Illinois is one of the states that does not have a statewide electrical contractor license.
This means it is possible to work in the state without being licensed. However, most local municipalities have devised their own licensing requirements that for the most part are on par with other states’ requirements.
There is no consistency in the requirements and testing so while you may become licensed to practice in a county in southern Illinois, it is possible you won’t be able to work in a northern county without becoming licensed there also. The more thorough the requirements, the more likely they are to be accepted in other cities in the state.
For the sake of public safety and the safety of co-workers, some sort of training is required, even if it is not uniform throughout the state. Local licensing requirements may require military training or an official apprenticeship during which time you learn skills on the job as you work and get paid.
Other options for becoming an electrician in Illinois include attending a trade school or vocational college and majoring in a related field where you will gain classroom knowledge as well as practical skills.
Even though there is no statewide code in Illinois, many municipalities adopt the National Electrical Codes and base their licensing examinations upon it. Municipalities in Illinois are authorized to enforce their own licensing regulations or they can forego them and leave electrical inspections up to the local Fire Marshall and adhere to fire codes.
While municipalities are authorized to license companies and individuals as electrical contractors, they must award separate and additional licenses for fire and burglar alarm systems.
Obtaining an Illinois electrical contractor license works a lot like it does for any other state except you don’t work through the state’s official website or department. Instead, you must find out who the governing body is for your region and learn what their specific requirements are.
In most cases, they will have an online site where you can download license applications and apply for examinations. Examinations are most likely to be based upon the National Electrical Codes and are determined by the local board. You will probably have to pay an application fee, examination fee, and a licensing fee. Your license will need to be periodically renewed and may require continuing education credits.
Being licensed locally has its advantages and disadvantages. However, since local licensure is currently the only option in Illinois, you don’t have any choice but to simply follow the requirements that are set forth in your local city. And since regulations can differ from city to city, it is never safe to assume you know what will be required of you, so a call to City Hall or a local union may be in order if you are considering a career as an electrician.
While there is no official Illinois electrical contractor license, the day to day work is still the same no matter where you do it, so you want to be on top of your profession when it comes to skills and knowledge, so you do a good job, stay safe, and advance through the ranks over the course of your career.