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Licensing Guides

Iowa Electrical License: How to Become an Electrician in Iowa

category-iconElectrical, IA

Table of Contents
  1. Licensing Requirements for Electricians in Iowa

  2. Types of Electrical Licenses in Iowa

  3. Steps to Get an Electrician License in Iowa

  4. Requirements for Electrical Licensing Exams In Iowa

  5. Benefits of Getting an Electrical License In Iowa

  6. What Is the Median Salary for an Electrician in Iowa?

  7. How Much Does It Cost to Get an Electrician's License in Iowa?

  8. How to Get an Electrician License in Iowa

  9. Iowa Electrician Licensing Exam Details

  10. Who Issues Electrician Licenses in Iowa?

  11. Does My Iowa Electrician’s License Work in Any Other State?

  12. Other Requirements Unique to Iowa

How to Get Your Iowa Electrical License: The Essential Guide

Working with electricity is a dangerous and exacting job, but with the right education and training you can learn how to do it right and become an electrical professional in Iowa.

Everyone needs an electrician at some point. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of electricians is projected to grow 8 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.

If you think you might want to learn how to provide this essential expertise, you’ll need to understand the training and regulations involved. It’s a lengthy process but offers job security, increased pay as you become more skilled, and you earn as you learn from day one!

Licensing Requirements for Electricians in Iowa

Is a license required for electricians in Iowa? Yes.

To legally perform electrical work in the state of Iowa, you must be licensed by the state.

The Iowa Department of Public Safety, State Fire Marshall Division issues the licenses.

Types of Electrical Licenses in Iowa

What are the different types of electrical licenses in Iowa?

There are 11 different electrical licenses available in Iowa, beginning with the least training and building from there. Each level of licensing requires more experience and course work and upon completion allows you to work on a wider variety of systems and perform work that grows in complexity or assume responsibility for other’s work.

Apprentice Electrician or Unclassified Person License

  • Apprentices engage in on-the-job training and actively work toward completion of an apprenticeship training program. An “Unclassified Person” assists licensed electricians as his/her primary job, but does not wish to participate in an apprentice training program, and must be employed continuously for more than 100 days. Both must have on-the-job supervision by a State of Iowa-Licensed Master, Residential Master, Journeyman, or Residential electrician.

  • Cost of License: $20 per year or less (prorated cost decreases each month after January)

Residential Electrician

  • Person must demonstrate necessary qualifications, training, experience, and technical knowledge to perform residential installation and be employed by a state-licensed contractor. Must pass the State of Iowa Residential Electrician examination.

  • Cost of License: $75 or less (Prorated cost decreases per month and year. Licensing cycle 2020-2022)

Residential Master Electrician

  • Person must demonstrate necessary qualifications, training, experience, and technical knowledge to properly plan, layout, and supervise the performance of a residential installation. Must pass the State of Iowa Residential Master Electrician examination or be previously licensed as electrician in Iowa or reciprocal state.

  • Cost of License: $375 or less (Prorated cost decreases per month and year. Licensing cycle 2020-2022)

Journeyman Electrician: Class A or Class B

  • Class A and B Licenses require completion of a state-certified apprenticeship program and 16,000 hours of on-the-job experience as an electrician. To obtain a Class A license you must pass the State of Iowa Electrical Journeyman examination. Those who have been in the electrical business for years, but have never taken an exam are eligible for a Class B license.

  • Cost of License: $75 or less (Prorated cost decreases per month and year. Licensing cycle 2020-2022)

Master Electrician: Class A or Class B

  • You must have been a licensed Journeyman for at least one year. Applicants can properly plan, lay out, and supervise installation of electrical wiring, apparatus, and equipment for light, heat, power, and other purposes. To obtain a Class A license you must pass the State of Iowa Electrical Master exam. Those who have been in the electrical business for years, but have never taken an exam are eligible for a Class B license.

  • Cost of License: $375 or less (Prorated cost decreases per month and year. Licensing cycle 2020-2022)

Residential Electrical Contractor

  • Licensed as a Class A or Class B Master Electrician or a Residential Master electrician, or represents a company who employs them. Must submit a Certificate of Responsible Master Electrician. Those who have been in the electrical business for years, but have never taken an exam are eligible for a Class B license.

  • Cost of License: $375 or less (Prorated cost decreases per month and year. Licensing cycle 2020-2022)

Electrical Contractor

  • Person affiliated with an electrical contracting firm or business with a Licensed Master Electrician or who employs Master Electricians to help design, install, and maintain electrical systems. Must submit a Certificate of Responsible Master Electrician.

  • Cost of License: $375 or less (Prorated cost decreases per month and year. Licensing cycle 2020-2022)

Special Electrician: Irrigation System Wiring, Sign Installation, or Disconnect/Reconnect Existing A/C and Refrigeration Systems

  • Can install a special class of electrical wiring, apparatus, equipment, or installations.

  1. Irrigation System Wiring: Must either pass IEEB-approved supervised exam, OR complete two years OR 4,000 hours of documented experience in wiring irrigation systems.

  2. Sign Installer: Authorized to connect power to a sign, as long as voltage does not exceed 22 volts and amperage does not exceed 20 amperes.

  3. Disconnect/Reconnect Existing A/C and Refrigeration Systems: Authorized to disconnect and reconnect any existing ACR system. Must pass IEEB-approved exam, OR complete two years of documented experience performing related work.

  •  Cost of License: $75 or less (Prorated cost decreases per month and year. Licensing cycle 2020-2022)

NOTE about Class B License: A Class B license is not available to new electricians. It was created to help experienced electricians earn a license under laws adopted in January 2008 that required all electricians in Iowa to earn appropriate licenses. As stated above, the Class B license does not require you to pass an exam. It restricts the holder from working in subdivisions that do not allow Class B journeyman electricians to operate. You can earn a Class B license if you can prove you worked 16,000 hours as a journeyman electrician, with a portion of that experience gained on or before January 1, 1998.

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Steps to Get an Electrician License in Iowa

There are different requirements for each level of licensing in the electrical field in Iowa. However, at every level, a license is required by law. For each you must:

  1. Be at least 18 years old

  2. Have earned a high school diploma or GED equivalent

  3. Complete classroom training (except for Unclassified Worker)

  4. Acquire work experience (progressively more for journeyman, master, and contractor status)

  5. Pass a state administered examination (except for Apprentice/Unclassified Worker and Class B)

  6. Pay all applicable fees

  7. Apply for your license through the Iowa Department of Public Safety.

At every license level you must provide documentation to apply for your license. You can apply online or download the pdf of the paper application. There is also a pdf of the Instructions for Electrician’s License put out by the IEEB.

APPRENTICE and UNCLASSIFIED PERSON LICENSE

Work experience: Apprentice must be actively enrolled in an apprenticeship training program registered by the U.S. Department of Labor. Unclassified Person must complete on-the-job training for 100 continuous days.

Apply for license: Apprentices must submit documented proof of enrollment in Apprentice Program, including name of program and date registered with the U.S. Dept. of Labor. Unclassified Person must submit proof of work experience when applying.

Pay Fee: $20 per year or less (prorated cost decreases each month after January)

Limitations: Must work under direct supervision of a licensed electrician.

RESIDENTIAL ELECTRICIAN LICENSE

Work experience: Must demonstrate necessary qualifications, training, experience, and technical knowledge to perform residential installation and be employed by a state-licensed contractor.

Pass Licensing Exam: Administered by Iowa Electrical Examining Board

Apply for license: License application includes work experience, educational record, and criminal history.

Pay Fee: $75 or less (Prorated cost decreases per month and year. Licensing cycle 2020-2022)

Limitations: Can only perform electrical work in a residence in which there are no more than four living units within the same building, and wire accessory structures which are no greater than 3,000 square feet in floor area, not more than two stories in height, and on the same lot as the dwelling unit(s).

RESIDENTIAL MASTER ELECTRICIAN LICENSE

Work experience: Person must demonstrate necessary qualifications, training, experience, and technical knowledge to properly plan, layout, and supervise the performance of a residential installation. Previously licensed as electrician in Iowa or reciprocal state as a Special Residential Electrician, Residential Electrician, or Journeyman Electrician.

Pass Licensing Exam: Administered by Iowa Electrical Examining Board

Apply for license: License application includes work experience, educational record, and criminal history.

Pay Fee: $375 or less (Prorated cost decreases per month and year. Licensing cycle 2020-2022)

Increased Authority: Can pull building permits and pass inspections

Limitations: May only perform electrical work in a residence in which there are no more than four living units within the same building, and wire accessory structures which are no greater than 3,000 square feet in floor area, not more than two stories in height, and on the same lot as the dwelling unit(s). Residential Master Electricians can typically only work for one electrical contracting company at any one time. Can supervise several electricians and be responsible to assist in design and layout of electrical systems of residential projects.

JOURNEYMAN ELECTRICIAN LICENSE

Work experience: Class A and B Licenses require completion of state-certified apprenticeship program and earn 16,000 hours of on-the-job experience as electricians.

Pass Licensing Exam: To obtain Class A license, must pass electrical journeyman test administered by Iowa Electrical Examining Board.

Apply for license: License application includes work experience, educational record, and criminal history. Class B license requires notarized Affidavit of Work Experience.

Pay Fee: $75 or less (Prorated cost decreases per month and year. Licensing cycle 2020-2022)

Limitations: Can supervise apprentice electricians. A Journeyman Class B cannot install electrical equipment or wiring without supervision. Must acquire Journeyman Class A license before working independently as an electrical contractor.

MASTER ELECTRICIAN LICENSE

Work experience: Been licensed Journeyman for at least one year. Can properly plan, lay out, and supervise installation of electrical wiring, apparatus, and equipment for light, heat, power, and other purposes.

Pass Licensing Exam: To obtain Class A license, must pass electrical master test administered by Iowa Electrical Examining Board.

Apply for license: License application includes work experience, educational record, and criminal history. Class B license requires notarized Affidavit of Work Experience.

Pay Fee: $375 or less (Prorated cost decreases per month and year. Licensing cycle 2020-2022)

Increased Authority: Can pull building permits and pass inspections.

Limitations: Can supervise several Journeyman electricians on larger jobs and responsible to assist in the design and layout of electrical system projects. Can normally only work with one electrical contracting company at one time.

RESIDENTIAL ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR LICENSE

Work experience: Licensed as Class A or Class B Master Electrician or a Residential Master electrician, or who represents a company who employs them.

Apply for license: Must be registered with Iowa Division of Labor (Iowa Workforce Development) as a contractor. When applying, must include a completed Certificate of Responsible Master Electrician.

Proof of Insurance: Must show proof and maintain general and completed operations liability insurance for at least $1 million for all residential work performed that requires electrician licensing.

Pay Fee: $375 or less (Prorated cost decreases per month and year. Licensing cycle 2020-2022)

Increased Authority: Can pull building permits and pass inspections. Allowed to operate/advertise a business.

Limitations: Can only perform residential electrical work.

ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR

Work experience: Person affiliated with an electrical contracting firm or business with a Licensed Master Electrician or who employs Master Electricians to help design, install, and maintain electrical systems. Must submit a Certificate of Responsible Master Electrician.

Apply for license: Must be actively licensed as a Class A or Class B Master Electrician or employ person licensed as a Master Electrician and must be registered with Iowa Division of Labor (Iowa Workforce Development) as a contractor. When applying must include a completed Certificate of Responsible Master Electrician. If applying for Master Electrician License at same time, may complete Certificate of Responsible Licensed Master as if license has been issued.

Proof of Insurance: Must show proof and maintain general and completed operations liability insurance for at least $1 million for all residential work performed that requires electrician licensing.

Pay Fee: $375 or less (Prorated cost decreases per month and year. Licensing cycle 2020-2022)

Increased Authority: Can pull building permits and pass inspections. Allowed to operate/advertise a business. Can bid on public/government projects.

SPECIAL ELECTRICIAN LICENSE

Work experience: Licensed by IEEB and can install special classes of electrical wiring, apparatus, equipment, or installations.

Irrigation System Wiring: Must either pass IEEB-approved supervised exam, OR complete two years OR 4,000 hours of documented experience in wiring irrigation systems.

Sign Installation: Authorized to connect power to a sign, as long as voltage does not exceed 22 volts and amperage does not exceed 20 amperes.

Disconnect/Reconnect Existing A/C or Refrigerant Equipment: Authorized to disconnect and reconnect any existing ACR system. Must pass IEEB-approved exam, OR complete two years of documented experience performing related work.

Pass Licensing Exam: Required for Irrigation Systems Wiring and Disconnect/Reconnect Existing A/C and Refrigeration endorsements if does not meet work experience requirement.

Apply for license: License application includes Affidavit of Work Experience, which must be notarized.

Proof of Insurance: Must prove and maintain $1 million in contractor liability insurance unless employed by Electrical Contractor.

Pay Fee: $75 or less (Prorated cost decreases per month and year. Licensing cycle 2020-2022)

Increased Authority: Can pull building permits and pass inspections. Allowed to operate/advertise a business. Can bid on public/government projects.

Limitations: Must indicate on application the specific Special Electrician Endorsements applicant seeks, and can choose multiple endorsements with supporting work affidavit. For Sign Installers, limited to 220 volts or 20 amperes, and any new or upgraded branch circuit installation supplying power to the sign shall be done by licensed Master Electrician or licensed Journeyman Electrician under supervision. Those disconnecting and reconnecting existing A/C and Refrigeration systems must have a licensed electrical contractor install any new or upgraded branch circuits for such equipment. Any individual holding the following state licenses issued by the Iowa Plumbing and Mechanical Systems Board is not required to hold an IEEB license to perform disconnection and reconnection of existing ACR systems: Master HVAC, Journeyperson HVAC, Master Refrigeration, Journeyman Refrigeration.

Requirements for Electrical Licensing Exams In Iowa

The Iowa Electrical Examining Board (IEEB) has approved PSI Corporation as the testing service.

Those wishing to take the exam, must submit a Testing Sponsorship Request Form, available on the website, or apply for sponsorship through their online license account at iowaelectrical.gov.

Passing the State of Iowa PSI exam with a score of 75% or higher will enable you to qualify for the State of Iowa electrician licenses as a Class A Master or Journeyman, Residential Master, Residential Electrician, or one of the Special Electrician licenses with the Irrigation System wiring and Disconnect/Reconnect existing A/C or Refrigeration equipment endorsement. In order to qualify to take the exam you must meet certain requirements.

Journeyman Exam candidates must:

  • Have completed a U.S. Department of Labor-registered or approved registered apprentice program.

  • OR have completed a Board-Approved Post-Secondary Electrical Program through a Community College, with at least 6000 hours of On-The-Job training and 2,000 hours of classroom training.

  • OR have been employed as a journeyman prior to 01/01/1998, with documentation of 16,000 hours of electrical experience as a Journeyman (apprentice hours do not count), of which at least 8,000 hours were between 01/01/98 and 01/01/08.

 Master Exam candidates must:

  • Have at least one year's experience, acceptable to the Board, as a licensed class A or class B journeyman electrician

  • OR be a State of Iowa-licensed Master Class B electrician

  • OR have been employed as a master electrician prior to 01/01/1998, with documentation of 16,000 hours of electrical experience as a master electrician (apprentice and journeyman hours do not count), of which at least 8,000 hours were between 01/01/98 and 01/01/08.

 Residential Electrician Exam candidates must:

  • Have at least one year's experience, acceptable to the Board, as a licensed Special Electrician with the Residential endorsement

  • OR have completed 6,000 hours of experience as an apprentice electrician (An applicant may take the examination after completing 5,000 hours of experience as an apprentice electrician, although the license will not be issued until the applicant has completed 6,000 hours of such experience)

  • OR have completed 4,000 hours of experience working under the direct supervision of a Residential Master electrician, a Residential electrician, a Master electrician or a Journeyman electrician AND have successfully completed a minimum of one academic year of an approved electrical trade school

  • OR have completed 8,000 hours of verified experience as a licensed Unclassified Person AND at least 2,000 hours of verified work experience in residential wiring

  • OR have successfully completed an approved registered residential electrician apprentice program.

Residential Master Exam candidates must:

  • Hold a current Residential electrician or Journeyman electrician license, AND have 2,000 hours of verified experience as a Residential electrician or Journeyman electrician

  • OR hold a current Special Electrician license with the Residential endorsement AND have 4,000 hours of verified experience.

Special Electrician Irrigation and/or Disconnect/ Connect Endorsement exam candidates:

  • have no license or experiential requirements to be sponsored for the exam.

Benefits of Getting an Electrical License In Iowa

There are many benefits you’ll see from getting your electrical license in Iowa.

  • First and most important, it is required by law in Iowa to be licensed through the state to legally perform any electrical work.

  • A trade license is proof of your experience and skill.

  • You begin earning money from the very first day you begin the process of becoming an electrician.

  • It protects your company and customers.

  • It gives you a competitive advantage in the job market.

  • As you build on your expertise your earning potential increases and you have more authority to pull building permits and bid on projects.

What Is the Median Salary for an Electrician in Iowa?

The salary for an electrician in Iowa increases as you acquire each higher ranking license according to indeed.com.

Apprentice: The average salary for an apprentice electrician is $15.70 per hour in Iowa and $6,000 overtime per year.

Journeyman: The average salary for a journeyman electrician is $28.27 per hour in Iowa and $10,500 overtime per year.

Master: The average salary for a master electrician is $36.17 per hour in Iowa and $10,000 overtime per year.

According to Salary.com, the average Union Electrician salary in Iowa is $57,701 as of September 25, 2020, but the range typically falls between $51,472 and $64,965. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on the city and many other important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession.

How Much Does It Cost to Get an Electrician's License in Iowa?

The cost of a license varies in Iowa depending on the level.

Apprentice license: $20 per year or less (prorated cost decreases each month after January)

Unclassified person license: $20 per year or less (prorated cost decreases each month after January)

Residential Electrician license: $75 or less (Prorated cost decreases per month and year. Licensing cycle 2020-2022)

Residential Master Electrician license: $375 or less (Prorated cost decreases per month and year. Licensing cycle 2020-2022)

Journeyman Electrician license: $75 or less (Prorated cost decreases per month and year. Licensing cycle 2020-2022)

Master Electrician license: $375 or less (Prorated cost decreases per month and year. Licensing cycle 2020-2022)

Residential Electrical Contractor license: $375 or less (Prorated cost decreases per month and year. Licensing cycle 2020-2022)

Electrical Contractor license: $375 or less (Prorated cost decreases per month and year. Licensing cycle 2020-2022)

Special Electrician: Irrigation System Wiring, Sign Installation, or Disconnect/Reconnect Existing A/C and Refrigeration Systems license: $75 or less (Prorated cost decreases per month and year. Licensing cycle 2020-2022).

Testing Fee: An $87 fee is required to take any of the required state mandated examinations.

How to Get an Electrician License in Iowa

According to the state website, to become a licensed electrician in Iowa, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age.

  • Meet the educational/experience requirements

  • Obtain a passing score on the Iowa Electrical Examining Board examination.

  • Pay all applicable fees.

  • Obtain insurance coverage.

Training programs and schools/Apprenticeship Options and Requirements

There are many programs to get the training you need to become an electrician in Iowa.

  • You can complete an apprenticeship program recognized by the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training of the United States Department of Labor.

  • You can seek out a union apprenticeship available through local Joint Apprenticeship & Training Committees. JATCs have been established through the combined efforts of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) who have come together to form the National Training Alliance.

  • Or you can complete a technical school program approved by the Iowa Electrical Examining Board and deemed equivalent to the Department of Labor apprenticeship requirements.

  • Each options will provide the necessary 576 hours of classroom instruction. The apprenticeship programs also include 8,000 hours of required work experience.

There are a number of local community colleges that offer approved programs that lead to an Associate of Applied Science in Electrical Technology or similar degrees. A few are:

  • Northwest Iowa Community College

  • Eastern Iowa Community College

  • Iowa Central Community College

  • Des Moines Area Community College

  • Kirkwood Community college

Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa is a 4-year public university that offers a degree in Electrical and electronics engineering. The average cost after aid is $15K and the graduation rate is 75%.

Here are three great lists to the best electrician schools in Iowa:

Tuition: The Cost of Tuition depends on the program you choose. Some apprenticeships are paid 100% by the employer with required good grades. At a four-year in-state school you can expect to pay about $15,000.

Program Prerequisites: You must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or a GED (General Educational Development) degree.

On-the-Job Experience: While on the job you will need to have good customer service skills, be detail-oriented, have mechanical capability, and be physically fit because the job can include some heavy lifting and hours of walking, standing and working in tight spaces.

Iowa Electrician Licensing Exam Details

You can expect there to be more questions on the Iowa Electrician Licensing exams and for testing to take longer as you progress to higher levels of expertise.

  • The Residential exam has 50 questions and a time limit of 2 hours.

  • The Master Residential exam has 60 questions and a time limit of 3 hours.

  • The Journeyman exam has 80 questions and a time limit of 3 hours.

  • The Master exam has 100 questions and a time limit of 4 hours.

  • A 75% is required to pass all exams.

  • The exam fee is $87.

  • Topics on the examinations include general electrical knowledge, wiring and protection, wiring methods and materials, equipment for general use, special occupancies, special equipment, special conditions, and communication systems.

Who Issues Electrician Licenses in Iowa?

The Iowa Department of Public Safety, State Fire Marshall Division issues and renews all electrician’s licenses in the state.

Does My Iowa Electrician’s License Work in Any Other State?

Yes! At this time, Iowa reciprocates the Journeyman license with the states of Minnesota, Nebraska, and South Dakota ;and the Master license with Minnesota and South Dakota. If you have held a current license from one of those states for more than a year, and have received the license as a result of passing that state’s exam with a score of 75% or greater, AND meet Iowa’s licensure requirements for the Journeyman or Master license, you may request the State of Iowa license. Please include a copy of the originating state’s license.

Electrician Specific

Other certifications can help you demonstrate your proficiency to potential employers and clients. Independent Electrical Contractors certification, National Fire Protection Association certification, and other professional certifications are not required but can add to your marketability as a service provider and therefore increase your opportunity to make more money.

Other Requirements Unique to Iowa

Continuing Education: Iowa licensed electricians are required to participate in continuing education to maintain their electrical licenses. Within each three year license-cycle, licensed electricians are required to attend no fewer than 18 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) of which at least 6 CEUs must be on the most recent electrical code and the remainder on electrical code-related topics.  If you are licensed less than the full three-year term, to remain compliant it requires six CEUs for each year of the cycle in which you held a license, with at least six hours over the National Electric Code.

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