Electricians are the heart of the electrical industry, and they help install vital mechanical systems. Whether you need an electric vehicle charging station or a home’s electrical panel, a qualified electrician will install the electrical equipment safely.

While electricians can advance in their careers through journeyman licensing, the highest achievement is being a licensed electrical contractor. An electrical contractor can bid on electrical jobs and hire employees to help them complete projects. However, this process requires extensive licensing requirements. 

This article will cover how to get an electrical contractor license and help meet the demand of this growing industry. 

What is an electrical contractor license? 

An electrical contractor license is obtained by a local government’s business department. A license will allow the owner to install, repair, alter, or design electrical systems when operating an electrical contractor business. Once you get an electrical contracting license, you will receive a unique license number that will need to be on things like: 

  • Company Vehicles
  • Business Proposals
  • Contracts
  • Advertisements

As a licensed electrical contractor, you may also hire other electricians such as apprentices, journeymen, or master electricians. Hiring electricians is a great way to expand your business and take on larger electrical projects. Electrical contractors also can sponsor an employee’s training and help them advance in their careers. 

Why do I need an electrical contractor license? 

Almost every state requires an electrical contracting business to legally obtain licensing to provide electrical services. An electrical contractor license verifies that you have the necessary knowledge and experience for projects. Along with experience, the license will confirm that you meet the insurance requirements to operate a service business. 

Every electrical contractor needs a license, whether you are a one-person operation or a large organization. If you operate a business without proper licensing, you could face fines or jail time. However, the licensing requirements differ depending on the state, so you must receive the correct electrical contractor license. 

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Is there a difference in licensing between states? 

Every state has its own set of licensing requirements for electrical contractors. However, the process is typically similar in each state. Contractors will need to obtain a license from their local government’s regulatory office and meet experience requirements. These experience requirements include work hours and classroom training. 

There are different types of licensing to apply for in some states, depending on your electrical expertise. To confirm the licensing in your state, call your local business regulations office. As an example, you can choose to apply for three licenses in Arizona. An Arizona electrical contractor can apply for a Residential (R-11), Commercial (C-11), or Electrical (K-11) license. 

What are the subjects covered in the electrical contractor license test? 

The electrical contractor license test covers a range of topics crucial to know as a business owner in the electrical industry. No matter your state, you can count on the test, including questions regarding the National Electrical Code (NEC), general electrical knowledge, and job safety measures. 

These topics are necessary for any successful electrical project, so it’s expected you know these subjects well. While taking the test, the different subjects are in separate sections covering each topic. Many states split the exam into two days, with the first day being business-related and the second day of the test is technical knowledge. 

What are the steps required to get an electrical contractor license? 

While each state has its requirements, there are still general guidelines that everyone must follow to receive an electrical contractor license. Having verifiable work experience as an electrician is necessary for the license. Most states require between 6,000 and 8,000 hours of work experience in the field. 

Meeting the classroom hours requirement is also a necessary step, helping to verify you received formal training. States require 144 hours of classroom time each year to obtain licensing. Once you meet the licensing requirements, you apply to take the electrical contractor exam and share your documentation. 

After taking the exam, you will receive a message that determines if you passed or failed. If you passed, you would receive an electrical contractor license that needs renewal regularly. Many states also require electrical contractors to take continuing education classes of 14 hours to stay up-to-date. 

Can I get an electrical contractor license with a criminal record? 

The type of crime committed will determine if someone can receive licensing for most states. You can obtain an electrical contractor license in Florida with criminal offenses like DUI, shoplifting, or reckless driving. 

The best way to know if you qualify for an electrical contractor license is by speaking to your local regulatory office. Some states will have stricter rules set for electrical contractors than others. However, you can’t receive a license with the following crimes on your record in all states: 

  • Possession of dangerous drugs
  • Possession of a firearm by a felon
  • Violent offenses (assault, homicide, battery, etc.) 

Where can I take an electrical contractor license course? 

Preparing for the exam is a must if you want to have a good chance of passing the exam on the first try. You can use numerous resources to prepare yourself for the electrical contractor license exam. Below are three of the most popular options for your exam prep. 

Contractor Campus Online

Contractor Campus is one of the most popular contractor licensing exam preparation companies. The massive database includes electrical contractor license courses for several states with useful textbooks. You can prepare with practice questions, online lectures, and detailed solutions to math problems. 

At Home Prep Education Online

Another popular exam prep platform is At Home Prep, which provides detailed information on the electrical contractor license test subjects. You can work at your own pace when using these courses or books. The platform claims an improved exam pass rate while utilizing their course material before taking it. 

Local Contractor Prep School

If you prefer a live classroom setting, the best option is to sign up for a local electrical contractor exam prep class. Most counties have a class taught by experienced teachers on the electrical subjects covered on the exam. You will receive personalized instruction and feedback on the answers to practice questions. 

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Where can I find jobs after receiving a license? 

After receiving your electrical contractor license, you are free to start performing electrical services for customers. The methods of finding customers will depend on your electrical expertise and industry. If you are in the residential electrical field, you will need to advertise your services and obtain customer leads. 

For commercial electrical contractors, you can bid on construction projects and grow a team of other electricians. Receiving your electrical contractor license is only the beginning, as you have a challenging road ahead. Spread the word about your business and start establishing yourself in your local area. 


Becoming a licensed electrical contractor is a big achievement. However, the steps to obtain your license takes a lot of hard work in the electrical industry to develop the necessary skills and knowledge for the business. You will need a deep understanding of the business and technical side of electrical work to succeed. 

By learning about getting an electrical contractor license, you can prepare yourself for the exam. The exam is challenging, but it will be well worth it when you get your license. If you are ready to take your electrical career to the next level, start planning to get your electrical contractor license today! 

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