Electrician Career Path: Let’s Get Started!

As one of the largest industries in the county, the electrical contracting industry is worth more than $130 billion each year. There are 70,000 + electrical contractor firms employing 650,000+ nationwide.

Every day they work to provide commercial, industrial, government and residential customers with the power they need.

Electrical contractors can either work solution or as part of larger contracting companies. They perform all type of needed work including installation, maintenance and repair services.

Starting a career as an electrical contractor is a viable and lucrative career, but the path isn’t easy.

As an electrician, you’re a skilled and qualified tradesman that can perform highly specialized and sometimes dangerous work.

Because of this, you’ll find that there are strict licensing requirements in every state.

We’ve put together this short guide on how to become an electrician, and what requirements you need to meet in every state, to do so

become an electrician

Types of Electrical Contractor Projects

Commercial and Industrial Projects

Electrical contractors are often called up to handle large scale projects in warehouses, power plants, oil refineries, offices and factories, to name a few examples.

It is the electrician’s job to install new systems which can include everything from wiring to lighting and switches.

Typically the larger the project, the more profitable. And, as with anything worth doing, they take a little work.

Usually, with big jobs like this, electricians are required to bid competitively to secure the project as theirs.

Service & Maintenance Projects

Electrical contractors handling maintenance can a lot of work opportunities in residential and commercial projects. These projects are most often smaller problems that can be solved in one visit.

In these cases, electricians are sought out by those that need the service performed and are paid either hourly or a fixed rate for the project.

But, that doesn’t account for all electrical contractors that work on service and maintenance jobs.

Some electricians often have maintenance contracts with their longterm clients, which usually includes electrical system preventive maintenance.

Residential Projects

Although residential projects typically the smallest work that an electrical contractor does, they are an extremely profitable side of this occupation.

This is primarily because of the integrated electrical and communication systems in homes, like smart home systems and security systems.

These electricians also help with home renovation projects and can install dimmers and other lighting controls, but usually don’t follow up with maintenance.

Examples of Electrician Career Paths

Aircraft Electrician Career

In this career track your work will be focused on airplanes and helicopters. The instrumentation on aircraft will require specialty training that you can receive while apprenticing.

Well kept repair and maintenance logs are a must in this role. While projects can be complex, this is one of the higher paying career paths.

Commercial Electrician Career

In this career your primary responsibility is in the maintenance and management of the electrical systems within commercial buildings.

Given the scale and complexity of many commercial buildings, organizational skills will come in handy.

Industrial Electrician Career

In this career you will be working in industrial buildings wiring, performing maintenance and working on complex electrical problems.

You might find yourself working in an oil refinery, a chemical factory or many types of areas with explosion proof requirements to avoid combustion.

Automotive Electrician Career

In this electrical specialty work will be focused on cars, trucks and a multitude of other vehicles such as buses.

Computer skills are a must in this career path given how integrated they now are into all modern vehicles on the road.

This role requires a lot of diagnosing of intricate problems such are faulty wiring and electronic issues.

Construction Electrician Career

In this career you will be involved in everything from electrical planning and design to installation.

Depending on the specific role, you may find yourself doing wiring, project maintenance or repair of existing electrical systems.

On the job training is commonplace in this career path.

Marine Electrician Career

In this career path you will spend your time on or near the water working on ships, maritime equipment, rigs and lighthouses.

Due to the corrosive nature of salt water and the damp work environment, attention to detail is necessary to avoid little problems turning into large ones.

Starting A Career As An Electrician

As security systems and other operating processes become more and more electronically based, the need for electricians rises. This makes it an extremely lucrative career, although not an easy one.

Electrical contractors need to go through many hours of trade school and even apprenticeships. Regulations vary from one state to another. Keep reading for a state by state breakdown.

To become a master electrician, most state and municipal licensing requires 3 main steps to be completed:

Step 1. Complete an Apprenticeship with an Electrician

Even the most basic of electrical contracting licenses require between 500 and 1,000 hours of classroom work.

This is in addition to 8,000 to 10,000 hours of experience during your apprenticeship.

Step 2. Fulfill State Requirements

In many states to obtain a residential electrician license you will need to meet a minimum amount of training hours.

You also need to successfully complete a National Electrical Code examination.

Step 3. Complete Master Electrician Prerequisite Practice Hours

This is the last step an electrical contractor can take to expand their expertise.

Typically, electricians work for about 4,000 practice hours under an intermediary license before they can apply for the master electrician’s license.

With this license, electricians have a number of new responsibilities and abilities. These include applying for an independent electrical contractor’s license, designing new electrical systems pulling permits and supervising others.

how to become an electrical contractor

Applying for the Electrician’s License

There are a few important licensing differences to know. An electrical contractor license is a business license.

A master electrician license on the other hand is a professional license. As a result you cannot get your contractor’s license before first completing the master electrician licensure.

There are some exceptions to this rule depending on the state. Texas, for example. As long as you have at least one licensed master electrician on staff you can apply for the electrical contractor license.

In Colorado on the other hand, looks at things differently from Texas. As long as your firm is owned in part by a fully licensed master electrician you can apply for and become registered as an electrical contractor.

You’ll learn about each state’s specific requirements later, but for now, just know that you’ll likely need to be licensed as a master electrician before becoming an electrical contractor.

leds electrician

Electrician Requirements by State

Contractor licensure comes a few eligibility requirements. These requirements can include successfully completing an examination and hours of experience. It’s not an easy road, but it certainly is well worth it. 

Electricians have many options when looking to work as an electrical contractor depending on the state. Below we outline the specific requirements you can expect in each state. 

Use the links to skip ahead to your state. 

A-C D-G H-I K-M N-O P-T U-W

Alabama Electrical Contractor License

To become an electrician, you need to have a license that has been issued by the Alabama Electrical Contractors Board.

  • Journeyman Electrician – You need to prove that you have worked for at least 8,000 hours on installing electrical wiring, equipment or apparatus, heat, light, or power. However, it is also possible to substitute 1 year of studying in an apprenticeship program or an electrical curriculum for 1,000 hours worth of experience. You can do this for 2,000 hours. It is obligatory that you pass the exam.
  • Electrical Contractor – To become an electrical contractor, you must have experience being a manager or a supervisor in commercial, residential, or industrial electrical work. Plus, it is obligatory to have at least 8,000 hours of experience in the field. You can swap one year of electrical curriculum for six months of experience for 2,000 hours. Passing the exam is also a prerequisite for becoming an electrical contractor.

Alaska Electrical Contractor License

Becoming an electrician in Alaska also requires holding a state license. The Alaska Department of Labor and Workplace Development awards multiple licenses.

  • Journeyman Electrician – To obtain this license, you have to show that you have a minimum of 8,000 hours of experience in this industry. At least 6,000 of these hours have to involve industrial or commercial experience. As part of the overall experience, you can also include 1,000 hours of education or working as a power lineman. You’re also required to pass an exam. If you want to renew your license, you will have to successfully complete 16 more hours of education.
  • Residential Electrician – To become a residential electrician you need to show proof that you have 4,000 hours of experience in the field. You can substitute 500 hours of education for 500 hours of work experience. However, this license enables you to work only as a journeyman on residential areas. You can also work as an intern on commercial sites. Passing the exam is obligatory.
  • Electrical Administrator – To be able to legally work in this field, a licensed contractor must have an electrical administrator license. Generally, these licenses are divided into six categories: residential wiring, and control wiring, unlimited commercial wiring, unlimited line work outside, outside communications, and inside communications. To obtain this license, you must prove that you have 2-4 years of work experience. And, of course, you have to pass the exam.

Arizona

To be able to work in Arizona, it’s essential for electricians to hold a state license. The Arizona Registrar of Contractors awards 3 electrical licensing classifications.

  • Specialty Residential Contracting, Electrical R-11 – Obtaining this license will allow you to repair and install residential electrical systems.
  • Specialty Residential Contracting, Electrical C-11 – With this type of license, electricians can alter, install and repair wiring with electrical energy less than 600 volts.
  • Specialty Dual License Contracting, Electrical CR-11 – After obtaining this license, electricians can do both commercial and residential electrical work.

However, to be eligible to get this license, you have to prove that you have worked at least four years in this field and also must successfully complete a trade and a business exam to get your license.

Arkansas

If you want to work as an electrician in Arkansas, you must have the proper state license to be able to legally operate. In this state, the Arkansas Department of Labor awards this license and it comes in multiple classifications.

  • Master electrician – To get this license, you need to have two years of experience working in the construction industry as well as a degree in electrical engineering. Or, you can have six years of experience in construction, combined with two years of working as a licensed journeyman electrician. And last but not least, you can combine experience and training in the industry that has been approved by the board
  • Journeyman electrician – Obtaining this license requires having completed a 4-year apprenticeship program or having an 8-year long experience in electrical construction.
  • Residential master electrician To obtain this license classification, a person must have a 3-year long experience in wiring one and two-family homes. They should also have a 1-year long experience in being a licensed residential journeyman. A combination of both experience and proper training is acceptable as well.
  • Residential journeyman electrician – Having at least a 2-year experience in wiring one and two-family homes is a must for obtaining a license as a residential journeyman electrician. A two-year combination of both education and suitable training is also acceptable. Passing an exam is crucial for obtaining any license.

California

To work legally in California, all electricians must obtain a state license. The Department of Consumer Affairs, Contractors State License Board issues the C-10 Electrical Contractor license which is required to have before bidding on projects estimated to be worth over $500. To get the license, it is essential that you have worked at least 4 years as a foreman or as a journeyman, contractor, supervising employee, or owner-builder. Besides the appropriate experience, you will also need to successfully complete a trade exam and a Business and Law exam.

Colorado

All electricians are required to have a state license to be eligible to work in Colorado. The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, Electrical Board awards this license which comes in a variety of classifications. Passing an exam is obligatory to be competent to hold each license.

  • Residential Wireman – To become a residential wireman, you must have at least 4,000 hours of experience in electrical construction wiring regarding heat, power and lights in the last 2 years.
  • Journeyman Electrician – For this license, you need to prove that you have worked a minimum of 8,000 hours in the past 4 years in electrical construction wiring for power, heat, and lights. At least 4,000 hours in the last 2 years have to account for industrial or/and commercial work.
  • Master Electrician – Besides the journeyman electrician requirements, you also need to show that, in the past year, you have worked more than 2,000 hours on layout, planning, as well as supervising the installation.

Connecticut

The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection must award you with an electrical license to be able to work as an electrician.

  • Journeyperson – To get this licence, you need to prove that you have worked at least 8, 000 hours in this industry and that you have trade-related education. You also must have gone through an approved apprenticeship program and you must successfully complete a trade exam.
    Contractor – To become a contractor, you have to prove that you have a 2-year long experience as a journeyperson and show a copy of your journeyperson license. Besides that, you also must pass the law, business, and trade exams.

Delaware

To legally work, you must be awarded an electrician license by the Delaware Division of Professional Regulation. There are different license categories:

  • Master – In case you haven’t completed any apprenticeship program that’s approved in the field, you have to prove that you have worked full-time for six years in the field and that you have operated under the supervision of a licensed master electrician. It is possible to replace 2 years of work for technical training. You must prove that you have general liability insurance and you must pass an exam.
  • Master Special – If you’re not the right fit for a master electrician license just yet, with a Master Special license you can work in the areas of elevators, electric signs, HVAC, pools, primary distribution systems, and refrigeration. To obtain this license category you need to show that you have at least 6 years of experience in a specialty area and that a licensed master special electrician or a licensed master electrician has supervised your work. Besides that, you also need to have general liability insurance and you need to pass an exam.
  • Limited – If you haven’t gone through an apprenticeship program, you must have proof that you have 3 years of experience in this industry and that you have been supervised by a limited electrician or a licensed master. In addition, you also must pass an exam and show proof that you have general liability insurance.
  • Limited Special – If you’re still not eligible to work as a limited electrician, in Delaware, with the Limited Special license you can work in the areas of pools and HVAC systems. Nevertheless, you need to have a minimum of 3 years of experience in any specialty area and show that you have been supervised by a licensed master electrician special or just a licensed master electrician. Showing proof of general liability insurance and passing the exam is obligatory.
  • Journeyperson – With this license, you can do electrical work only when supervised. However, you first must have successfully finished the proper apprenticeship program and you also need to prove that you have general liability insurance.

Florida

To legally work as an electrical contractor in the sunshine state, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation has to issue a state license on your name. Moreover, you must prove you have experience in the field, out of which a minimum of 40% has to be in 3-phase services. Before receiving your license, you must pass a two-part exam.

Georgia

You must obtain a license from the Georgia Construction Industry Licensing Board, Division of Electrical Contractors before beginning your career as an electrician in Georgia. Before taking the exam, you need to prove that you have worked 4 years in contracting and have been supervised by a licensed contractor. Passing the trade exam is a must.

If you want to work as an electrician in Arkansas, you must have the proper state license to be able to legally operate. In this state, the Arkansas Department of Labor awards this license and it comes in multiple classifications.

  • Master electrician – To get this license, you need to have two years of experience working in the construction industry as well as a degree in electrical engineering. Or, you can have six years of experience in construction, combined with two years of working as a licensed journeyman electrician. And last but not least, you can combine experience and training in the industry that has been approved by the board
  • Journeyman electrician – Obtaining this license requires having completed a 4-year apprenticeship program or having an 8-year long experience in electrical construction.
  • Residential master electrician To obtain this license classification, a person must have a 3-year long experience in wiring one and two-family homes. They should also have a 1-year long experience in being a licensed residential journeyman. A combination of both experience and proper training is acceptable as well.
  • Residential journeyman electrician – Having at least a 2-year experience in wiring one and two-family homes is a must for obtaining a license as a residential journeyman electrician. A two-year combination of both education and suitable training is also acceptable. Passing an exam is crucial for obtaining any license.

Hawaii

In Hawaii, electricians must obtain a license from the state to be able to legally work in this field. The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Professional and Vocational Licensing, Board of Electricians and Plumbers awards this license which is divided into multiple categories. Each license category has its own distinct requirements and to obtain each one, you have to pass a board exam.

  • Journey Worker Electrician – For this license, you need to prove that you have worked in the field for five years and have worked over 10,000 hours with commercial or residential wiring. It’s also a prerequisite that you have successfully finished an appropriate study program and have been learning about electricity a total of 240 hours.
  • Supervising Electrician – Showing proof that you have a 4-year experience is a must for every licensed journey worker electrician.
  • Journey Worker Industrial Electrician – To obtain this license, it’s essential to show proof that you have at least 4 years of experience. You also must complete the appropriate study program that encompasses 200 hours of electrical education.
  • Supervising Industrial Electrician – Showing proof that you have a 3-year long experience is a prerequisite to becoming a licensed journey worker industrial electrician.
  • Journey Worker Specialty Electrician – You need to show that you have worked for 3 years and have over 6,000 hours of experience. Completing the suitable study program with 120 hours of electrical learning is also a must.
  • Supervising Specialty Electrician – Before obtaining this license, you have to prove that you have worked more than 2 years as a licensed journey worker specialty electrician.
  • Maintenance Electrician – Showing proof that you have worked at least one year in this industry and that you have successfully completed the proper study program with 80 hours studying electrical systems is a must to obtain this license. Or, you need to have finished 2 years of suitable schooling with a minimum of 1,000 hours of lab work.

Idaho

To work in Idaho, all electricians have to obtain a state license. In this state, there are various license categories issued by the Idaho Division of Building Safety. Each and every one of them has different requirements.

  • Apprentice Electrician – To become an apprentice electrician, you don’t have to have a license, however, you have to be registered. You need to work for a licensed electrical contractor and it’s essential that you are constantly supervised by a master electrician or an electrical journeyman. You also must be taking part in a training program or must have successfully completed one.
  • Journeyman Electrician – To qualify for this license, you must have gone through a 4-year apprenticeship study program. You need to prove that you have worked over 6,000 hours as an apprentice. A maximum of 75% of those hours should be in one category (commercial, residential, or industrial). Furthermore, the entire working experience has to be supervised by a master electrician or a licensed journeyman. To qualify for the license, you must prove that you have worked over 8,000 hours and you must pass the exam.
  • Master Electrician – To obtain this license, you first must have had an Idaho Electrical Journeyman license for at least 4 years. After you complete that step, you also must pass the exam.
  • Electrical Contractor – For this license, you must be a master electrician or you must employ one. You also must have worker’s compensation insurance and liability insurance. Passing the exam is obligatory.
  • Electrical Specialty Trainee – You don’t necessarily have to be licensed, however, you must be registered. Plus, you have to work for an electrical specialty contractor who is already licensed and works in the same specialty category. Besides that, you must be constantly supervised by an electrical specialty journeyman from that category.
  • Specialty Journeyman Electrician – You need to prove that you have worked over 2 years and have 4,000 hours of work experience within that specialty field. Passing the exam is obligatory.
  • Specialty Electrical Contractor – To get this license, you have to be a licensed electrical specialty contractor or employ one in that same category. Passing the exam is obligatory.

Illinois

This state doesn’t impose any electrician license conditions as all licensing is done in municipalities. Make sure to check what your municipality’s requirements are before you start working.

Indiana

You don’t have to have a state license to become an electrician in Indiana. Nevertheless, there are different requirements at a local level, so make sure to check them before you start working.

Iowa

As opposed to some other states in the USA, in Iowa, all electricians are obliged to have a state license before starting to work. Licenses come in various classifications and each and every one of them has different prerequisites.

  • Residential Electrician – Passing a trade exam is obligatory.
  • Residential Master Electrician – You need to have a license to operate as a residential or special residential electrician or a journeyman.
  • Master Electrician – You need to be licensed as a journeyman electrician for a minimum of 1 year before obtaining a master electrician license.
  • Residential Electrical Contractor – To become a residential electrical contractor, you first must be certified as a Class A or Class B Master or Residential Master Electrician. You also need to be enrolled as a contractor with the Iowa Division of Labor and must show that you have liability insurance.
  • Electrical Contractor – Besides being first licensed as a Class A or Class B Master Electrician you also need to register as a contractor with the Iowa Division of Labor to become an electrical contractor. You also need to prove that you have liability insurance before starting to work.

Kentucky

As is in most states, to become an electrician in the state of Kentucky you need to first obtain a license by the Department of Housing, Buildings, and Construction, Electrical Division. Each license has different requirements.

  • Electrical Contractor – To become an electrical contractor, it’s essential that you pass an electrical exam first. You also must prove that you have liability insurance and worker’s compensation insurance.
  • Master Electrician – You must have worked 8 years in the field. You can complete a proper training course of no less than 576 hours and substitute it for 2 years of experience. Passing the exam is obligatory.
  • Electrician – You must prove that you have more than 6 years of experience. You can complete a course of 576 hours and substitute it for two years of experience. Passing the exam is obligatory.

Louisiana

The state of Louisiana doesn’t impose any licensing stipulations for electricians. Nevertheless, if you work on projects worth beyond $10,000, you must obtain a commercial contractors license. This type of permit is issued by the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors. You’ll also need to pass a law, business and trade exam.

Maine

Electricians in Maine must be licensed at the state level. Licenses are classified in several categories.

  • Apprentice Electrician – You must be enrolled in an educational program or a 5-year work and be supervised by a limited electrician, licensed master or a journeyman.
  • Electrical Helper License – For this license, you must have an electrical program or started working.
  • Journeyman Electrician – You must have worked more than 2,000 hours and successfully passed the exam.
  • Limited Electrician – It’s obligatory that you have successfully gone through an electrical study program that has lasted more than 576 hours. Passing an exam is also obligatory.
  • Master Electrician – You have to complete a study course of 576 hours that’s approved by the state. You must have worked over 4,000 hours as a journeyman electrician or 12,000 hours in electrical installations. Passing an exam is a must.

Maryland

Anyone who wants to work as an electrician in Maryland has to obtain a state license to work from The Maryland Board of Master Electricians. This state issues just one license category – Master Electrician. To be licensed, you need to have worked over 7 seven years in providing electrical services all while being supervised by a master electrician or a government employee with similar qualifications. You can substitute a maximum of 3 years of approved education for experience. For this state license, you also need to pass an exam.

 

Massachusetts

If you want to become an electrician in Massachusetts, holding a state license is obligatory. There are specific demands for different licenses. The Board of State Examiners of Electricians awards all licenses.

  • Journeyman Electrician – To obtain this licence, you must have finished high school. You also must have 600 hours of journeyman curriculum and you must have worked for 4 years with a total of 8,000 hours. Passing the exam is essential.
    Master Electrician – Completing a Master curriculum of 150 hours is a prerequisite. On top of that, you must have worked more than one year as a licensed journeyman. Passing an exam is a must.

Michigan

To legally work as an electrician, you must have a state license issued by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), Bureau of Construction Codes. Take a look at the electrician licensing conditions:

  • Journeyman Electrician – Individuals older than 20 years can work as a journeyman electrician in Michigan. Before applying for this license, you need to have worked more than 8,000 hours in the field over 4 years while being supervised by a licensed electrician. You might be able to substitute a couple of years of education for experience. Whatever the case may be, you still must pass an exam.
  • Master Electrician – Individuals older than 22 years can apply for this license. They are required to have worked 12,000 hours over 6 years under the surveillance of a master electrician. Passing an exam is a must.

Minnesota

Holding a state license is a must to work as an electrician in Minnesota. These licenses are awarded by the Department of Labor and Industry.

  • Class A Master Electrician – Besides passing an exam, you must also show that you have worked 60 months in different categories.
  • Class A Journeyman Electrician – Passing an exam and showing that you have worked at least 48 months in various categories is essential to obtain this type of license.
  • Maintenance Electrician – You must prove that you have worked more than 48 months across various categories and you also need to pass an exam.

Mississippi

In Mississippi, holding a state contractor license is required for performing residential electrical work that costs more than $10,000 or commercial work for more than $50,000. The MS State Board of Contractors issues this license and to obtain it, you first have to pass an exam. Journeyman and Electrician licenses are awarded locally.

Missouri

While there aren’t any special state requirements for obtaining an electrician license in Missouri, most local governments have their specific prerequisites. Double-check these in your area before you start working.

Montana

All electricians have to be issued a license by the state of Montana to be able to legally work. The Montana Department of Labor and Industry, State Electrical Board awards these licenses.

  • Residential Electrician – It’s required that you have successfully completed a residential apprenticeship program or that you have 4,000 hours of experience. Another option is to prove that you have operated in electrical maintenance for over 20,000 hours. Passing an exam is a must.
  • Journeyman Electrician – It’s essential that you have gone through an apprenticeship program, prove that you have worked for 8,000 hours or that you have worked in electrical maintenance for a minimum of 20,000 hours. You must pass an exam.
  • Master Electrician – All electrical engineer graduates of an accredited college with 2,000 hours of practicing can become licensed master electricians. Another way to obtain the license is to show that you have 8,000 hours of experience as a journeyman. 20-50% of those hours should be residential experience. Passing an exam is required.

Nebraska

All electricians in Nebraska must have a license received by the Nebraska Electrical Division to be able to legally work.

  • Apprenticeship Electrician – Registering with the board is a must.
    Journeyman Electrician – You need to have worked in this field for at least 4 years. If you have gone through a 2-year post-high school electrical course and have a degree in electrical technology, this can replace one year of experience. Passing a suitable exam is a must.
    Electrical Contractor – To obtain this license, graduating from an accredited 4-year electrical course is a must. You also need to have worked at least one year as a journeyman electrician or you must have worked 5 years with supervising, planning for, laying out, and installing wiring equipment for power, heating, and electrical light. Passing the exam is essential.

Nevada

In Nevada, all electricians must have a state electrical contracting (C-2 classification) license to be able to legally work. This license is given by the Nevada State Contractors Board. To obtain it, you must have worked in the field 4 years the past 10 years. You also need to pass a law, business, and trade exam. To become a journeyman electrician, you may need to get your license at a local level.

New Hampshire

To legally work in New Hampshire as an electrician, you must be issued a state license by the Office of Professional Licensure and Certification, Electrician’s Board.

  • Journeyman Electrician – You must have gone to electrician school at least 600 hours, have worked for 8,000 hours, or have worked for ten years as a master electrician or journeyman in another jurisdiction. You can exchange a maximum of 2,000 hours of experience for education. Passing the journeyman exam is a must.
  • Master Electrician – To become a master electrician, it’s essential that you have already passed the exam to become a journeyman and have worked for 2,000 in this industry. Passing the master exam is also obligatory.

New Jersey

To work as an electrician in New Jersey, you must be licensed by the state. The Department of Law and Public Safety, Division of Consumer Affairs, Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors. awards the electrical contractor license. To be eligible for it, you need to be 21 years old and have a high school diploma. It’s essential that you have worked for 5 years in the field or have one of the following.

  • Successfully completed a 4-year apprenticeship program;
    Have worked at least 1 year and are qualified to be a journeyman electrician;
    Have a BA in electrical engineering and have worked for at least 2 years.
    Passing an exam is obligatory.

New Mexico

All electrical work has to be performed by individuals holding a journeyman license in the exact line of work. The New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department issues these licenses for which passing the exam is also a must.
You need to have worked more than 8,000 hours to qualify for the following licenses:

  • EE-98J – Journeyman commercial and residential electrical
  • EL-1J – Journeyman electrical distribution systems, including transmission lines

You need to have worked 4,000 hours to qualify for the following licenses:

  • ER-1J – Journeyman residential wiring
    ES-1J – Journeyman outline lighting and electrical signs
    ES-2J – Journeyman cathodic protection and lightning protection systems
    ES-3J – Journeyman intercommunication, sound, electrical alarm systems, and systems 50 volts and under
    ES-7J – Journeyman telephone interconnect systems and telephone communication systems

New York

Electrician licenses can not be obtained by the State of New York. Nevertheless, many counties and cities have their own specific preconditions, so ensure you comply with them before you begin working.

North Carolina

To get your electrician license in this state, you need to be awarded by the State Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors. There are 10 classifications and you need to apply for the exact license you need. Besides passing an exam, there are some other prerequisite as well:

  • Limited classification – It’s essential that you have worked 2 years in the field. At least one of these years has to be a primary experience.
  • Intermediate classification – You need to have worked 4 years in this industry and at least two and a half years of that time has to be a primary experience.
  • Unlimited classification – You need to have over 5 years of experience, 4 of them should be primary experience.
  • Single-family detached residential dwelling – It’s obligatory to have worked for 2 years in this field, out of which 1 year should be a primary experience.

North Dakota

To work as an electrician in North Dakota, it’s essential that you have a state license awarded by the North Dakota State Electrical Board. You will also need to successfully complete the exam for every category and fulfill the following conditions:

  • Journeyman Electrician – You must have worked 8,000 hours in a span of more than 3 years as an apprentice electrician. You must be supervised by a contracting master. If you graduate from a 2-year program at an electrical school, you can substitute up to 2,000 hours of work experience.
  • Class B Electrician – It’s obligatory that you have worked for more than 3,000 hours in a farmstead or residential wiring in one- or two-family homes while being supervised by a Class B or a master electrician.
  • Master Electrician – You need to have proof that you have worked for 2,000 hours as a journeyman electrician and that you have been supervised by a contracting master electrician.

Ohio

All electricians in Ohio are required to obtain a state license awarded by the Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board to be able to work as a commercial electrical contractor. They must have a minimum of 3 years of business experience in construction and 5 years of experience as an electrician. Having liability insurance and passing an exam is obligatory. There aren’t any preconditions for state journeyman electrician licenses.

Oklahoma

In order to work as an electrician in Oklahoma, you must have been awarded a state license by the Oklahoma Construction Industries Board.

  • Electrical Apprentice – You are not required to have a license, however, you have to be registered.
  • Unlimited Electrical Journeyman – It’s essential that you have worked over 8,000 hours as a registered apprentice and be supervised by a licensed contractor or a journeyman. Half of those hours must be in industrial or commercial work. You can replace up to 2,000 hours of education for work experience. Passing an exam is a must.
  • Residential Electrical Journeyman – It’s a prerequisite that you have worked more than 4,000 hours as an apprentice supervised by a licensed contractor or a journeyman. You can substitute 1,000 hours of schooling for work experience. It’s also required that you pass the proper exam.
  • Limited Electrical Contractor – To obtain this license, you need to have a degree in electrical engineering from an accredited college as well as 8,000 hours of experience in the field. Another option is to show proof that you have worked for more than 16,000 hours in this industry. Passing a suitable exam is a must.

Unlimited Electrical Contractor – You need to prove that you have worked over 12,000 hours in electrical construction. Having 4,000 hours worth of experience as an unlimited journeyman is a must. Out of the total experience, you need to have worked 6,000 hours for a licensed electrical contractor in commercial industrial work. You can substitute 2,000 hours of studying for experience. Passing an exam is a must.

Oregon

In Oregon, all electricians must hold a license issued by the Department of Consumer and Business Services, Building Codes Division. There are also some specific conditions that have to be fulfilled to be eligible to qualify for the specific license:

  • General Journeyman Electrician – It’s essential that you go through an apprenticeship program or you must show evidence that you have undergone 576 hours of classroom training and have worked more than 8,000 hours out of which 1,000 hours in each of the categories of commercial, residential and industrial. Passing an exam is another precondition.
  • General Supervising Electrician – You need to have an Oregon journeyman electrician license as well as prove that you have worked at least 8,000 hours as a journeyman electrician. Passing the exam is a must.
  • Limited Building Maintenance Electrician – It’s obligatory that you have participated in and successfully completed a 1-year training program or that you have worked for more than 2,000 hours in electrical maintenance. Passing an exam is a must.
  • Limited Maintenance Electrician – Completing an apprenticeship program in Oregon or having a minimum of 288 hours of classroom training as well as 4,000 hours of work experience or training on the job is a must to obtain this license. Another option is having worked over 8,000 hours outside the state of Oregon. Passing an exam is another prerequisite.
  • Limited Residential Electrician – It’s obligatory that you have successfully gone through a pre-approved apprenticeship program in the Oregon area or that you have classroom training of at least 288 hours as well as 4,000 hours of training or work experience to obtain this license. Another alternative is to have a work experience of more than 8,000 hours outside Oregon. Passing an exam is a must.
  • Limited Supervising Electrician – You need to be licensed as a limited journeyman in Oregon and must have a work experience of at least 8,000 hours. Passing an exam is a must.
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Pennsylvania

You don’t necessarily have to have a license to work as an electrician in Pennsylvania. Nevertheless, this state might have its own specifications. Do your due diligence before you start working in this field.

Rhode Island

All electricians are obliged to hold a license issued by the state to be able to legally operate in their field in Rhode Island. The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, Division of Workforce Regulation and Safety, Professional Regulations Unit issues these licenses.

Electrical Journeyperson – You need to show evidence that you have worked for over 4 years and have accumulated at least 576 hours of training. Passing an exam is another prerequisite.

Electrical Contractor – You need to have evidence that you have worked at least 6 years and need to have a valid Rhode Island journeyperson license with which you have worked 2 years. Passing an exam is another prerequisite..

South Carolina

All electricians in South Carolina must have a state license to be able to legally work in the field. To obtain this license awarded by the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation, Residential Builders Commission, candidates must have worked at least 1 year in this industry and must pass the proper exam.

 

South Dakota

Before performing any electrical work in the state of South Dakota, all electricians are obliged to obtain a state license issued by the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation, Electrical Commission.

  • Journeyman Electrician – It’s mandatory that you have worked 4 years (8,000 hours) as an apprentice electrician all while being supervised by an electrical contractor. Passing the exam is a must.
  • Electrical contractor – Working 2 years as a journeyman electrician is a must. A minimum of 2,000 of the total hours worked has to be in commercial work. Passing an exam is mandatory.

Tennessee

In this state, electrical licenses are issued both by the state and the local governments. This depends on the kind of license you’re looking to qualify for and the total value of the projects you plan to work on. State licenses are awarded by the TN Department of Commerce and Insurance, Board for Licensing Contractors.

  • Contractor – Electrical License (classification CE) – Electricians who plan on working on projects that will cost more than $25,000 are required to obtain this license. Passing an exam is also obligatory. Besides that, they also need to prove that they have worked at least 3 years in this field. Passing a business, trade, and law exam is a must as well as showing evidence that they have insurance.
  • Limited Licensed Electrician (LLE) – This type of license is mandatory when the entire cost of the project is lower than $25,000, and there is no local license agency in the municipality where the individual is working.

Texas

In Texas, all electricians are obliged to have a state license awarded by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.

  • Journeyman Electrician – A minimum of 8,000 hours of training on the job is a must. You have to be supervised by a master electrician and you have to pass the journeyman exam.
  • Master Electrician – Holding a journeyman electrician license for more than two years is a must to qualify for a master electrician license. It’s also mandatory that you have been trained on the job for over 12,000 hours all while being supervised by a master electrician. Passing the exam is also a prerequisite.

Utah

All electricians in Utah must be issued a license by the Utah Department of Commerce, Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing. Different licenses require different qualifications and these can vary based on the license you’re trying to obtain. Passing the appropriate exam for each license is a must.

  • Journeyman Electrician – Before applying for this license, it’s obligatory that you have successfully finished a suitable apprenticeship program and that you have been trained for over 8,000 hours in more than 4 years. Another option is to have worked for more than 16,000 hours in more than 8 years.
  • Residential Journeyman Electrician – It’s essential that you have been an apprentice in an approved program for 2 years and that you have worked over 4,000 hours in more than 2 years. Another option is to have worked for more than 8,000 hours in more than 4 years.
  • Master Electrician – Having worked as a licensed journeyman electrician for 4 years is a must before applying for a master electrician. Another option is to have a year-year AAS diploma from an accredited electrical trade school as well as having a  2-year experience as a licensed journeyman electrician. Or, you need to be accredited with a BS degree in electrical engineering and have worked for 1 year with your license.
  • Residential Master Electrician – It’s obligatory that you have worked over 4,000 hours as a licensed residential journeyman electrician in more than 2 years.

Vermont

All individuals who want to work as electricians in the state of Vermont must be licensed by the state and be issued their license by the Department of Public Safety, Division of Fire Safety. Passing the appropriate exam for each license is a must.

  • Journeyman Electrician – Completing an apprenticeship program in Vermont within the past 2 years or showing evidence that you have worked for 12,000 hours is a must to obtain this license.
  • Master Electrician – It’s compulsory that you have had a Vermont Electrical Journeyman license for over 2 years or you have to prove that you have worked 16,000 hours in the field.

Virginia

To legally work as an electrician in Virginia, all individuals have to be first licensed by the state and awarded a license by the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation. Passing the appropriate exam for each license is a must.

  • Journeyman Electrician – Having 240 hours of formal training as well as a 4-year trade experience is a must. You can substitute 1 year of experience for 80 hours of training up to 200 hours. Another alternative is to have worked for 2 years and have a proper certificate for successfully going through a 2-year accredited education program. Another option is to have worked for 1 year and have a BA from an accredited college in a related engineering curriculum. Or, you need to have worked for 10 years in this field.
  • Master Electrician – Showing evidence that you have worked for 1 year as a licensed journeyman or having a 10-year experience is essential to qualify for this license.

Washington

To legally work as an electrician in Washington, all individuals have to be licensed by the state and issued a license by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.

  • General Journey Level Electrician – Working for 8,000 hours as an electrical trainee while being supervised by a certified electrician is a prerequisite. Over 4,000 of this experience needs to be in an industrial or commercial installation. After June 30, 2023, all aspiring electricians will be obliged to have successfully completed an electrical apprenticeship program. Having 96 hours of basic classroom instruction and passing the exam is another precondition to qualify for this license.
  • Specialty Residential Electrician – You need to show evidence that you have worked for 4,000 hours as a residential electrician and have been supervised by a certified electrician. Also, passing an exam and having 48 hours of basic classroom instruction is a must.

West Virginia

To legally work as an electrician in West Virginia, all individuals have to be licensed by the state and issued a license by the West Virginia Fire Commission. All license categories have different requirements.

  • Apprentice Electrician – Only individuals older than 18 years can apply for this license. Passing the exam is a must.
  • Journeyman Electrician – You need to show a copy of your certificate stating that you have successfully completed your apprenticeship or vocational training. Another option is to have 8,000 hours or 4 years of experience in this field. Passing the suitable exam is obligatory.
  • Master Electrician – Having 10,000 hours or 5 years of experience is a must. It’s required that this experience involves commercial, residential, as well as industrial work. You can not substitute vocational training for experience. Passing an exam is a must.
  • Specialty Electrician – It’s essential that you have 2 years or over 4,000 hours of experience in the specialty area you want to get a license for. You can substitute 1 year of experience for an approved educational course. Passing an exam is obligatory.

Wisconsin

All electricians in Wisconsin are obliged to have a state license issued by the Department of Safety and Professional Services.

  • Journeyman Electrician – You need to have successfully gone through an electrical construction apprenticeship program. The alternative is to have worked for over 48 months or 8,000 hours in the field. You need to have a minimum of 1,000 hours of experience per year for 5 years. You can replace experience with full-time education in an electrical-related program. In this case,  every semester counts as 500 hours of experience, up to 2,000 hours, and 2 years of experience. Passing an exam is obligatory.
  • Master Electrician – Having worked for a minimum of 12 months as a journeyman electrician is a must. Or, you need to have more than 60 months with 10,000 hours of experience or 1,000 hours of experience a year for 7 years. You can replace your experience with studying an electrical-related program. In this case, every semester counts as working 500 hours, up to a maximum of 3,000 hours and 3 years of experience. Passing the exam is a must.

Wyoming

Anyone who wants to become an electrician in the state of Wyoming has to be awarded a state license by the Department of Fire Prevention and Electrical Safety.

  • Journeyman Electrician – You need to have worked for 4 years (8,000 hours) and 144 hours per year to obtain this license. Or, you need to have 576 hours over a 4-year apprenticeship program to become licensed. Not more than 75% of those 8,000 hours should be in one category. You can substitute 2,000 hours of education (beyond the required 576 hours) in electrical-related courses for experience.
  • Master Electrician – It’s obligatory that you have worked for 8 years (16,000 hours) in this field. Out of this experience, you need to have worked 4 years (8,000 hours) as a licensed journeyman. Having spent 576 hours in electrical-related classroom education as well as passing the exam is a must.

Becoming An Electrician Is A Great Career Choice

As you can see, each state has different requirements for becoming an electrician or an electrical contractor. But, regardless of the state, it requires hard work and persistence. In the end, though, you’ll be rewarded with a lucrative career and indispensable knowledge about the electrical industry. You can work in a variety of different settings, from your everyday residential electrician to the much more specialized ocean rig electricians.

Becoming an electrician or electrical contractor is more than worth it.

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