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.
Just like in many other states in the U.S., you will need a statewide license to become a licensed electrician in Texas. But unlike most states, you will not need a city-specific license to perform as a professional. This means that acquiring a license in any Texas city will allow you to conduct professional operations there. There are, of course, many different license options, but before you can choose a career path, you will have to join an apprenticeship.
Before you can receive a license, you need to apply for an apprenticeship. In order to qualify, you must be 16 years or older and currently assisting a master electrician or working under their supervision.
You should also note that if you are a convicted criminal, you will need to provide a complete criminal history when applying for an apprenticeship. The license costs $25, which you will have to send through a money order.
Applying for a license is quite simple, and it all boils down to which licensed electrician you want to be. There are four main types:
This is the beginner stage, and in order to apply, you will first have to complete an apprenticeship and have at least 8,000 hours of job experience under the supervision of a master electrician. You will have to include the full 8,000 hours of employment in the application form. And your employer(s) will have to sign an experience verification form.
This is the next license that you can get after you receive your journeyman license. For the master license, you will need 12,000 hours’ worth of experience. This should be completed under a master electrician’s supervision. You can apply for this license after holding a journeyman license for at least two years.
For a residential wireman license, all you will need is 4,000 hours on the job experience under the supervision of a master electrician or a residential wireman. You will have to provide proof of employment and can apply for the exam after you get your apprenticeship license.
For a maintenance electrician license, you will need 8,000 hours of job experience under the supervision of a master or maintenance electrician. You will also need to provide proof for employment and can go after obtaining an apprentice license.
In order to apply for any of these licenses, you will have to fill an application form and then submit it to the TDLR. Along with with the application, you will have to submit proof of experience, identification documents, criminal history (if any), and a history of any occupational license discrepancies. After you submit the application with the fee, you will have to give an exam.
Once your application is accepted, you will receive an entry slip that you will show along with identification papers at the venue of the exam. The journeyman exam will consist of 80 questions that you will have to complete in 4 hours. On the other hand, for the masters’ license, you must first fill its requirement, and then you can apply for the exam. The exam will have 100 questions, which you will have to complete in 5 hours.
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!