Alabama has a lot to offer to a budding electrician. The state is constantly expanding, and with every new construction project, there is a need for skilled electricians to perform custom wiring projects.
Alabama currently employs over 8,000 electricians, and that number is projected to continue rising over the next decade. In this guide, we’ll unpack everything you need to know to get your Alabama electrical license.
Alabama has no licensure requirements for apprentices. Both journeyman electricians and electrical contractors are required to be licensed by the Alabama Electrical Contractor Board. Your state-issued license allows you to work anywhere in Alabama.
If you would like a job right away, electrician apprentices and helpers in Alabama do not need a license to start working. However, you may be required to pass an aptitude test to get hired. Alabama electrician apprentices earn an average of $15.06 per hour
Journeyman electricians can work without the supervision of an electrical contractor or another journeyman. They must be licensed by the Alabama Electrical Contractor Board. On average, journeyman electricians in Alabama earn $21.40 per hour.
Electrical contractors are the most skilled and highest paid electricians in Alabama. They can accept any job, employ other electricians, and run their own business. Electrical contractors are also required to be licensed by the state and must complete continuing education requirements every year. They earn an average of $28 per hour .
There are two pathways to a journeyman electrician license in Alabama: you can either gain 8,000 hours (four to five years) of experience at an apprenticeship and 576 hours of technical instruction in a classroom, or you can enroll in a two-year technical school program and work 6,000 hours (three years) at an apprenticeship.
Every year enrolled at a technical school satisfies 1,000 hours of work experience. You can gain up to 2,000 hours of schooling to meet the requirement.
The top five technical colleges for electricians in Alabama are George C. Wallace State Community College at Dothan, Bevill State Community College, John C. Calhoun State Community College, Shelton State Community College, and Gadsden State Community College.
You can take your general education courses online, but nothing compares to the hands-on experience you will gain at a trade school. You can expect to learn about conductors, cables, grounding and bonding, motors, and lighting. If you are worried about paying for school, search for grants and scholarships to fund your schooling. Two years of community college in Alabama costs between $5,000 and $6,000 for in-state tuition.
To begin an apprenticeship, you will need to find an electrical contractor willing to mentor you. Your local Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (JATC) can help connect you with apprenticeships in your area. You will need to pass an aptitude test and complete an interview before being accepted into an apprenticeship.
To apply for a journeyman license, you will need a signed affidavit from your employer stating that you have completed 8,000 hours of work or 6,000 hours of work in combination with two years of schooling. The affidavit must be sent with this application form to the Alabama Electrical Contractors Board.
Upon application approval, you will have 10 days to schedule your licensure exam and pay the $115 fee. This bulletin will help you choose a testing location and schedule your exam.
During your journeyman electrician exam, you are allowed to review certain books. You will be provided with a list of acceptable reference books when you apply for your licensure exam.
To be eligible for an electrical contractor license, you will need to work 8,000 hours as a journeyman electrician. You will need trade experience as well as managerial experience. Unfortunately, any hours spent doing maintenance will not count towards your license.
Next, you will need to fill out this application and pay a $165 fee to schedule your exam. The electrical contractor exam covers everything on the journeyman licensure exam as well as risk management, business practices, safety measures, and tax law. The Board will notify you of your score by mail within 90 days of your exam date.
There are many benefits to joining an electrical union. Unions help novice electricians find entry-level jobs and apprenticeships in their local area. As an apprentice, a union electrician can receive many of the same benefits available to journeyman electricians.
For example, the North Alabama Electrical JATC website states that their apprentices receive paid classroom instruction, employer-paid life insurance, comprehensive medical coverage, and competitive wages. They also have access to a referral hall to help apprentices find jobs.
Journeyman electricians and electrical contractors can join their local chapter of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers for similar benefits and lobbying power.
If your apprenticeship was completed through any of Alabama’s JATCs, you can use their referral hall to connect with potential employers. Most unions keep track of their alumni for new journeyman electricians to network.
Job interviews tend to focus on technical skills, depth of knowledge, and specialties. For example, an interviewer may ask if you have experience working both commercial and residential jobs. They will want to know your work ethic and teamwork skills.
If you are not a member of a union, Alabama still has many options for journeyman electricians and electrical contractors looking for work. North Alabama Electric in Decatur and Alabama Electrical Contractors of Cullman are always looking for long-term employees.
At this time, you do not need insurance to apply for an Alabama electrical license.
General liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance can protect you and your employees in case of an accident. Insurance coverage, unions, and protective equipment are an electrician’s first line of defense against dangerous working conditions.
Accidents are uncommon, but they can happen at any time. It is never a bad idea to protect yourself or your employees.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration , “Alabama is the second-largest hydroelectric power producer east of the Rocky Mountains.” They also produce the sixth-most net electricity throughout the entire country.
Alabama’s use of hydroelectric dams on the state’s rivers has created thousands of jobs for both rural and city electricians. With the nation trending towards alternative sources of energy, electricians can expect more jobs like these to be created over the next decade.
Trade shows are the best way for electricians to familiarize themselves with new tools and trends in the electrical industry. This list of upcoming national trade shows can help you network and connect with industry leaders in your area.
If you are an electrical contractor, your Alabama electrical license has reciprocity in Arkansas, Louisiana, Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
If you lose your license or need to update any of the information on your license, you will need to file for a replacement license with the Alabama Electrical Contractors Board. This list of forms can help you with the process.
Both the journeyman license and the electrical contractor license need to be renewed every year. In addition to licensure renewal, electrical contractors are required to complete continuing education requirements. A journeyman license costs $35 to renew, while an electrical contractor license costs $150 to renew.
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