How to Become an Electrician in Idaho
The number of job opportunities available for qualified electricians is growing fast in Idaho. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), growth between 2018 and 2028 will be 17 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 (DBS), 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 Idaho Division of Building Safety is also responsible for Idaho contractor license renewal and a contractor license search service for consumers.
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 in partnership with the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA). There are Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committees (JATC) 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.
- Southwestern Idaho Electrical JATC , Boise
- Eastern Idaho Electrical JATC, Pocatello
- Inland Empire Electrical Training Trust (IEETT JATC), Spokane
Similar non-union programs with the same requirements and outcomes can be found through the Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) of Idaho. IEC Idaho’s apprenticeship training program is recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor and State Apprenticeship Councils. It is a nationally standardized program that ensures quality training, and has been evaluated by the American Council on Education and granted college credit equivalency. In four-years, the apprentice electrician receives at least 8,000 hours of one-the-job training and a minimum of 576 hours of related technical instruction. Both online and classroom instruction is available.
Associated Builders and Contractors chapter in Spokane, WA, also offers a non-union apprenticeship. ABC Inland Pacific also caters to electricians in Idaho through the Inland Pacific ABC Apprenticeship & Training Trust.
North Idaho College operates the NIC Workforce Training Center offering an electrical apprenticeship in Couer d’Alene. NIC apprentice electrician students who pass all four years of related instruction may be awarded 56 credits towards an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) Degree. Degree-seeking students must complete a minimum of 15 additional credits in required subjects.
Electrician Trade Schools in Idaho
As an alternative to completing an apprenticeship program, you may want to earn a certificate or degree in electrical technology or electrical engineering from a trade school or community college. 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 750 new positions expected to become available between 2018 and 2028. According to the BLS there were 4,390 electricians employed in Idaho in 2014, and there are expected to be 5,140 by 2028.
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 $51,260 in 2019, while the top earners in the field that year earned $74,950 and higher. These numbers compare well against the average annual salary in Idaho for all occupations of $44,890.
Salaries in Idaho 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 Repairers, Commercial and Industrial Equipment||450||$31.30||$65,110||$49,000||$56,360||$73,110||$79,620|
|Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers||810||$37.47||$77,930||$41,670||$53,700||$97,350||$105,960|
Electrician Salaries in Idaho 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|
|Boise City, ID||2,420||$24.18||$50,290||$15.34||$17.75||$30.00||$35.10|
|Coeur d'Alene, ID||320||$31.70||$65,940||$14.52||$17.87||$52.01||$60.05|
|Idaho Falls, ID||530||$22.46||$46,720||$13.50||$15.68||$29.50||$34.93|
|Twin Falls, ID||200||$22.05||$45,860||$12.36||$15.15||$27.98||$31.81|
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.
Organizations You Should Know
- IBEW Local 291, Boise
- IBEW Local 73, Spokane, WA (covers northern Idaho)
- IBEW Local 449, Pocatello and Twin Falls
- IEC Idaho
- Idaho Building Contractors Association, Boise
1000 West Garden Avenue, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho 83814-2199
Electrician Continuing Education – Associate Program
North Idaho College’s Associate program is taught at their campus in the city of Coeur d’Alene, ID. Most of the school’s 5,543 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Tuition fees for in-district students are likely to be around $3,494 and are $4,728 and $8,426 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively, while books and supplies may cost about $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 based at their campus in the city of Lewiston. The college has roughly 3,633 students in total, with most students on 4-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The cost of tuition for in-state students is usually around $6,334 and for out-of-state students in the order of $18,410 per year. Books and supplies can cost in the order of $1,650, although this will depend on the program.
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. All programs are imparted at their campus in the city of Pocatello, ID. Of the 13,078 students, about 14% are postgraduates. The university is 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 out-of-state students around $21,942 for each academic year. Study materials can cost roughly $1,000, 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 Idaho?
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, electricians in the state of Idaho made an average of $51,380 per year in 2019. Entry-level electricians earned around $29,840 and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $74,950.