An electrician is an in-demand tradesperson. The skills they provide are typically beyond what a DIY homeowner or renter is comfortable attempting, and electricians are generally well-paid for their expertise. It’s an excellent career choice for people who are good with their hands and have keen attention to detail.
Before you start taking on residential or commercial electrical clients, you may need a license from your state or local licensing authority. The steps required to become a licensed electrician vary from state to state. Most states will require you to pass an exam, and some will ask for proof of insurance. Some states even have different levels of licensing as you gain more experience in the field.
This guide outlines the electrical license requirements in six states.
You must apply for a C-10 Electrical Contractor license to become a licensed electrician in California. This license is issued by the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) and will allow you to work on projects totaling over $500 (including labor, materials, and all other costs).
To receive an electrical license in the Golden State, you must:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Provide a valid Social Security Number (SSN) or individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN)
- Complete at least four years of relevant work experience
- Pass three exams: trade, law & business, and asbestos safety
California electricians must also show proof of General Liability insurance and Workers’ Compensation insurance (if applicable) and buy a $15,000 bond.
Electricians in the Sunshine State can choose from two types of electrical contractor licenses. Both are issued by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR):
- Certified – A statewide license that allows you to work as an electrician anywhere in Florida.
- Registered – A limited license, where you are restricted to working only in cities and counties where you have a competency card.
To apply for either a certified or registered license, you will need to:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Have a valid Social Security Number (SSN) or individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN)
- Have at least four years of work experience and/or education
- Be financially stable (as evidenced by a recent FICO credit report)
Florida electricians must pass an exam and background check to become licensed electricians. You will also need to buy General Liability insurance and Workers’ Compensation coverage (if required).
Electrical licenses in Georgia are issued at the state level by the Construction Industry Licensing Board, Division of Electrical Contractors. To apply, you must:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Have at least four years of relevant experience
- Submit references who have knowledge of your work, including one who is a licensed electrician
- Pass an exam
Electricians in Ohio must have a commercial contractor license to practice their trade. Statewide contractor licenses are issued by the Ohio Industry Licensing Board (OILB).
To become a licensed electrician, you must:
- Be 18 years or older
- Be a U.S. citizen or legal resident
- Have at least five years of experience as a tradesperson, be a registered engineer, or have comparable experience
- Have a clean criminal record (cannot have been convicted of a crime)
- Pass a trades exam
Ohio electricians must also show proof of insurance to receive their electrical license. Currently, the requirement is that you have a minimum of $500,000 in liability insurance to become a licensed electrician in the Buckeye State.
Electricians in Pennsylvania do not need a state-issued license to work. Licensing is done at the local level, and there may be requirements you must meet to get an electrical license from your county or city. Your local government website has up-to-date information on becoming a licensed electrician in your area.
You must hold an electrical license to practice the trade in Texas. Statewide licenses are issued by the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation (TDLR). There are three levels of licensing for Texas electricians:
- Apprentice – There is no exam or work experience required to get your apprentice electrician license in Texas. However, you will only be licensed to work under the supervision of a journeyman or master electrician or a residential wireman.
- Journeyman – To get a journeyman electrician license, you must have at least 8,000 hours of on-the-job training supervised by a master electrician. You will also need to pass an exam.
- Master – A master electrician must complete 12,000 hours of supervised training and have held a journeyman license for two years or more. You must also pass a licensing exam.
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This information is a general guide only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Always check with your local licensing board when getting or renewing your electrician’s license to ensure you are meeting their current licensing requirements.