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Electrician License Requirements

Statewide electrical licensing and continuing education are becoming more and more common throughout the United States.

Contact your local Building Department or official to find out current license requirements for your area. For information about continuing education units, check out our electrical seminars.

Exam questions come from theory, common knowledge, and the National Electrical Code© which would be the same in any state. The main difference in testing in different states are the questions involving state and local laws and rules. Check out our list of frequently asked questions about licensing and the electrical exam.

Some states are now requiring an exam on Business and Law for the contractors license. 

The major purpose of a license is to protect public health and safety by preventing unqualified people from practicing a given profession or occupation. Licensing is also a formal and legal way of defining a profession and a means of including, in practice, those who meet predetermined standards deemed to be necessary for the protection of the public.

Licensing is more than passing an exam and paying a fee; it is being held responsible and liable to penalties for incompetence or illegal/immoral actions. Having a license suspended or revoked is not only to punish and to avoid repetition of improper acts, it is to protect the general public.

After passing the exam there are requirements that must be met in most States. These requirements must be kept up to maintain your license. All licenses, regardless of issuance date, are subject to renewal, on a given date by the State. Failure to maintain the requests can cause automatic termination of the license.

Worker's Compensation Insurance - Submit a certificate of worker's compensation insurance from an insurance company authorized to do business in this State, and a statement from the insurance carrier that the board will be notified of any withdrawal, termination, or cancellation of the insurance.

Liability and Property Damage Insurance - Submit a certificate of insurance from an insurance company or agency authorized to do business in your State, showing full policy coverage of the applicant for comprehensive personal injury and property damage liability. The dollar amount will vary from State to State.

Place of Business - A licensed contractor shall have and maintain a definite place of business where the license may be served notice and legal process in the State within an area zoned for such business and shall display therein his contractor's license. A Post Office Box number is not accepted as a place of business.

Fees - License fees will be due. Specific amounts will be given at the appropriate time.

The difficulty for some taking an exam is the questions come from a broad area of the electrical trade and are not necessarily limited to only the type of electrical work that you perform. For a list of books and DVDs to help you prepare for the journeyman and master electrical exam as well as the business law exam, check out our current catalog.  

The exam is written for any electrician that sits for the test that particular day. You  may only wire houses, but the electrician sitting behind you only wires hospitals or gas stations. Some exam questions may come from areas of the Code book you've never used in your work.

Local exams sometimes don't fully evaluate ones craftsmanship and knowledge of the electrical trade. National testing organizations have incorporated the latest technology. A task analysis is used to develop a test that is a fair test of ones knowledge in the electrical trade.

A task analysis is performed by a committee of competent experts in the electrical field. A field survey of tradespeople performing the tasks in the field is listed in an outline with the degree of each task evaluated and used in the exam.

Sure, I heard all the negatives of being required to take an exam over the years. The statement that always appears in my mind was said by Vince Lombardi: "Winning isn't everything, but it sure beats the second choice".

The time has come to demand accountability and it starts with you. Demand a license.

Written exams whether written by a testing company, licensing board, or by the electrical inspector are generally based on the same categories of questioning: Code, theory, practical knowledge, etc.

The percentage of questions asked from the category may vary due to the exams being customized to meet the requirements for the area in which the exam is being given.

Some exams require a larger or smaller percentage of questions asked from a category than another area requires. This decision is made by the electrical board members of that area.


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Learn To Be A Better Electrician Home Study Program By Tom Henry

Journeyman & Master Exam Series DVDs

Video Series
Journeyman & Master Electrical Exam Preparation Series on 9-12 videos or dvds. Approx. 75-90 min. Includes workshee