As recent findings indicate, there are about 21,890 electricians in Illinois, and the trade is expected to surge by 15% from 2020 to 2030, as this is more than double the growth rate of the national average.

This is because installation, maintenance, and repair in electrical works never lose demand; it could be anything from bringing power to people’s houses to highly delicate, fully installed work in industrial settings.

However, not only does one find out the level of demand for the job, but studies show that generally, wages are increased by licensing through limited access to the professions.

Limited access means that there are gains in limiting competitors, which restricts the labor market. It is this limitation that might eventually result in higher income for people who are licensed. For example, a national survey discovered that licensing increased the wage rate by around 24%, about equal to the increment of wages associated with unionization.

The effects of occupational licensing have been extensively studied by researchers, you can find their findings clearly encapsulated in a 2015 report released by the Obama administration. A salient conclusion from this report indicates that licensed workers tend to command higher wages relative to their non-licensed counterparts, benefiting from a wage premium attributable to the licensing requirements.

Find it here:
occupational licensing: a framework for policymakers

Well, this blog could help one get an insight into becoming an electrician with a license from Illinois by summarizing the steps, requirements, and expectations.

Licensed professionals enjoy better job security!

Across occupations, licensed professionals often enjoy better job security due to the specialized skills and qualifications they possess. Licensing acts as a credential that can increase trust and credibility with employers and clients, making it less likely for licensed professionals to face unemployment compared to their non-licensed counterparts.

Moreover, the requirement for ongoing education and adherence to industry standards keeps licensed professionals up-to-date with best practices, further enhancing their job stability and career longevity.

Overview of the Illinois electrician license requirements

Before we get into the specifics of the steps, let’s first see, generally, what it takes to become a licensed electrician in Illinois. According to the US Licenses website, they are as follows:

  1. 18 years minimum.
  2. Educational Certification, which includes a high school diploma or GED.
  3. An apprenticeship or technical training program.
  4. Applicants must have acquired specific hours of on-the-job training and classroom instruction. At least four years.
  5. Applicants must have taken and passed the state licensing test or have received a score of 75 percent. The test may provisionally be taken for $100, available in 2024.

Installing Electric Cables In Apartment

Steps to become an electrician in Illinois

If the above numbers, 2 through 6 have seemed slightly daunting, here’s how you make sure you get to have a license in the state of Illinois.

1. Obtain your educational certificate

If you haven’t already, you need to get a high school education as it is paramount to getting licensed. However, you don’t technically need to resume with the high school kids all over again. There are ways to take your diploma or GED courses without needing to forsake your other responsibilities. Some of your options include:

Online high school programs
With these programs, you can take the courses from home, avoid sitting with the highschoolers in class, and most of all, you can take the class at your own pace. Lucky for you, there are tons of these programs in Illinois for you to get started.

Adult education centers
Many communities in Illinois have centers that offer preparation courses and high school diploma programs. On top of these, there are even more that have courses designed for adults. One popular one is the City Colleges of Chicago Adult Education Program. Plus, the Illinois Community College Board states that over 40% of students that enrolled in adult education programs successfully completed their GED or high school diploma within two years. 45% did so within 3 years and 35%, within a year.

Community colleges
Another option is community colleges, which provide tailored programs for obtaining a high school certification alongside other adult education courses.

That said, when filling out courses, pick mathematics, physics, and shop classes because they are particularly beneficial.

2. Enroll in a technical school or apprenticeship program & complete classroom instruction

After receiving your diploma or GED, you must enroll in a training program or apprenticeship if you have not done so.

This is primarily because you should also have at least 500-800 hours of classroom instruction in electrical theory, safety practices, and code requirements before being certified.

While this is not a fix, some sources claim that technical programs cost between $10,000 and $20,000. But this varies according to the program and school.

While technical programs last between 6 months to 2 years, apprenticeship takes about 4-5 years to completion.

3. Gain required work experience

If you took the technical school, instead of the apprenticeship program (which automatically gives you 4 years work history), then you need to go out to look for work and accumulate the necessary hours of on-the-job training.

NB: Illinois typically requires 8,000 hours (approximately four years) of supervised work experience.

4. Register for the electrician test and pass

Below is a step-by-step guide of how to apply for your IDFPR electrician’s licensing examination:

  1. Visit the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation’s licensed electricians’ examination official webpage.
  2. Make sure to meet the pre-education and experience exercises prior to application.
  3. Apply online using the online application form to provide appropriate personal information, information regarding education, and information regarding work experience.
  4. Attach the necessary documents for the application, such as educational and work experience documents, and identification, as required.
  5. After insertion of all the documents, pay the application fee through a credit card or an electronic check.
  6. Send an application for the examination, ensuring to send your documents as needed.

5. Obtain your license

After you have passed, apply for the license and you should get it almost immediately through mail.

How long does it take to become an electrician in Illinois?

The time to become a licensed electrician varies but generally includes:

  • High school diploma: 4 years
  • Apprenticeship/Technical training: 4-5 years
  • Licensing exam preparation and testing: Several months

In total, it takes about 8-9 years to become a fully licensed electrician in Illinois

Electrician Training

Illinois journeyman electrician license: requirements and process

This is the start of your career; where you’ll earn approx $71,200 as the annual mean wage (which is nearly $62,500, and over $80,300 per year for most workers in this level of employment). So, it is relatively a great start!

Therefore, to become a journeyman electrician, you need to have some criteria in check.


  • 18+
  • High school or high-school equivalency certification
  • 8,000 hours or more of work experience.
  • 500-800 classroom hours.
  • A pass on the journeyman electrician exam.

Journeyman electrician certification process

  • Have all that is mentioned under the criteria above.
  • Apply for the licensing examination by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR).
  • After you complete the exam, submit your application for the certificate.

Illinois master electrician license: eligibility and application process

Now, you should know that a master needs to clock in another 4,000 hours of experience over 2 years and pass a licensing exam (which is more than a journeyman needs). On top of this, a master does more than installing, maintaining, and following electrical codes. But the best part about upgrading to a master is that they typically command a higher annual salary of $74,408 compared to journeyman electricians.

To become a master, the applicant must:

  • Hold a valid journeyman electrician license.
  • Have work experience as a journeyman (usually 2-4 years).
  • Have advanced understanding of electrical systems and codes.

Application process

The following are the steps to follow to acquire a master certificate.

  • Have all the things listed above.
  • Apply for the master electrician examination and pass. Note that this exam is more comprehensive and advanced than the journeyman electrician examination. Therefore, adequate preparation is paramount.
  • After the exam, you may apply for your license through the IDFPR.

How to apply for an electrician license in Illinois

  1. Complete your education and experience requirements, which means you need to have a high-school diploma/GED and at least 2-4 years working experience.
  2. Collect your proof of education certification, completed supervised work history, and of course, your completed training program. These documents would be needed when you’re applying for the licensing examination, which is the next step.
  3. Go to the IDFPR’s official website, and apply for the electrician license you certify for. You can also apply by mail.
  4. Pay the licensing fees as requested (which is around $100, but can vary).
  5. Prepare for the exam and ensure not to miss your examination date and time. A great tip is to study the NEC, state, and local codes, because they would be asked during the exam.
  6. Take the exam and do your best to score above 75%. After passing, you will be issued your certificate.

Hand Collage

Illinois electrician license test: what to expect

The following are the things to expect from the license test (but remember that some tests are more advanced than others, so it is best to research properly and prepare accordingly).

  1. The format is Multiple-choice questions.
  2. Exam questions typically contain topics on the National Electrical Code (NEC), Illinois state codes, electrical theory, and safety practices.
  3. The exam lasts about 4 hours.
  4. The passing score is 75% and above.

How to prepare

Review the NEC
The NEC changes fairly often, and so before your exam, you must familiarize yourself with the most current version.

Review state and local codes
You will need to learn the variances within the state of Illinois as state and local codes vary from state-to-state.

Practice exams
Complete practice exams in order to gauge not only your strengths and weaknesses but also to really shore up those weaknesses.

Attend review courses
Basically, take a preparatory course as preparation courses delve more on what to possibly cover in the examination rather than general topics.

How many times can you take the electrician journeyman test in Illinois?

The test for a Journeyman electrician can be taken more than once until a passing score is obtained in Illinois. If failed again, another specified period has to elapse before a retake of the exam. Although no limit is set on trying again, each might invite some extra fee with another application.


What is needed to get an electrician’s license in Illinois?

Applicants should be more than eighteen years old, finish high school or hold GED, enroll for an apprenticeship or a vocational programme; has worked for 8,000 hours specific in that trade; a class work experience-totaling to 500-800 hours-and the exam set by the State of Illinois as eligibility test.

What is the time frame required for an individual to become a licensed electrician in Illinois?

The duration is contingent on how long it takes establishing all of the needs that go into getting licensed. However, holding everything else constant, it should take about 8 to 10 years. This includes 4 years in school, about 5 years in technical training or apprenticeship (which includes the 4 years of work history and 800 hours of classroom instruction). This will also entail additional time to prepare and take the tests, which can amount to several months.

Can I retake the journeyman electrician test in Illinois if I fail?

Yes, you can retake the journey electrician test as many times as you’d like. However, you cannot do so immediately and you would need to pay additional fees for each retake.

How can someone confirm if an electrical license exists in Illinois?

To confirm, visit the IDFPR’s website, then navigate to the search or ‘check’ tab. Type in your credentials and then click search.

What do I need to do to get a master electrician license in Illinois?

First, you need to have a journeyman electrician license. In addition to that, having 2-3 more extra experience of work is required as well as passing the exam. Later, one can apply for a license on the official website.

How do I verify an electrician license in Illinois?

An electrician license in Illinois can be verified by using IDFPR’s online license look-up tool which shall be accessible on its webpage.

What is the exam like to get an electrician license in Illinois?

The Illinois tests for the electrician licenses are multiple-choice type and include questions in National Electric Code, Illinois state codes, electrical theory, and safety practices. It is also an exam for four hours long and has a passing mark of about 75%.