How to Become an Electrician in Alaska
Although there are only a little over 2,000 electricians working in the state of Alaska it is still a wise career choice for those interested. While there aren’t as many electricians employed here as in most other states, Alaska was the third-highest-paying state for electricians in May of 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). With Alaska being a hotspot for tourists, electricians are needed to keep tourist establishments as well as residential and government properties running smoothly.[En Español]
To become an electrician in Alaska you must first work as an apprentice under a licensed electrician. You can then become licensed as either a journeyman or residential electrician. Finally, you can get your contractor license and work as an independent contractor. Becoming an electrician does take time; many work and education hours are required for licensing. However, it is a well-paying career and new positions are opening annually.
Requirements for Becoming an Electrician in Alaska
Before you can become a licensed electrician in Alaska you will need to work as an apprentice and receive a certain amount of classroom hours. The first license you can apply for is either a residential certificate or a journeyman license. A residential certificate does not require as many work hours as a journeyman license, but you will be limited to working only on residential buildings. As a journeyman you will be able to work on both residential and commercial buildings. In Alaska, licensing is handled through the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development.
To get certified as a residential electrician, you will need to provide proof of at least 4,000 work hours. Classroom hours are not required for residential certification, but up to 500 classroom hours can be applied to your work experience total. You can then apply to take the exam to become certified as a residential electrician. Residential certificates need to be renewed every two years, but you do not need to show proof of continued education to renew.
If you are interested in becoming licensed as a journeyman electrician, you will need to have at least 8,000 hours of experience working as an apprentice. There are also requirements as to how those hours need to be divided. Up to 2,000 hours can be done on residential buildings, but the remaining 6,000 hours need to be completed in either commercial or industrial settings. If you are enrolled in a technical program, up to 1,000 classroom hours can be counted toward your total hours. After you have completed the work hours, you can apply to take the journeyman exam. Your journeyman license will need to be renewed biannually, and during that time you will need to complete 24 hours of continued education.
Those wanting to run their own businesses as independent contractors need to hire an electrical administrator or become one. To become an electrical administrator, you will need to apply through the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development. You will need to provide proof of education and work experience as well as pass the required exam. To keep your license current, it must be renewed every two years and proof of continued education is required as well. The next step would be to register as an Alaska business and obtain a business license, and then you can work as an independent electrical contractor in Alaska.
Apprenticeship Programs in Alaska
Since you must work as an apprentice before becoming a licensed electrician in Alaska, it would be a wise idea to enroll in a union apprenticeship program near you. If you can find a Joint Apprenticeship & Training Committee (JATC) locally, they will provide the classroom instruction you need in addition to work experience. In Alaska, the Alaska Joint Electrical Apprenticeship & Training Trust (AJEATT) is the main JATC, and is a combined endeavor between the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1547 and the Alaska chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA). The AJEATT has four locations in Alaska:
- The Tom Cashen Training Center in Anchorage
- The Kornfeind Training Center in Fairbanks
- The IBEW Local 1547 location in Juneau
- The IBEW Local 1547 location in Ketchikan
To apprentice through the AJEATT Alaska you must be 18 years of age, have an Alaska driver’s license and clean driving record, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and pass the Algebra 1 class or placement test. As an apprentice, you will work full time under an electrical contractor and complete the required classroom hours focusing on electrical science and theory. You will also be required to register as an apprentice and renew your registration annually.
There are more than 300 Joint Apprenticeship Training Committees (JATC) across the U.S. and the The Alaska Joint Electrical Apprenticeship Training Trust (AJEATT) offers training in several classifications of the electrical industry: inside wireman, residential wireman, outside power lineman, and telecommunications worker (telephone/data).
An alternative to the union electrical apprenticeship in Alaska are the apprenticeships offered by the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). ABC of Alaska offers apprenticeship programs in which you can learn from a master electrician while working and earning money, qualify for higher levels of pay, get exposed to to the latest technologies and building codes and gain job mobility through a nationally recognized certification program for your skills. The program is registered with the State of Alaska and is accredited through the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER).
To apply you’ll need:
- Valid Driver’s License, and an official driving record from the state that issued that license
- Social Security Card or a valid eligibility document from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
- Proof of High School Graduation and high school transcripts, or GED transcripts
- Algebra 1 an entire year with a grade “C” or higher (There are alterate methods to meet the maths requirement.)
- Veterans should include a copy of their DD214
- An application processing fee of $50.00
Electrician Programs in Alaska
If you are looking for technical schools in Alaska to complete the education hours you need to become licensed, there are a few options.
- Alaska Vocational Technical Center (AVTEC). AVTEC is in Seward, Alaska, and has an Industrial Electricity program that takes approximately one year to finish. To enroll in this program students must have qualifying TABE test scores in reading and math and be able to lift and carry 50 pounds or more, and climb, kneel, crawl, walk and stand repeatedly for long periods of time. The ability to differentiate colors is a must for this career field as well. Students completing this program should be able to find entry-level work as an industrial controls tech, industrial electrical tech or electrical apprentice.
- Iḷisaġvik College. Located in Barrow, Ilisagvik College offers an Associated Construction Trades (ACT) program that allows students to train in their choice of the following fields: carpentry, electrical, plumbing, scaffolding, insulation, pipefitting or welding.
All courses taught in the ACT programs at Ilisagvik are approved through the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCER). To enroll in this trade school program students must pass a drug test and take a math placement test. They must also be able to read and understand safety manuals and warning signs and be tolerant of confined spaces and heights. Space in these programs is limited, so early enrollment is advised. The ACT programs are also fast- track training programs, meaning they can typically be completed in three to six weeks.
Job Outlook and Salary Expectations
Because Alaska is one of the least populated states, the number of electricians employed there is not as high as in other states. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) information in 2018, there were 1,770 electricians working in the state and 170 electrician helpers. However, the number of electricians working in Alaska is predicted to increase by a healthy 7 percent by the year 2028, or approximately 230 more electrician jobs. As the construction workforce booms in Alaska, so will the need for electricians.
So, how much to electricians make in Alaska? The BLS data also states that electricians in the state made an average of $37.35 hourly and $77,690 yearly in 2019. The top earners reported an average income as high as $100,490. Electrician apprentices make much less than licensed electricians, but they still had a reported average annual income of $44,790 in Alaska in 2019.
Salaries in Alaska by Occupation
|Occupation||Total Employment||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Wage||Annual Salary 10th Percentile||Annual Salary 25th Percentile||Annual Salary 75th Percentile||Annual Salary 90th Percentile|
|Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Commercial and Industrial Equipment||180||$38.83||$80,770||$52,240||$73,450||$86,700||$101,890|
|Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Powerhouse, Substation, and Relay||70||$43.84||$91,190||$36,330||$84,710||$112,380||$124,960|
|Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers||470||$44.15||$91,830||$59,470||$80,620||$110,360||$122,760|
Electrician Salaries in Alaska by Region
|Area||Total Employment||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Salary||Hourly Wage 10th Percentile||Hourly Wage 25th Percentile||Hourly Wage 75th Percentile||Hourly Wage 90th Percentile|
Working as an Electrician in Alaska
Electricians in the state of Alaska can look for work as maintenance electricians, construction electricians, instrument or electrical technicians or electrical servicemen. You may find work in fields such as construction, utilities, mining, manufacturing, engineering, water treatment and transportation. After working as an apprentice, you can choose to become a residential or journeyman electrician and then go on to work as an independent contractor through training, work experience and licensure.
While the number of electricians and apprentices working in the state is low, there is still projected growth over the next few years. If you are looking for a stable, well-paying career, becoming a licensed electrician in Alaska may be something you want to consider.
Organizations You Should Know
- The National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), Alaska Chapter
- Alaska Joint Electrical Apprenticeship and Training Trust (AJEATT)
- The Electrical Training Alliance
- International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1547 (IBEW Alaska)
- Alaska Apprenticeship Training Coordinators Association
- The Associated General Contractors of Alaska
Narl Facility, Barrow, Alaska 99723
Electrical – Certificate Program
The Electrical Certificate program in Electrical at Ilisagvik College is taught at their campus in Barrow in North Slope County. The college has approximately 193 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Tuition fees are around $3,820 yearly. Books and supplies can cost about $800, although this will depend on the program.
* College accredition status and tuition fees and are, to our best knowledge, correct at the time of writing, and sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics (http://nces.ed.gov/). Check all details directly with college before applying.
How much do electricians earn in the state of Alaska?
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, electricians in the state of Alaska made an average of $75,350 per year in 2019. Entry-level electricians earned around $44,790 and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $100,490.