Colorado Electrical License: How to Become an Electrician in Colorado
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Being an electrician isn’t just a job, it’s a solid career path. Electrical contractors enjoy a wide range of employment opportunities and earn a respectable income. There’s also job security—customers will always need skilled trade professionals to install and service electrical systems in their homes and businesses. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are 729,600 electricians nationwide and 17,430 work in Colorado. The national number is predicted to grow 9% from 2020 to 2030.
That growth rate is expected to be much higher in Colorado — projected at a whopping 28%, according to CareerOneStop, the U.S. Department of Labor’s job search website.
Many contractors nationwide are trying to find skilled tradesmen. According to the Associated General Contractors of America, 2020 AGC-Autodesk Workforce Survey, 60% of firms in the U.S. and 62% of firms in Colorado had unfilled hourly craft positions like plumbers, electricians, and HVAC technicians. So, if you get the training you need you will have a lot of jobs to choose from when you’re ready.
The process of becoming an electrician takes time, but you get paid while you learn and gain experience.
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Licensing Requirements for Electricians in Colorado
Is a license required to be an electrician in Colorado? Yes.
DORA, the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, issues electrical licenses. To start, you must first register as an electrical apprentice. Then, you must find an electrical apprenticeship to gain the necessary training. After those requirements are met, you should apply for and take the test required to be an electrical journeyman. You might also consider earning a master electrician license, or become licensed as an independent electrical contractor.
Steps to Get an Electrician License in Colorado
Become an electrical apprentice by registering with the Department of Regulatory Agencies.
Find an IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) or IEC (Independent Electrical Contractors) apprenticeship program and gain the necessary training.
Apply for and take the exam required to be an electrical journeyman.
Consider obtaining a master electrician license.
Consider obtaining an independent electrical contractor license.
How to Become an Electrician in Colorado
REGISTER AS AN ELECTRICAL APPRENTICE: Register as an apprentice with the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies.
FIND AN ELECTRICAL APPRENTICESHIP AND REGISTER WITH THE STATE: Both union and non-union apprenticeships are available. Union apprenticeships through a JACT (Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee) work with standards provided by the National Training Alliance. JACT apprenticeships are available in Colorado Springs, Denver, Pueblo, and Clifton. To register for a union apprenticeship, you must be 18 years old, possess a valid photo ID, have reliable transportation, be physically fit, pass a general aptitude test, and possess a high school diploma or GED.
Two of the largest non-union apprenticeships include the Independent Electrical Contractors, Rocky Mountain Chapter, and the Construction Industry Training Council of Colorado, which is associated with the Associated Builders and Contractors, Rocky Mountain Chapter.
After you find an electrical apprenticeship, you must register it with the Colorado State Electrical Board. The contractor you work for will be required to pay a $30 registration fee.
COMPLETE NECESSARY TRAINING: To apply for the electrical journeyman licensing exam, you must have at least 288 hours of classroom and lab-based training, and at least 8,000 hours of on-site experience with a licensed electrician. Or you must have a two-year degree from an electrical technology school and 6,000 hours of work experience, supervised by a licensed electrician. The 288 hours of classroom time covers topics such as:
Grounding and bonding
National Electrical Code (NEC) and changes made
Theory and calculations
OSHA-based safety training
TAKE THE JOURNEYMAN ELECTRICIAN LICENSING EXAM: Submit an application, along with the $100 application fee and $75 exam fee. The test is administered by PSI, and that company will contact you to schedule the exam. To pass the Colorado Journeyman Wireman Exam, you must score at least 70%. Once you obtain your license, it must be renewed every three years.
OBTAIN A MASTER ELECTRICIAN LICENSE: To be eligible to take the master electrician licensing exam, you must first pass the journeyman examination. Next, you must submit an application and meet at least one of the following criteria:
Hold an electrical engineering degree from an accredited university or college, and 2,000 hours of experience as a registered electrical apprentice.
Obtain a community college/trade school degree in electrical construction (or a similar field), and have 8,000 hours of experience.
Complete 2,000 hours of experience, include planning, layout, and supervision.
The master electrician exam costs $75, and you must pass with a score of at least 70%. Once you obtain your license, it must be renewed every three years.
BECOME A LICENSED ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR: To become a licensed electrical contractor in Colorado, you must first fill out an application. You also must also have proof of workers' compensation insurance, unemployment compensation, hold or hire someone with a master electrician license, and file an acknowledgment of responsibility from that individual. There is a $150 fee to obtain the license. Once you obtain your license, it must be renewed every three years. Renewal costs $120.
CONTINUING EDUCATION: To renew a Colorado journeyman electrician license, master electrician license, or electrical contractor license, you are required to complete 24 professional development units. Professional development units cover the following topics:
Grounding and bonding
National Electrical Code (NEC) changes
Theory and calculations
Types of Electrical Licensure in Colorado
What are the different types of electrician licensing in Colorado?
Colorado has four types of electrical licensure: residential wireman, journeyman electrician, master electrician, and independent electrical contractor.
Residential Wireman: Required to complete 4,000 hours of experience (two years) of residential electrical training, including electric light work.
Journeyman Electrician: Required to complete 8,000 hours of experience (four years) of electrical training, including residential or family dwellings, commercial, and industrial work.
Master Electrician: Master electrician licenses are available if you meet one of three criteria:
An electrical engineering degree from an accredited university or college and 2,000 hours of experience as a registered electrical apprentice.
A community college/trade school degree in electrical construction (or a similar field) and have 8,000 hours of experience.
Complete 2,000 hours of experience, including planning, layout, and supervision.
Independent Electrical Contractor: Plans, designs, and supervises the installation of electrical systems. Must hold workers' compensation insurance and be a master electrician, or hire someone who holds that electrical license.
Benefits of Becoming a Licensed Electrician in Colorado
There are many benefits to pursuing Colorado electrician licensing:
Most important, it is required by law in Colorado to be licensed through the state to legally perform electrical work.
A trade license proves your experience and skill.
Only licensed electricians can: operate a business and advertise services, obtain commercial insurance, pull building permits, and pass inspections, bid on public and government projects.
A state license protects your company and customers.
It gives you a competitive advantage in the job market and increases your earning potential.
What Is the Mean Wage for an Electrician in Colorado?
The annual mean wage for electricians in Colorado is $56,300 per year according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics. That salary, as you might expect, increases as you acquire more experience, according to Indeed.com.
Electrician Apprentice: The average salary for an electrician apprentice is $21.84 per hour in Colorado and $7,687 overtime per year.
Electrician: The average salary for an electrician apprentice is $26.63 per hour in Colorado and $8,125 overtime per year.
Master Electrician: The average salary for an electrician apprentice is $39.11 per hour in Colorado and $10,000 overtime per year.
Salary ranges can vary widely, depending on the city and many other important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, and the number of years you have spent in your profession.
What Business Owners Need to Know
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How Much Does It Cost for Electrician Licensing in Colorado?
There are several costs associated with obtaining an electrician’s license in Colorado.
Pay the $100 application fee to take the journeyman wireman electrical exam.
Pay the $75 exam fee to take the journeyman wireman licensing exam. If you fail, it costs $70 to retake the test.
Pay the $75 exam fee to take the master electrician licensing exam. If you fail, it costs $70 to retake the test.
Pay $150 to obtain your independent contractor license, which must be renewed every three years. Renewal costs $120.
In-state tuition for most electrical schools in Colorado costs about $4,008 per year, depending upon the school and desired program.
How Long Does It Take to Get an Electrician License in Colorado?
Obtaining a journeyman’s electrical license in the state of Colorado requires about 8,000 hours of work, or four years. This includes at least 288 hours of classroom training. After you obtain your journeyman electrician license, you can go on to obtain a master electrician license once you verify 2,000 work hours in one year, spent planning, designing, and supervising installation of light, heat, and power sources.
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Colorado Electrician Training Programs and Schools
There are many programs, electrical trade schools, and community colleges to get the training you need to become an electrical professional in Colorado. They are located all over the state, in major cities and smaller communities.
Colorado ranks as the 18th most popular state for electrical engineering majors. In-state tuition for most electrical schools in Colorado costs about $4,000 per year, depending upon the school and desired program.
Here are some Colorado community colleges with various electrical programs and certifications:
Red Rocks Community College Residential Construction Electrician Certificate – Certificate Program Construction Electrician – Associate Program 13300 W. Sixth Ave. Lakewood, Colorado 80228-1255 303-914-6600
Emily Griffith Technical College Electrician Apprenticeship – Certificate Program 1860 Lincoln St. Denver, Colorado 80203 720-423-4700
Ecotech Institute Electronics Technology – Associate Program 1400 South Abilene St. Aurora, Colorado 80012 303-586-5290
Program Prerequisites: Program prerequisites vary. Most programs, however, require you to be 18 years old, have a high-school diploma or GED, a valid driver’s license, and show a passing algebra grade.
On-the-Job Experience: While on the job, you will gain an understanding of electrical standards, as well as math and scientific principles. Electricians need keen eyesight and good hand-eye coordination, as well as proper time management skills. They also must possess good customer service skills, be able to work independently, display good physical endurance, and use logical problem-solving techniques. Electricians also learn how to read blueprints, circuit diagrams, and other technical documents.
Colorado Electrician Licensing Exam Details
The Colorado Residential Wireman Exam features 90 questions that must be answered within 4.5 hours. The open-book exam allows applicants to use the National Electrical Code (NEC). Study guides and exam prep materials are available. A passing score equals 70% or better.
Topics covered during the exam include:
General Electrical Knowledge
Services, Feeders, and Branch Circuits
Grounding and Bonding
Conductors and Cables
Raceways and Boxes
The Colorado Journeyman Wireman Exam features 90 multiple-choice questions that must be answered within 4.5 hours. The exam is open book, and applicants can use the National Electrical Code (NEC). Study guides and exam prep materials are available. A passing score equals 70% or better.
The exam covers the same topics listed above for the residential wireman exam, in addition to these topics:
The Colorado Master Electrician Licensing Exam features 90 questions that must be answered within 4.5 hours. The exam is open book, and applicants can use the National Electrical Code.
Study guides and exam prep materials are available. A passing score is 70% or better.
Topics covered during the exam include all of the topics covered in residential wireman and journeyman wireman exams.
Who Issues Electrician Licenses in Colorado?
The Colorado Division of Professions and Occupations issues electricians licenses.
Does My Colorado Electrical License Work in Any Other State?
Yes. Colorado maintains reciprocity agreements with Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.
National Electrician Certifications
While optional, national certifications can help you demonstrate your proficiency in certain aspects of the electrical trade to potential employers and clients, which often translates into more job opportunities and higher pay.
These include the Independent Electrical Contractors Certified Professional Electrician (CPE) distinction, certification through the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), among dozens of additional electrician certifications available.
You can stay up to date on all electrician industry news several ways: