To be an electrician in Illinois you’ll need to seek out info from your local government on how to legally perform electrical services within the state.
These are usually granted by townships or municipalities because unlike most other states, Illinois doesn’t have a statewide licensing requirement for becoming an electrician.
Keep in mind you are still likely to need to comply on a local level in Illinois, and if so, the requirement is usually mandatory.
Chicago License Requirements
Since Chicago is the most populated city in the state of Illinois we are going to cover the relevant information. Obtaining a license to be an electrician will likely pay off big time in the Windy City.
You must obtain a Supervising Electrician License from Chicago’s Department of Buildings to be a legitimate electrician within city limits. This license must be renewed every year.
If you are just starting out you can work for an existing licensed electrician, without the need for this requirement, if the work is done in Chicago.
Actually, this is the requirement for eventually getting your supervisor license. You’ll need to work for at least 2 years under an already licensed electrician in Chicago and have them document your work.
Classifications & Details
Licenses in Chicago are categorized into 5 different levels being A, B, C, D, and E. These classifications are based on the value of work you do for your customers.
Class A will run you $2,000 per year while a Class E only costs $300 annually. The good news is that most electricians only need a Class E since they don’t work on projects exceeding half a million dollars.
You should know that your insurance requirement also varies based on the license class you obtain from the city. In most cases you are going to need a 1 million dollar policy.
View, download or print Chicago’s application for a supervisor license here
Also view the study guide for the exam here
You can call 800-359-1313 for more details or to ask any questions.
State Reciprocity in Illinois
Since the state doesn’t maintain a requirement for electricians to practice their trade, there is no reciprocity agreement. You will have to check with your local government on the acceptability of any experience you may bring with you from another US state.
Taking the Chicago Electrician Exam
The city administers their own exam under strict guidelines. There are no refunds and the fee is $70. The exam is 4 hours long and consists of 150 multiple choice questions. You will need to score at least 70% correct in order to pass.
They recommend you bring 2 pencils and a basic calculator with you. The only other item you can bring is the Chicago Electrical Code.
In taking the test, the city wants you to demonstrate that you are familiar with safe electrical practices and professional procedures. If you study and have a genuine interested in this field of work then you should do fine on the test.
You should definitely study areas relating to principles and practices of electricity such as:A. Fundamental concepts B. Electrical blueprint reading C. Conductors, conduit & grounding D. Transformers E. Power factor & volt amps F. Service and voltage drops G. OSHA regulations & workplace safety
It is recommended that you closely review Chicago’s documentation, see above, regarding the rules and regulations for becoming an licensed electrician in the city. More information is available on the city’s website.
Best Cities for Electrical Work in Illinois
If you are planning an electrician career in the state of Illinois you should know which areas will offer you the most work. The population centers with the highest overall electricity consumption. Obviously Chicago tops the list. Several other cities offer good employment opportunities as well.
Places within Illinois low population density are likely places you will find less work. The resident population in the rural parts of the state is minimal and the people also tend to have less disposable income for electrical projects.
If you have lived in Illinois for awhile you are likely to know which cities are best for electrical work. Best of luck in your new career as an electrician in the state of Illinois!