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Michigan Electrician License: Everything You Need to Know

Getting your Michigan electrical license is a major step in a rewarding career as an electrician. Every home, business, and industrial site depends on electricity. Plus, you can get your electrical contractor license and run your own business. This guide will explain the process of earning your license.

Does Michigan Require an Electrical License?

Michigan requires a licensed electrician to do all professional wiring projects.

What are the Different Types of Electrical Licenses in Michigan?

The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs grants two different types of general electrical licenses: journeyman and master electrician. They also grant licenses in two specialty electrical areas: fire alarm specialty technician and sign specialist. In addition, the department offers the electrical contractor license, which allows a master electrician to work as an independent contractor.

A journeyman electrician must complete an apprenticeship and pass the journeyman exam. This person perform electrical work under the supervision of a master electrician. You also can work at the journeyman level for your entire career. The journeyman earns about $27 per hour in Michigan.

A master electrician must work two years as a journeyman and pass the master electrician exam. You can do any type of electrical work independently, including planning electrical systems. You also can hire and supervise apprentices and journeyman electricians. The average pay for a master electrician is $33 per hour. This pay varies significantly with location.

An electrical contractor is someone who has received a master electrician license and passed the electrical contractor exam. This license is necessary if you want to run an independent business. Contractors can make significantly more than other electricians, especially in areas with a high cost of living.

The fire alarm specialty technician license and the sign specialist license are limited to specific electrical work.  The requirements are similar to general electrical work. These specialists make $20 to $25 per hour.

How to Get an Electrician License in Michigan

Your Michigan 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 studies at the age of 16. There is a $15 registration fee.

During your apprenticeship, you are required to take 576 hours of classwork, or 144 hours per year over four years. You also will be required to do 8000 hours of electrical work under the supervision of your master electrician. 

Most community colleges, such as Mid-Michigan Community College or Northern Michigan University, offer classes. These programs are eligible for state and federal financial aid.

Local chapters of the IBEW Union also offer programs. You must join the union and pay annual dues. Several utility companies also have apprenticeship programs. These programs may require you to work as a journeyman for the company for a few years after program completion.

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.

Grand Rapids and Detroit have separate licensing systems. If you are a resident of one of these two cities, the licensing levels are the same as the rest of the state, but you must apply through the appropriate city offices.

You also must be at least 20 years old to become a journeyman electrician. Once you complete the requirements, you can take the exam. All electrical work exams are administered by the state and have a $100 application fee. Once you pass the exam, a drug test, and a criminal background check, the state will issue your license for a $40 license fee.

After two years as a journeyman, you are eligible to apply for a master electrician license. To receive this license, you need 2000 hours of electrical work experience and pass an exam. There is a $50 fee for this license.

If you want to work as an independent contractor and run your own business, you must obtain an electrical contractor’s license. To do this, you must have your master electrician license and pass another exam.

Since fire alarm specialty technicians and sign specialists focus on a specific part of electrical systems, they have different requirements. A sign specialist must be at least 18 years old and have 4000 hours of experience within 2 years. This person also must pass a state exam. A fire alarm specialty technician must be at least 20 years old, be certified as an associate engineering technician, and pass the state exam.

Should I Join an Electrician Union in Michigan?

Joining an electrician’s union in your area is a helpful way to get started as an electrician. Several unions offer apprenticeship programs supervised by other union members. The union also can help you find local job openings. Many self-employed electricians depend on unions for benefits, like health insurance and retirement plans.

How to Use Your Electrician License to Get a Job

After receiving your Michigan electrical license, you can start looking for a new job. Many companies place job openings on online job boards. You can ask people in your apprenticeship program for assistance. Your local union is a good resource, too.

For your interview, dress in professional clothes. Be prepared to demonstrate your skills, and bring a copy of your resume. 

Electrician Insurance in Michigan

Electricians of all levels need basic health insurance. If you work for a large company, your employer provide you with coverage. If you run your own business, you can get it through a union or purchase a personal plan.

As a business owner, you want to purchase insurance. This insurance covers basic business concerns, including property damage and personal injury. Electrician insurance helps keep your business protected.

Electrician Industry Trends

The technology around electrical work is constantly changing. Stay aware of current trends by attending trade shows, such as the NECA 2019 National Training Institute in Ann Arbor. You can learn even more information by following blogs and reading electrical trade journals.

Is My License Only Valid in Michigan?

Michigan does not have reciprocity with any other state. You can submit an out-of-state license as proof of work hours. However, anyone who wants to do electrical work in Michigan must pass the state exam and receive a Michigan electrical license.

If your name or address changes or you need a duplicate license, visit The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs and pay a small fee.

How Often Do I Need to Renew My Electrician License in Michigan?

You can renew your Michigan electrical license every three years. The current fees are $40 for a journeyman license and $50 for a master electrician. Michigan also requires a 15-hour continuing education course for electricians.


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