Getting your electrical contractor's license can give you the freedom to bid on electrical contracts under your own company name or even enhance your chances of being hired by another electrical contractor who needs qualified project managers. Regardless of whether you are looking to start your own electrical business or advance your current career, getting your electrical contractor's license is the first step to setting yourself apart from others in your field and part of taking that first step is knowing where to begin.
Contact the International Code Counsel and ask for the name and contact information of the testing agency your state uses as part of its contractor qualifying process. Most states use an independent testing agency to administer licensing exams then issue licenses through a department within the state government. There is no nationally recognized contractor licensing agency or testing agency at this time. Each state operates independently in regards to contractor licensing. Contact the International Code Council at:
International Code Counsel 500 New Jersey Avenue, NW, 6th Floor Washington, DC 20001 866-750-2579 iccsafe.org
Contact the testing agency used by your state and request information on testing sites, dates and approved reference materials that you can use during the exam. Ask if your state requires pre-qualifying before a licensing exam can be taken. Some states require you to complete an application for approval to take the exam itself. Also, ask what qualifications, in addition to passing the exam, are required by your state for you to become licensed. This varies from state to state, but often you will be required to have five years or more supervisory experience in the field for which you are seeking a license.
Take an exam preparation seminar before you schedule a test date with the testing agency. The seminar instructor will let you know how much time after the seminar you will need for studying. Most licensing exams are open-book but don’t underestimate how difficult the exam will be. Most state licensing exams have a fail rate of 70 percent.
Schedule and take your licensing exam. Read all of the testing agency’s rules and instructions carefully. It’s not uncommon for someone to schedule a test date, pay his testing fees, then have to forfeit both because he did not follow the testing agency’s instructions to the letter.
Send your exam results and licensing application to the appropriate state agency.
Often, your local building official will help you navigate the licensure process and provide you with all the information you need.