Unlike most states, Illinois does not issue a statewide license for electrical contractors. Technically, an electrician would not need a contracting license to work in Illinois — similar to Illinois’s general contracting regulations, they would only be required to work under a supervising electrician. However, if you are looking to become an electrician without supervision, you need to adhere to local county requirements, which can differ from region to region.
Electrician licenses differ from plumbing licenses in Illinois mainly because there is no consistency in the requirements and testing of municipalities. It’s important to keep this in mind as you move forward in this line of work. Generally, most counties ask for training, either through an apprenticeship or on the job experience, followed by a journeyman license (in certain counties), and ending with a supervising electrical license.
This article will focus on the requirements for Chicago, the largest city in Illinois. While there is no statewide code for electricians in Illinois, most counties use the National Electrical Codes as the basis for their regulations and requirements.
Illinois Electrician License Reciprocity
Since Illinois does not have state license requirements, reciprocity agreements are determined at the local level. Depending on which county you wish to become an electrician in, there are different agreements to adhere to. You will need to check with individual local governments for requirements.
Illinois Electrical Journeyman License and Insurance Requirements
Many cities and counties in Illinois skip electrical journeyman licenses. Instead, you can either become an electrical contractor or a supervising electrician. In order to obtain an electrical contractor license, electricians must have the following:
- Liability insurance;
- A letter of verification on company stationery;
- Work history;
- A photocopy of your employer’s license;
- And any applicable license fees.
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To become a supervising electrician, you must have the following:
- Two years of experience (either through an apprenticeship or work-related experience);
- Work history under a supervising electrician;
- A passing score on the exam;
- A $70 license fee;
- And you must be 21 years of age or older.
Chicago Electrical License Exam
The exam for a supervising electrical license is administered online by Continental Testing Services. You will need to pay $70 by check or money order made payable to the City of Chicago. The exam is typically four hours long and consists of 150 multiple-choice questions. You must score at least 70% to pass this exam. Any exam retakes will also cost $70. However, this exam is an open book test and applicants are allowed to use the following:
- Chicago Electrical Code 2018 Edition;
- NFPA 70: National Electrical Code with Chicago Amendments.
Chicago Electrical Apprenticeship Requirements
Becoming an electrical apprentice in Chicago is relatively easy. To apply for these programs you must:
- Fill out an apprenticeship application;
- Be at least 18 years of age;
- Pass an aptitude test;
- Have a high school diploma;
- And have reliable transportation.
Illinois Electrical Apprentice Jobs
Most employers will want and ask for apprenticeship hours. Luckily, there are a few apprenticeship opportunities in Illinois.
The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) supplies an Apprenticeship Information Center (AIC) that connects contractors with desired programs. This is in conjunction with the federal ApprenticeshipUSA Initiative. After you’ve completed an apprenticeship, you may move forward to become a supervising electrician.
Electrical Trade Schools in Illinois
Technical programs are a great way to ensure you are learning the correct methods. Chicago offers a variety of schools for electricians:
City Colleges of Chicago
226 West Jackson
Chicago, IL 60606
City Colleges of Chicago — Kennedy-King
6301 South Halsted Street
Chicago, IL 60621
Danville Area Community College
2000 East Main Street
Danville, IL 61832
Richland Community College
One College Park
Decatur, IL 62521
Oakton Community College — Des Plaines Campus
1600 East Golf Road
Des Plaines, IL 60016
Sauk Valley Community College
173 Illinois Route 2
Dixon, IL 61021
Lewis and Clark Community College — National Great Rivers Confluence Campus
East Alton, IL 62024
Illinois Central College
East Peoria, IL
Lewis and Clark Community College — N. O. Nelson Campus
600 Troy Road
Edwardsville, IL 62025
Frontier Community College
2 Frontier Drive
Fairfield, IL 62837
Lewis and Clark Community College — Benjamin Godfrey Campus
5800 Godfrey Road
Godfrey, IL 62035
Southeastern Illinois College
3575 College Road
Harrisburg, IL 62946
Rend Lake College
468 North Ken Gray Parkway
Ina, IL 62846
Illinois Professional License Search
The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulations offers an online license search for contractors in Illinois. Users can search by license type, license status, license number, legal business names, contractor names, city, county, and zip code.
For More License and Career Guides
To find out how to become an Electrical Contractor in another state, start here.
For information on other trades in Illinois, click on a link below to learn more about the licensing requirements: