How to Become a Licensed Electrician in New Mexico

Those looking to become licensed electricians in New Mexico can acquire a Journeyman Electrical Certification or Electrical Contractor License.  Electricians in NM face a positive job outlook amid a unique and diverse state. This article will break down how to receive your electrical license in New Mexico, including the many classification options for electricians in the field.

Do You Need an Electrician’s License in New Mexico?

As per the New Mexico Code, a Journeyman Certificate Of Competence is required for all individuals performing electrical wiring. The exception to this is if you are an apprentice, who will thereby be supervised by a certified journeyman electrician. 

If you are looking to bid on a contract overseeing any electrical work, you will need to have your electrical contractor’s license.

All certificates and licenses are overseen by the Construction Industries Division of New Mexico.

Types of Electrical Licenses in New Mexico

New Mexico offers certificates for journeyman electricians and licenses for electrical contractors. They also serve unique specialty licenses which allow for both supervising and conducting electrical work.

There are various NM journeyman certificate classifications, which we discuss further below.

Electrical Apprenticeships in NM

The first step in becoming a certified or licensed electrician in New Mexico is completing an approved apprenticeship program. These programs are typically 3-4 years long and include the supervised work experience that is necessary to apply for a journeyman certificate upon graduation.

To participate in an apprenticeship, you will need to be over 18 with a high school diploma or GED certificate. While most apprenticeships compensate you for your practical work, you will need to pay tuition to cover the cost of classroom instruction.

NM Journeyman Electrical License Requirements

Electricians 18 years and older can apply to be journeyman electricians in New Mexico. 

A standard journeyman electrician will need at least 4 years’ experience before applying for a NM license, although some classifications only require 2 years’ experience. Journeyman experience is often collected through an approved apprenticeship program in the state. 

Once you have sufficient experience, you must apply to sit for the journeyman exam. All applicants should submit the necessary documentation and pay a certification fee ($75-$200 depending on the classification) when applying. Don’t forget to sign and notarize your application.

Once your application is approved, you have 6 months to sit for the exam. Once you pass with a 75% or higher, you will receive your license. Exams in New Mexico are administered by PSI.

New Mexico also holds reciprocity agreements for journeyman electricians coming from other states. 


Journeyman electricians (EE98-J) and journeyman linemen (EL-1J) must complete Continuing Education (CE) to renew their license. This includes at least 16 hours of coursework. 

New Mexico Journeyman Classifications

You can receive your overarching Journeyman Electrical Certification in NM or you can apply for a special classification. Many of these classifications require less work experience, but also require differing supervisors while performing electrical work. 

  • Residential and commercial electrical (EE-98J): These electricians work under residential and commercial contractors (EE-98), electrical contractors (ER-1), and all specialty licenses. They can supervise 2-3 apprentices at one time depending on the scope of the work. 
  • Residential wiring (ER-1J): Residential journeyman electricians need 2 years’ experience and must work under a licensed contractor. 
  • Electrical distribution systems (EL-1J): EL-1J journeyman electricians need 4 years’ experience and must work under an electrical distribution/transmission contractor (EL-1).
  • Electrical signs and outline lighting (ES-1J): Journeyman electricians who work with signs and outline lighting have 2 years’ experience and work under an E-1 or E-R contractor.
  • Cathodic protection and lightning protection systems (ES-2): These electricians need 2 years’ experience and work under a different ES-2 journeyman or an E-2 specialty electrical licensee. 
  • Sound, intercommunication, electrical alarm systems, and systems 50 volts and under (ES-3J): These electricians are licensed after at least 2 years’ experience and work under ES-3, ER-1, or EE-98 licensees.
  • Telephone communication systems and telephone interconnect systems (ES-7J): These electricians require 2 years’ experience and work under ES-7, ER-1, OR EE-98 licensees.
  • Residential water well pump installer (ES-10RJ): These installers can be licensed after 2 years’ experience and are supervised by ES-10, ER-11, or EE-98 licensees.

NM Electrical Contractor Requirements 

Electrical contractors may be individuals, businesses, partnerships, or LLCs. Electrical contracting in New Mexico includes installing, altering, fixing, servicing, and maintaining electrical systems. 

Electrical contractors bid and work on large-scale projects that must meet their level of financial responsibility. The latter is determined by net worth during the application process.

To apply to become an electrical contractor in NM, you’ll first need between 2-4 years of practical experience, as determined by the classification you are seeking. 

Once you have the experience, either you or your responsible party (employee or partner) must take and pass the appropriate PSI exam. This exam is two-fold: Business and Law and the Electrical Inspector Exam.

For more information on the fees, application process, and renewal process, see here.

NM Electrical Contractor License Classifications

The electrical contractor license in NM also offers different classifications, much like for journeyman electricians. 

  • Residential, commercial, and industrial electrical wiring with 5,000 volts or less (EE-98): These contractors need 4 years’ experience with electrical systems and wiring methods at 5,000 volts or less.
  • Residential electrical wiring at 5,000 volts or less: This requires 2 years of relevant experience in residential 1-, 2-, and multi-family dwellings. 
  • Electrical distribution and transmission systems over 5,000 volts: This requires 4 years of relevant experience.

These classifications are listed under electrical specialty licenses for contractors. All require 2 years’ experience.

  • Electrical signs and outline lighting (ES-1)
  • Cathodic protection and lightning protection systems (ES-2)
  • Low voltage special systems (ES-3)
  • Telephone communication systems (ES-7)
  • Residential water well pump installer (ES-10R)
  • Water well pump installer (ES-10)

Electrician Salaries in New Mexico

Electricians in New Mexico make an average of $65,400 per year, which is 14% above the national average for electricians. The standard starting rate is about $61,500 annually, while those with over a decade of experience can make $76,000+. 

Electricians also have the chance to work plenty of overtime, which can easily scale up your salary up another $8,000+ per year. 

Some of the highest-paid electricians in New Mexico live in:

  • Carlsbad, NM: $81,000 per year
  • Farmington, NM: $71,500 per year
  • Tijeras, NM: $65,400 per year

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