How to Become a Licensed Electrician in South Dakota

A national study in 2021 found South Dakota to be the second most popular state for inbound moves. Whether you’re a new South Dakotan or born and raised there, this population boost may have you considering becoming a licensed electrician in the state. 

South Dakota offers straightforward state licensing laws for electricians. This article will discuss the apprentice, class B, journeyman, and maintenance electrician licenses in SD, as well as electrical contractor requirements.

Do You Need an Electrician’s License in South Dakota?

South Dakota’s Electrical Commission clearly states that anyone completing electrical work in SD must have the appropriate license. The exception is if you are installing wiring or fixtures in your primary residence, in which case you would fill out a Homeowner’s Wiring Permit Application instead.

For electricians working in SD, you must be registered or licensed if you want your working time to count towards any electrical trade exam requirements. 

Types of Licenses for Electricians in South Dakota

Below are the legal definitions of all electrician’s licenses offered in South Dakota. 

  • Apprentice Electrician License: Apprentice electricians are learning the trade by working under a licensed electrician (journeyman, class B, or electrical contractor). 
  • Class B Electrician License: These electricians wire, install, and repair electrical equipment and apparatus.
  • Journeyman Electrician License: Journeyman electricians have more extensive training, also allowing them to install, wire, and repair electrical equipment and apparatus.
  • Maintenance Electrician License: Maintenance electricians work under a company or entity’s maintenance electrician’s license. They are limited to working only on their employer’s grounds.
  • Electrical Contractor License: Electrical contractors make bids to plan, lay out, and supervise the installation and repair of wiring, apparatus, and equipment for large projects. They can employ and supervise all other licensed electricians.

How to Get Your SD Electrician’s License

All licenses except Apprentice Licenses have a similar application format. They first require applicants to pass an electrical trade exam. To apply for this exam, you must meet the requirements discussed under your specific license below. 

If you meet the requirements, you will complete the application (note: the maintenance electrician’s application is distinct). Be sure to attach the application fee of $60, the appropriate license fee, and a Verification Request Form for all current and past employers that supervised your work experience hours. 

Payments must be made with check or money orders, and completed applications should be mailed to:

South Dakota Electrical Commission

217 W. Missouri Ave.

Pierre SD 57501

The Electrical Commission will review your application in 30 days and notify you whether or not you’ve been approved to take the exam. If approved, you’ll receive information on how to schedule your exam, what to bring, and what to study. The current exam is based on the 2020 National Electrical Code (NEC). Once you pass this exam, you may receive your license.

SD Apprentice Electrician Licenses 

Becoming an apprentice is usually the first step in an electrician’s career. In South Dakota, it’s the recommended way to gain the hours of experience necessary to become a licensed journeyman electrician. 

Apprenticeships usually last 4 years, or 8,000 hours, and are completed through an approved apprenticeship program. Once enrolled in the program, apply for your state Apprenticeship License. You will need your employer’s license number to complete the application. 

There is no fee or exam required for apprentice licensing. 

SD Class B Electrician Licenses

Class B electricians have technical knowledge, training, and at least 3 years of experience in wiring, installing, and repairing electrical apparatus. 

Class B Licenses cost $100. 

SD Journeyman Electrician Licenses

To take the journeyman electrician exam, you’ll need at least 4 years’ experience in the field to apply. The Journeyman Electrician License fee is $80. 

South Dakota offers reciprocity for journeyman electricians coming from these states:

  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Wyoming

You must have your license from out-of-state for at least one year and it should be in good standing when you apply for reciprocity. If accepted, you will not need to retake the exam in SD. You will still pay the same licensing fee and complete the same application. 

SD Maintenance Electrician Licenses

Maintenance electricians can only work on the premises of their employing company. This license has a special application form and has no posted fees.  

Electrical Contractor Licensing in South Dakota

To apply for your Electrical Contractor License in SD, you will need to work as a licensed journeyman electrician for at least two years, or 4,000 hours. Two-thousand of those hours must be in commercial work. 

If you meet these requirements, you may complete the application and pay the $200 licensing fee. You will also need to complete an Electrical Contractor’s Bond Application.


SD has reciprocal agreements for electrical contractors coming from:

  • Iowa
  • Minnesota
  • Nebraska
  • North Dakota
  • Wyoming

You must have your license from out-of-state for at least one year and it should be in good standing at the time you apply for reciprocity. If accepted, you will not need to retake the exam in SD. You will pay the same licensing fee and complete the same application. 

Renewing Your South Dakota Electrician License

Class B, Journeyman Electrician, and Electrical Contractor licenses expire on June 30th of every even-numbered year. Maintenance Electrician Licenses are good for two years. 

All licensees except apprentices are required to complete 16 hours of Continuing Education before renewal, of which 8 hours must be on the National Electrical Code. 

Renewal forms for July 2022 to June 2024 renewals will be available on this page by May 1, 2022. 

Maintenance electrician renewal forms are readily available. You must also pay an $80 fee to renew your Maintenance Electrician License.

Electrician Salaries in South Dakota

An electrician’s salary in South Dakota depends on their license, work experience, and where they are working. The average apprentice electrician starts out making $20.63 per hour. 

Licensed electricians make an average of $25.53, with this wage increasing to over $29 per hour after a decade of experience. All electricians have the possibility of working overtime.

Rapid City, Sioux Falls, and Ellsworth Air Force Base in SD offer some of the highest-paid electrician positions in the state.

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