Establishing Eligibility

The first step to becoming a licensed electrician in South Dakota is to establish your eligibility. This involves gaining the necessary experience and education in the electrical field.

Apprentice License

For an apprentice license, no prior experience is required. This is the entry-level license for those starting their journey in the electrical field. As an apprentice, you will work under the supervision of a licensed electrician, learning the trade through hands-on experience and potentially through a formal apprenticeship program.

Journeyman License

To become a journeyman, you must have at least four years of electrical training under the employment and supervision of a licensed electrical contractor or Class B electrician. This training should cover a variety of electrical work, including residential, commercial, and industrial wiring.

Class B Electrician License

To upgrade from a journeyman to a Class B electrician, you need an additional two years of experience working under a Class B electrician or an electrical contractor. At least one year of this experience must be in residential and farmstead wiring. Class B electricians are authorized to install, repair, and maintain electrical wiring and equipment in residential and farmstead settings.

Electrical Contractor License

To upgrade from a journeyman to an electrical contractor, you need an additional two years of electrical experience under the employment and supervision of an electrical contractor, with at least one year required in commercial wiring. Electrical contractors are authorized to perform all types of electrical work, including residential, commercial, and industrial projects.

To upgrade from a Class B electrician to an electrical contractor, you need an additional year in commercial wiring under the employment and supervision of a licensed electrical contractor.

Applying for an Electrician License

Once you have established your eligibility, you can apply for an electrician license. The application process takes approximately 30 days. The application must be filled out electronically and printed or printed and legibly printed in ink. Complete all spaces. If the question does not apply, write “none” in the blank space. Failure to answer questions may cause the application to be returned. All licenses expire June 30 of the even numbered years.

Application Fee

The application fee varies depending on the type of license you are applying for. For example, the application fee for an electrical contractor license is $60, while the license fee is $200. For a journeyman license, the application fee is also $60, but the license fee is $80.

Submitting the Application

The application must be submitted to the South Dakota Electrical Commission at the address provided on the application form. Along with the application, you will need to provide proof of your experience and education. This may include transcripts from a technical institute or college, certificates of completion from an apprenticeship program, and letters of verification from your employers.

License Bond Requirements

In South Dakota, electricians are required to make an undertaking in the sum of $10,000 for the faithful performance of all electrical work undertaken in strict compliance with all the provisions of SDCL 36-16 and the requirements of the South Dakota State Electrical Commission. This undertaking is in lieu of a surety bond, as required by SDCL 36-16-20 and obligates the electrician to the South Dakota Electrical Commission for up to $10,000 in costs incurred by the Commission for completing electrical installations as determined by an inspection made by the South Dakota Electrical Commission and for uncollectable inspection fees or administrative fees.

This bond requirement is designed to protect consumers from potential financial loss in the event that the electrician fails to complete the project as agreed or fails to comply with state regulations and codes. The bond is a form of financial guarantee that ensures the electrician will fulfill their obligations.

Insurance Requirements

While the specific insurance requirements for electricians in South Dakota are not explicitly stated in the provided links, it is generally recommended for electricians to have liability insurance to cover any potential damages or injuries that may occur while working.

Liability Insurance

Liability insurance is crucial for electricians as it covers the costs associated with property damage or bodily injury claims made against the electrician. This type of insurance can protect electricians from potentially devastating financial losses in the event of an accident or mistake.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

If you have employees, you should also consider workers’ compensation insurance. This type of insurance covers medical expenses and lost wages for employees who get injured or become ill due to their work. In many states, businesses with employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance.

License Renewal

In South Dakota, all electrician licenses expire on the anniversary date of the license every two years. To renew your license, you must complete the renewal process, which includes paying the renewal application fee of $80. If no electrical maintenance work was conducted since the last renewal, an inspection is not warranted, and you must sign a waiver.

The renewal process is important to ensure that electricians are up-to-date with the latest safety standards and regulations. It also provides an opportunity for electricians to update their knowledge and skills through continuing education.

Electrician License Reciprocity

South Dakota has reciprocal licensing agreements with several states, which can be beneficial for electricians who have obtained their licenses in these states and are looking to work in South Dakota. To take advantage of these agreements, you must have earned your license in the reciprocal state by examination, and you must have held it for at least one year unless otherwise specified. The license must be in an active status for one year in order to reciprocate the license to South Dakota. Please note that reciprocating states may require additional education/supervision and score levels differing from South Dakota.

The states with which South Dakota has reciprocal licensing agreements include Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. The licenses reciprocated vary by state, with some states reciprocating only the Journeyman license, while others reciprocate both the Electrical Contractor and Journeyman licenses. For more details, visit the South Dakota Electrical Commission’s Reciprocal Agreements page.

License Bond Requirements in South Dakota

In South Dakota, electricians are required to post a license bond as part of their licensing requirements. This bond is a type of surety bond that provides a financial guarantee that the electrician will comply with all state regulations and codes in their work. The bond amount for an Electrical Contractor is $10,000. The bond form can be found here.

The bond serves to protect the state and any individuals or entities that may suffer damages as a result of faulty work or violation of state regulations by the electrician. If a claim is made against the bond and the claim is validated, the surety company that issued the bond will pay out up to the full amount of the bond. The electrician is then obligated to reimburse the surety company for any amount paid out.

Insurance Needs for Electricians in South Dakota

In addition to the license bond, electricians in South Dakota should also consider obtaining various types of insurance to protect their business. At a minimum, electricians should have General Liability Insurance. This type of insurance offers protection from any covered claim for any injuries or damages to third-party persons or property as a result of your work. This also includes legal fees to defend your business from any covered claim.

While General Liability Insurance is not mandatory in most states, it is strongly recommended. Some states do require a license, and one of the requirements is to have General Liability Insurance. Even in states or municipalities where it is not required, having this insurance is a good business practice as it provides a safety net in case of unforeseen incidents.

The cost of General Liability Insurance for Electricians is determined by several factors, including the business’s sales/revenue, policy limits, claims history, and location of the business. Typically, policies with at least $1 Million in coverage are recommended.

In addition to General Liability Insurance, electricians may also consider other types of insurance such as Commercial Auto Insurance, Inland Marine Insurance (which covers tools and equipment from loss or theft), Workers’ Compensation Insurance, Surety Bonds, and Umbrella Insurance Coverage.


Becoming a licensed electrician in South Dakota involves several steps, including education, examination, and application. It’s also important to understand the reciprocity agreements with other states, the license bond requirements, and the insurance needs for electricians in South Dakota. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can navigate the process smoothly and establish a successful electrician business in South Dakota. Remember to always stay updated with the latest information from the South Dakota Electrical Commission to ensure you meet all the requirements and maintain your license effectively.