Licensing Guides

Virginia Electrical License: How to Become an Electrician in Virginia

category-iconElectrical, VA

Table of Contents
  1. Electrician Licensing Requirements for Virginia

  2. Steps to Get Licensed as an Electrician in Virginia

  3. How to Become an Electrician in Virginia

  4. Types of Electrical Licensure in Virginia

  5. Benefits of Becoming a Certified Electrician in Virginia

  6. What Is the Mean Wage for an Electrician in Virginia?

  7. How Much Does It Cost for Electrician Certification in Virginia

  8. How Long Does It Take to Get an Electrician Certification in Virginia?

  9. Virginia Electrician Certification Exam Details

  10. Who Issues Electrician Licenses in Virginia?

  11. Does My Virginia Electrician License Work in Any Other State?

  12. National Electrician Certifications

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 729,600 electricians nationwide and 18,460 work in Virginia. The national number is predicted to grow 9% from 2020 to 2030.

The process of becoming an electrician takes time, but you get paid while you learn and gain experience!

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Electrician Licensing Requirements for Virginia

Is a state license required to be an electrician in Virginia? Yes. The Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR), through the Virginia Board for Contractors, issues electrical licenses. Apprentice electricians must register with the Virginia Department of Labor.

Steps to Get Licensed as an Electrician in Virginia

  1. Gain necessary work and training experience

  2. Earn a journeyman electrician license

  3. Become a certified master electrician

How to Become an Electrician in Virginia

GAIN NECESSARY EXPERIENCE: The state of Virginia typically requires 8,000 hours, or four years, of practical experience—along with 240 hours of formal vocational training to become a licensed journeyman electrician.

Alternatively, you can also become a journeyman through one of these options:

  • Five years of practical work experience and 160 hours of classroom instruction

  • Six years of practical work experience and 80 hours of classroom instruction

  • Seven or more years of practical work experience and 40 hours of classroom instruction

Aspiring electricians usually obtain this necessary experience through an apprenticeship program. To become an electrical apprentice, you must be at least 18 years old, earn a high school diploma or GED, and pass basic math and science courses.

The Virginia Board for Contractors maintains a list of approved tradesmen formal vocational training providers to help applicants meet the education requirements.

Apprentice electricians must register with the Virginia Department of Labor after finding an apprenticeship. Apprentices work with a sponsor within the state, usually at an electrical contracting company or construction firm.  

Union-based apprenticeships, known as Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committees (JATCs), are available through the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA). JATCs are located in both Newport News and Ashland.

Non-union apprenticeship programs are available through the Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) Chesapeake, and the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. (ABC)

EARN A JOURNEYMAN ELECTRICIAN LICENSE: Once you have met the necessary requirements to become a journeyman electrician, you must submit an application to the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation. Once your application is approved and you pass the necessary licensing exam, your journeyman license remains valid for two years. Renewal requires a $90 fee and earning three hours of continuing education credit.

ADVANCE TO A MASTER ELECTRICIAN LICENSE: Once you work as a licensed journeyman electrician for one year, you become eligible to pursue a master electrician license. If you do not have a journeyman electrician license, you must provide documented proof of 10 years of full-time electrical trade experience. Master electrician applications must be submitted to the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation. After application approval and passing the necessary licensing exam, your master electrician license is valid for two years. Renewal requires paying a $90 fee and earning three hours of continuing education credit.

Types of Electrical Licensure in Virginia

The state of Virginia offers two types of electrical licenses: journeyman and master electrician.

Benefits of Becoming a Certified Electrician in Virginia

There are many benefits to pursuing Virginia electrician licensing:

  • Most important, it is required by law in Virginia to be licensed through the state to legally perform electrical work. 

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

  • Properly trained electricians throughout the U.S. are well-versed in fire prevention measures, as well as electrical distribution systems. 

  • Only certified electricians can: operate a business and advertise services, obtain commercial insurance, pull building permits, pass inspections, bid on public and government projects.

  • Having 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 Virginia?

The annual mean wage for electricians in Virginia is $56,550 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 $21.41 per hour in Virginia and $4,875 overtime per year.

  • Electrician: The average salary for an electrician apprentice is $26.14 per hour in Virginia and $7,790 overtime per year.

  • Master Electrician: The average salary for an electrician apprentice is $38.41 per hour in Virginia 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

Getting the most out of an electrical technician, no matter where they are in their licensing journey, takes work. ServiceTitan’s cloud-based, all-in-one electrician software gives technicians and business owners the technology they need to do the work efficiently, and the data they need to do it smartly. 

ServiceTitan features:

  • SMS communications that keep customers informed about the technician’s visit.

  • 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.

To learn more, schedule a demo with a product expert today.  

How Much Does It Cost for Electrician Certification in Virginia?

Tuition at most technical schools and community colleges in the state of Virginia costs about $4,500 to $4,700 per year for in-state students, plus the cost of books and other study materials. Potential electricians should also expect to pay for licensing examinations and the fees involved to obtain a license after passing the necessary exams.

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How Long Does It Take to Get an Electrician Certification in Virginia?

Earning a journeyman electrician license in the state of Virginia usually takes about four years. This includes 8,000 hours of practical work experience and 240 hours of classroom instruction. Once you work as a licensed journeyman electrician for one year, you are eligible to become a licensed master electrician in Virginia.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Electrician Certification in Virginia?

Virginia offers many community colleges, accredited colleges, trade schools, technical and vocational schools to get the training you need to become a licensed electrical professional. They are located all over the state, including bigger cities like Richmond and in smaller communities.

Courses typically taught at Virginia electrical trade schools include:

  • Electrical Basics and Tools

  • Electrical Panels

  • Conduit Work

  • Grounding and Wiring

  • Wiring Protection Devices

  • Electrical Boxes, Receptacles, and Switches

  • Wiring a Residence

  • Installing Lighting, Ceiling Fans, and Appliances

  • Commercial Wiring & Installation

  • Circuits & Systems

Virginia Western Community College in Roanoke offers both a certificate and associate degree program in electrical wiring.

Tidewater Community College in Norfolk offers a certificate program in electrical wiring and an associate degree program in electrical technology.

Blue Ridge Community College in Weyers Cave offers a certificate program in electrical fundamentals.   

Program Prerequisites: Program prerequisites vary. Most programs, however, require you to be 18 years old, have 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 will gain 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 must hone good customer service skills, be able to work independently, maintain good physical endurance, and use logical problem-solving techniques. Electricians also learn how to read blueprints, circuit diagrams, and other technical documents.

Virginia Electrician Certification Exam Details

PSI administers journeyman electrical exams in Virginia. Taking the exam costs $100 and licensees can register online at psiexams.com. The exam contains 70 questions that must be answered within 210 minutes. A passing score equals at least a 70%. Exam prep materials, including a candidate information bulletin, are available to help applicants prepare. During the open-book exam, applicants can use reference materials including the National Electrical Code (NEC) and the American Electricians’ Handbook. Exam topics include:

  • Standards of Practice

  • Standards of Conduct

  • Renewal and Reinstatement

  • Definitions

  • Qualification for Licensure

  • Revocation of Licensure

  • General Electrical Knowledge

  • Requirements for Electrical Installations

  • Fire Detection and Alarm Systems

The Virginia master electrician exam, also administered by PSI, costs $100. The exam contains 90 questions that must be answered within 270 minutes. A passing score totals 70% or higher, and applicants may use the same reference materials as allowed for the journeyman licensing exam. Master electrician exam topics include:

  • Standards of Practice

  • Standards of Conduct

  • Renewal and Reinstatement

  • Definitions

  • Qualification for Licensure

  • Revocation of Licensure

  • General Electrical Knowledge

  • Requirements for Electrical Installations

  • Electrical-Electronic Fundamentals

  • Services, Feeders, and Branch Circuits

  • Service and Feeder Requirements

  • Grounding and Bonding

  • Conductors and Cables

  • Raceways and Boxes

  • Special Occupancies

  • Special Equipment

  • Electrical Signs and Outline Lighting

  • Motors and Controls

  • Utilization Equipment

  • Lighting

  • General Low Voltage Requirements

  • Communication Systems

Who Issues Electrician Licenses in Virginia?

The Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, through the Virginia Board for Contractors, issues electrical licenses.

Does My Virginia Electrical License Work in Any Other State?

Yes. Virginia has reciprocity agreements with many states. The Virginia Board for Contractors website spells out the specifics of these license reciprocations:

  • Alabama electrical contractor license and Virginia master electrical tradesman license

  • District of Columbia journeyman and master electrical tradesman license and Virginia journeyman and master electrical tradesman license

  • Kentucky electrician and master electrician license and Virginia journeyman and master electrical tradesman

  • Maryland master electrical tradesman license and Virginia master electrical tradesman 

  • West Virginia journeyman and master electrical tradesman license and Virginia journeyman and master electrical tradesman license

  • North Carolina unlimited (equivalent to Class A) and intermediate (equivalent to Class B) electrical contractor license and Virginia master electrical tradesman license

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 several ways:

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