One may think there isn’t much involved in becoming a licensed electrical contractor. But in the U.S., tradespeople need to meet some tough requirements to get into the field. The field of trade skills provides professionals with lucrative career opportunities to specialize and offer services that improve the lives of others.
All aspiring tradespeople know that the most important thing they need to start working as a journeyman electrician or plumber is a license, but have you ever wondered why?
Licensing is important in almost all states across the U.S., and applicants need to complete a set of requirements before they can qualify for that, too. Each state has specific regulations and codes – without proper knowledge of these, tradespeople would be unable to work safely and professionally.
Licensing is also a way to give customers peace of mind when contracting services of tradespeople like plumbers and electricians; a license means they have updated knowledge about local codes and guidelines.
While some states require that tradespeople such as electrical contractors only need a single license to practice across the state, this isn’t the case all the time. In some states, such as New York and Florida, tradespeople need to get district-based agency licensing.
In this, the district licensing authority grants them a license which allows them to only practice in the vicinity of the district. This is common in states where each district has varying electrical codes as opposed to others. You can obtain a permit to work in other districts, but that also involves you completing certain requirements.
Becoming an electrician in Michigan has few requirements, such as a dedicated license. Luckily, all of these requirements are nothing too outrageous, and the training program isn’t too difficult, either. So in this guide, let’s go over the requirements for becoming a licensed electrician in Michigan.
In order to become an official electrician in Michigan, you will first need to get a license. This license is handed down by the Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) Department, as they handle licensing throughout Michigan. In order to obtain your Journeyman or Masters license, you will have to pass a state-mandated exam as well as put in a specific number of hours in class to qualify for a license.
First, you will have to accumulate four years’ worth of experience under the supervision or a Journeyman electrician or a master electrician. After this, you can take the licensing examination, which, if you pass, means getting your journeyman license. It makes you a certified electrician in the state of Michigan. For further specialization, you will require more schooling and testing.
Before you can go apply for a license, you will have to apply for an apprenticeship. This apprenticeship will last for three to four years and will involve a lot of specialized training. Various local contractors are always offering apprenticeships, so you will have to hunt them down. To qualify for the apprenticeship, you will need a high school degree or a GED. Meanwhile, you have to be at least 20 years old to apply for the license exam.
If you have already completed your apprenticeship, next up, you have to fill in a journeyman electrician examination application. This is available on the LARA website. But if you live in Grand Rapids or Detroit, you will need to fill out their respective forms, as they offer licenses locally.
Alongside the application, you will need to attach a copy of your current license, if any, as well as any documentation of any experience. And you will have to attach the payment for the application. The fee for the examination in Michigan is $100.
You cannot go to the examination hall before the scheduled date, and no one can attend once the exam has started. You will have to bring your admission card, and an official signed document with proper photo identification.
The journeyman exam will test entry-level knowledge about the electrical industry. The exam will last for 2.5 hours and will consist of 80 questions
On the other hand, the masters’ exam will test additional knowledge about electrical installation, such as planning and installations. This is a considerably longer test at 3 hours, but with 75 questions.
When you pass the test, you will receive your journeyman license at the cost of $40 and will have to renew the license every year for $40. If you applied for the master’s exam, you will receive your license at the cost of $50 and have to renew it every year for $50.
To begin with, you need to get a high school diploma. One of the benefits of joining the trade skill field is that you don’t need to take the four-year college route before you can start earning money. However, it’s still important that you graduate from high school. So if you dropped out, get your diploma or an equivalent, such as a GED, or if you’re still in high school, make sure to graduate.
It’s recommended that high school students looking to become electrical contractors choose their courses carefully – subjects like trigonometry and algebra are important, and you should start paying special attention in English and Physics class.
If you want to stand out from other students when applying for an apprenticeship, knowing the basics of electrical work can help. You can take up an electrician program at a local trade school or career college so you’re gradually introduced to the field of work. You’ll also gain some fundamental knowledge that gives you a head start when starting your apprenticeship.
Plenty of trade schools also provide practical training in addition to theoretical instruction in the classroom.
Next, start researching apprenticeship opportunities under a licensed electrical contractor. The United States Department of Labor, online job boards, and newspaper classifieds are one way to find local apprenticeships in your area.
The application process for being an apprentice may differ from one state to the next. Usually, this includes an aptitude exam that tests your algebra, arithmetic, and reading comprehension skills.
Moreover, you’ll have to pass a job interview, as well as meet certain physical requirements and demonstrate an adequate level of mechanical skills. In some states, you’ll have to pass a drug test as well.
The aptitude test and entry requirements are why we recommend that applicants attend vocational school before thinking of an apprenticeship. These institutes can help you catch up on what you need to know to ace your application.
In a few states, apprentices need to register as ‘trainee electricians’ before being permitted to practice on job sites. This is common in states like Texas and California; it’s a simple process and only involves paying a minimal fee and filling out a form. Nonetheless, requirements may differ in your state, so make sure that you confirm with the local department of licensing, labor, or consumer affairs.
During your apprenticeship, you’ll complete courses on local electrical codes and theory, along with on-the-job training. You’ll be working under the supervision of a licensed electrical contractor or master electrician for a minimum of four years of training. Not to mention, you’ll also be paid on an hourly basis.
You’ll learn about essential concepts and gain plenty of practical experiences related to a typical electrical contractor job description.
Don’t worry if the curriculum sounds tough –initially, you’ll start with basic tasks before moving onto complex jobs. With each passing day, you’ll improve your practical understanding of important concepts and skills as well.
By the time you’re done with a four-year apprenticeship, you’ll be able to perform different kinds of electrical work that’s expected from a journeyman electrical contractor. You already have the skills – all that’s left is a license to prove it!
The common path to getting a license is to complete a set number of hours of on-the-job training and classroom training before taking an exam. The exam tests how well you understand building codes, local laws, safety practices, electrical concepts, and the National Electrical Code.
In some states, you’ll have to give a business-related exam that will help you set up your own business later on.
You can face penalties for working without a license and it’s also crucial that you renew your license periodically to retain licensure status. If you want to practice in another state, you’ll need to get a license for that state as well. However, if you have a district license, you can get a permit to work outside the area, but this can differ from state to state.
PHCEid.org is an advocate for the Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, and Electrical contractor to properly identify their licensed status for public awareness. Professional Contractors have the license or certification to work in homes and businesses. Without the proper certification and licensing to become a skilled trades professional, it compromises the integrity of the trade industry.
The contractors listed on the PHCEid.org website are licensed or certified according to the codes and laws set forth by each governing state and/or entity. Licensed Contractors work in compliance with local and state codes set forth by their governing trade industry board. Get more information at PHCEid.org or call 844-954-2367 today!