Licensed Electrician Career Path: Let’s Get Started!

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

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

Electrical contractors can either work independently or as part of larger contracting companies. They perform all types 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.

Overhead Electrical High Voltage Wires

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 that follow the national electric code. 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.

 

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 find 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 long-term clients, which usually includes electrical system preventive maintenance.

Residential Projects

Although residential projects are 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.

The licensed electrician also helps with home renovation projects and can install dimmers and other lighting controls, but usually doesn’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 or vocational school . 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:

Electric Circuits

Step 1. Complete an Apprenticeship with an Electrician

Even the most basic 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

The final step that an electrical contractor can take to increase their knowledge and skills is to complete master electrician prerequisite practice hours.

Normally, electricians work for around 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.

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 with on the job training becoming an electrical contractor.

Electrician Tester

Electrician Requirements by State

Contractor licensure comes a with 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, especially if you’re thinking of starting your own electrical business.

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

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’ll 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 must show that you have a minimum of 8,000 hours of experience in this industry. At least 6,000 of these hours must 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 in 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 must 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 must prove that you have worked at least four years in this field and also must successfully complete a trade and business exam to get your license.

Expert Advice

What are the types of different electrician licenses and do you obtain one?

Obtaining Your Electrical Contractor License To become a licensed electrical contractor in Arizona, you must follow these steps:

  1. Meet the Eligibility Criteria: Depending on the type of license you’re pursuing, you must fulfill the experience, and examination requirements set by the Arizona Registrar of Contractors.
  2. Pass the Examination: Depending on the license type, you will pass a trade exam and a state statutes and rules exam to demonstrate your knowledge and competence.
  3. Form a Company: Registering a company name and type will provide you with the necessary safeguards to operate within the state of Arizona and is a prerequisite for obtaining a license.
  4. Obtain Bonding: Adequate bond coverage is typically required for licensure to protect your clients and ensure you meet state requirements.
  5. Submit an Application: Prepare and submit the required application, along with any supporting documents and fees.
  6. Renew Your License: All licenses must be renewed regularly, so stay informed about the renewal process and deadlines.

Understanding the different types of electrical contractor licenses in Arizona is crucial for both electricians and those looking to hire them. Each license, from the CR-67 Low Voltage and Communications, CR-11 Electrical, and the A-17 Electrical Transmission Lines Licenses, serves a specific voltage range and set of electrical tasks.

Brian Finn
Arizona Contractor License Center

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 2 years of experience 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 with regard to 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 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 license, 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 must 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 must 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 with 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 must issue a state license in your name. Moreover, you must prove you have experience in the field, out of which a minimum of 40% must 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.

  • 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 must 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 trade school or vocational school with a minimum of 1,000 hours of lab work.

Idaho

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

  • Apprentice Electrician – To become an apprentice electrician, you don’t have to have a license, however, you must 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 must 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 must first 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.
  • Specialty Electrician Trainee – You don’t necessarily have to be licensed, however, you must be registered. Plus, you must 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 must be a licensed electrical specialty contractor or employ one in that same category in the electrical business. 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 on job opportunities.

 

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 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 from 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 contractor’s 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 into 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 must complete a study course of 576 hours that are 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 must 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 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 license, 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.

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 contractor’s 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 must 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 must 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 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 license, 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. Here are 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 Mississippi State Board of Contractors issues this license and to obtain it, you first must 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 must 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 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 for 4 years in the last 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 must 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 cannot 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 prerequisites as well:

  • Limited classification – It’s essential that you have worked 2 years in the field. At least one of these years must be a primary experience.
  • Intermediate classification – You need to have worked for 4 years in this industry and at least two and a half years of that time must 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

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 must 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 must 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 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 work experience of at least 8,000 hours. Passing an exam is a must.

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 must 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 Tennessee 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 must 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 2-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 for 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 must first be 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 must 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 must 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 a 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 cannot 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 must 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. You will need to stay focused in order to achieve your career goal of becoming an electrician. 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.

Shop Lighting

Advice for Aspiring and New Electricians

What are the challenges of working as an industrial electrician?

The main issue is to determine what the needs are for the customer and to deliver a bulletproof industrial application that not only is installed with the N.E.C in mind but for the wellbeing of the operators and, meeting the needs of the engineers in the industrial setting. Most industrial installations supersede the N.E.C. The mindset for the industrial electrician needs to understand that. Most industrial installations are controlled by the engineers but the maintenance men on the work floor follow the installations and have to live with any new changes. The industrial electrician and maintenance personnel need to be able to work hand in hand with each other so the installation works in harmony with the existing equipment in mind. The industrial installations are not so focused on price but on meeting the needs of the new equipment the manufacturer is installing including the time frame they have established for the work. A robust industrial electrical installation, installed by the industrial electrician, will last for the rigors of the harsh environment of the industry. My experience with Ford, GM, AMC (yes I am that old), and many other large format industrial manufacturers require great knowledge for the industrial electrician from, control wiring, to high voltage installations.

As I worked my way from Michigan to Florida challenges changed in the industrial market, I was now dealing with Juice manufacturers that had their unique industrial challenges. Part of the challenge is the harsh, corrosive environment of the setting. The challenges included all Stainless steel and PVC-coated rigid conduit. So the environment will change from the type of industrial installation. Industrial electricians have to have the ability to understand the challenges of the environment that they are working on.

Dominic Pipia

allphase-electric.com

What is the Importance of Electrical Hazard Prevention for an Electrician?

Electrical hazards are a serious concern for electricians, as they work with electricity every day. They are exposed to such hazards as electrical shock, arc flash, and fires. Using proper tools and equipment, ensuring equipment is de-energized, using lockout/tagout procedures, wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), and working in safe work environments such as well-illuminated spaces and avoiding wet or damp conditions while working are some of the methods of hazard prevention. Most importantly, electricians must undergo training in electrical and arc flash safety to better understand hazard exposure, hazard elimination or minimization, and implement safe work practices in line with OSHA standards and the NFPA 70E guidelines.

Beth Holstein
HAZWOPER OSHA Training, LLC

How Can You Best Protect Your Electrical Wiring and Equipment?

Safeguarding your electrical wiring and equipment is crucial for their longevity and safety. To achieve this, incorporating protective measures is essential. One effective solution is the use of surface-mount access doors. These doors not only provide convenient access to electrical components but also ensure their protection. In this discussion, we will explore how surface-mount access doors can effectively safeguard your electrical wiring and equipment.

Protecting your electrical wiring and equipment ensures their longevity and prevents potential hazards. By incorporating surface-mount access doors, conducting regular inspections, managing cables properly, implementing surge protection, and providing adequate ventilation, you can enhance the safety and reliability of your electrical systems. Remember to consult with a qualified electrician or professional for specific recommendations based on your setup and requirements. Prioritizing the protection of your electrical infrastructure will contribute to its efficient operation and the overall safety of your environment.

Chris Jackson
Best Access Doors

What are Some of the Most Important Skills That an Electrician Should Have, and How Can Aspiring Electricians Develop These Skills?

As an electrical contractor, the skills I look for in an electrician may be different than expected. Some of the most important skills an electrician should have are:

1. Ability to Problem-Solve
2. Commitment to teamwork
3. Teachable

The day-to-day knowledge required to be an electrician is largely learned on the job. Therefore, if you are teachable and eager to learn the trade, then the practical skills will be built one step at a time. I prefer to train an employee who is committed to working as part of a team, is patient when a problem arises, and has a strong work ethic. What I just described is much preferred over an electrician who has practical skills but not the character necessary to function within a team nor the humility to take instruction. These character traits are what will bring success to electricians and the companies for which they work.

In a more practical way, you should also have a:

5. Good understanding of alternating current theory
6. Good grasp of math

These can be developed on the job as well, but taking a course in basic electrical theory is beneficial. Tutoring or a math refresher class is a good idea if math is not your strong suit. Overall, if you have the desire to grasp the trade, and put in the work required, I have no doubt you can have a fulfilling career as an electrician.

Steve Schnute
Ask the Electrical Guy

What are Some Common Misconceptions About the Electrician Profession?

First, many believe that electricians only handle basic wiring and outlets and inspect electrical systems on job sites. In reality, they possess expertise in complex electrical systems, troubleshooting, and installing various components in residential, commercial, and industrial settings.

Second, it is a common misconception that electricians have limited career growth. However, the reality is that the profession presents ample opportunities for advancement, allowing electricians to specialize in areas such as renewable energy, automation systems, or energy management. Moreover, experienced electricians can progress to supervisory or managerial roles, which offer increased responsibilities and often come with higher compensation.

Lastly, some assume that formal education is unnecessary for electricians. On the contrary, becoming a certified electrician involves extensive training in trade schools training, being an electrician apprentice, and compliance with safety regulations. Many electricians pursue formal education through vocational schools, trade school programs, community colleges or apprenticeship programs.

It’s crucial to debunk these misconceptions and acknowledge the diverse and rewarding nature of the electrician profession. Electricians play a vital role in ensuring safe and efficient electrical systems, contributing to the construction industry’s success and more.

Mark Matyanowski
MatchBuilt

 

What do customers think about when selecting an electrician?

When selecting an electrician, I want to know the depth of their knowledge of electrical systems, circuits, and safety procedures. They should be able to demonstrate a solid grasp of electrical codes and regulations, ensuring that their work consistently meets rigorous safety standards. Ultimately when it comes to electrical work, safety is paramount.

Regards,

Sabina
Mummy Matters

 

What advice would you give to someone who is considering becoming an electrician, and what steps can they take to succeed in this field?

The best way to become an electrician is to become an electrical helper first to test it out. Most young people who join the trade with no experience find themselves working in this position until they can get a company to sign them up as an electrical apprentice. I remember when I first applied to become an electrical apprentice I looked in the newspaper to find work as there were no internet job postings at that time, but I never got called back from any of the 5 jobs available that I applied to. I decided I was going to send my resume to every company in town regardless if they were hiring or not. At the time, I used the yellow book, I wrote down every electrical company’s name & phone number I could find and then I called every number and asked for the hiring manager’s contact information. I made cover letters for them all just subbing out the company name for the next in the list until I had sent resumes to every company. I had a job in 3 days. My advice is to not only apply to the groups hiring but apply to them all. The ones that are really busy and need help don’t even have time to make an ad! Good luck!

Luke Begley, CEO

CircuitIQ

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About the Author

Cory Peterson is Director of Sales & Marketing at LED Lighting Supply where he focuses on improving customer experience and revenue operations. Cory writes about commercial & industrial lighting, along with topics important to contractors and facility managers. In his free time, Cory enjoys traveling, snorkeling, exercise and cooking.

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