Getting your Massachusetts electrical license is the gateway to a rewarding career. Every home, business and industrial site depends on electricity to function. When you enter this career, there are several directions you can go. You might work as a journeyman for a major company, or you might become a master electrician and run your own business. This guide will explain the process of earning your electrical license.
You must possess a Massachusetts electrical license to perform professional electrical work in the state.
The Board of State Examiners of Electricians grants four different types of licenses. In addition, most electricians will go through an apprenticeship period. Each of these licenses authorizes you to do different kinds of electrical work.
There are two licenses for general electrical work: Journeyman and Master Electrician. A journeyman electrician has completed an apprenticeship and passed the journeyman exam. You can do any electrical work under the supervision of a master electrician. If you are not interested in owning a business, you can work at the journeyman level throughout your career. A journeyman makes an average of $38 per hour.
A master electrician works as a journeyman for several years, enrolled in an advanced course of study, and passed the master electrician exam. This level of license allows you to do any electrical work independently including planning electrical systems. You also can hire and supervise apprentices and journeyman electricians. You must earn a master electrician license to run your own business or supervise a department for a company, The average pay for a master electrician is $45 per hour. This pay varies significantly with location. Master electricians in areas with a high cost of living can charge more per hour.
Massachusetts has two licenses that are specific to electronic systems, such as security and fire detection. The systems technician license allows you to install and maintain these systems for homes and businesses. The systems contractor license can design systems and supervise installations. System technicians make an average of $25 per hour, while systems contractors make an average of $34 per hour.
There are a few ways to get started on the path toward a Massachusetts electrical license. Many young people begin their journey at a vocational school. In fact, you can earn 300 classroom and 2000 practical hours.
If you decide to become an electrician after high school, you will need to enroll in a journeyman electrician program at one of the many community colleges or technical schools in the state such as the Benjamin Franklin School of Technology in Boston or Worcester Electrician School. Most of these programs provide financial aid. In addition, several local unions have journeyman education programs as part of their apprenticeship programs.
Regardless of how you complete the 600 hours of classwork, you will need to do 8000 hours of practical work as an apprentice over four years to become a journeyman. An apprenticeship is a paid position working under a master electrician, normally at half to two-thirds of a journeyman electrician’s salary. You will work a full day doing basic electrical installations and maintenance. Some programs supply you with basic tools. Others will give you a list of tools to purchase.
Once you complete these requirements, you can take the exam to become a journeyman electrician. The exam is administered by the state and has a $104 application fee. After passing the exam and a criminal background check, the state will issue your license.
To become a master electrician, you are required to further your education. You must have spent at least one year as a journeyman and complete a 150-hour master electrician curriculum. These classes are offered at technical schools, community colleges, and unions. A few electrician companies also offer these courses in-house for employees. The exam for a master electrician has two parts: trade knowledge and business and law knowledge. There is a $155 application fee.
Since systems technicians and contractors focus on a specific part of electrical systems, they have different requirements. The systems technician curriculum involves 300 hours of classwork within two years and 4000 hours of practical experience. The systems contractor license requires a 75-hour curriculum and one year as a system technician. The state grants both of these licenses after passing exams. The fee for the systems technician exam is $104. For the systems contractor, the fee is $155.
Joining an electrician’s union in your area is a helpful way to get your foot in the door as an electrician. Many local unions offer apprenticeship programs supervised by other union members. The union also can help you as you move forward in your career, sharing local job openings. Many self-employed electricians depend on unions for benefits, such as health insurance and retirement plans.
As a licensed electrician, you can look for a new job. You might do your journeyman work with the same master electrician who supervised your apprenticeship. Large electrical contractors are often looking for new talent, too. Your union can connect you with a master electrician who needs help. Many companies also list positions on online job search sites.
For the interview, dress professionally. Arrive on time and be prepared to show your practical skills.
Electricians of all levels need basic health insurance. Your employer will offer you a benefits package. If you run your own business, you can get insurance through a union or purchase your own plan.
As a business owner, you may purchase electrician insurance. This insurance covers basic business concerns like stolen tools or damaged property. Electrician insurance helps keep your business protected.
The technology in the electrical field is constantly changing. New specialties form as more and more businesses depend on electronics to function. You can stay current on trends by attending trade shows, following blogs, reading electrical trade journals, and participating in union meetings.
Massachusetts has a reciprocity agreement with New Hampshire. If you have an out-of-state license and want a Massachusetts electrical license, you must apply through the Board of State Examiners of Electricians.
In addition, if you need to change any information on your license or need a duplicate license, you can handle it through the state board website for a small fee.
You will renew your electrician’s license every three years. The cost is $78 for a journeyman or systems technician. The fee is $117 for a master electrician or systems contractor. Massachusetts also requires a 21-hour continuing education course for electricians.
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