As the housing market continues to expand and with the economy becoming more stable than before, the demand for electricians all throughout Arkansas has increased as well. As such, you can expect a decent income and a stable job by working as an electrician in the state.
According to the US Department of Labor, electrician jobs are expected to increase by 16.1% in 2024. Hence, if you want to pursue a career in the trade, now is the right time to do so.
To start, you need to work as an apprentice first. Apprenticeship registrations are handled by the Arkansas State Board of Electrical Examiners. They’re also the ones responsible for issuing licenses for both journeyman and master electrician levels. Once you have progressed through these levels, you may decide to obtain an electrical contractor license. Here’s how:
1st Step: Obtain Appropriate Job Experience and Education
You should have at least 8,000 hours or 4 years of hands-on experience and 800 hours of classroom education if you want to obtain a journeyman license. There are two ways to obtain the required hours: one is through an apprenticeship program, and the other is through a vocational school.
Under an apprenticeship program, you are required to work under the supervision of an electrical contractor. During your training, you will earn a portion of a journeyman’s wage. There are a number of union electrical Joint Apprenticeship & Training Committees in the state that can provide you with apprenticeship programs. They are located in:
- El Dorado
- Fort Smith
- Little Rock
The Mid-South Chapter of the Independent Electrical Contractors also offers an apprenticeship program which you can enroll in. If you want to enroll in any of these programs, you should comply with the following requirements:
- A valid driver’s license
- Copy of your college transcript or high school diploma which displays a passing grade in a standard algebra class
- You should be at least 18 years of age
- A passing score in the general aptitude test which includes reading and math skills
Once you enrolled yourself in an apprenticeship program, you should then register with the Board of Electrical Examiners in the state. After you completed your apprenticeship, you can expect to have at least 8,000 hours or 4 years of hands-on experience and 800 hours of education.
You can obtain technical training via online courses, community colleges, or accredited vocational schools. The credits you can earn during the training will count towards your classroom hour requirements.
Like in an apprenticeship program, you should also work with a licensed electrical contractor in order to obtain the appropriate training and hands-on experience which are both necessary to apply for a journeyman license.
Fortunately, there are a number of schools that also provide job placement services, thus making it quicker and easier for you to start the apprenticeship period. Meanwhile, some schools even provide training placement in their program.
2nd Step: Proceed to the Examination and Get a Passing Score to Obtain your Journeyman License
With a journeyman electrician license, you can perform electrical installation work while still abiding by the local codes and regulations implemented. In order to apply for the license, you should first meet these requirements:
- Get a passing score on the journeyman examination
- Get at least 4 years of full-time working experience in the electrical trade under a licensed contractor’s supervision
To start, simply complete this application form. After the process, you should then send it to the board and wait for the approval. Upon approval, you will then be able to schedule your examination date.
You are given 3 hours to complete the exam and answer all 60 questions. Also, the examination is open book, so you can bring any reference materials with you. You can even consult the latest National Electrical Code while taking the exam.
If you manage to pass the exam, you can then obtain your journeyman electrician license. Keep in mind that you should renew your license one year after receiving it. During your first time renewal, you have the option to renew it once every one, two, or three years.
Regardless of the renewal period you picked, you are required to comply with the continuing education requirements. You are required to complete 8 hours of continuing education during every cycle of the National Electric Code which happens once every three years.
3rd Step: Obtain a Master Electrician License or Certificate
Once you have your journeyman electrician license, you can choose to obtain a master electrician license. As a master electrician, there are no limits to the type of electrical-related project you can handle. Additionally, you also act as a supervisor in the companies you’re working for.
Before you can get a master electrician license, you should meet ONE of these requirements:
- At least 6 years of working experience in the construction industry dealing with commercial and residential projects AND two years of journeyman electrician experience
- At least 2 years of experience in the construction industry and a degree in electrical engineering
- A combination of either two which is subject to approval by the Board
To start, simply fill out this application form then send it to the board. Upon approval, you may then proceed to schedule your exam. The examination process is similar to that of the journeyman license examination.
Upon passing the exam, you may then receive your master electrician license which you should renew a year after receiving it. Then again, the same process to that of a journeyman license applies.
4th and Final Step: Apply for an Independent Electrical Contractor License
Once you have worked as a master electrician for a few years, you can decide to obtain an independent electrical contractor license.
To qualify for the application, you should have at least 5 years of experience as a master electrician, or you can also choose to hire one. Moreover, you need to pass the Business and Law exam along with a master level exam (if you haven’t yet).