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Licensing Guides

Hawaii Electrical License: How to Become an Electrician in Hawaii

category-iconElectrical

Table of Contents
  1. License Requirements for Hawaii Electricians

  2. Steps of Electrician Licensure in Hawaii

  3. Types of Electrical Licensure in Hawaii

  4. Benefits of Becoming a Licensed Electrician in Hawaii

  5. How Much Does It Cost for Electrician Licensing in Hawaii?

  6. How Long Does It Take to Get an Electrician License in Hawaii?

  7. Hawaii Electrician Training Programs and Schools

  8. Hawaii Electrician Licensing Exam Details

  9. Who Issues Electrician Licenses in Hawaii?

  10. Does My Hawaii Electrical License Work in Any Other State?

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 process of becoming an electrician takes time, but you get paid while you learn and gain experience!

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License Requirements for Hawaii Electricians

Is a state license required to be an electrician in Hawaii? Yes.

All electrical work performed in the state of Hawaii requires a license issued by the Hawaii Board of Electricians and Plumbers, which is a part of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Professional & Vocational Licensing Division.

Steps of Electrician Licensure in Hawaii

  1. Complete the required number of classroom hours and hands-on job experience required for licensure.

  2. Take the electrical licensing exam to become a licensed electrician.

  3. Obtain a supervising electrician license.

  4. Become an independent electrical contractor.

OBTAIN NECESSARY EXPERIENCE: To begin earning the required number of hours for various Hawaii electrical licenses, you should enroll in an apprenticeship placement program, or at a technical college to earn certification and find a trainee position. Hawaii offers one union apprenticeship program, operated through the Hawaii Electricians Training Fund. Generally speaking, apprenticeships require you to be at least 18 years old, earn a high school diploma or GED, be physically fit, pass an aptitude test, complete an oral interview, and pass an online Algebra class. 

TAKE THE LICENSING EXAM: Those wishing to take the journey worker electrician, journey worker specialty electrician, journey worker industrial electrician, or maintenance electrician exams must fill out an application. The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs details the specifications for Hawaii's electrician licenses. Most licenses must be renewed every three years, which requires continuing education classes on the National Electrical Code (NEC).

OBTAIN A SUPERVISING ELECTRICIAN LICENSE: You must gain four years of work experience as a journey worker electrician (similar to that of a journeyman in other states) before you can obtain any type of supervising electrician license. Hawaii offers three different types of supervising licenses: Supervising electrician (ES), supervising specialty electrician (ESS), and supervising industrial electrician (EIS). Most licenses must be renewed every three years. That renewal process also requires continuing education classes about the National Electrical Code (NEC).

BECOME AN INDEPENDENT ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR: If you plan to operate your own electrical business in Hawaii, you must become a Hawaii electrical contractor. To do so, you register with the Hawaii Contractors License Board. The board will want to know if you're the sole proprietor of the business or a corporate entity. It is important to know the difference, so you fill out the correct application form.

  • Corporate Entity: Registers with the Hawaii Business Registration Division, maintains worker’s compensation and liability insurance, and has a responsible managing employee who passes the trade exam.

  • Sole Proprietor: Must be at least 18 years old, maintain worker’s compensation and liability insurance, have four years of full-time electrical supervisory experience, and pass an electrician exam in one of the licensure categories.

Once you fill out the appropriate application, you must also fill out a contractor’s financial statement and pass two exams: the C-13 Electrical Contractor Exam and the Hawaiian Contractor Exam. After passing, you need to provide proof of insurance issued by a licensed Hawaiian insurance company. Contractor insurance requirements include general liability insurance coverage that provides the following: 

  • Bodily Injury Liability: $100,000 per person and $300,000 per occurrence

  • Property Damage Liability: $50,000 per occurrence

Being an independent licensed contractor requires renewal every two years. 

Types of Electrical Licensure in Hawaii

Hawaii offers several different types of electrician licenses. According to the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Professional & Vocational Licensing Division, these are the types of licenses and the qualifications:

Journey Worker Electrician: Five years of experience, but not less than 10,000 hours, in residential or commercial wiring, and satisfactory completion of 240 hours of electrical academic coursework at an accepted University of Hawaii Community College that offers an appropriate program of study.

Supervising Electrician: Four years of experience as a licensed journey worker electrician or the equivalent.

Journey Worker Industrial Electrician: Four years—but not less than 8,000 hours—in industrial electrical work, and satisfactory completion of 200 hours of electrical academic coursework at a University of Hawaii Community College. 

Supervising Industrial Electrician: Three years of experience as a licensed journey worker industrial electrician or the equivalent.

Journey Worker Specialty Electrician: Three years—but not less than 6,000 hours—working in the trade, and satisfactory completion of an appropriate University of Hawaii Community College program, totaling 120 hours of electrical academic coursework.

Supervising Specialty Electrician: Two years of experience as a licensed journey worker specialty electrician or the equivalent.

Maintenance Electrician: One year of electrical maintenance work, and satisfactory completion of an appropriate study program offered by a University of Hawaii Community College, totaling 80 hours of electrical academic coursework or two years of schooling in the trade, with no less than 1,000 hours of hands-on lab exercises.

Benefits of Becoming a Licensed Electrician in Hawaii

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, Hawaii electricians earned the third-highest salaries of all electricians throughout the United States. The Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations estimates the number of electrical jobs available in Hawaii will increase 15 percent over the next two years.

There are many benefits you’ll see from pursuing a Hawaii electrician license:

  • Most importantly, it is required by law in Hawaii to be licensed through the state to legally perform electrical work.

  • A trade license is proof of 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.

  • Having a license protects your company and customers.

  • A license gives you a competitive advantage in the job market.

  • It also increases your earning potential.

How Much Does It Cost for Electrician Licensing in Hawaii?

It can cost up to $10,000 to attend an electrical trade school or vocational school in Hawaii. Costs vary, depending on the school and program. Additional electrical exam application fees and licensing fees also apply.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Electrician License in Hawaii?

Obtaining an electrician license in Hawaii takes a minimum of four years, or 8,000 hours of hands-on work experience, combined with anywhere from 120 to 1,000 hours of classroom work, depending on the desired level of licensure.

Hawaii Electrician Training Programs and Schools

There are many community colleges, trade schools, technical and vocational schools to get the training you need to become an electrical professional in Hawaii. They are located all over the state, including smaller communities and big cities like Honolulu.

Some popular schools include:

Hawaii Community College 1175 Manono St. Hilo, HI, 96720 (808) 934-2500

Offers a 62-credit-hour certificate program or an AAS degree program, which totals 71 credit hours. The degree program costs about $11,505.

Kauai Community College 3-1901 Kaumualii Highway Lihue, HI 96766 (808) 245-8311

Offers a certificate of competence that equals 15 credit hours and can be completed in one year. A certificate of achievement takes 47 credit hours, and an AAS degree requires 62 credit hours.

Leeward Community College 96-045 Ala `Ike Pearl City, HI 96782 (808) 455-0011

Offers programs designed for those who want journey worker electrician licenses, industrial electrician licenses, or specialty and maintenance electrician licenses. Programs last six months and equal 240 hours of instruction at a cost of $4,000.

Program Prerequisites: Program prerequisites vary. Most programs, however, require you to be 18 years old, earn a high-school diploma or GED, hold 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, and proper time management skills. They also must demonstrate good customer service skills, be able to work independently, show good physical endurance, and use logical problem-solving techniques. Electricians also learn how to read blueprints, circuit diagrams, and other technical documents. 

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Hawaii Electrician Licensing Exam Details

Most electrician exams in Hawaii are administered by Prometric. The journey worker electrician and journey worker industrial electrician exams both contain 70 multiple-choice questions that must be answered within three hours. The exams are open book and applicants may use the National Electrical Code (NEC). A passing score equals 70% or better.

The journey worker specialty electrician exam contains 50 multiple-choice questions that must be answered within two hours. The exam is open book and applicants may use the National Electrical Code. You must score 70% or better to pass.

Exam topics for most licenses include:

  • General Electrical Knowledge

  • Raceways and Enclosures

  • Services, Feeders, and Branch Circuits

  • Conductors and Cables

  • Grounding and Bonding

  • Equipment for General Use

  • Special Occupancies, Equipment, and Conditions

  • Motors and Controls

  • Low Voltage and Communications Circuits

  • Safety

The supervising electrician exam contains 70 multiple-choice questions that must be answered within three hours. The exam is open book and applicants may use the National Electrical Code. A passing score is 70% or better. The exam covers the same topics as the journey worker specialty electrician exam. 

The supervising specialty electrician exam contains 50 multiple-choice questions that must be answered within two hours. The exam is open book and applicants may use the National Electrical Code. You must achieve a 70% or better to pass. Exam topics are similar to the supervising electrician exam, but also include fire detection and alarm systems, as well as intrusion detection and alarm systems.

The supervising industrial electrician exam contains 70 multiple-choice questions that must be answered within three hours. The open-book exam allows applicants to use the National Electrical Code. You must score 70% or better to pass. Exam topics are similar to the supervising electrician exam, but also cover high voltage circuits.

The C-13 Electrical Contractor exam features 40 open-book questions that must be answered within two hours. A score of at least 75% is required to pass. 

Exam topics include:

  • General Electrical Knowledge

  • Grounding and Bonding

  • Services, Feeders, and Branch Circuits

  • Raceways and Enclosures

  • Conductors and Cables

  • Motors and Controls

  • Equipment for General Use

  • Special Occupancies and Equipment

  • Low Voltage Circuits

The Hawaiian Contractor exam is a closed-book test and contains 80 questions that must be answered within four hours. You must score at least 75% to pass. 

Exam topics include:

  • Plan Reading and Estimating 

  • Sitework

  • Concrete

  • Masonry

  • Metals

  • Carpentry

  • Thermal and Moisture Protection

  • Doors and Windows

  • Finishes

  • Safety

Who Issues Electrician Licenses in Hawaii?

The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Professional & Vocational Licensing Division: Board of Electricians and Plumbers.

Does My Hawaii Electrical License Work in Any Other State?

No. Hawaii does not have reciprocity agreements with any other states.

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.

Electrician Resources

You can stay up to date on all electrician industry news in several ways: