Michigan Electrical License: How to Become an Electrician in Michigan
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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.
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 88% of firms in Michigan 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 Michigan
Is a state license required to be an electrician in Michigan? Yes.
The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), Electrical Division issues licensing. However, the city of Detroit and the city of Grand Rapids have local governing agencies for issuing electrical licenses within those municipalities.
Steps to Get an Electrician License in Michigan
Gain necessary work experience and classroom training.
Earn a journeyman electrician license.
Obtain a master electrician certification.
Become a licensed electrical contractor.
How to Become an Electrician in Michigan
GAIN NECESSARY EXPERIENCE: You can gain necessary work experience through a technical school or a qualified apprenticeship program. Earning a journeyman license in Michigan typically takes four years and requires 8,000 hours of electrical trade work experience, plus 576 hours of classroom training.
Michigan offers both union and non-union-based apprenticeship programs. The Michigan Workforce Development Agency keeps a list of available apprenticeships, as well as the Michigan Apprenticeship Steering Committee.
Michigan electrical apprentices work under the supervision of a master electrician or journeyman electrician. Apprentices must be Michigan residents, at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, reliable transportation, and pass a drug test and criminal background check.
The cities of Grand Rapids and Detroit have their own local licensing agencies for apprenticeship registration. This process involves paying a registration fee, submitting an application, and providing your employer information.
For all other Michigan cities, trainees must submit an application form for electric apprentice or fire alarm specialty technician apprentice. Apprentices need to renew their licenses each year at a cost of $15.
EARN A JOURNEYMAN ELECTRICIAN’S LICENSE: Once you've met the necessary requirements, you can apply to take the journeyman electrician exam. Journeyman, or residential electrician, licensing procedures and required documentation vary in Grand Rapids and Detroit. However, for the majority of Michigan, a journeyman must be at least 20 years old and submit the required application with all supporting documents. After passing the journeyman exam, you'll pay a $40 licensing fee. Michigan requires license renewal each year at a cost of $40. License renewal requires 15 hours of continuing education on the state’s most recently adopted version of the National Electrical Code (NEC).
OBTAIN A MASTER ELECTRICIAN CERTIFICATION: You must hold a journeyman license for at least two years before you become eligible to take the master electrician exam. Master electricians need to be at least 22 years old and have completed 12,000 hours of electrical trade work in the past six years. After meeting these requirements, you can apply to take the master electrician exam. Application procedures vary in Grand Rapids and Detroit, but are uniform across the rest of the state. Once you pass the exam, you must pay a $50 licensing fee. Master electrician licenses require annual renewal at a cost of $50.
BECOME A LICENSED ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR: Being an independent electrical contractor in Michigan means you can offer your services to the public, hire electricians, and run your own business. To obtain licensure, you need to fill out an application and provide the required documentation. Electrical contractor licensing procedures, fees, and required documentation vary in Grand Rapids and Detroit, but are uniform across the rest of the state. Once you pass the exam, you must pay a $55 licensing fee. Electrical contractor licenses require annual renewal at a cost of $100.
Types of Electrical Licenses in Michigan
The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs offers several types of electrical licensure, including:
Journeyman Electrician: Requires a minimum of 8,000 hours of practical experience over a four-year period related to electrical construction, building maintenance, electrical wiring, or equipment. Training must be under the direct supervision of a licensed electrician.
Master Electrician: Requires an electrical journeyman's license for a minimum of 2 years and completion of 12,000 hours of practical experience over a six-year period. Training must be under the direct supervision of a master electrician.
Electrical Contractor: Requires a master electrician's license or at least one master electrician working on staff as a full-time employee. The master electrician shall be actively in charge of and responsible for code compliance of all installations of electrical wiring and equipment.
Fire Alarm Specialty Technician: Requires certification by the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technology (NICET) as an associate engineering technician, level II, or the equivalent as determined by the board in the field of fire alarm systems technology.
Fire Alarm Contractor: Requires a fire alarm specialty technician's license or at least one fire alarm specialty technician working on staff as a full-time employee. The fire alarm specialty technician shall be actively in charge of and responsible for code compliance of all installations of fire alarm system wiring and equipment.
Sign Specialist: Requires a minimum of 4,000 hours of experience obtained over a two-year period related to the manufacture, installation, maintenance, connection, or repair of electric signs and related wiring.
Sign Specialty Contractor: Requires a sign specialist's license or at least one sign specialist working on staff as a full-time employee. The sign specialist shall be actively in charge of and responsible for code compliance of all installations, connections, and repairs of electric signs and related wiring.
Benefits of Becoming a Licensed Electrician in Michigan
There are many benefits to pursuing a Michigan electrician license:
Most important, Michigan 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 is proof of your experience and skill.
Only certified electricians 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.
Licensure gives you a competitive advantage in the job market.
It also increases your earning potential.
What Is the Mean Wage for an Electrician in Michigan?
The annual mean wage for electricians in Michigan is $62,740 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 $20.34 per hour in Michigan and $6,375 overtime per year.
Electrician: The average salary for an electrician apprentice is $24.80 per hour in Michigan and $7,500 overtime per year.
Master Electrician: The average salary for an electrician apprentice is $36.42 per hour in Michigan 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 Michigan?
Tuition at Michigan community colleges costs $3,900 or more per year, plus the costs of books and study materials. Some specialty technical colleges, however, can cost more than $20,000 per year. There are also fees associated with exams and licensing. Fees vary by municipality, so check with your local department of labor for specific information.
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How Long Does It Take to Get an Electrician License in Michigan?
It takes roughly four years or 8,000 hours of work experience, plus 576 hours of classroom training in electrical theory and safety to earn an electrical journeyman’s license. After maintaining a journeyman license for two years, you become eligible to earn a master electrician license, providing you’ve achieved 12,000 hours of work experience over the past six years.
Michigan Electrician Training Programs and Schools
There are several community colleges, trade schools, and educational programs to get the training you need to become an electrical professional in Michigan. You have options all over the state, including big cities and smaller communities.
Training at most technical schools covers the following topics:
National Electrical Code (NEC)
Branch Circuit Distribution
Fire Alarm Systems
Industry Orientation (Michigan laws and rules)
Some Michigan electrical schools include:
Kellogg Community College in Battle Creek offers an industrial electricity and electronics certificate program, as well as an associate degree program.
Henry Ford College in Dearborn offers an electrical technology analog electronics certificate program and an electrical technology associate degree program.
Michigan State University in East Lansing offers a certificate program in electrical engineering.
Program Prerequisites: Prerequisites vary by program. 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.
Michigan Electrician Licensing Exam Details
PSI administers electrical exams in Michigan. Reference materials are available even though most exams are open book.
The journeyman electrical exam costs $100. Applicants have 150 minutes to answer 80 questions and must earn a score of 75% or higher. Tests are open-book and allow you to reference the National Electrical Code (NEC) and the Michigan Electrical Code Rules Part 8.
Topics on the exam include:
Electrical Administrative Act (ACT)
Current Electrical Code Rules
Grounding and Bonding
Wiring Methods and Installations
Boxes and Cabinets
Motors and Motor Controls
Box and Raceway fill
Power Limited Circuits
General Electrical Trade Knowledge
Master electrician exams cover the same topics as the journeyman exam, plus planning and supervising electrical installations. The open-book exam costs $100 and applicants have three hours to complete 75 questions. You must score at least 75% and you have two attempts to pass the exam over a two-year period. Otherwise, you’ll need to reapply and pay the exam fee again.
The electrical contractor exam costs $100. The test includes 40 questions and you have 90 minutes to earn a score of 75% or higher.
Exam topics include:
National Electrical Code (NEC) Rules
Electrical Administrative Board Rules
Electrical Administrative Act 217 of 1956
Act 230 of 1972
Act 497 of 1980- Construction Lien Act
Who Issues Electrician Licenses in Michigan?
The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), Electrical Division issues electrical licenses in Michigan. However, the city of Detroit and the city of Grand Rapids have local governing agencies for issuing electrical licenses within those municipalities.
Does My Michigan Electrical License Work in Any Other State?
No, the state of Michigan doesn't 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.
You can stay up to date on all electrician industry news in several ways: