Electrician LICENSING

Washington electrician license:
Everything you need to know

Washington has a lot to offer to a budding electrician. The state is constantly expanding, and with every new construction project, there is a need for skilled electricians to perform custom wiring projects.

The electrical profession is experiencing tremendous growth. Several pathways exist to earn a rewarding electrical career. You can either work for a major corporation or start your own business. This guide will tell you more about the process of getting your Washington electrical license.

Does Washington require an electrical license?

Yes, you need a Washington electrical license.

What are the different types of electrical licenses in Washington?

To begin your career as an electrician, you must apply for and receive a trainee certificate to work supervised by a licensed electrician. The application is less than $45. Then, you can explore these licenses: 

Journey or Specialty Electrician. After completing your trainee program, you can sit for your exam to become a journey-level electrician or a specialty electrician. The exam costs around $90. You can earn about $27 an hour. You can work without supervision.

Telecommunications contractor. Instead of working as a general electrician, you may want to work in telecommunications. You can earn $25 an hour in this position.

Electrical contractor. If want to run your own business, you’ll need to become an electrical contractor. You’ll earn around $30 per hour. After getting a bond, you’ll want to designate an electrical administrator or master electrician to ensure that your work is up to code.

Electrical administrator. If you’d like to hire other contractors, you’ll want to become an electrical administrator. You’ll be responsible for ensuring that all work is completed according to the rules and laws in the state. You can $40 an hour in this position.

Telecommunications administrator. You’ll hire other telecommunications contractors  and be responsible for their work. You’re looking at an average pay of $28 an hour.

Master electrician. As a master electrician, you will install electrical components in residential and commercial spaces. You will be responsible for the work of others. You must complete the appropriate hours and pass the examination to become certified. You can earn about $40 an hour.

How to get an electrician license in Washington


First, you’ll have to attend 96 hours of classes. The University of Washington, Washington State University, and Eastern Washington University top the list of schools to attend. If you’d rather go to a trade school, consider NECA-IBEW Electrical Training Center or Perry Technical Institute. 

Programs last six months to two years depending on the school. Many schools offer financial aid. You’ll learn the following:

  • Diagnosis and repair
  • Installation
  • Wiring
  • Maintenance

You may need your own tools, so check with your school of choice before attending. While some online classes are available, you’ll want to attend in-person classes for hands-on experience. Before attending a college or technical school, you must have a high school diploma or GED.

On the Job Experience

You’ll work as an apprentice under the supervision of a qualified electrician. You’ll diagnose and repair electrical problems, perform the required maintenance, and even be trained on installation procedures. You’ll need 8,000 hours in your apprenticeship to become a journey level electrician, with 4,000 of these hours in the commercial space. To become a master electrician, you’ll need to work four years as a general journey electrician.

Who issues the license?

You’ll receive your license from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries.

Are there exams?

Yes. Washington State Department of Labor & Industries provides a free resource that will provide you with all of the necessary information.

Do the licenses need to be renewed?

You’ll need to renew your license every three years. You’ll need to complete 24 hours of continuing education classes during this time.

Should I join an electrician union in Washington?

Joining the IBEW, or the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, has its benefits. You’ll have access to an approved apprenticeship, good jobs, and fair pay. However, you may be limited as to where you can work.

How to use your electrician license to get a job

After completing your apprenticeship and obtaining your journeyman license, you can work under the supervision of a master electrician. You may choose to continue to work for those individuals or companies where you served your apprenticeship, or you may branch out on your own. 

You’ll be qualified to diagnose problems and make repairs. You’ll also can perform maintenance. You cannot perform installations until you become a master electrician. Once you find a job that garners your interest, you will have to place a bid on that project. 

In order to qualify, you’ll have to become bonded or have the appropriate insurance. You’ll also need an administrator or a master electrician willing to review your work.

Electrician insurance in Washington

Electrical work can be dangerous, so it’s important that you don’t cut corners in your work. Even if you’re careful, accidents can happen. You’ll need insurance to cover any related expenses.

Electrician industry trends

In the state of Washington, the need for licensed electricians is expected to grow by almost one percent each year until 2026. Edlen Electrical Exhibition Services offers trade shows at the Washington State Convention Center for you to keep up with the latest trends.

Is my license only valid in Washington?

Your Washington electrical license is valid in the following states:

  • Idaho
  • Oregon
  • Montana
  • Wyoming
  • North & South Dakota
  • Utah
  • Nevada

If you change your name or address, or if you misplace your card, you can contact Washington State Department of Labor & Industries.

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

You’ll need to renew your Washington electrical license every three years. The renewal will cost you about $84.

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