South Dakota Electrical License: How to Become an Electrician in South Dakota
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Other Requirements Unique to South Dakota
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 2,220 work in South Dakota. The national number is predicted to grow 7% from 2021 to 2031.
That growth rate is expected to be twice as high in South Dakota — projected at 14%, according to CareerOneStop, the U.S. Department of Labor’s job search website.
Many contractors nationwide are struggling to find skilled tradesmen like plumbers, electricians, and HVACR professionals. In fact, 60% of firms in the United States and a whopping 81% in South Dakota had unfilled hourly craft positions, according to the Associated General Contractors of America, 2020 AGC-Autodesk Workforce Survey. So, if you get the training you need you should have a variety 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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License Requirements for Electricians in South Dakota
Is a state license required to be an electrician in South Dakota? Yes.
The state of South Dakota requires a license to perform electrical work. The South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation through the South Dakota Electrical Commission issues electrician licenses. Even apprentice electricians must first register with the commission and pay a $20 processing fee.
Steps to Get an Electrician License in South Dakota
Gain necessary work experience.
Become a licensed journeyman electrician.
Consider earning an electrical contractor license.
How to Become an Electrician in South Dakota
GAIN NECESSARY EXPERIENCE: Becoming a licensed journeyman electrician in the state of South Dakota requires 8,000 hours (four years) of electrical trade work experience, or a two-year associate of applied science degree in electrical trades plus 6,000 hours (three years) of electrical trade work experience.
A common way to gain work experience is through a union or non-union apprenticeship program. Most apprenticeships require you to be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, possess a valid driver’s license, and pass an aptitude test.
Union apprenticeship programs are available through the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), and the Electrical Training Alliance. The Dakotas Area Electrical Apprenticeship and Training Fund offers apprenticeships in Rapid City and Sioux Falls.
Non-union apprenticeship programs are available through Independent Electrical Contractors Dakotas, which has an office in Pierre. The South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation also offers apprenticeships through Muth Electric, Inc. in Mitchell. Once you find the right apprenticeship for you, you must apply for an apprentice license.
Journeyman electricians often gain experience in residential or farmstead wiring, especially if they are seeking a Class B Electrician status. They might also gain commercial or industrial wiring experience, especially if they plan to pursue an electrical contractor or electrical inspector license.
Apprentice electricians must renew their licenses every two years until they complete an apprenticeship program.
BECOME A LICENSED JOURNEYMAN: Once you meet the necessary work experience requirements and pass the journeyman licensing exam, you can apply to obtain your journeyman electrician license. You must pay a $40 application fee, plus a $40 licensing fee. Journeyman licenses mandate renewal every two years. Renewal requires 16 hours of continuing education, eight of which must focus on the National Electrical Code (NEC).
CONSIDER EARNING AN ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR LICENSE: In South Dakota, you become eligible to earn an electrical contractor license after holding a journeyman electrician license for two years. In addition to submitting an application, you must pay a $40 application fee, plus a $100 licensing fee. Electrical contractors also must submit a $10,000 bond to the electrical commission, provide proof of $100,000 public liability insurance, and proof of $300,000 bodily injury and property damage insurance. Electrical contractor licenses mandate renewal every two years. Renewal requires 16 hours of continuing education, eight of which must focus on the National Electrical Code (NEC).
Types of Electrical Licensure in South Dakota
South Dakota offers several types of electrician licenses, including:
Inactive Electrical Contractor
Reciprocal Electrical Contractor
Class B Electrician
Benefits of Becoming a Certified Electrician in South Dakota
There are many benefits to pursuing South Dakota electrician certification:
Most important, South Dakota requires licensure 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 is proof of your experience and skill.
Only certified electricians can: operate a business and advertise services, obtain commercial insurance, pull building permits, pass inspections, and bid on public and government projects.
A license protects your company and customers.
Being licensed gives you a competitive advantage in the job market.
It also increases your earning potential.
What Is the Mean Wage for an Electrician in South Dakota?
The annual mean wage for electricians in South Dakota is $51,760 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 pay for an electrician apprentice is $21.79 per hour in South Dakota and $6,000 overtime per year.
Electrician: The average pay for an electrician apprentice is $26.26 per hour in South Dakota and $9,438 overtime per year.
Master Electrician: The average pay for an electrician apprentice is $47.04 per hour in South Dakota.
Salaries 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 South Dakota?
Tuition at most technical schools in South Dakota costs between $6,000 and $6,500 per year. Licensees must also pay application fees and licensing fees, which vary depending on the license type. The South Dakota Electrical Commission electrician license application lists all applicable fees.
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How Long Does It Take to Get an Electrician License in South Dakota?
Earning a journeyman electrician license requires 8,000 hours, or four years of full-time electrical trade experience. You must maintain a journeyman electrician license for two years before becoming eligible to earn an electrical contractor license.
South Dakota Electrician Training Programs and Schools
There are many community colleges, trade schools, and technical and vocational schools that offer the training you need to become a licensed electrician in South Dakota. You can find training locations across the state, including big cities and smaller communities.
Technical schools often teach the following subjects:
The National Electrical Code (NEC)
Basic Math Computations
Algebra with Trigonometry
OSHA Regulations and First Aid
Basic Alarm Technology
Logic Circuits and Programmable Controllers
Motor and Generator Theory
Fire Access & CCTV Systems
Power Distribution and Load Calculations
Some South Dakota electrical schools include:
Mitchell Technical Institute in Mitchell offers a certificate and associate degree program in electrical utilities and substation technology.
Western Dakota Technical Institute in Rapid City offers an associate degree program in electrical trades.
Southeast Technical Institute in Sioux Falls offers an electrician associate degree program.
Program Prerequisites: Program prerequisites vary. Most programs, however, require you to be 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, a valid driver’s license, and pass an 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 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.
South Dakota Electrician Certification Exam Details
The South Dakota Electrical Commission administers electrical exams. You must receive prior written approval before taking the journeyman licensing exam or the electrical contractor licensing exam. To obtain written approval, submit your application, along with supporting documentation, such as experience verification forms, to:
South Dakota Electrical Commission: 308 S. Pierre St., Pierre, SD, 57501
Both the journeyman and the electrical contractor exams require a passing score of at least 70%. The exams cover the following topics:
The National Electrical Code (NEC)
Services and Service
Wiring Methods and Materials
Equipment and Devices
Motors and Generators and Special Occupancies
Equipment and Conditions
Who Issues Electrician Licenses in South Dakota?
The South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation issues electrician licenses through the South Dakota Electrical Commission.
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.
Does My South Dakota Electrical License Work in Any Other State?
Yes. South Dakota has electrician licensing reciprocity with many states, including Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.
Other Requirements Unique to South Dakota
To keep your state-issued license current, South Dakota requires you to renew it before it expires every two years. Individuals can renew online or through traditional mail.
To renew your license (every even year) you must have at least 16 hours of continuing education by the time of renewal or by June 30, whichever is sooner. Eight hours must be National Electric Code-related. The remaining eight hours may be non-code.
You can stay up to date on all electrician industry news in several ways: