Mississippi is one of the best states to start an electrical contracting business. Mississippi electricians earn one of the highest annual salaries in the country.
If you are considering getting your Mississippi electrical license, now is the time. In this guide, we will walk you through all of the licensure requirements to prepare you for your future career.
Yes, you need a Mississippi electrical license. You must have an electrical contractor license to do residential work costing more than $10,000 and commercial work costing more than $50,000.
For journeyman electricians, licenses are only available at the local level. Your license will only allow you to work within the city limits. Luckily, licensure requirements for journeyman licenses are the same throughout the state. The average wage is $21.31 per hour.
Master electricians can receive an electrical contractor license. This state-issued license allows electricians to hire employees, bid on jobs as an independent contractor, and work on any project throughout the state. The average wage at this level is $48.85 per hour.
There are four main steps to becoming a master electrician in Mississippi: apprenticeship, schooling, receiving your primary (journeyman) license, and receiving your electrical contractor (master) license.
In Mississippi, apprenticeship programs usually consist of five years of hands-on training in both commercial and residential settings and 1,000 hours of classroom training. You don’t need to graduate from a trade school to become an apprentice; however, you will need to graduate from either a trade school or a 4-year college to receive your electrical contractor license.
To become an apprentice, you will need to pass an aptitude test, pass an admissions interview, and gather several documents. These documents include your apprentice application, birth certificate, social security card, driver’s license, high school transcript/college transcript, and a record showing you passed certain mandatory courses (like Algebra 1). There is a $25 application fee.
Most apprenticeships in Mississippi are done through either the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), or the Electrical Training Alliance. You can apply for these apprenticeships in Meridian, Jackson, Gulfport, and Corinth.
Upon completing your apprenticeship, you may consider applying to a technical college or trade school. Schools boost your resume and help you stand out for entry-level journeyman electrician positions. They also help you network with master electricians in your area.
At trade school, you can expect to learn motor control systems; industrial, commercial and residential wiring; how to interpret electrical drawings and schematics; equipment maintenance and troubleshooting; and both AC and DC circuits. You will learn both in the shop and in the classroom.
You can either pursue a degree or certificate from a trade school or a bachelor’s degree from any of Mississippi’s universities. Either will help satisfy the requirements for licensure.
The top five trade schools for electricians in Mississippi are Itawamba Community College, Jones County Junior College, Pearl River Community College, East Mississippi Community College, and Copiah-Lincoln Community College.
Mississippi legislature is currently developing a bill to make most two-year colleges free, but until that time, students can receive financial aid through the government by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Two years of schooling at a Mississippi community college costs an average of $6,000 for in-state students.
With schooling and your apprenticeship out of the way, you are ready to apply for a journeyman license. These are only available locally and are issued by each city’s Electrical Board. You will need five years (8,000 hours) of hands-on fieldwork and 1,000 hours of classroom training to be eligible.
Licensure exams are based on the National Electric Code, and most cities allow their licensure exams to be open-book. Depending on your city, you will need to score at least 70% to pass the exam.
To become a master electrician, you will need to receive an electrical contractor license issued by the Mississippi State Board of Contractors. There are two pathways to licensure at this level: you can either work for four years under a master electrician and receive a certification from a trade school, or you can work for one year under a master electrician and receive a four-year degree from an accredited university.
After meeting these requirements, you will need to pass the state electrical contractor exam. The exam has one section on business management and one section on master electrician/Mississippi law. Both portions of the exam cost a combined total of $240.
Both portions of the exam are open-book. You can find a list of allowed books as well as study guides for your exam here.
Unions help you network within the electrical industry and protect your rights as both a contractor and employee. Most apprenticeships are issued through unions, connecting you with valuable mentors early in your career.
Mississippi electricians are usually members of their local chapters of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). According to the South Mississippi IBEW’s website, union workers make an average of $201 more weekly than non-union workers.
Union members also have more pension plans, defined-benefit retirement funds, grievance procedures, and job stability than non-union electricians.
Your union and alma mater can help connect you with entry-level jobs as an apprentice or journeyman. Trade schools often have annual job fairs where you can network with potential mentors and employers.
In a job interview, you can expect to answer questions on your work ethic, past job experience, technical skills, and areas of expertise. For example, an interviewer may ask about your experience working residential jobs versus commercial jobs.
Before you can become a master electrician, you will need proof of general liability insurance. The Mississippi State Board of Contractors must be listed on your insurance, and they must be notified if your coverage lapses. If you employ five or more employees, you will also need proof of workers’ compensation insurance.
There is an element of mild to moderate danger in this trade. However, it is worth noting that union jobs are generally safer than non-union jobs. The best way to protect yourself from danger is to constantly study new industry technology and to always use personal protective equipment.
The electrical industry is booming, especially in Mississippi. The Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula area had the third-highest concentration of electrical jobs in the nation in 2018.
With the entire nation trending towards alternative energy, more electrical jobs are on the horizon over the next decade. The industry is expected to grow by about 10% between 2016 and 2026.
Trade shows are an excellent resource for electricians looking to get ahead of upcoming industry trends. This list of national trade shows can help you find events around the country.
Mississippi electrical contractor licenses have reciprocity in Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Louisiana.
If you lose your license or change your address, you can apply for a duplicate license from the Mississippi State Board of Contractors. To change the name of your company, you will need to file with the Mississippi Secretary of State office.
Your Mississippi electrical license will be valid for one year after the date it is issued. It is your responsibility to renew your license with the Mississippi State Board of Contractors.
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