 Licensing in Indiana?
On average, it costs about $11,000 to get an associate’s degree in some type of electrical course from a trade school or community college. You also should expect to pay exam and licensure fees to obtain a journeyman, residential, master electrician, or electrical contractor license. Those costs vary by cities and counties.
How Long Does It Take to Get an Electrician License in Indiana?
Indiana’s electrician licensing requirements vary by municipality. In most cities/counties, you can earn a journeyman electrician or residential electrician license in about four to six years. This requires anywhere from 8,000 to 12,000 hours of work experience (about 2,000 per year), as well as 150 hours per year of classroom, vocational, or technical school training.
Indiana Electrician Training Programs and Schools
Indiana is home to many community colleges, trade schools, technical, and vocational schools that provide the training you need to become an electrical professional. They are located all over the state, from smaller communities to large metropolitan areas.
Two Indiana schools that offer associate electrical or electronics degrees include Ivy Tech Community College and Vincennes University. Ivy Tech has 43 locations statewide and offers a two-year degree in electrical engineering technology. Vincennes University has four separate two-year degree programs in electronics-related fields and provides the classroom instruction for electrician apprenticeships including for the Associated Builders and Contractors of Indiana/Kentucky.
Program Prerequisites: Program prerequisites vary. Most programs, however, require you to be 18 years old, hold a high-school diploma or GED and a valid driver’s license, as well as 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 proper time management skills. They also must demonstrate good customer service skills, be able to 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.
Indiana Electrician Licensing Exam Details
Indiana electrician exams vary by city and county, as electrician licenses are issued at local levels.
The Indianapolis residential electrician exam, similar to that of a journeyman electrician exam in other states, contains 80 to 100 multiple-choice questions that must be answered within three to four hours.
Most tests are open-book and allow applicants to use the National Electrical Code (NEC) for reference. Study guides and other exam prep materials are available. In most counties, you must receive at least a 70% score to pass.
Exam topics often include:
Services and Service Equipment
Wiring Methods and Materials
Equipment and Devices
Special Occupancies, Equipment, and Conditions
Most master electrician exams cover the same material as the residential and journeyman electrical exams, and also feature 80 to 100 multiple-choice questions that must be answered within three to four hours. Most tests are open-book and allow you to reference the National Electrical Code (NEC). In most counties, a passing score is at least 70%.
Who Issues Electrician Licenses in Indiana?
Indiana does not have a statewide regulatory board for electricians, and therefore does not offer a state license for electricians. Instead, local municipalities issue electrician licenses.
Does My Indiana Electrical License Work in Any Other State?
No. Indiana does not have reciprocity with other states at the state level because the licensing is at the municipal level. However, many municipalities do have reciprocal agreements within Indiana and some with cities or counties in neighboring states. For example, Indianapolis reciprocates with more than a dozen Indiana jurisdictions and four in Illinois.
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: