How to Become a Licensed Electrician in Iowa – Electrician License in Iowa

As of 2008, all electricians in Iowa must be licensed. This means the state offers a licensing category for all levels of electrician expertise, from new apprentices to well-experienced master electricians. Let’s break down each Iowa electrical license type below in terms of its requirements, application procedure, and function. 

Do You Need an Electrical License in Iowa?

On January 1, 2008, a new law was put in place that requires all electricians in Iowa to be licensed. 

Types of Electrical Licenses in Iowa

Since all electricians in Iowa must be licensed, options abound. Whether you are just starting your electrical career or have decades of experience, there is a license for you. 

  • Unclassified Person License
  • Apprentice License
  • Special Electrician License
  • Residential Electrician License
  • Journeyman License (class A and class B)
  • Master License (class A and class B)
    • Residential Master License

Further definitions of each electrical position can be found on the Iowa licensing page. 

The official licensing requirements for each license type are discussed below and are also stated by the state here.

Unclassified and Apprentice Electrical Licenses

For those beginning their electrical journeys, you’d likely apply for an unclassified or apprentice electrical license. 

Both of these licenses require direct supervision by a licensed electrician, and the supervisor’s license requirements depend on the type of electrical work being performed (e.g., residential, general, etc.). Supervisors are limited to having a maximum of 3 unclassified persons/apprentices under their supervision at one time.

Requirements

Apprentices must be participating in a registered apprenticeship program when they apply. An apprentice can hold the Apprentice Electrical License for no more than 6 years. 

An unclassified electrician can apply for the license if employed by a licensed electrical contractor at the time they apply.

Special Electrician Licenses in Iowa

Special electrician licenses are restricted for specific types of electrical work. These licenses can be for irrigation system wiring, disconnecting and reconnecting existing air conditioning and refrigeration systems, or sign installation. 

Requirements

Special electricians working with irrigation system wiring need to:

  • Pass a supervised Board exam OR
  • Complete 2 years or 4,000 hours of documented experience wiring irrigation systems

Special electricians working with air conditioning and refrigeration systems need to:

  • Pass a supervised Board exam OR
  • Complete 2 years of experience disconnecting and reconnecting air conditioning and refrigeration systems

Special electricians working with sign installation do not have special requirements apart from the basic application; however, they are limited to electrical work that is less than 220V and a rating of 20 amps or less.

IA Journeyman Electrical Licenses 

Iowa issues two types of journeyman electrical licenses: class A and class B. Class B licenses have slightly lower requirements and can be applied for before a class A license. 

Class A Journeyman Electrical License

Class A journeyman electrician requirements are ONE of the following:

  • Complete an apprenticeship program, pass a Board exam, and complete 4 years of electrical apprentice experience
  • Holds a class B license and has passed a Board exam within the 2 years before applying
  • Holds an electrical license in another state, has passed a journeyman electrical exam within the past two years, and has provided evidence of:
    • Current license in another state which required passing an exam in said state
    • Completion of 18 hours of Continuing Education (CE) credits
    • Completion of 1,000 hours of work as an unclassified person in Iowa
  • Holds a current license (cannot be a special electrician license) in Iowa, has passed the journeyman exam within 2 years, and has completed 16,000 hours of electrical work while licensed. For details on what the 16,000 hours should include, see 502.2(6)-e.
  • Holds a residential electrician or residential master electrical license, has passed the Board exam, and has completed 4,000 hours of commercial or industrial electrical work.
  • Holds a license in Iowa, has passed a post-secondary electrical program, has passed a Board exam, and has completed 6,000+ hours of electrical work supervised by a master electrician after post-secondary education

Class B Journeyman Electrical License

Class B journeyman electricians must prove 16,000 hours of experience as a journeyman or master electrician.

Iowa Residential Electrician Licenses

To apply for your Residential Electrician License in IA, you’ll need to:

  • Hold a current residential special electrician license for at least one year and pass a Board exam OR
  • Have completed 6,000 hours of apprentice experience and passed a Board exam OR
  • Have completed 4,000 hours of experience under a master, residential, residential master, or journeyman electrician, completed 1 year of electrical trade school, and passed a Board exam OR
  • Have completed 8,000 of documented experience as a licensed unclassified person (of which 2,000 hours must be in residential wiring) and pass a Board exam OR 
  • Have completed a residential electrician apprenticeship program and passed a written Board exam with a 70 or higher in the last 2 years.

Master Electrical Licenses in IA

Iowa offers both class A and class B master electrical licenses, as well as a residential master electrical license. Conversely to journeyman licenses, most individuals will receive a class A master license before class B. 

Class A Master Electrical License

Requirements for class A are:

  • 1 year of experience as a licensed journeyman electrician and passing a Board exam for master electricians with 70 or higher within the last 2 years OR
  • Holding a master electrical license from another subdivision of Iowa for which you passed a Board exam and had 1 year of journeyman experience OR
  • Holding a current class B master electrician license and passing a Board exam for master electricians with 70 or higher within the last 2 years

Class B Master Electrical License

Requirements for class B are:

  • Evidence of 16,000 hours of experience as a master electrician, of which 8,000 hours occurred after January 1, 1998, but whose experience began before January 1, 1998.

Residential Master Electrical License

Requirements for the residential master electrical license are:

  • Holding a current residential electrician or journeyman electrician license, having 2,000+ hours of experience as a residential or journeyman electrician, and passing a Board exam during the 2 years before applying

How to Obtain Your Electrical License in Iowa

After meeting the requirements for your license, you’ll need to apply and pay the appropriate fee. All electrical licenses share the same application. The fees can be found on page 12 of the application packet. You can submit a paper copy of your application or complete your application online.

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