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Wisconsin Electrical License: How to Become an Electrician in Wisconsin

category-iconElectrical, WI

Table of Contents
  1. Types of Electrician Licenses in Wisconsin

  2. License Requirements for Electricians in Wisconsin

  3. Electrician Licensing Process Steps in Wisconsin

  4. Benefits of Becoming a Licensed Electrician in Wisconsin

  5. How Much Does It Cost for Electrician Licensing in Wisconsin?

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

Being an electrician isn’t just a job, it’s a solid career path within the construction industry. Wisconsin 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. Electrician jobs often come with good benefits. The process of becoming an electrician takes time, but you can get paid while you learn and gain experience!

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Types of Electrician Licenses in Wisconsin

The state of Wisconsin issues two types of electrician licenses:

  • Master Electrician

  • ​Journeyman Electrician

The Master Electrician license offers a specialty of Residential Master Electrician for those who want to work in family dwellings. The Journeyman Electrician license specialties include Industrial Journeyman and Residential Journeyman Electricians. 

License Requirements for Electricians in Wisconsin

Is a license required for electricians in Wisconsin? Yes.

Only licensed or registered electricians may repair, maintain, or install electrical wiring in the state, according to the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS). A registered electrician or registered Electrical Apprentice must work under the supervision of a licensed Journeyman Electrician or licensed Master Electrician. 

Each municipality holds its own contractor licensing requirements, which is managed differently by each county and city. Electricians must comply with the local conditions pertaining to the place they intend to work.

Electrician Licensing Process Steps in Wisconsin

  1. Complete an apprenticeship program.  

  2. Apply and pay for the Journeyman Electrician exam.

  3. After one year of work experience, consider becoming a Master Electrician. 

GAIN NECESSARY EXPERIENCE: In order to perform electrical wiring activities under the supervision of a Master or Journeyman Electrician, you must be enrolled in an approved apprenticeship program recognized by the Wisconsin State Statute 106, in accordance with the Wisconsin Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards or the Federal Department of Labor. 

To become a Journeyman Electrician, you must either complete the Electrical Construction Apprenticeship or have one of the following:

  • 8,000 hours of experience installing, repairing, and maintaining electrical wiring during four years of experience.

  • 1,000 hours of work experience per year, for at least five years. Note: Each full-time semester of electrical engineering coursework at an accredited college, university, technical, or vocational school equals 500 hours of experience. No more than 2,000 hours (or 2 years’ experience) may be credited toward the required experience.

To become a Master Electrician, you must meet one of the following requirements:

  • One year of work experience as a licensed Journeyman Electrician.

  • 10,000 hours of experience installing, repairing, and maintaining electrical wiring, during 60 months of experience.

  • 1,000 hours per year of experience for 7 years. Each full-time semester of electrical engineering coursework at an accredited college, university, technical, or vocational school is considered equivalent to 500 hours of experience. No more than 3,000 hours (or 3 years’ experience) may be credited toward the required experience.

  • Hold a Bachelor's or Master's degree in Electrical Engineering from an accredited engineering university or college. 

APPLY FOR ELECTRICIAN LICENSE: After fulfilling applicable work requirements, candidates must apply for their desired electrical contractor license through the Wisconsin DSPS. 

Apprenticeship Registration: Includes a $15 application fee and $15 credential fee, based on a one-year term from the issue date.

Journeyman Electrician: Application fee costs $35, and electrical exam fee totals $30. The exam takes 4 hours and features 100 questions. Upon passing the exam, applicants pay a $100 prorated credential fee, based on a four-year term that begins June 30. 

Master Electrician: Application fee costs $35, and the electrical exam fee totals $20. The exam takes 4 hours and has 50 questions. Upon passing the exam, applicants pay a $200 prorated credential fee, based on a four-year term, beginning June 30. 

The exams are open book, and you must receive 70% or higher to pass. Exam contents cover the Wisconsin Admin Code SPS 305 and 316, as well as the 2017 National Electrical Code (NEC).

Continuing Education Requirements and Renewal: The Journeyman Electrician license must be renewed every four years for a $100 fee. You must obtain 24 hours of continuing education (CE) in order to renew. 

The Master Electrician license must be renewed every four years for a $200 fee. You must pursue 18 hours of continuing education to renew. 

Wisconsin DSPS maintains a list of approved trades continuing education courses and providers. License holders can look up their current CE hours here

Reciprocity: Wisconsin holds electrical licensing reciprocity agreements with Iowa and New Hampshire. A licensed Journeyman Electrician in Iowa or New Hampshire may apply for a Wisconsin Journeyman Electrician license without taking the Wisconsin exam. They must pay a $35 application fee and a $100 prorated credential fee based on a four-year term that begins June 30. The person must hold an out-of-state license continuously for a year before submitting the Wisconsin application. 

Iowa applicants must have completed an apprenticeship or the Wisconsin required experience hours. New Hampshire applicants must have completed an electrical apprenticeship program with a minimum of 600 hours (24 of those must relate to safety).

A person who holds a valid Master Electrician license in Iowa may apply for a Wisconsin Master Electrician license without taking the exam. They must pay a $35 application fee and a $200 prorated credential fee based on a four-year term from June 30. You must hold an Iowa Master Electrician license continuously for a year before submitting the Wisconsin application.

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Benefits of Becoming a Licensed Electrician in Wisconsin

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the job outlook for Wisconsin electricians to grow by 8% through 2029. The average electrician in Wisconsin earns $61,220 per year.

There are many benefits you’ll see from pursuing a Wisconsin electrician license:

  • Most importantly, Wisconsin law requires a license or registration to legally perform electrical work.

  • A trade license, whether it be for HVAC pros, plumbers, or electricians, 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 building permits, pass inspections, and bid on public or government projects.

  • A license protects your company and your 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 for Electrician Licensing in Wisconsin? 

Aside from the cost of applications and exams, you can expect to pay additional fees associated with electrician education courses. Technical schools range from $9,000 to $11,000 to complete the total electrical engineering program. Some top trade and tech schools in Wisconsin include Western Technical College, Gateway Technical College, and Madison Area Technical College. 

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

An apprenticeship takes four years to complete. Then, you must meet the required number of hours of experience as outlined above in this guide to obtain Journeyman or Master Electrician licensure. 

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:

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