Discover your ROI with ServiceTitan: Calculate Now

Licensing Guides

Ohio Electrical License: How to Become an Electrician in Ohio

category-iconElectrical, OH

Table of Contents
  1. Licensing Requirements for Electricians in Ohio

  2. Steps to Get an Electrical Contractor License in Ohio

  3. Types of Electrical Contractor Licenses in Ohio

  4. Benefits of Getting Your Electrical Contractor License in Ohio

  5. How Much Does It Cost to Get an Electrical Contractor License in Ohio?

  6. Who Issues Electrician Licenses in Ohio?

  7. Does My Ohio Electrical Contractor License Work in Any Other State?

  8. Ohio Electrical Contractor Training Programs and Schools

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!

» Want to grow your electrical business? Click here to get a demo.

Licensing Requirements for Electricians in Ohio

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

Ohio offers a statewide certifying qualification process to become a licensed contractor electrician after five years of experience working as an electrician employee. However, the state of Ohio only mandates licensing for electrical contractors who work on commercial projects, or commercial contractors.

The Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board (OCILB), part of the Ohio Department of Commerce, issues state licenses for electrical contractors. Ohio does not require state-level electrician licenses for residential journeyman electricians or master electricians. 

Only two cities require a licensed journeyman electrician to perform electrical work. In Middletown and Hamilton, you must have a minimum of three years of experience in an apprenticeship along with technical training to apply for a journeyman electrician license.

All other municipalities allow one to instead work under a licensed contractor electrician for five years as an electrician employee before becoming eligible to apply for an electrician contractor license. 

Steps to Get an Electrical Contractor License in Ohio

  1. Be at least 18 years of age.

  2. Be a U.S. citizen or a legal alien.

  3. Either work as a tradesperson in the electrical trade for at least five years prior to application; currently be a registered engineer in the state with three years of business experience in the electrical trade; or provide other acceptable experience.

  4. Pass a criminal background check.

  5. Pass the electrical contractor exam.

  6. Carry at least $500,000 contractor liability coverage.

Verify Work History: You must provide proof of five years working consecutively in the electrical trade prior to completing the application. Specifically, that means five years working as a tradesperson under a licensed electrician on projects that required a permit. 

Registered Engineers: You can also apply for a state-level electrician license if you are currently registered as an engineer in the state with three years of business experience in the electrical trade. Work performed through local registrations counts toward your overall work experience.

Background Check: Once the OCILB approves your application, you must complete a state and federal background check, prior to taking the examination. 

Licensing Exam: Once the OCILB approves your application and you complete the background checks, you’ll receive an application packet from PSI, the testing administrator, with instructions on how to schedule your licensure exam. All exams are computer-based and conducted at sites throughout the state of Ohio. 

Final Steps: Once you pass the exam, send a copy of the results, a $25 check, and proof of at least $500,000 contractor liability insurance to OCILB to receive your electrical contractor license.

EARN LOCAL LEVEL LICENSURE: The cities of Middletown and Hamilton, Ohio, require all journeyman electricians to be licensed. A journeyman license allows an electrician to install electrical wiring under the supervision of a master electrician or electrical contractor. The two cities reciprocate on licensing, therefore a passing test score in either city allows the journeyman to purchase the license to work in each city.

The city of Hamilton requires general contractors, including electricians, to register with the city before performing any work that requires a city permit. For electricians, you must be registered as a master electrician before beginning any work or obtaining the necessary permits. 

To register, you must submit proof of your OCILB-issued electrical contractor license and pay a $200 new license fee. It costs $100 annually to renew your license to work in the city. For details on licensing information or to request an application form, contact the city of Hamilton directly at (513) 785-7353.

In Middletown, you must apply to take the journeyman electrician license exam, which costs $50. The open-book exam, administered at the Division of Building Inspections, must be completed within three hours. You must receive a 70% score to pass. Once you receive your journeyman electrician license, you can legally work in the city under the supervision of a master electrician. 

To become a master electrician, you must submit another application, pay a $200 fee, and hold a state-issued electrical contractor license. 

Types of Electrical Contractor Licenses in Ohio

What are the different types of electrical licenses in Ohio?

Journeyman: The cities of Hamilton and Middletown require journeyman electrician licenses; the state of Ohio does not. 

Independent Electrical Contractor: To operate your own electrical contracting business, you must obtain an electrical contractor license. 

The licensing requirements include providing: 

  • A valid U.S. ID showing you're at least 18 years old

  • Proof of five years of hands-on or engineering experience as an electrical tradesman

  • Ability to pass a state and federal background check

  • Proof of at least $500,000 in general liability insurance

  • Successfully passing both sections of the licensing exam

TAKE OHIO ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR EXAM: Applicants take the state of Ohio’s electrical contractor licensing exam in two parts: an electrical contractor exam, and a business and law exam. 

The electrical contractor exam is comprised of 100 questions you must answer within four hours. References that can be used during the exam include: Electrical Field Reference Handbook: Revised for the NEC 2008, NFPA70—National Electrical Code (NEC), NFPA70—National Electrical Code Handbook, and Ugly’s Electrical References.  

Exam topics include: 

  • General Electrical Knowledge

  • Transformers and Equipment

  • Service Feeders and Branch Circuits

  • Raceways, Boxes, and Panelboards

  • Conductors and Cables

  • Control Devices

  • Motors and Generators

  • Utilization Equipment

  • Special Occupancy and Equipment

The business and law exam comprises 50 questions you must answer in two hours. Participants may use one reference: Ohio Business and Law Study Guide for Contractors. 

Exam topics cover:

  • Business Organization

  • Licensing

  • Estimating and Bidding

  • Contract Management

  • Project Management

  • Insurance and Bonding

  • OSHA Recordkeeping and Safety

  • Personnel Regulations

  • Financial Management

  • Tax Laws

  • Lien Laws

Benefits of Getting Your Electrical Contractor License in Ohio

The U.S. Department of Labor expects an 11.5% increase in Ohio electrician jobs through 2024. The average annual salary for electricians in Ohio is $24.71 per hour, or about $51,396.80 per year.

There are many benefits you’ll see from becoming a licensed electrical contractor in Ohio:

  • Most importantly, Ohio law requires a state license to legally perform electrical work as an electrical contractor. Journeyman electrician licenses are required to perform electrical work in the cities of Hamilton or Middletown, Ohio. 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.

  • Securing an electrician license protects your company and customers.

  • Licensure gives you a competitive advantage in the job market.

  • It also increases your earning potential as an electrician.

How Much Does It Cost to Get an Electrical Contractor License in Ohio?

Most aspiring electricians receive training in Ohio by completing hands-on apprenticeships via unions and/or non-union employers in conjunction with classroom training. Most of the state also allows individuals to work as electrician employees under licensed electrician contractors for five years before they become eligible to apply for their own electrical contractor license.

Electrical contractors must pay a $25 fee when first applying for their state-level electrical contractor license. Licenses must be renewed annually, and include a $60 renewal fee. 

In Middletown, you must pay a $50 fee to apply for your journeyman electrician license. The open-book test comprises 50 multiple-choice questions that you must answer within three hours. You need a score of at least 70% to pass.

Upon passing, you can work as an electrician under a master electrician in the city of Middletown. To become a master electrician, you must also submit an application to the city, pay a $200 fee, and hold a state-issued electrical contractor license.

In Hamilton, you must register with the city to do any work that requires a permit. For electricians, you must register as a master electrician before beginning any work or obtaining the necessary permits.

To apply for registration, you must contact the city of Hamilton. In addition to the application, you need to submit proof of your OCILB-issued electrical contractor license and pay the $200 new license fee. You must renew your license with the city, at a cost of $100 each year.

The #1 newsletter for the trades.

Who Issues Electrician Licenses in Ohio?

The Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board (OCILB), part of the Ohio Department of Commerce, issues state licenses for electrical contractors.

Only two cities require a licensed journeyman electrician to perform electrical work. In Middletown and Hamilton, you must have a minimum of three years of experience in an apprenticeship along with technical training to apply for a journeyman electrician license.

Does My Ohio Electrical Contractor License Work in Any Other State? 

According to the Ohio Division of Industrial Compliance, Ohio state-licensed electricians maintain reciprocity with West Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Louisiana, and Tennessee. 

Ohio Electrical Contractor Training Programs and Schools

Many community colleges, trade schools, technical and vocational schools offer apprenticeship programs and the training you need to become an electrical professional in Ohio. They're located all over the state, including in bigger cities and smaller communities.

The standard training to become a journeyman electrician takes at least three years of job experience and hands-on training, through employment or an apprenticeship, for a total of 8,000 hours. This must be combined with technical, safety, and theory training in the classroom. Most formal apprenticeship programs take four years. 

Enrolling in a technical college’s electrician trade school program enables students to earn certified completion and competency in electrical technology, and satisfies the classroom-based training requirements needed for eventual journeyman and contractor licensure. Topics may include:

  • Basic Math

  • Blueprint Reading

  • Algebra and Trigonometry

  • Electrical Theory

  • OSHA Regulations

  • First Aid

  • Electrical Code

  • Telecom Cabling

  • Telecommunications

  • Motor Controls

  • Alarm Technology

  • Semi-Conductors

  • Logic Circuits and Programmable Controllers

  • Motor and Generator Theory

  • Power Distribution

  • Load Calculators

The National Training Alliance also offers electrician education opportunities around Ohio. These Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (JATC) programs include: 

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:

Explore Toolbox