Massachusetts Electrical License: How to Become an Electrician in Massachusetts
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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 17,160 work in Massachusetts. The national number is predicted to grow 7% from 2021 to 2031, adding more than 50,000 to the ranks. In Massachusetts the growth rate is expected to be more than four times the national number at 29% according to CareerOneStop. 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. 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 Massachusetts
Is a state license required to be an electrician in Massachusetts? Yes.
A license is required to perform electrical work in the state of Massachusetts. Electrical licenses are issued by the Massachusetts Board of State Examiners of Electricians.
Massachusetts requires electrical trainees to file an apprenticeship agreement with the Massachusetts Division of Apprenticeship Standards. Applicants must pay a $35 fee and submit a passport-sized photo to complete the process. The registration card must be carried with you whenever you're on a job site.
Steps to Get an Electrician License in Massachusetts
Gain necessary work experience and classroom instruction.
Obtain your journeyman electrician license.
Earn your master electrician license.
Open an electrical contracting business.
How to Become an Electrician in Massachusetts
GAIN NECESSARY EXPERIENCE: Earning a journeyman electrician license in Massachusetts requires 8,000 hours of electrical trade work experience, plus 600 hours of approved coursework. This usually takes four years in a technical school program and/or a qualified apprenticeship program.
The Massachusetts Division of Apprentice Standards/Division of Apprentice Training monitors apprentice electrician programs, but does not provide job training or match licensees to employers. The Massachusetts Department of Career Services maintains a list of available electrical apprenticeships.
Electrical apprentices usually must be 18 years old, possess a high school diploma or GED, pass a drug test, obtain a qualifying score on an aptitude test, hold a valid driver’s license, and earn a passing grade in at least one high school algebra course.
OBTAIN YOUR JOURNEYMAN ELECTRICIAN LICENSE: After passing the journeyman licensing exam, you can pay the $104 licensing fee at the testing location to get your license the same day. Journeyman electricians renew their licenses every three years, at a cost of $78.
The Division of Professional Licensure issues license renewal materials. License renewal requires 21 clock hours of continuing education, with 15 hours spent on the Massachusetts Electrical Code.
EARN YOUR MASTER ELECTRICIAN LICENSE: Once you've held a journeyman license for at least one year, and clocked an additional 150 hours of classroom credit pertaining to the current electrical code, you can take the exam to earn your master electrician license.
After you pass the master electrician licensing exam, you can pay the $155 licensing fee at the testing location to get your license the same day. Master electricians renew their licenses every three years, at a cost of $117. Renewal requires 21 clock hours of continuing education, including 15 hours on the current electrical code.
CONSIDER STARTING AN ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR BUSINESS: Master electricians in Massachusetts can open their own business without a contractor license. This means you can work alone or open a business and hire other licensed electricians to work for you.
The Massachusetts Office of Housing and Economic Development provides instructions on how to open your own business, and you can find required forms at the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.
Types of Electrical Licenses in Massachusetts
Massachusetts offers several types of electrician licenses, often referred to by Class A, B, C, and D.
Journeyman Electrician: Authorized to install, maintain, or repair wires, conduits, and other electrical items commonly utilized for heat, security systems, fire warnings, or as light sources. A journeyman electrician license is also known as a Class B license.
Master Electrician: Authorized to work independently or own a business and hire other licensed electricians to install, maintain, or repair wires, conduits, and other electrical items commonly utilized for heat, security systems, fire warnings, or as light sources. A master electrician license is also known as a Class A license.
Systems Contractor: Designs and supervises the installation of electrical systems in homes in businesses, such as security alarms and fire alarms. A systems contractor license is also known as a Class C license.
Systems Technician: Installs and maintains electrical systems in homes and businesses, such as security alarms and fire warning devices. A systems technician license is also known as a Class D license.
Benefits of Becoming a Licensed Electrician in Massachusetts
There are many benefits to pursuing a Massachusetts electrician license:
Most important, it is required by law in Massachusetts to be licensed through the state 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 is proof of your experience and skill.
Only licensed electricians can: operate a business and advertise services, obtain commercial insurance, pull building permits, pass inspections, and bid on public and government projects.
Securing a license protects your company and customers.
An electrical 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 Massachusetts?
The annual mean wage for electricians in Massachusetts is $75,850 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 $22.39 per hour in Massachusetts and $6,000 overtime per year.
Electrician: The average salary for an electrician apprentice is $38.77 per hour in Massachusetts and $9,438 overtime per year.
Master Electrician: The average salary for an electrician apprentice is $41.56 per hour in Massachusetts.
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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Required forms that ensure every job is done right, driving consistency.
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How Much Does It Cost for Electrician Licensing in Massachusetts?
Tuition at some Boston-area community colleges costs about $4,200 per year, plus another $2,100 in books and learning resources. Technical institutes can average about $17,500 per year, with an additional $1,000 needed for study materials.
Be prepared to pay exam application fees, licensing fees, and licensing renewal fees associated with both journeyman and master electrician licenses.
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How Long Does It Take to Get an Electrician License in Massachusetts?
You can earn a journeyman electrician license in Massachusetts in about four years, which includes 8,000 hours of work experience, as well as 600 hours of approved classroom instruction.
Becoming a master electrician in Massachusetts requires at least one year of experience as a licensed journeyman, as well as an additional 150 hours of specific course study.
Massachusetts Electrician Training Programs and Schools
Massachusetts offers many community colleges, trade schools, technical and vocational schools to get the training you need to become an electrical professional. They're located all over the state, including in big cities and smaller communities.
Topics frequently taught at community colleges and technical trade schools with electrical-related programs include:
Residential Electrical Wiring
Commercial and Industrial Electrical Wiring
Introduction to Hand and Power Tools
Introduction to Electrical Blueprints
National Electrical Code (NEC)
Fasteners and Anchors
Electrical Test Equipment
Boxes and Fittings
The Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology in Boston offers an associate degree program in electrical engineering, as well as a certificate program in electrical technology.
Bunker Hill Community College in Boston offers an associate program in electrical engineering.
Program Prerequisites: Program prerequisites vary. Most programs, however, require you to be 18 years old, possess a high-school diploma or GED, a valid driver’s license, and a passing algebra grade.
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 to have good customer service skills, be able to work independently, have good physical endurance, and use logical problem-solving techniques. Electricians also learn how to read blueprints, circuit diagrams, and other technical documents.
Massachusetts Electrician Licensing Exam Details
PSI administers electrician licensing exams in Massachusetts, with candidate information bulletins and reference materials available. Testing locations include: Auburn, Boston, Fall River, Lawrence, and Springfield.
You must apply to take the journeyman licensing exam and submit the required application, along with a $31 licensing application fee. PSI charges a separate $61 application processing fee. Along with the application, you must provide a certificate of completion from your apprenticeship, as well as an employment certification form. The entire application packet must be notarized.
The journeyman exam contains two parts, which may be taken on the same day. There is an $80 fee to take Part I of the exam, and a $55 fee to take Part II.
Part I of the exam contains 80 questions you must answer within three hours. A passing score is at least 70%. Applicants can use the National Electrical Code (NEC) and National Fire Code for reference during the test. Exam topics include:
Grounding and Bonding
Wiring Methods and Devices
Special Occupancies and Equipment
Part II of the journeyman exam includes 30 questions you must answer within one hour. A passing score is 70%. Applicants can use many references during this portion of the exam, including the National Electrical Code (NEC) and information from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). For a complete list of authorized reference materials, consult the candidate information bulletin.
Topics covered during Part II of the exam include:
Circuit Calculations (Ohm’s Law)
Electrical Schematics and Plans
Materials and Components
Troubleshooting and Testing
Licensing Laws and Regulations
To take the master electrician exam in Massachusetts, you must submit an application, all required documents, and $276 in fees. Like the journeyman exam, the master electrician exam contains two parts you can take on the same day.
Part I of the master electrician exam contains 80 questions you must answer within four hours. Applicants can use National Electrical Code (NEC), the NFPA 72-National Fire Alarm Code, and the Massachusetts Electrical Code for reference during Part I of the master electrician exam. A passing score is 70%. Exam topics include:
Massachusetts-Specific Electrical Requirements
Grounding and Bonding
Wiring Methods and Devices
Special Occupancies and Equipment
Part II of the master electrician exam contains 50 questions you must answer within two hours. Many references can be used during this portion of the test. For a complete list, please see the candidate information bulletin. A passing score is 70%. Exam topics include:
Estimating and Bidding
Environmental and Safety
Who Issues Electrician Licenses in Massachusetts?
The Massachusetts Board of State Examiners of Electricians issues licenses.
Does My Massachusetts Electrical License Work in Any Other State?
Yes. Massachusetts offers a reciprocity agreement with New Hampshire for both journeyman and master electrician licenses.
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: