Since September 1, 2004, any professional who wishes to perform subject electrical work is required to be licensed. The purpose of using only licensed electricians is for public safety and health. It also prevents unqualified individuals from owning or working for a practice. A license enables that person to install, maintain, or extend an electrical wiring system, among other things. Several exemptions apply. Two of which are work performed on watercrafts or on government controlled traffic lights. In the interest of safety and reliability, anyone who performs residential appliance installation now must be licensed as of March 1, 2008.
There are several different types of licenses, which include the following:
- Electrical Apprentice
- Electrical Sign Apprentice
- Residential Wireman
- Maintenance Electrician
- Residential Appliance Installer
- Electrical Contractor (Business License)
- Electrical Sign Contractor (Business License)
- Journeyman Electrician
- Journeyman Sign Electrician
- Residential Appliance Installation Contractor (Business License)
- Master Electrician
- Master Sign Electrician
Steps to Becoming a Licensed Electrician
Becoming a licensed electrician is slightly more challenging than it has been in the past. But, it is very possible. The three basic requirements of becoming a licensed electrician are to complete an application, pay any needed fees, and accomplish any specific requirements for the individual license sought. The third step usually includes a prerequisite license (for more advanced licenses) and a stated minimum of on-the-job training hours.
When applying, be sure to fill out the application form as thoroughly as possible. All information included will be verified and can be audited. An applicant can be denied a license if any information is proved to be false. Application fees vary with the type of license sought. For example, the fee for a maintenance electrician license is only $25.00, while the fee for a residential appliance installation contractor license is $125.00. These fees may vary. All licenses have to be renewed or updated at one time or another. These seminars may last several weeks and class schedules will vary depending on the area.
Each application, depending on the specific type of license desired, will have instructions and a list of different items to include. Common requirements include proof of on-the-job training, proof of a successfully completed examination, proof of worker’s compensation and liability insurance, copies of any held licenses or certifications, and reference letters. On-the-job training is usually done under the supervision of a master electrician. Any exam would pull questions from a wide range of topics, including some that won’t necessarily be practiced by the applicant in his/her individual job. Mainly, information is taken from The National Electrical Code (NEC), common knowledge, and electrical trade theory. The NEC is considered the cornerstone for electrical safety, and it is updated every three years. Keep in mind that each state has its own local laws, which would also be included in any tests and would vary depending on the applicant’s location.
To sum up, the steps to obtaining an electrician license is to first contact one’s local building department, where one can obtain an application. This will indicate how many years of on-the-job training experience is needed to sit for the exam. Next, a person may want to find an online or in-person electrical code class and purchase the necessary books. After an applicant passes his/her exam, he/she should be sure to fulfill any state requirements and thoroughly complete the application with all of the additional “proofs” attached.
Adhering to the aforementioned steps will give an individual the ability to legally perform the following duties on wiring, circuit boards, or electronics:
- Installation of electrical systems
- Repair of electrical systems
- Maintenance of electrical systems
Licensing of electricians is the responsible thing to do for the safety of the community. Help uphold these principles by obtaining or updating a license today.