How to Become a Licensed Electrician in New York

From the hustle and bustle of New York City to the natural wonderland upstate, New York has something to offer for everyone. If you’re moving to or living in NY and want to work in the electrical field, you’ll need to adhere to your municipality’s electrical licensing laws around. This article will discuss the licensing requirements of the two largest NY municipalities, New York and Hempstead, as well as general licensing guidelines for NY state.

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

New York does not offer state-wide electrical licensing; however, most municipalities in New York will require some sort of registration, licensure, or certification to perform electrical work. If you are in training, you must be supervised by a licensee. Exceptions may include individuals who are working on their own residential properties. 

If your municipality is not listed below, you can find out about its electrical licensing procedures by looking up “your municipality’s electrical licensing” on Google or another search engine. For the most accurate information, only trust websites that end in “.gov”. You may also call your municipality’s electrical board for information. 

Electrician Types of Licenses in New York, NY

To perform electrical work in New York City you must be licensed by the Department of Buildings. NYC offers licenses for master electricians and special electricians. 

Master electricians perform electrical work in any buildings or parts of NYC. They work as independent contractors. 

Special electricians can perform work on specific buildings, parts, or lots in NYC.

Obtaining Your NYC Electrician License

You must be at least 21 years old to apply for an electrical license in NYC. By this time, you must have at least 7.5 years (at least 10,500 hours) of experience in the electrical field during the last decade. This experience includes installing, altering, and repairing wiring and electrical appliances. All work must have been done under a licensed electrician. 

You must also satisfy ONE of the following:

  • Be a journeyman electrician
  • Have an M.S. or B.S. in electrical engineering with additional work experience detailed here
  • Graduate from a registered apprenticeship, vocational, industrial, or trade school program in NY with at least 5.5 years (or 7,700 hours) of experience
  • Combine additional courses with practical experience to meet the 7.5-year minimum requirements. Fifty percent of satisfactorily completed curricula years can be credited towards the total, not to exceed 2 years
  • Be the employee of an agency accepted by the Buildings Commissioner whose duties involve inspecting electrical work meeting the minimum work requirement

All work experience must be verified on Experience Verification Forms and a Social Security History of Earning form. 

Once you meet the requirements, you’ll need to take the 2-part Master or Special Electrician Exam. You can apply through the LIC41 exam application. After passing this written exam, you’ll need to apply to take the LIC42 practical exam. When you submit the LIC42 exam application, be sure to pay the $360 licensing fee. All passing scores are 70% or higher. 

After the exam, you will undergo a background check by submitting the required documents through the DOB NOW portal. This background check costs $500. You will also need to complete a physical exam form with your physician. 

Finally, you’ll need to submit all completed documentation, your original Social Security Card, a current photo ID, and proof of residence with your typed and notarized LIC38 application. 

For more assistance with your application, see the NYC Step-by-Step Guide.

NYC Licenses for Businesses

If you’re applying for a license on behalf of a business, look into the required documentation listed at the bottom of this page. 


NYC electrical licenses are good for one year. They must be renewed for $60, or $310 if it’s a late renewal. More information on renewals can be found here.

Electrician Licenses in Hempstead, NY

According to Hempstead law, no person shall install or wire electrical apparatus in the municipality unless licensed. Hempstead offers licenses for master electricians; however, the application is slightly different depending on which part of Hempstead you plan to work in. All require you to first pass the master exam before applying for your license. You must have the appropriate verifiable experience before sitting for the exam. 

Those in the Village of Hempstead can follow these guidelines.

Those in North Hempstead can apply online, uploading a recent photo, a Certified Detailed Earning Report, a $100 application fee, a $100 licensing fee (upon approval), and proof of passing the master exam. 

For more information on the application process and reciprocal licenses in North Hempstead, see here.

Electrician Licenses in Other New York State Municipalities

While each municipality is different, there are some basic guidelines you can follow if you want to obtain your electrical license in New York. 

Most municipalities will offer journeyman and/or master electrical licenses or certificates. To receive either of these, you will need a few years of experience (at least 4+ or 7+) in the electrical field. Since you cannot be licensed early on in your career, this experience must be supervised by another licensed electrician in the state. 

A great way to receive this experience is through a state-approved apprenticeship program, which offers both practical and classroom experience. 

Once you obtain the necessary experience for licensure, you must pass an official exam. Find out the name of the company (if independent from the city) that the municipality uses to proctor these exams, and be sure to read the outline so you know what to study. Many exams have both a written and a practical part. 

Electrician Salaries in New York

Electricians in New York make about the national average, which is $56,700 per year; however, electricians working in more densely populated areas have more job options, allowing for higher pay. 

For example, electricians in NYC earn 11% higher than the average American electrician at $63,800 per year. With more than 10 years of experience, this salary rises to $74,100+. 

Electricians in Hempstead also average a higher salary than most other states, paying an average of $68,400. With a decade of experience, this can reach $79,400+. 

Other high-paying cities for electricians in New York include Albany and Buffalo.

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