Understand the general process for renewing your electrical license, although many requirements vary from state to state
Learn the steps to take if your electrical license expires
Learn about how electrical work is built around continuing education
If you’re interested in career stability, excellent pay, good benefits, and enjoy working with your hands, an electrical job could be the right choice for you.
Whether you’re a journeyman or a master electrician, the field is in high demand across the country. After all, nearly everyone uses electricity, including homes, businesses, schools, and government facilities. In fact, from 2019 to 2029, employment opportunities for electricians are projected to grow 8% over the next decade — much faster than the average for all occupations.
There is a lot of training involved in the early stages of becoming an electrician. And with best practices regularly evolving, and updates to codes and regulations, a big part of the job is staying up to date on changes in the field. With that said, continuing education will always play a big role in your career as an electrician.
What Is Electrical Continuing Education?
No matter which state you live in, once you earn your electrical license, you’ll need to renew and maintain it through continuing education courses and, in some states, additional testing. The process for these electrical continuing education courses and your license renewal requirements will vary from state to state, but continuing education comes in many forms — online courses, in-person classes, webinars, and even correspondence courses.
The electrical field is ever-changing as new technology is introduced and better, safer practices and regulations are established. It’s important to take your continuing education requirements seriously so that you can remain employed and move forward in the field.
How to Renew Your Electrical License
Education is the backbone of electrical work. To launch a career in the electrical trade, you need a high school diploma or GED equivalent. From there, you’ll either take a pre-apprenticeship training program at a vocational or technical school or jump into a four- or five-year apprenticeship program.
These apprenticeships are intensive programs that require hundreds, sometimes thousands, of hours of coursework and hands-on experience in the field. The requirements vary state by state. For instance, in South Dakota, electricians must log 8,000 hours of on-the-job experience and pass an exam to receive their journeyman license. It then takes another 4,000 hours under a contractor and a passing grade on the electrical contractor’s exam to become an electrician.
And it doesn’t stop there once you receive your journeyman electrician or a master electrician license. Each state generally has its own continuing education credit hours that you must fulfill to renew your license and continue working.
You’ll be expected to take a certain number of continuing education hours related to code changes made to the National Electrical Code (NEC). The NEC — which sets a national standard for safe electrical design and has been adopted by all 50 states — is updated every three years. In addition to code changes, you’ll be expected to review industry best practices and electrical safety procedures.
Each state also has its own electrical recertification course requirements. The number of continuing education hours and how frequently you’ll need to take them will vary by state. As an example, California requires you to complete 32 hours of CEU work every three years.
It’s also important to note that most states won’t allow you to renew your license unless you’ve actively been working as an electrician for a specified amount of time. These requirements also vary by state. Using California as an example again, you’re required to work 2,000 hours in the field over three years before you can renew your license.
Once you’ve completed your CE hours, you’ll receive a certificate of completion from the education provider you’ve taken your continuing education credits with. From there, you need to apply for the renewal of your electrical license through your state and submit your certificate of completion.
How Often Do I Have to Renew My Electrical License?
Like everything about the electrical license renewal process, the frequency you’re required to renew it depends on the state you’re in. Most states, though, will require the renewal of your license in three-year cycles.
Don’t make any assumptions about how long you have to renew your electrical license in your state, though. Licensees should contact the state department overseeing electricians to learn about renewal requirements and dates. These requirements vary by license type, too.
What Happens If Your Electrical License Expires?
If your electrical license expires, don’t worry. In most states, you’ll still have time to renew it after the expiration date. You’ll just likely be penalized by having to pay an additional renewal fee.
This will vary by state, but, for instance, in Texas, electricians have to pay a $45 renewal fee if it’s been less than 90 days since your journeyman license expires. This fee increases to $60 if it’s been 91 days to three years. You’ll also have to submit a special form to request a renewal after expiration.
In most states, licenses that have expired within three years can’t be renewed, and you’ll need to reapply for your license from scratch. Reach out to your state licensing and regulation department to learn about your state fees and requirements.
Find an Electrician Job Near You on Joblist
If you’re looking for the right electrician job near you, Joblist can help. Our platform curates job searches designed just for you by scouring the internet for openings that match your skills, education, and preferences.
Also, our blog is filled with useful advice that will give you the upper hand in your next job search. If you’re unsure of what path your career should head, take our quiz to learn about your strengths and weaknesses.
If you’re ready to get to work, start your job hunt and launch your electrical career using Joblist today.