Washington Electrical Licensing & Continuing Education Requirements
To engage in the business of doing electrical work, you must get an electrical contractor license. Electrical contractors are businesses who engage in the electrical construction business. They have a certified electrical administrator or a master electrician designated to ensure the business follows the laws, rules and regulations of the state. They employ certified electricians, and electrical trainees to perform the work. To maintain the license they must have a $4,000 bond or assignment of savings and have a current administrator or master electrician assigned.
There are two levels of electrical contractors; general (EC01) and 14 specialties.
General electrical (EC01) contractors are licensed to work in commercial/industrial and all specialty electrical categories. All work performed must be done by properly certified electricians. License requirements include:
- A valid UBI number issued by the Department of Revenue or Secretary of State’s office.
- A certified, assigned electrical administrator or master electrician.
- An original, $4,000 electrical/telecommunication contractor’s surety bond, or assignment of savings account.
- A workers’ compensation account if the business hire employees.
- Electrical contractors are encouraged to carry general liability insurance. However, L&I does not keep records of liability insurance for electrical contractors.
- If an electrical contracting business does other, non-electrical work, registration as a contractor may also be required.
Electrical administrators are responsible for making sure electrical contractors abide by the state electrical laws, rules, and regulations. They are certified professionals who have taken and passed the state examination. They are a required role for all electrical contracting companies, unless that company has a designated master electrician to fulfill this role.
Electrical administrators are not certified to work with the tools of the trade or perform any electrical installations or work unless they are also certified as an electrician working for an electrical contractor.
To become an administrator you must take and pass the administrator exam for the specialty you would like to be certified in. There are no prerequisites to take the administrator exam. Anyone can take an administrator exam.
To become a master electrician, you must have the required amount of experience as an electrician and take and pass the master electrician exam in your specialty. Master electricians are certified to act as an administrator. Both master electricians and administrators ensure that an electrical contractor’s work is in compliance with the electrical laws and rules. But only master electricians can work with the tools of the trade as an installer.
Master electricians who have met eligibility requirements, taken and passed an examination, and are certified can:
- Work with the tools of the trade as an installer.
- When assigned, act as an administrator for an electrical contractor to ensure that an electrical contractor’s work is in compliance with the electrical laws and rules.
To become a certified master electrician in Washington, you must be certified as a general journey level or specialty electrician for a specific amount of time.
There are two levels of certification for master electricians: general journey level and specialty master electricians.
- Journey level master electrician: To qualify for the master electrician exam you must be certified as a general journey level electrician for at least 4 years.
- Specialty master electrician: To qualify for the exam you must be certified in a specialty, for at least 2 years.
A general journey level electrician (EL01) is certified to work in commercial/industrial and all specialty electrical categories, and must meet the following requirements:
- At least 8,000 hours working as an electrical trainee under the supervision of a certified journey level electrician. At least 4,000 hours must be spent working in commercial or industrial installations.
- 96 hours of basic classroom instruction.
- Trainees must be supervised a minimum of 75% of the time.
Beginning July 1, 2023:
- To qualify for EL01 examination, you must have completed a recognized electrical apprenticeship program.
- To work on a commercial jobsite, trainees must be registered in a recognized electrical apprenticeship program, unless performing specialized work (e.g., low-voltage, signs, etc.).
To learn to be an electrician in Washington, you need to start as a trainee. Electrical trainees must have a trainee certificate and work under the supervision of a certified electrician. As they work, trainees gain valuable experience that will qualify them to take the electrician examination.
Beginning July 1, 2023, all individuals who are applying to take the general journey level electrical examination, or any trainee working on a commercial jobsite must have completed an electrical apprenticeship program.
Trainees must renew their certificate every 2 years until they pass the exam to become a journey level or specialty electrician.
Electrician’s certificates must be renewed every 3 years. Your certificate expires on your birthdate.
Electrical administrator certificates are renewed every 3 years. Your certificate expires on your birthdate.
Electrical contractor licenses must be renewed every 2 years. Your license expires two years from its effective date.
Master electrician’s certificates must be renewed every 3 years. Your certificate expires on your birthdate.
Electrical Administrator must complete 24 hours of approved continuing education, including a minimum of 8 hours of code update and 4 hours of RCW/WAC review.
Master Electrician must complete 24 hours of approved continuing education, including a minimum of 8 hours of code update and 4 hours of RCW/WAC review.
Journey Level Electrician must complete 24 hours of approved continuing education to complete your renewal, including a minimum of 8 hours of code update and 4 hours of RCW/WAC review.
Electrical trainee certificates must be renewed every 2 years. You must complete 48 hours of approved basic trainee classroom instruction before renewing. You will also need to report any hours of experience from the prior 2 years.