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Licensing Guides

Pennsylvania Electrical License: How to Become a Licensed Electrician in Pennsylvania

category-iconElectrical, PA

Table of Contents
  1. Licensing Requirements for Electricians in Pennsylvania

  2. Steps to Get an Electrician License in Pennsylvania

  3. Types of Electrical Licensure in Pennsylvania

  4. Benefits of Becoming a Licensed Contractor in Pennsylvania

  5. How Much Does It Cost to Get an Electrician License in Pennsylvania?

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

  7. Pennsylvania Electrician Programs and Schools

  8. Who Issues Electrician Licenses in Pennsylvania?

  9. Does My Pennsylvania 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!

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

Licensing Requirements for Electricians in Pennsylvania

Is a license required for electricians in Pennsylvania? Not always.

To legally perform electrical services in Pennsylvania, you must comply with the state's Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act. The state of Pennsylvania does not offer statewide registration, certification, or state licenses for electricians. Each of the 2,562 municipalities maintains its own license requirements for electricians, plumbers, and HVAC contractors. 

Electricians must abide by the construction industry guidelines and building codes in the area they intend to work. This guide shows details for the licensing process for Allentown, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia as examples, since every city and county differs in its local rules for electricians.

Steps to Get an Electrician License in Pennsylvania

  1. Gain work experience in the electrical field

  2. Attain electrical journeyman license

  3. Obtain electrical contractor license

GAIN NECESSARY EXPERIENCE: There are three common paths to acquiring the practical experience needed to become an electrician in Pennsylvania: 

  • Enter into an apprenticeship program to gain three to five years of experience and earn between 750 and 900 hours of classroom education, depending on local government requirements.

OR

  • Attend a trade school or community college and graduate with a certificate in electrical technology, then accumulate two years of field experience.

OR

  • Work under the direct supervision of a licensed electrician for at least 10 years.

ATTAIN JOURNEYMAN ELECTRICIAN LICENSE: It is possible in some Pennsylvania municipalities to become a licensed journeyman by acquiring adequate on-the-job experience and passing an exam issued by the International Code Council (ICC) in the county or city you plan to operate in. Many Pennsylvania cities, such as Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, do not offer journeyman electrical licensing. However, most electrical contractors expect you to complete an apprenticeship prior to hiring you for a full-time journeyman electrician position. Providing evidence of completing an apprenticeship can often be enough to show your professional experience and get hired.

Allentown, PA 

The Allentown license requirements are very typical for journeymen around the nation. To perform electrical work as a journeyman in Allentown, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Have four years of practical experience

  • Be at least 21 years old

  • Hold a high school diploma or GED

  • Complete an application

  • Pass the journeyman exam

Allentown journeyman exam details 

Once the City of Allentown approves your application, they send you details to schedule your exam. The exam comprises 80 multiple-choice questions, and you must score 70% to pass. You may use the 2008 National Electrical Code (NEC) during the open-book test. The exam covers the following subject matter:

  • Wiring Methods and Materials – 26%

  • Branch Circuits and Conductors – 20%

  • Services and Service Equipment – 13%

  • Equipment and Devices – 13%

  • Special Occupancies, Equipment, and Conditions – 11%

  • General Knowledge – 8%

  • Motors and Generators – 5%

  • Feeders – 3%

  • Control Devices – 3%

After successfully completing the exam, you will receive a letter from the testing center confirming your passing score. Take that letter, your driver's license, and money to pay for your local electrician license to the Allentown government office. Your journeyman license remains valid for one year, and you must renew it each year by contacting the Allentown government offices. 

OBTAIN ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR LICENSE: You may apply for a license to perform electrical contracting after working with a local electrical contractor or holding a journeyman license for a few years. As with most journeyman licenses, requirements vary and you will have to check local regulations for master electricians and electrical contractors in your area. 

Becoming a master electrician in Allentown, PA 

The Allentown Building Standards and Safety Department issues master electrician licenses to electricians working in the city. The four years of experience requirement equals the same amount of time it takes to get a journeyman license. However, the master electrician exam proves more comprehensive and the license does not have any limitations, allowing the holder to pull permits and work independently in any building or structure in the city. Electricians in Allentown must fulfill the following conditions to qualify for a master electrician license:

  • Have four years of practical experience

  • Be at least 21 years old

  • Hold a high school diploma or GED

  • Complete an application

  • Pass the master electrician exam

Allentown master electrician exam details 

Once the City of Allentown approves your master electrician application, they will send you details to schedule your exam. The exam comprises 100 multiple-choice questions, and you must score 70% to pass. You may use the 2008 National Electrical Code (NEC) during the open-book test. The exam covers the following subject matter:

  • Wiring Methods and Materials – 19%

  • Branch Circuits and Conductors – 16%

  • Services and Service Equipment – 16%

  • General Knowledge and Plan Reading – 12%

  • Special Occupancies, Equipment, and Conditions – 12%

  • Equipment and Devices – 10%

  • Motors and Generators – 8%

  • Feeders – 4%

  • Control Devices – 3%

After successfully completing the exam, you will receive a letter from the testing center confirming your passing score. Take that letter, your driver's license, and money to pay for your license to the Allentown government office. There are no insurance requirements. Your master electrician license stays valid for one year and must be renewed the following year by contacting the Allentown government offices.

Becoming an electrical contractor in Pittsburgh, PA

In Pittsburgh, the Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspectors issues local electrical contractor licenses. Qualifying requirements include:

  • Be at least 18 years of age

  • Have a valid photo ID

  • Show evidence of tax registration for city taxes

  • Possess general liability insurance of no less than $300,000

  • Meet one of the following experience requirements:

    • Have 10 years of experience with a currently licensed Pittsburgh electrical contractor

    • Gained 10 years experience in another state or municipality with a valid electrician’s license

    • Hold a certificate of completion from an accredited school and two years of experience on the job

  • Pass the electrical contractors exam

Pittsburgh contractor exam details

Reference the Pittsburgh exam bulletin for specific scheduling instructions. The open-book exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions. You may use the 2008 National Electrical Code (NEC) and any edition of Ugly’s Electrical Reference during the test. You must score 70% to pass the exam over the following subject matter: 

  • Wiring Methods and Materials – 19%

  • Branch Circuits and Conductors – 16%

  • Services and Service Equipment – 16%

  • General Knowledge and Plan Reading – 12%

  • Special Occupancies, Equipment, and Conditions – 12%

  • Equipment and Devices – 10%

  • Motors and Generators – 8%

  • Feeders – 4%

  • Control Devices – 3%

Once you pass the exam, you may apply with the Department for a Pittsburg electrician license. Upon approval, you must pay your initial licensing fee. Your license remains valid for one year and renewal requires the same application, along with providing documents of your experience.

Becoming an electrical contractor in Philadelphia, PA

In Philadelphia, electrical contractor licenses get issued through the Business Services Department. You must meet the following criteria:

  • Obtain four years of experience as an electrician

  • Secure general liability insurance coverage of $500,000, worker’s compensation, and auto insurance

  • File Tax Clearance Forms through the Department of Revenue

  • Complete an application with three passport-sized color photos of yourself

  • Pass the electrical contractor exam

Philadelphia contractor exam details

Consult the Philadelphia exam bulletin for scheduling instructions. The open-book exam comprises 100 multiple-choice questions and you must score 70% to pass. You may use the 2008 National Electrical Code (NEC) during the test. The exam covers the following subject matter:

  • Wiring Methods and Materials – 19%

  • Services and Service Equipment – 16%

  • Branch Circuits and Conductors – 16%

  • General Knowledge and Plan Reading – 12%

  • Special Occupancies, Equipment, and Conditions – 12%

  • Equipment and Devices – 10%

  • Motors and Generators – 8%

  • Feeders – 4%

  • Control Devices – 3%

After successfully completing your exam, you must pay for and pick up your license from the Business Services Department.

Types of Electrical Licensure in Pennsylvania

What are the different types of electrician licensing in Pennsylvania? 

Some cities and counties offer journeyman electrician licensing, master electrician licensing, and/or electrical contractor licensing. Check with the local government in the area you intend to work to determine what licensing the municipality requires.

Benefits of Becoming a Licensed Contractor in Pennsylvania

According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, electricians in the state of Pennsylvania made an average of $68,390 per year in 2019. Entry-level electricians earned around $36,790, and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $115,550.

You’ll see many benefits from pursuing a Pennsylvania electrician license:

  • A trade license provides proof of your experience and skill.

  • Only licensed electricians can: work independently as an electrical contractor, operate a business and advertise services, obtain commercial insurance and bonding, pull electrical permits, pass inspections, and bid on city projects.

  • A license protects your company and customers.

  • An electrician license 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 Electrician License in Pennsylvania?

Tuition at some Pennsylvania community colleges costs about $16,800 per year for in-state students, plus an additional $1,100 for books and materials.

All licensing and certifications include additional costs for testing and application fees. Overall cost may vary depending on your choice of preliminary electrical education.

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

Due to the lack of statewide licensing requirements, the amount of time to obtain licensing varies. Generally, aspiring electricians can expect to spend three to five years gaining field experience and earning around 750 and 900 hours of classroom training. 

Pennsylvania Electrician Programs and Schools

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

Acquiring a certificate, associate, or similar degree in electrical technology offers numerous benefits. These apprenticeship-type educational programs provide training and qualify you to begin entry-level electrician jobs. 

Trade schools

  • Orleans Technical College (Philadelphia, PA): Most students enroll in two-year programs. Tuition costs around $13,600 per year, plus about $1,600 in study materials.

  • Triangle Tech (Bethlehem, Dubois, Erie, Greensburg, Pittsburgh, and Sunbury, PA): Many students attend a two-year program. Tuition cost varies, depending on program, location, and whether the student lives in-state or attends as an out-of-state resident.

  • Northampton Community College (Bethlehem, PA): A majority of students participate in two-year programs. Tuition costs may vary, depending on the program and whether the student lives in-district, in-state, or out-of-state.

Electrician Apprenticeship Programs

Pennsylvania offers many apprenticeship choices, including both union-sponsored and merit shop-based experiences. Both options provide apprentices with classroom and field training.

Who Issues Electrician Licenses in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania does not license electricians on the state level. Each municipality has different requirements. Local Pennsylvania licensing boards are responsible for issuing electrician licenses within their own jurisdiction.

Does My Pennsylvania Electrical License Work in Any Other State?

No. Pennsylvania does not hold any reciprocity agreements with other states. However, some municipalities offer reciprocity with other towns or states. For example, Allentown Building Standards and Safety Department recognizes electricians' licenses issued from the cities of Bethlehem, Harrisburg, Kutztown, Reading, and Scranton, PA, and the State of Connecticut, allowing license holders from these jurisdictions to apply for a local journeyman license by reciprocity.

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.

Resources

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