How to Become an Electrician in Idaho
The number of job opportunities available for qualified electricians is growing fast in Idaho. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), growth between 2014 and 2024 will be 24 percent, which is much faster than average job growth. The demand for electricians in the state is high, so if you are interested in job stability, a good income and work that is hands-on and different every year, consider training to become an electrician.[En Español]
Requirements for Becoming an Electrician in Idaho
Electricians are licensed in the state by the Idaho Division of Building Safety, which offers licensing for journeymen electricians, master electricians and independent contractors. The requirements for journeyman licensing include 6,000 hours of work experience as an apprentice. This can be met by completing an apprenticeship program or by earning a certificate or degree from a technical college and then working for a few years with a licensed electrician to get the on-the-job experience.
The state also offers journeyman specialty licensing in sign, manufacturing, elevator, well driller and pump installer, outside lineman, solar installer, HVAC and refrigeration, and limited energy. To qualify for a specialty you must have 4,000 hours of work experience in the appropriate area. Journeyman licensing also requires passing a test with a score of 70 percent or higher.
With four years of experience as a licensed journeyman you can apply to become licensed as a master electrician. This requires passing an exam with a score of at least 75 percent. To become a licensed independent electrical contractor you must be a master electrician or have an employee who is, pass an exam with a score of 70 percent, and show proof of liability and worker’s compensation insurance.
Electrician Apprenticeship Programs in Idaho
A popular way to begin a career as an electrician is to complete an approved apprenticeship program that provides both classroom learning and work experience. By successfully completing one of these programs, you will have met all the requirements to take the journeyman exam. You will also begin earning an income right away while working as an apprentice.
Idaho’s union apprenticeship programs are offered through local chapters of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union. There are Joint Apprenticeship and Training Centers in Boise and Pocatello, and also in Spokane, which covers much of northern Idaho. Requirements for enrolling in an IBEW program include being 18 or older, being physically able to do the work, having reliable transportation, having a high school diploma or GED and passing an aptitude test. Similar programs with the same requirements and outcomes can be found through the Independent Electrical Contractors of Idaho.
Idaho Schools with Electrical Programs
As an alternative to completing an apprenticeship program, you may want to earn a certificate or degree in electrical technology or electrical engineering. This will provide the knowledge you need to be an electrician, but not all schools provide an apprenticeship. You will need to find a contractor or master electrician willing to take you on as an apprentice, so you can train and get the work experience hours needed to become a journeyman.
- College of Western Idaho, Boise. Here students can complete a four-year program very similar to the apprenticeships offered through the IBEW. Students take classes, either on campus, online or both, and participate in an apprenticeship to get all the required work experience hours. The apprenticeships include work in residential, commercial and industrial settings.
- Idaho State University, Pocatello. Idaho State offers an associate degree program in energy systems electrical engineering technology, which can be used to pursue any number of entry-level careers working with electrical systems or to secure an apprenticeship with an electrician.
- Lewis-Clark State College, Lewiston. Students at Lewis-Clark can choose to complete an associate degree program in industrial electronics technology. It prepares graduates to work in entry-level positions and to begin an apprenticeship with an electrician to work toward becoming a journeyman.
Outlook and Salary Expectations
There is currently a very positive outlook in Idaho for future electricians. Students who are training right now could be the qualified electricians who fill the nearly 1,000 new positions expected to become available between now and 2024. According to the BLS there were 3,440 electricians employed in Idaho in 2014, and there are expected to be 4,280 by 2024.
Salaries are also great for electricians in the state because of the skills and training required to be licensed. The average annual income for electricians employed in Idaho was $49,520 in 2017, while the top earners in the field that year earned $69,810 and higher.
Salaries in Idaho by Occupation
|Occupation||Total Employment||Mean Hourly Wage||Hourly Wage 10th Percentile||Hourly Wage 25th Percentile||Hourly Wage 75th Percentile||Hourly Wage 90th Percentile||Mean Annual Salary||Annual Salary 10th Percentile||Annual Salary 25th Percentile||Annual Salary 75th Percentile||Annual Salary 90th Percentile|
|Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Commercial and Industrial Equipment||560||$28.72||$20.83||$25.33||$31.51||$37.09||$59,740||$43,320||$52,680||$65,530||$77,140|
|Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Powerhouse, Substation, and Relay||80||$37.95||$23.84||$30.19||$45.89||$48.96||$78,930||$49,580||$62,790||$95,450||$101,840|
|Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers||650||$40.17||$24.29||$36.02||$47.02||$49.88||$83,560||$50,520||$74,930||$97,810||$103,760|
Electrician Salaries in Idaho by Region
|Area||Total Employment||Mean Hourly Wage||Hourly Wage 10th Percentile||Hourly Wage 25th Percentile||Hourly Wage 75th Percentile||Hourly Wage 90th Percentile||Mean Annual Salary||Annual Salary 10th Percentile||Annual Salary 25th Percentile||Annual Salary 75th Percentile||Annual Salary 90th Percentile|
|Boise City, ID||1,910||$22.63||$13.92||$16.81||$28.13||$31.25||$47,070||$28,960||$34,960||$58,510||$65,010|
|Coeur d'Alene, ID||250||*||*||*||*||*||*||*||*||*||*|
|Idaho Falls, ID||530||$24.56||$12.81||$17.46||$30.39||$36.33||$51,090||$26,640||$36,330||$63,220||$75,570|
Working as an Electrician in Idaho
There are expected to be a lot of job opportunities in the coming years for licensed electricians in Idaho. This means that the outlook is positive and that you can expect good job security along with a good income. Many electricians in the state either work for an independent contractor or become contractors to start their own electrical services business.
You may also be hired to work for builders and developers, construction companies, and government and public agencies. As long as you are willing to put in about four years of learning and training as an apprentice, you can expect to enjoy a long, stable and lucrative career as an electrician in Idaho.
1000 West Garden Avenue, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho 83814-2199
Electrician Continuing Education – Associate Program
North Idaho College’s Associate program in Electrician Continuing Education is based at their campus in the city of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The majority of of the school’s 5,543 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Fees for tuition for in-district students are roughly about $3,494 and are $4,728 and $8,426 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively, while books and supplies may cost roughly $1,248, although this varies from program to program.
500 8th Ave, Lewiston, Idaho 83501-2698
Industrial Electronics Technology – Associate Program
Lewis-Clark State College’s Associate-level Industrial Electronics Technology program is taught at their campus in the city of Lewiston. Most of the school’s 3,633 students are on 4-year programs. The college is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Fees for tuition for in-state students are likely to be about $6,334 and for students from other states likely to be about $18,410 yearly. Study materials can cost about $1,650, depending on the program chosen.
921 S 8th Ave, Pocatello, Idaho 83209
Energy Systems Electrical Engineering Technology – Associate Program, Energy Systems Technology Intermediate Technical – Bachelor Program
Idaho State University offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Bachelor program. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Pocatello. Of the 13,078 students, about 14% are postgraduates. The university is institutionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is roughly around $7,166 and for students from outside the state approximately $21,942 annually. Learning materials may cost around $1,000, although this will vary with 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.