In Illinois, each municipality determines its requirements for electrician certification and licensure. Most municipalities offer an Electrical Contractor License, Journeyman License, or alternative licensure.
Electricians must have completed at least four years of supervised work, passed an exam, and submitted an application to their municipality for approval. This article will review the electrical licensing requirements of the three largest cities in IL – Chicago, Aurora, and Joliet – in greater detail.
Do You Need an Electrical License in Illinois?
There is no state-wide licensing procedure for electricians in Illinois; however, each city will have requirements for certification or licensure to work as an electrician.
Types of IL Electrical Licenses
Many municipalities offer two license types. The Journeyman License is given for those who have completed four years of training or apprenticeship, passed an exam, and successfully submitted their application. A journeyman usually works under a contractor and can supervise apprentices, but not other journeymen.
A standard electrical contractor can supervise other electricians and request city permits for larger projects. In Illinois, this licensure is offered more often than Journeyman Licenses.
Electrical License Requirements in Illinois
Most electrical licenses in IL are given to those who:
- Are 18+ with a government-issued ID
- Have a high school diploma or GED with 4+ years of experience and training
- Pass a trade exam
- Pay the application and/or licensure fee
- Submit a complete application
The required years of experience for licensure are often done through an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are usually paid, but apprentices must also complete classroom education through a technical or trade school. The prices of these programs vary greatly. A list of apprenticeships in Illinois can be found here.
Below are the specific requirements for working as an electrician in Chicago, Aurora, or Joliet – the three most populated areas in Illinois.
Becoming a Supervising Electrician in Chicago
Chicago offers the Supervising Electrician’s License to those who are 21 years or older.
This application must provide documentation to verify that the applicant has had:
- 2 or more years of experience under a Supervising Electrician with an active city license number OR
- 2 or more years of experience under an Electrical Contractor from another state, county, or local jurisdiction.
For more information on the aforementioned documentation, see the above application or read more here.
Finally, you must pay the $70 exam fee. If you pass the exam, you will then pay a $70 license fee.
Renewals are done online and more information can be found by creating an account.
Electrical supervisors in Chicago make an average of $100,161 per year, plus $12,500 in overtime annually.
Becoming an Electrical Contractor in Aurora
Aurora offers an Electrical Contractor License to those who have completed their electrician apprenticeship. First, you must pass a municipal or reciprocated electrical contractor exam. Aurora accepts certifications from:
- Aurora itself and certain neighboring municipalities OR
- The International Code Council for the categories of Standard Master Electrician (commercial); Standard Residential Electrician (residential); and Standard Journeyman Sign Electrician OR Standard Master Electrician Certification (Signage Electrical Contractor)/
- Complete the application found on the Aurora Contractor Licensing Page. Send the application to DevServicesAdmin@aurora-il.org.
- You must include proof of insurance that meets the requirements listed on the application, including naming Aurora as insured.
- This entity will then let you know how to create your online account and password for eTRAKit. This is Aurora’s portal for contractors that lets you see your licenses, apply for permits, renew your license, and more.
- You may pay the $200 application fee for your Electrical Contractor License on this portal once it’s set up or via mail.
Renewals in Aurora must also pay a $200 fee and submit a renewal application on the eTRAKit portal.
Electrical contractors in Aurora make an average of $26.81 per hour, or $55,764 per year, plus $7,875 annually in overtime.
Becoming an Electrician in Joliet
Electrical contractors in Joliet must receive their Electrical License from an adjoining municipality. This can be transferred over to Joliet, which has no fees for contractor registration.
To become an Electrical Contractor in Joliet after receiving your license elsewhere, you’ll need to hold a Certificate of Insurance naming the City of Joliet as a certificate holder. This insurance must include:
- $250,000.00, bodily injury, one person
- $500,000.00, bodily injury, per occurrence
- $250,000.00, property damage, per occurrence
Send these Certificates to PermitApplication@joliet.gov or fax them to (815) 724-4080.
Joliet provides limited information on their website around their Electrical Contractor standards. For more information, call the city at (815) 724-4070 or visit the Building; Inspectional Services Division building at 150 W. Jefferson Street.
Electrical contractors in Joliet make an average of $26.79 per hour, or $55,723 per year, with an additional $10,687 in annual overtime.