An electrician works with electrical fixtures and wiring. In order to begin working as an electrician in Michigan, candidates must first receive a license. This is mostly done on the state level, through the Department of Labor, although several municipalities also offer local licensing. To become a journeyman or master electrician, you must first pass a state-mandated training program and exam, and accumulate several years of experience. Further specialization will likely involve more schooling, as well as further testing.
You generally need a high school diploma or GED to start an apprenticeship. Decide what field you will go into: general, maintenance, powerhouse, substation or locomotive electricity.
Earn experience through on-the-job training, vocational courses, or a certificate or associate degree program from an accredited institution. Also consider internships and volunteer opportunities, or simply shadowing a licensed electrician.
Apply for an apprenticeship, a training program that generally lasts three to four years, and involves more specialized training. Start your hunt by contacting local contractors about a possible apprenticeship.
Be at least 20 years old, and have 8,000 hours of supervised experience over four years, to qualify for the journeyman license exam. If you're licensed in another state that has similar licensing requirements to Michigan's, you can qualify to take the exam. Pay the $25 exam application fee.
Pass the exam, which covers various subjects including overcurrent protection, conductors and state laws. Pay the $20 fee to receive your license, which is good for one year.
To qualify for the master license exam you need 12,000 hours of electrical work experience over six years. You must have also worked two years as a licensed journeyman electrician, and be over the age of 22. Candidates who have been licensed in another state can also qualify for the exam, and the board will consider those who do not meet the requirements, but have significant experience, on a case-by-case basis. The master license is essential for electricians who want to assume a supervisory role. Pay the $25 exam application fee.
Pass the exam, which covers the same subjects as the journeyman exam, but in greater depth. You will need to renew your license every year.
Consider pursuing more specialized contractor licenses, including the Fire Alarm Specialty and Fire Alarm Contractor, Sign Specialist and Electrical Contractor licenses. Each license will require further education and experience, although all require you to have a master electrician's license.
2016 Salary Information for Electricians
Electricians earned a median annual salary of $52,720 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, electricians earned a 25th percentile salary of $39,570, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $69,670, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 666,900 people were employed in the U.S. as electricians.