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Ohio Electrician License: Everything You Need to Know

The Ohio housing market is on the rise, and with more construction projects comes the need for more electricians. Tradesmen are the backbone of Ohio’s workforce. If you are considering a career as an electrician, you may feel overwhelmed with information and questions about the licensing process. This guide breaks down everything you need to know to get your Ohio electrical license.

Does Ohio Require an Electrical License?

You will need an Ohio electrical license to run your own electrician business. However, general electrical work in Ohio does not require licensing. Specifically, only commercial contractors in Ohio need a license to work. The only exceptions are the cities of Hamilton and Middletown; they require journeyman licenses to do general electrical work.

What are the Different Types of Electrical Licenses in Ohio?

Most journeyman electricians in Ohio will never need a license. However, in Middletown and Hamilton, a journeyman license allows an electrician to install electrical wiring under the supervision of a master electrician or electrical contractor. Journeyman electricians earn an average of $21.89 per hour.

Electrical contractors are licensed by the state and can install, repair, or alter all forms of electrical equipment. They also can run their own businesses and hire employees. Ohio electrical contractors earn an average of $61,100 per year.

How to Get an Electrician License in Ohio

In Ohio, you need five years of experience before you can apply for an electrical contractor license. There are a few ways that you can gain that experience. You could work as an apprenticeship for a few years, attend trade school and apply for entry-level positions, or simply climb the industry ladder in your local area.

Apprenticeships teach you the basics of electrical wiring, equipment usage, and electrical theory. You can expect both classroom training and fieldwork at an apprenticeship. After all, the goal of all apprenticeships is to train competent, innovative electricians.

Most Ohio apprenticeships are union-affiliated. You would have to join a union and apply for an apprenticeship at one of Ohio’s many Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committees. Alternatively, ApprenticeOhio uses an online portal to connect hopeful apprentices with their future supervisors. Either way, you can expect to spend two to four years completing your apprenticeship.

Trade schools and technical colleges offer accelerated learning and cutting-edge technology to future electricians. While you can expect to spend most of your time in the classroom or shop, many Ohio technical colleges have online courses, so you can finish your general education requirements quickly and focus on your trade.

The top five colleges for electricians in Ohio are Sinclair Community College, Northwest State Community College, O.C. Collins Career Center, Miami Valley Career Technology Center, and Vatterott College-Cleveland. College can be expensive, so ask each school about their  financial aid options.

After accruing five consecutive years of experience as an electrician, you can apply for Ohio’s electrical contractor license. You will need to fill out this application, pay a $25 application fee, hold $500,000 in liability insurance, and pass two exams: a trade exam and a business/law exam.

You will need to score at least 70% on both exams to receive your license. A bulletin explaining the exam will be given to you upon the approval of your application. The exams are based on the 2014 National Electric Code, Ugly’s Electrical Reference, and the Electrical Field Reference Handbook.

Should I Join an Electrician Union in Ohio?

Unions benefit their members by providing higher wages, safer working conditions, and better job stability than non-union employers. Contractors use unions to network throughout the nation and get the edge on upcoming industry trends.

Unions also are the source of most apprenticeships in Ohio; the National Training Alliance has 17 different Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committees in Ohio, connecting people with hundreds of apprenticeships each year. Overall, union affiliation boosts the career of tradesmen.

How to Use Your Electrician License to Get a Job

Your job search should begin with your alma mater or union. Technical colleges and trade schools have career departments for their alumni to help them connect with employers. Unions always keep updated job boards filled with local contractors seeking help in the field. If all else fails, trade shows and conventions can help you network in the industry.

At a job interview, you can expect your interviewer to ask about past work experience. They may ask if you have a specialty or any expertise. Interviewers like to focus on work ethic when they vet potential employees. Always come to an interview prepared for questions about electrical work and business practices.

Electrician Insurance in Ohio

You will need $500,000 of liability coverage to receive your electrical contractor license. Lapses in coverage can suspend your license. 

All trade industries can be dangerous. That said, union protection and better state guidelines have made the electrical industry safer over the last few decades.

Electrician Industry Trends

Ohio offers steady work and competitive pay for electricians. Specialty trade contractors experienced a 12.4% rise in employment over the last decade.

As the housing market shifts towards favoring alternative energy, it is imperative for electrical contractors to stay up-to-date on new technology. National trade shows ensure that your business uses cutting-edge equipment and installation practices.

Is My License Only Valid in Ohio?

Any local licenses, such as the Hamilton and Middletown journeyman licenses, are only valid in Ohio. An Ohio electrical contractor license has reciprocity in Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Tennessee.

You can use this form to submit a name change for your electrical contractor license. To register a change of address or apply for a duplicate license, you must contact the Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board

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

Your Ohio electrical license must be renewed every year. You can renew your license through this online portal. Renewal costs $60, and you must show proof of insurance as well as proof of your continuing education units.


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