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A 2021 Guide to Electrician Licensing Requirements

Introduction to Electrical: Chapter 3


Licensing Requirements


In this module, we will learn about the different organizations that provide services for electricians. We’ll also discuss the licensing process for becoming a professional electrician. Skip to quiz!


NFPA


The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is an international organization for eliminating death, injury, property, and economic loss due to fires. Electrical hazards are a major cause of fire. NFPA is responsible for 380 codes and standards designed to minimize the risk and effects of fire.


The NFPA 70E is a standard for electrical safety in the workplace. It provides practical safeguarding of employees during activities such as:

  • Installing electric equipment.

  • Maintaining electric equipment, and

  • Demolishing electric conductors and electric equipment.


The National Electrical Code (NEC) is a set of regularly updated standards for the safe installation of electric wiring in the United States. All electricians are expected to abide by NEC standards while dealing with any electrical equipment and wiring.


The NEC is approved as an American national standard by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). It’s updated once every three years.


OSHA


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) ensures workers' safe and healthy working conditions by setting and enforcing standards. OSHA also provides training, education, and assistance to electricians through its programs.


The electrical safety requirements by OSHA can be found in two separate subparts as follows:

  • Part 1910, Subpart S, and

  • Part 1926, Subpart K.

Subpart S addresses electrical safety requirements for the electrical industry. Subpart K focuses on electrical safety in construction.


Other Organizations


The organizations that provide service for electricians are:

  • International Electrical Testing Association (NETA), and

  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).


The International Electrical Testing Association was formerly known as the National Electrical Testing Association (NETA). NETA's goal is to establish uniform testing procedures for electrical equipment and standardize procedures to test technicians’ knowledge.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is the world’s largest professional association dedicated to advancing technological innovation. IEEE is a leading standards development organization that has developed over 900 industry standards in various disciplines, including electric power and energy.


Certified vs. Licensed Electrician


A licensed electrician works with electrical equipment, including electrical panels, wires, and industrial systems. Licensed electricians complete state-approved licensing programs and exams to work in their respective states.


A certified electrician is a state-licensed electrician who seeks additional certifications to work in specific industries or businesses. Electricians can obtain certifications in areas like instrumentation, electrical safety, and solar.

Licenses and certifications are not the same. Electricians must have a license to perform work in their area legally. An electrician certification is entirely optional and demonstrates an electrician's continuing education and subject mastery.


An organization distributes a certificate to indicate an electrician has completed specific educational requirements. Certificates indicate that an electrician has demonstrated a certain level of knowledge.


Certificates are helpful marketing tools for electricians. For example, when electricians seek employment at an electrical company, certificates can make their resume stand out. When master electricians decide to start their own business, an impressive list of certificates can attract potential customers.


Licensing and Certification


An electrician can apply for the following licenses:

  • Journeyman Electrician license,

  • Master Electrician license, and

  • Electrical Contractor license.

Let’s look at each of them.


For a journeyman license, we have to complete the required apprenticeship program. After completing the apprenticeship, we need to pass the electrical journeyman exam.


A master electrician license is achieved after two years as a journeyman electrician and passing the Master Electrician Exam. The electrical contractor license is an optional business license reserved for master electricians that operate an electrical contracting business.


There are numerous certifications available for electricians. These certifications are in the following domains:

  • Electrical training alliance certifications,

  • Electrical safety certifications, and

  • Renewable energy certifications.


Licensing Process


To summarize, the process for becoming a professional electrician is as follows:

  • Earn a high school diploma or pass the General Educational, Development (GED) test,

  • Apply for an apprenticeship, and

  • Get licensed or certified in your state.


The cost of becoming an electrician varies enormously. Apprenticeship fees can run between about $400 and $1,000 per year. However, many apprentices have their tuition paid by their employers.


For a license, candidates should file an application for licensure with the state board of electrical examiners. Application requirements vary by state and license type, but common requirements include:

  • Proof of experience,

  • Application fee, and

  • Certificate of completion of an apprenticeship.


Once the board approves a license application, applicants should follow board instructions on scheduling the relevant exam. This license typically expires annually. Individuals who fail to renew their license may face penalty, including license suspension.


The penalty for unlicensed electrical contracting work will start at $1000 for a first offense. The second and third offenses will carry penalties of $2,000 and $3,000, respectively. After the third time, offenders can expect to pay $10,000.


The organizations that provide service for electricians are:

  • National Fire Protection Association (NFPA),

  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA),

  • International Electrical Testing Association (NETA), and

  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).


The process for becoming a professional plumber is as follows:

  • Earn a high school diploma or pass the General Educational Development (GED) test,

  • Apply for an apprenticeship, and

  • Get licensed or certified in your state.


 

Question #1: What service does the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) provide to electricians?

  1. It provides safety gear for electricians

  2. It enforces standards to minimize the risk and effects of fire

  3. It provides tools to electricians

  4. It provides training to improve electricians communication skills

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Answer: It enforces standards to minimize the risk and effects of fire

NFPA is responsible for 380 codes and standards designed to minimize the risk and effects of fire.


Question #2: What service does the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provide to electricians? (select all that apply)

  1. It provides safety gear for electricians.

  2. It enforces standards to minimize the risk and effects of fire.

  3. It provides tools to electricians.

  4. It provides training on safety through its programs.

Scroll down for the answer...









Answer: It enforces standards to minimize the risk and effects of fire.

It provides training on safety through its programs.

OSHA provides training, education, and assistance to electricians through its programs. It ensures workers' safe and healthy working conditions by setting and enforcing standards.


Question #3: What is the goal of the National Electrical Testing Association (NETA) for electricians?

  1. To set standards on safety

  2. To improve electricians’ communication skills

  3. To establish uniform testing procedures for electrical equipment

  4. To provide training on safety through its programs

Scroll down for the answer...














Answer: To establish uniform testing procedures for electrical equipment

NETA's goal is to establish uniform testing procedures for electrical equipment and standardize procedures to test technicians’ knowledge.


Question #4: Licensed and certified electricians are the same.

  1. True

  2. False

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Answer: False

Licenses and certifications are not the same.

An electrician certification is entirely optional and demonstrates an electrician's continuing education and subject mastery.


Question #5: What is the benefit of becoming a certified electrician?

  1. The certificate ensures that an electrician reaches a job location on time

  2. Certificates can make an electrician’s resume stand out

  3. The certificate ensures an electrician does his work without delay

  4. Certificates indicate that an electrician has demonstrated a certain level of knowledge

Scroll down for the answer...












Answer: Certificates can make an electrician’s resume stand out

Certificates indicate that an electrician has demonstrated a certain level of knowledge

Certificates indicate that an electrician has demonstrated a certain level of knowledge.

When electricians seek employment at an electrical company, certificates can make their resume stand out.


Question #6: What are the most common requirements to apply for an electrician license? (select all that apply)

  1. A PhD degree

  2. Proof of experience

  3. Certificate of completion of an apprenticeship

  4. Doctor’s letter

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Answer: Proof of experience

Certificate of completion of an apprenticeship

Application requirements vary by state and license type, but common requirements include:

  • Proof of experience,

  • Application fee, and

  • Certificate of completion of an apprenticeship.

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