Kentucky Electrical License: How to Become an Electrician in Kentucky
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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 711,200 electricians nationwide and 9,260 work in Kentucky. The national number is predicted to grow 7% from 2021 to 2031 adding more than 50,000 to the ranks of this essential workforce and 9% in Kentucky 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, 2022 AGC-Autodesk Workforce Survey, 60% of firms in the U.S. and in Kentucky 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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License Requirements for Electricians in Kentucky
Is a state license required to be an electrician in Kentucky? Yes.
Kentucky requires a license to perform electrical work. To start the process, you'll need to register as an electrical apprentice with the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the U.S. Department of Labor. Electrical licenses are issued through the Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction.
Steps to Get an Electrician License in Kentucky
Gain necessary hands-on work experience and required classroom training to become a journeyman or residential electrician.
Take the journeyman electrician licensing exam.
Earn a master electrician license.
Become a licensed independent electrical contractor.
How to Become an Electrician in Kentucky
GAIN NECESSARY EXPERIENCE: To be eligible for the Kentucky journeyman electrician exam, you'll need a notarized waiver validating six years of work experience in the electrical trade industry or a notarized waiver validating four years of electrical work experience, as well as 576 hours of classroom training. You can obtain the required job experience at a technical school, a qualified apprenticeship program, or by serving as an assistant or technician under the supervision of a licensed electrician.
The state of Kentucky offers both union and non-union apprenticeship programs.
The Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) Association of the Bluegrass, located in Lexington, offers a non-union apprenticeship combining 144 hours of classroom training per year, along with 2,000 hours of hands-on experience. Both the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training (BAT) and the Kentucky State Apprenticeship Council (SAC) approve the four-year program.
For union-based apprenticeships, the Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (JATC) offers programs sponsored by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA). JATC offers apprenticeships in Louisville, Owensboro, and Paducah.
Most technical schools and apprenticeship programs require you to be 18 years old, possess a high school diploma or GED, hold a valid driver’s license, and pass an aptitude test.
TAKE JOURNEYMAN ELECTRICIAN EXAM: After meeting the licensing requirements established by the Kentucky Electrical Division of the Public Protection Cabinet, you’ll be eligible for the journeyman electrician exam, administered by Pearson Vue. After passing the exam, you can obtain your journeyman electrician license by submitting a licensing application, photo ID, birth certificate, and paying the appropriate fee.
Kentucky journeyman electricians must pay $50 to renew their licenses and complete six hours of continuing education annually on topics including: OSHA requirements, the National Electrical Code (NEC), electrical math, and more. Note: Only two of the six continuing education hours may pertain to safety-related topics.
EARN A MASTER ELECTRICIAN LICENSE: The Kentucky licensing board requires you to have your journeyman license for a minimum of two years before you become eligible to earn a master electrician license. After completing the licensing exam, you can obtain your master electrician license by submitting a licensing application, photo ID, birth certificate, and paying the appropriate fee.
To renew licensure, master electricians in Kentucky must pay $100 annually and complete six hours of continuing education on topics including: OSHA requirements, the National Electrical Code (NEC), electrical math, and more. Note: Only two of the six continuing education hours may pertain to safety-related topics.
BECOME A LICENSED INDEPENDENT ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR: Being an independent electrical contractor in Kentucky means you can offer your services to the public, hire electricians, and run your own business. You don’t have to have a master electrician license to be an electrical contractor, but someone on your staff must hold a valid license. You can obtain your electrical contractor license by submitting a licensing application, paying the appropriate fee, and passing the Kentucky Business and Law exam.
Electrical contractors in Kentucky must pay $200 annually to renew their licenses. Additionally, electrical contractors must provide proof of $500,000 in general liability insurance and maintain workers' compensation insurance.
Like journeyman and master electricians, electrical contractors must complete six hours of continuing education on topics including: OSHA requirements, the National Electrical Code (NEC), electrical math, and more. Note: Only two of the six continuing education hours may pertain to safety-related topics.
Types of Electrician Licenses in Kentucky
Journeyman Electrician: Prior to licensing, journeyman electricians usually have four years of work experience, as well as classroom training. After getting licensed, a journeyman can install, maintain, and repair residential electrical systems.
Master Electrician: Master electricians must work at least two years as journeyman electricians before becoming master electricians. Master electricians supervise journeyman electricians, and work on both residential and commercial properties.
Electrical Contractor: Must pass a specialty business and law exam and maintain proper insurance. Electrical contractors run their own businesses and often hire other licensed electricians.
Benefits of Becoming a Licensed Electrician in Kentucky
There are many benefits to pursuing a Kentucky electrician license:
Most importantly, Kentucky law requires a state license to legally perform electrical work. Properly trained electricians throughout the United States are well-versed in fire prevention measures, as well as electrical distribution systems.
A trade license provides proof of your experience and skill.
Only licensed electrical contractors can: operate a business and advertise services, obtain commercial insurance, pull building permits, pass inspections, and bid on public and government projects.
A license protects your company and customers.
A license gives you a competitive advantage in the job market.
It also increases your earning potential.
What Is the Mean Wage for an Electrician in Kentucky?
The annual mean wage for electricians in Kentucky is $53,370 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 $20.15 per hour in Kentucky and $6,000 overtime per year.
Electrician: The average salary for an electrician apprentice is $26.74 per hour in Kentucky and $9,438 overtime per year.
Master Electrician: The average salary for an electrician apprentice is $28.85 per hour in Kentucky.
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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Location-specific service history, including recorded calls, accessible from the mobile app.
Required forms that ensure every job is done right, driving consistency.
The ability to build multi-option proposals with photos, on-site, in minutes.
Sales presentations that make conversations with customers easier and drive average ticket.
Mobile payment acceptance, eliminating lost checks and increasing cash flow.
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How Much Does It Cost for Electrician Licensing in Kentucky?
Most Kentucky electrician schools offer two-year programs. Tuition for in-state students averages $4,160 per year, plus books and related study materials. You also should expect to pay exam and licensure fees to obtain a journeyman, master electrician, or electrical contractor license.
How Long Does It Take to Get an Electrician License in Kentucky?
Obtaining a journeyman electrician license in the state of Kentucky takes about four years of electrical work experience, as well as 576 hours of classroom training. You must hold a valid journeyman electrician license for two years before you become eligible to earn a master electrician license.
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Kentucky Electrician Training Programs and Schools
Kentucky is home to several community colleges, trade schools, and technical and vocational schools that provide the training you need to become an electrical professional in Kentucky. They are located all over the state, including the cities of Frankfurt, Louisville, and Lexington.
Training at most technical schools covers the following topics:
Introduction to the National Electrical Code (NEC)
CPR and First Aid Training
Grounding and Resistance: Theory and Testing
Some Kentucky electrical schools include:
Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College offers a residential electricity certificate program.
Bluegrass Community and Technical College offers an electrical engineering technology certificate program, as well as an associate degree program for construction electricians.
Owensboro Community and Technical College offers a certificate program for residential electricity II, as well as an associate degree program for industrial electricians.
Program Prerequisites: Program prerequisites vary by license type. Most programs, however, require you to be 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, a valid driver’s license, and pass an aptitude test.
On-the-Job Experience: While on the job, you'll 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 need good customer service skills, independence, good physical endurance, and logical problem-solving techniques. Electricians also learn how to read blueprints, circuit diagrams, and other technical documents.
Kentucky Electrician Licensing Exam Details
The Kentucky electrical journeyman exam costs $100. It features 80 open-book questions that must be answered within four hours. References that can be used during the test include the National Electrical Code (NEC) and any edition of Ugly’s Electrical Reference. In Kentucky, you must receive at least a 70% score to pass.
Exam topics include:
Services and Service Equipment
Branch Circuits and Conductors
Wiring Methods and Materials
Equipment and Devices
Special Occupancies, Equipment, and Conditions
The master electrician exam covers the same material as the journeyman electrical exam and features 100 multiple-choice questions you have to answer within five hours. Most tests are open book and allow you to reference the National Electrical Code (NEC). You must score at least 75% to pass the exam.
The Kentucky Business and Law exam costs $60. It's required to become an electrical contractor and contains 30 multiple-choice questions you must answer within 90 minutes. The test is open-book, and applicants can use the Kentucky Contractors Business and Law book for reference. You must score at least 75% to pass the exam.
The exam covers the following topics:
Business Structure Practices and Licensing
Estimating and Bidding
Contractors and Acceptance
Project Management and Planning
Financing and Recordkeeping
Insurance and Bonding
Labor Law and Personnel Policies
Tax, Lien Laws, and Dispute Resolution
Safety and OSHA Compliance
Who Issues Electrician Licenses in Kentucky?
The Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet issues electrical licenses through the Kentucky Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction.
Does My Kentucky Electrician License Work in Any Other State?
Yes. Kentucky has reciprocity agreements with Ohio, Louisiana, West Virginia, and Virginia.
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 in several ways: