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How to Become an Electrician in USA

Updated on June 8, 2013

Master Electricians at work!



Many people want to start educating themselves and working as electricians, or already are and want to further their capabilities, but might have a hard time finding the requirements for their qualification in some states.

If this is your case, then this article is probably for you!

The fact is that electricians are really educated people, capable of performing various electrical installations, wiring and connecting different electrical apparatus in both a family dwelling and a construction site.

The problem is that in each one state of US the requirements for becoming an electrician vary and that is due to the different jurisdictions supervising the process. Come to think of it, in some states you must contact your local county to get a license to perform electrical work.

However, in most states there are state-wide licenses and in some of them there is also "Reciprocity". This means that if you are for example a "master electrician" in Maine, ME you can apply for a reciprocity with New Hampshire or Vermont and work there without having to go under the process of applying for the same license again!

Below we will take an overlook of the most common licensure principles that most states embrace and the process of becoming an electrician.

Note: If you want to further your education or start right away as an electrician, you can jump at the end of the Hub and check the resources, where I post a link to our website that has a detailed guide for each state and instructions.

States' Licensing Regulations

Most states will require you to obtain a license, before performing electrical work. Doing it without the appropriate license is prohibited and against the laws. Some of them also upload their catalogue with the officialy registered electricians, so customers can have a fast look or verify that the electrician they called is actually an officially registered one. Professionals should urge customers to verify the electrician they are calling for a repair, before hiring him.

The majority of the jurisdictions start with an apprenticeship, a category which (as the name says) takes the aspiring electrician and makes him work under the direct supervision of a journeyman or master electrician to learn the ropes. There the apprentice will start gathering practical experience in the form of hours to reach the minimum requirement, so he can apply for a journeyman's license.

Some of these programs will pay the student, while he gains experience. Also, some Boards responsive for the licensure will give credit for military or vocational schools education/experience.

Absence of state-wide license

So, what happens if there is no state-wide license?

Then you will have to contact your local municipality and/or county officials to ask for information and tell you how to acquire a license if it is needed. If there is a license you have to obtain prior to engaging in repairs and installations, usually this license will allow you to work only in your local county/jurisdiction and not in another state.

Usually the requirements for local licenses are some prior experience (usually 2,000 hours) which was supervised and can be verified by your employer or from military etc. Also, there might be exams you will have to take, usually on National Electrical Code (NEC). There are different versions of this book and you will have to check which one is adopted by your county.


More often than not, apart from experience, you will be required to take part in some examinations, carried out by either the responsible Board or an authorized official organization. The minimum passing score is almost always 70%.

The test questions vary from license to license, but in general the state's adopted version of National Electrical Code (NEC) is pretty popular and for contractors, some additional books and testing on law and business might be applicable too.


To sum up, becoming an electrician and performing electrical work vary greatly from state to state. The information is scattered all over the internet, but we have managed to make some free detailed guides for each state.

You can have a look at them below, at "Resources"!

Thanks for reading.



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