Becoming an Electrician in Montana
Someone looking to work as an electrician in Montana will find many opportunities available and an increasing number of jobs over the next few years. Whether you are starting out as an apprentice or well into your career as a master electrician, there are plenty of jobs that will suit your needs. [En Español]
Montana Electrical License Requirements
The Montana State Electrical Board (MSEB) oversees electrical licensing, license renewal and regulations. Starting a career as an electrician begins with an apprenticeship registered with the MSEB, then obtaining a license to become a journeyman electrician or residential electrician, and finally a master electrician license. Although experience is the only requirement to advance as an electrician, education, such as taking an electrical technology program at a community college, or trade school, allows a potentially speedier process and the advantage of having classroom experience when it’s time to take an exam with the MSEB.
Electrician Apprenticeships in Montana
The are broadly two types of apprenticship program available in Montana: union or non-union.
Union apprenticeships are offered by the local chapters of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the National Electrical Constructors Association (NECA), via there Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committees (JATC). There is just one JATC in the state of Montana.
Montana Electrical JATC
2616 Bozeman Avenue
Helena, MT 59601
This apprenticeship program is offered in conjunction IBEW Local 233 in Helena, IBEW Local 532 in Billings and IBEW Local 768 in Kalispell.
Non-union apprenticeships are offered by the Montana chapter of Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC), with options in Missoula, Great Falls, Bozeman and Billings, as well as an online training program.
Job Outlook in Montana
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) May 2014 report, there were 1,880 working electricians in Montana. With a projected 23.4-percent employment rise by 2024, another 440 jobs are expected to be created for electricians. The average annual salary for an electrician in the state was around $60,400, and opportunities to advance your career come with the possibilities of higher pay. Those in the top 10th percentile earned up to $83,280 a year in 2017.
Salaries in Montana 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 Installers and Repairers, Transportation Equipment||**||$40.82||$84,900||$54,750||$71,490||$99,880||$105,520|
|Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Commercial and Industrial Equipment||140||$34.80||$72,380||$39,850||$57,660||$90,870||$105,820|
|Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Powerhouse, Substation, and Relay||80||$39.15||$81,430||$65,350||$73,080||$93,840||$99,540|
|Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers||720||$42.40||$88,200||$68,250||$81,210||$98,620||$103,650|
Electrician Salaries in Montana 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|
|Great Falls, MT||220||$22.43||$46,660||$9.94||$16.52||$29.11||$35.14|
Electrician Training in Montana
Apprenticeships can be registered with a union or non-union employer through the MSEB. It’s easier to apply with a union apprenticeship, because there is only one non-union option in the state. However, an individual has to apply for union membership and pass an aptitude test to work under a union-affiliated program. For a non-union program, the Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) trade association is based in Helena and offers apprenticeships.
To become eligible for a journeyman or residential electrician license, an apprentice must complete 4,000 to 8,000 hours of work experience plus at least 500 hours of educational training, an associate’s degree with 4,000 to 8,000 hours on the job, or 20,000 hours of combined educational and work experience. Examinations in Montana are open-book, and the MSEB will send the electrician a letter to register for an exam once they have completed the requirements.
- Montana State University-Northern (MSU-Northern). Located in Havre, MSU-Northern offers an associate degree in electrical technology in conjunction with the State of Montana Apprenticeship Program. The joint program allows students to complete both the educational and work-related experience through one program.
- Flathead Valley Community College. In Kalispell, Flathead Valley Community College offers a certificate program and associate degree in electrical technology. This program does not offer an apprentice program as MSU-Northern does.
An electrician with a degree in electrical engineering and 2,000 hours of work experience, or 8,000 hours of experience as a journeyman or residential electrician, is eligible to apply to become a master electrician. Applicants who do not have a degree must submit a Master Experience Verification Affidavit before becoming a master electrician, and all applicants must pass an exam administered by the MSEB. Master electricians can apply to be electrical contractors, who employ other electricians to supervise and learn from them.
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Where to Find Work in Montana
Electricians are in high demand nationwide, and Montana residents can find a variety of work with engineering companies, power companies and construction companies. Other available jobs include residential or commercial electricians, independent contractors and job estimators or consultants. The need for electricians is widespread regardless of population and environment, but cities and areas around them will likely have the most work available.
Southwestern Montana Nonmetropolitan Area Area
25 Basin Creek Rd, Butte, Montana 59701
Electrical Engineering – Certificate Program
Highlands College of Montana Tech’s Certificate-level Electrical Engineering program is taught at their campus in the town of Butte. Most of the school’s 850 students are on 2-year programs. Fees for tuition for in-state students are likely to be about $3,351 and for students from other states likely to be about $8,974 yearly. Books and supplies can cost about $1,100, although this will depend on the program.
Western Montana Nonmetropolitan Area Area
777 Grandview Dr, Kalispell, Montana 59901
Electrical Technology – Associate Program
Flathead Valley Community College’s Associate program in Electrical Technology is taught at their campus in Kalispell in Flathead County, Montana. This public college has in the region of 2,169 students in total, with the majority of students 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 $4,638 and are $6,010 and $11,778 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively, while study materials may cost roughly $1,000, depending 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.
Residents of Montana may also wish to review their options in Idaho, Wyoming, North Dakota and South Dakota.
How much do electricians earn in the state of Montana?
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, electricians in the state of Montana made an average of $60,290 per year in 2019. Entry-level electricians earned around $35,310 and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $84,600.