How to Become an Electrician in Iowa
A career as an electrician in Iowa is a smart move if you are interested in job security and a good income. The current rate of growth in this career in the state is as much as 15 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which means that qualified workers are in demand and will continue to be needed for years. You could be one of them if you know what you need to do to become a licensed Iowa electrician. [En Español]
Requirements for Becoming an Electrician in Iowa
Licensing of electricians in Iowa is done through the Department of Public Safety’s Electrical Licensing and Inspection Program. The department issues several classes of licenses, including those for apprentices, journeymen, master electricians, special electricians, residential electricians, residential electrical contractor, and electrical contractor. It also manages Iowa electrician license renewals and licensee search.
The first step in becoming a licensed electrician in the state is to enroll in an apprenticeship program or a vocational program at a community college. Both types of programs will provide the necessary 576 hours of classroom instruction. The apprenticeship program also includes 8,000 hours of required work experience. With a vocational program you have to also be sure to find an electrician to apprentice with in order to get those required hours. You must register to become licensed as an apprentice before beginning that work experience.
Once you have gotten the required classroom time and work experience hours as an apprentice, you can apply for a journeyman license. In addition to those requirements, you must pass an exam to become a journeyman. Journeymen must renew the license every three years and take continuing education credits. A journeyman can apply to become a master electrician after one year and with a passing score on the appropriate exam. With a master electrician license you can then become licensed as a contractor as long as you have the appropriate amount of liability insurance.
The Iowa Electrical Examining Board (part of the office of the State Fire Marshal) is body responsible for testing the competence of electricians. The Board prepares the master, residential master, journeyman, residential electrician, irrigation system wiring or disconnect and reconnecting existing air conditioning and refrigeration systems exams. The Iowa Electrical Examining Board has adopted as the State of Iowa Electrical Code the 2017 National Electrical Code (NEC) as issued by the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA). The Board made five amendments to the 2017 NEC.
Electrician Apprenticeship Programs in Iowa
Iowa has six approved union apprenticeship programs, run through local Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committees (JATC) associated with chapters of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA). The JATCs are in:
- Cedar Rapids JATC
- Burlington, Southeast Iowa JATC
- Waterloo Electrical Joint Apprenticeship & Training Committee of North Iowa
- Dubuque Electrical Apprenticeship, IBEW Local 704
- Sioux City JATC
- Des Moines Electrical Apprenticeship, IBEW Local 347
Apprentices in these programs take classes while also working and earning a salary.
Applicants to the JATCs must be high school graduates or hold a GED, be 18 years old at least, have a valid driver’s license, have a computer and online access, pass a drug test and be physically capable of doing the work. They must also go through an interview process and pass aptitude tests in math, graphic literacy and reading comprehension.
For non-union apprenticeship programs in Iowa, the Iowa chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors offers apprenticeship training which is recognized by the United States Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship and Veterans Administration as well as by the State of Iowa as a prerequisite for taking the state electrical exam. The ABC of Iowa Apprenticeship and Training Trust works with the Construction Management clubs at the University of Northern Iowa and South Dakota State University to provide apprentices with the learning opportunities and expose them to leadership skills.
Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) does not currently have an Iowa chapter.
Iowa Schools for Electricians
An alternative to going through a JATC apprenticeship program is to complete a degree or certificate program at a community college or electrician trade school. A program in electrical technology or systems prepares students for entry-level jobs and to work as an apprentice with a master electrician.
- Iowa Central Community College. With four campuses, Iowa Central covers a wide area and offers students two options for electrical studies. The electrical apprenticeship program provides the coursework apprentices need to get licensed. Students entering this program must have an apprenticeship arranged. The other option is the electrical technologies degree, which can lead to an apprenticeship.
- Iowa Lakes Community College. At Iowa Lakes students can complete a degree program in electrical technology. It provides necessary coursework for apprenticing with a master electrician and eventually getting licensed.
- Northwest Iowa Community College. Located in Sheldon, this college offers an electrical technology program that focuses on industrial wiring. Students will be prepared to apprentice and to begin working in an industrial setting.
Outlook and Salary Expectations
If you are willing to go through the coursework and apprenticeship experiences necessary to be licensed in Iowa, you can expect to have great job opportunities in the state. In 2018, the BLS reported that 8,450 electricians were employed in Iowa. This is expected to increase to 9,740 by 2028, and if you have the right training, you could be one of those additional 1,290 electricians.
In addition to great opportunities for work you can also expect a good income as an electrician. Iowa electricians, on average, earned $55,930 in 2019. The electricians making the most in Iowa made an average of $79,270 in the same year. This reflects more years of experience and contractors who own businesses and hire other electricians.
Salaries in Iowa by Occupation 2019
|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 Installers and Repairers, Transportation Equipment||180||$31.39||$65,290||$53,080||$58,760||$74,120||$78,670|
|Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Commercial and Industrial Equipment||290||$28.10||$58,450||$36,090||$51,400||$64,930||$78,130|
|Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Powerhouse, Substation, and Relay||100||$39.07||$81,260||$50,680||$68,820||$97,000||$106,030|
|Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers||1,850||$34.41||$71,570||$39,880||$54,210||$91,720||$100,340|
Electrician Salaries in Iowa by Region 2019
|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|
|Sioux City, IA-NE-SD||430||$26.08||$54,240||$14.79||$20.23||$30.21||$39.24|
|Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA||3,880||$27.55||$57,310||$15.07||$18.70||$35.51||$39.20|
|Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL||1,070||$27.48||$57,150||$15.06||$19.67||$35.02||$39.63|
|Cedar Rapids, IA||1,020||$28.03||$58,310||$15.32||$19.84||$35.86||$41.84|
|Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA||1,740||$26.15||$54,400||$16.19||$21.26||$30.52||$36.01|
|Iowa City, IA||380||$26.96||$56,070||$16.59||$20.99||$31.09||$39.36|
|Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA||360||$26.42||$54,960||$16.82||$19.91||$30.91||$38.88|
Working as an Electrician in Iowa
Opportunities will continue to grow for licensed electricians in Iowa for years to come. Many journeymen and master electricians work for independent contractors. Some work in industrial and commercial buildings, while others work in residential buildings. A small number of electricians work for the state or for local governments. You may also choose to register as a contractor and work for yourself. As long as you are willing to learn and train, you can become an electrician in Iowa within a few years.
Organizations You Should Know
- IBEW Local 405, Cedar Rapids
- IBEW Local 704, Dubeque
- IBEW Local 231, Sioux City
- IBEW Local 347, Des Moines
- IBEW Local 288, Waterloo
- IBEW Local 13, Burlington
- NECA, Iowa Chapter
- Associated Builders and Contractors, ABC of Iowa
- Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA
- Northeast Iowa Nonmetropolitan Area
- Northwest Iowa Nonmetropolitan Area
- Sioux City, IA-NE-SD
- Southeast Iowa Nonmetropolitan Area
- Southwest Iowa Nonmetropolitan Area
2006 Ankeny Blvd, Ankeny, Iowa 50023-3993
Electro-Mechanical Technologies – Certificate Program
Des Moines Area Community College’s Certificate-level Electro-Mechanical Technologies program is taught at their campus in Ankeny in Polk County, Iowa. The college has round 22,298 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. The cost of tuition for in-state students is in the order of $4,530 and for students from outside the state in the order of $9,060 per year. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,340, although this will vary with the program.
7000 Fleur Drive, Des Moines, Iowa 50321
Electrician – Certificate Program
The Certificate program in Electrician at Vatterott College is based at their Des Moines campus in the city of Des Moines, IA. This private, for-profit college has roughly 172 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. Tuition fees are around $11,982 per year. Books and supplies can cost in the order of $2,042, although this will depend on the program.
Northeast Iowa Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are offered at their campus in Calmar in Winneshiek County, Iowa. This public college has approximately 4,865 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Tuition fees for in-state students are generally around $5,180 and for out-of-state students approximately $5,460 annually. Study materials can cost around $1,400, depending on the program chosen.
603 W Park St, Sheldon, Iowa 51201
Powerline Technology – Certificate Program, Industrial and Commercial Wiring – Associate Program
Northwest Iowa Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are based at their campus in Sheldon in Obrien County. The majority of of the school’s 1,612 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is roughly in the order of $5,910 and for students from outside the state around $6,210 for each academic year. Learning materials may cost roughly $1,312, although this will vary with the program.
4647 Stone Ave, Sioux City, Iowa 51102-5199
Electrician – Certificate Program
Western Iowa Tech Community College’s Certificate-level Electrician program is taught at their campus in the city of Sioux City, IA. This public college has about 6,152 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Fees for tuition for in-state students are in the order of $4,200 and for students from outside the state likely to be about $4,224 yearly, while books and supplies may cost in the order of $1,224, depending on the program chosen.
3700 S Center St, Marshalltown, Iowa 50158
Electrical Maintenance Mechanic – Certificate Program, Electro-Mechanical Systems Technologist – Associate Program
Marshalltown Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in Marshalltown in Marshall County. The majority of of the school’s 1,923 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. The cost of tuition for in-state students is usually about $4,656 and for students from other states in the order of $4,992 per year, while study materials may cost in the order of $1,337, depending on the program.
Southwestern Community College offers various Certificate program options for future opticians, a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are offered at their campus in the town of Creston, IA. Most of the school’s 1,656 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. The cost of tuition for in-state students is around $5,664 and for out-of-state students in the order of $5,888 per year. Study materials can cost in the order of $1,338, depending on the program chosen.
* 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 Iowa?
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, electricians in the state of Iowa made an average of $56,050 per year in 2019. Entry-level electricians earned around $33,230 and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $79,270.