Why Your Apprentice Should Become an IEC Certified Professional Electrician

In 2013, the IEC National Apprenticeship and Training Committee (A&T Committee), along with chapter executive directors and training directors began discussing a test for graduates of the IEC Apprenticeship Program. The IEC Certified Professional Electrician (IEC-CPE) Credential was created at that time to offer a "final" exam to our chapters and contractor members. 

CPE.gifIEC knows that we have the best electrical apprenticeship program, focusing on residential, commercial, and industrial throughout our four-year program. As a means to test the knowledge and skills obtained over the course of four years, a standard test for all chapters and regions was warranted for those apprentices who wanted to highlight their mastery within the electrical trade, while also having a way to stand out or be more marketable to both current and future employers. Think of it this way, if someone goes to law school they must pass the bar exam to practice law. Before this credential exam was created, an IEC apprentice only completed each year of the program before moving onto the next year. Now upon completion of four years of training, an IEC graduate can test their knowledge of the whole program voluntarily, while also earning a credential that will truly emphasize their mastery of the trade.

Having this exam allows for chapters to show that they are teaching and implementing the required Core Concepts that appear in each curriculum year. Both portions of the exam – written and practical – are based off the Core Concepts and are aligned to IEC’s curriculum. Over the last couple of years, we discovered that different educational, governmental, and third-party institutions require different methods of assessment of an educational program, regardless of the industry/ content. The IEC-CPE Credential became a means to meet this demand while also strengthening our chapters in their local markets. In 2014, IEC of Greater Cincinnati beta tested this exam, with three individuals successfully passing.


This year (2016) two chapters and regions hosted the IEC-CPE Exam. The first testing site was held at the IEC Dallas chapter on May 20 through 21. This was the second time that IEC Dallas hosted the exam. A total of six fourth year apprentices took both portions of this exam. The second testing site was held at the IEC of Greater Cincinnati Chapter on June 10-11.This was the third time this exam was held at this chapter. There were nine fourth year apprentices who took this exam, with eight hailing from the IEC of Greater Cincinnati and one coming all the way in from the IEC of Greater Saint Louis chapter.

With the 2016 exam session coming to an end and as we plan for next year, we felt that IEC contractors and chapters should know the make-up of both IEC-CPE exams (written and practical):


The written exam is made up of ninety questions, which come out of our four-year electrical apprenticeship curriculum test banks. Here is the rough breakdown of question topics:

  • Theory
  • Transformers
  • Motors and Motor Control Circuitry Theory
  • Grounding & Bonding
  • Code Review
    • Article 90 and Chapter 1
    • Branch Circuits
    • Overcurrent Protection
    • Service and Service Calculation
    • Wiring Methods
    • Equipment for General Use
    • Special Occupancies
    • Special Equipment
    • Tables
  • Practical Competencies

The practical exam is made up of eight testing stations and the individual must pass all of these activities on a pass/fail matrix. This is to ensure that an individual is competent on some of the core competencies within the four year curriculum:

  • Transformer Project A
  • Transform