Electrician Licensing – Brief Overview

Although the electrician licensing requirements vary for each state of the USA, there is a similar set of steps involved in working towards the goal of becoming a licensed electrician, as follows:

A. Formal Training
There are a number of possible choices, when the prospective electricians are looking to receive formal classroom training as it relates to electricity. Typically completing a series of required courses sets the foundation for the successful electrician training. It is good for the prospective electricians to take courses in math (algebra), science, electronics and mechanical drawing. It is also good to pass courses related to electrical wiring, including the installation and design of electrical systems and/or courses related to applied electricity. Students looking to become electricians can complete the appropriate training courses by attending a recognized vocational, industrial or trade school. In addition, college or university courses towards either a Bachelor or Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering may also qualify towards becoming a certified electrician.

B. Apprenticeship
In the USA under federal law the prospective electricians must be at least 18 years of age or older, in order to be eligible to apply to begin work as an apprentice electrician. Typically, an apprentice electricians need to register with the State’s official licensing body. Once registered with the proper government agency as an apprentice electrician, prospective professionals work directly under the supervision of a journeyman or master electrician for a specified number of qualifying hours. Typically most electricians in the USA participate in such programs, which provide at least the minimum required 144 hours of theoretical classroom training and minimum of 8000 hours of practical on-the-job training over the course of a 4-5 year electrician apprenticeship. Very positive aspect of the electrician apprenticeship training programs is the fact that they are mainly offered by sponsoring organisations such as The National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee or the National Electrical Contractors’ Association. Additionally, good benefit of these electrician training programs is the fact that apprentice electricians earn income for their work during their electrician training.

C. Licensing Examination
Licensing requirements vary by US state and it is highly advisable for the prospective electricians to check all the specific state requirements and regulations before starting their electrician training. Almost all states in the USA require electricians to pass a licensing exam that certifies their proper knowledge of electrical theory, the US national electrical code, as well as the local electronic and building codes. Typically, the electrician certification test is administered by the State or Local government once the prospective electrician has filled in the appropriate application forms along with any accompanying background information (e.g., transcripts from electrician training, proof of employment) and successfully completed an electrician apprenticeship. Electrician licensing examinations are taken at the end of the electrician apprenticeship period, but can in many locations of the USA be taken prior to the completion of the electrician apprenticeship program. However as a condition of licensing the prospective electrician will still need to have completed the required number of hours of training.

Leave a Reply