Electrician Licensing

Connecticut electrician license:
Everything you need to know

Electrical professionals are in high demand. You can take your electrical career in several directions. You might work as a journeyperson or electrical contractor for a major company. Or you might get your electrical contractor license and run your own business. This guide will explain the process of obtaining and maintaining your Connecticut electrical license.

Does Connecticut require an electrical license?

Connecticut requires a licensed electrician to do all professional wiring projects. The state makes a distinction between electricians who can work on any system, and electricians who can only work on low-voltage systems, such as fire alarms. While an electrical apprentice is not licensed, he or she must be registered with the state and work under the supervision of a licensed electrician.

What are the different types of electrical licenses in Connecticut?

The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection offers two different types of general electrical licenses: limited and unlimited. There are two levels to both licenses: journeyperson and electrical contractor. In addition, the department issues journeyperson and contractor licenses to people who work specifically with electric lines or photovoltaic systems.

An unlimited journeyperson electrician has completed a four-year apprenticeship and passed the journeyperson exam. This person can do any electrical work under the supervision of an electrical contractor. You can work at the journeyperson level throughout your career. The journeyperson makes an average of $28 per hour.

An unlimited electrical contractor has worked for two years as a journeyperson and passed the electrical contractor exams. This level of license allows you to do any kind of electrical work independently, including designing electrical systems. You can run your own business at this level. The average pay for an electrical contractor is $32 per hour. 

The limited electrical journeyperson and contractor licenses have similar requirements, but they only allow work on electrical systems, like security, sound, and fire alarm systems. These electricians earn $25-$30 per hour.

Electrical line and photovoltaic licenses involve specific training and exams, and these electricians can only do work in those fields. These electricians can make $25-$30 per hour. There has been significant growth in the need for photovoltaic electricians in the past few years.

How to get an electrician license in Connecticut

Getting your Connecticut electrical license begins with an apprenticeship. In most cases, you must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED. Vocational high school programs are the exception to this rule. In this case, students can begin their classroom and practical studies at the age of 16. There is a $110 registration fee to be an apprentice, split into $50 from the student and $60 from the sponsor.

During your apprenticeship, you are required to take 720 hours of classwork, or 180 hours per year for four years. You also will be required to do 8000 hours of electrical work under the supervision of your licensed electrician. 

There are several ways to enter an apprenticeship program beyond a vocational high school. Most community colleges in the state, such as Asnuntuck Community College and Gateway Community College, offer classes. These programs are eligible for state and federal financial aid. 

The local chapters of the IBEW Union offer classes, too. By taking part, you must join the union and pay annual dues. Once accepted into the program, the union with partner you with an approved journeyperson or electrical contractor for your practical work.

Businesses also offer apprenticeship positions. However, these are often geared towards apprentices who have a couple of years of experience. They will list these jobs as second or third-year apprentice positions.

An apprenticeship is a paid position working under a licensed electrician. Your salary will begin at about half that of a typical journeyperson and will increase with each year of experience. You will work a full day doing basic electrical installations and maintenance. Some programs supply you with basic tools.

Once you complete the requirements, you can take the trade exam to become a journeyperson electrician. All journeyperson electrical work exams are administered by the state and have a $90 application fee. Once you pass the exam and a criminal background check, the state will issue you your license for a $120 license fee.

After two years as a journeyperson, you are eligible to apply for an electrical contractor’s license. To receive this license, you must successfully pass the trade exam and the business and law exam. The exam fee is $150. There is another $150 fee for this license.

Since the specialty licenses focus on narrow fields within the electrical world, the requirements to receive a license are lower. The journeyperson level of all these licenses involves 2000-4000 hours of practical work experience. The journeyperson level license fee for all these specialties is $120. For the contractor level, the fee is $150.

Should I join an electrician union in Connecticut?

Joining an electrician’s union in your area can be a helpful way to get started as an electrician. Several IBEW chapters have five-year apprenticeship programs with on-site training facilities. If accepted into the program, the union provides health insurance and a retirement pension. The union also can help you as you move forward in your career by sharing local job openings. Many self-employed electricians depend on unions for their work-related benefits.

How to use your electrician license to get a job

As a licensed electrician, you can start looking for a new job. Many companies place job openings on online search sites. Search for a position at your level of license. Unlimited electricians have more options than limited electricians in this regard. Organizations with large physical plants such as hospitals or universities often need full-time electricians on staff.

During your interview, it’s important to display your professionalism. Dress appropriately and show up on time. Some interviewers will want to see some of your practical skills. Ask about this ahead of time, so you arrive prepared with the tools you need. You also want to review your basic electrical knowledge to answer questions accurately.

Electrician insurance in Connecticut

Electricians of all levels need basic health insurance. If you work for a large company or organization, health insurance will be one of your benefits. If you run your own business, you can get it through a union or purchase your own plan.

If you own your own business, you should purchase electrician insurance. This insurance covers basic business concerns like stolen tools or damaged property. However, it also has increased liability insurance coverage. 

Even with extensive training, mistakes happen. Unfortunately, when an electrician makes a mistake, it can have serious consequences including fire, property damage, and personal injury. Electrician insurance helps keep your business protected.

The technology around electrical work is constantly changing. Each specialty in the field deals with updated codes as well as new types of systems. You can stay current on trends by attending trade shows, following blogs, reading electrical trade journals, and participating in union meetings.

Is my license only valid in Connecticut?

Connecticut does not have reciprocity with any other state. You can submit an out-of-state license as proof of eligibility to take the state exams and receive a Connecticut electrical license.

If you need to change any information on your license or request a duplicate license, you can handle it through the website of The Department of Consumer Protection.

How often do I need to renew my electrician license in Connecticut?

Connecticut electrical licenses of all types must be renewed by September 30 every year. The annual renewal cost is $120 for the journeyperson level and $150 for contractors.

Connecticut also requires a four-hour continuing education course for all types of electricians every year as part of the renewal process.