Most individuals can work as independent electricians in Ohio without a license, except for those in Hamilton or Middletown. For those who want to work commercially, run their own business, or hire others, you must acquire an Electrical Contractor License through the state of Ohio.
Do You Need an Electrical License in Ohio?
For all cities except Hamilton and Middletown, you do not need an electrical license to work as an independent electrician in Ohio. Hamilton and Middletown require electricians to acquire a Journeyman Electrician License.
If you want to work commercially, start your own electrical business, or hire other individuals to work under you, you do need to obtain an Electrical Contractor License by the state.
Types of Ohio Electrical Licenses
There are two types of electrical licenses in Ohio: a Journeyman Electrical License and an Electrical Contractor License. The former is only used in Middletown and Hamilton. The latter is used state-wide, including in Middletown and Hamilton.
Journeymen are trained electricians that are employed under an electrical contractor. These individuals have completed 3-years of hands-on training, typically through an apprenticeship or employment in Ohio. Journeymen can take on apprentices once they have completed their training and passed an exam. Journeymen in Ohio make an average of $25.91 per hour, equivalent to a salary of $53,892, plus $10,687 in overtime annually.
Electrical contractors in Ohio install, design, and maintain electrical systems across locations. They can work in homes, industrial buildings, offices, and more. These contractors usually have other electricians working under them. Electrical contractors make an average of $43,708 annually, with top earners making over $75,000.
Ohio Electrical License Requirements
You must be eighteen years or older and a U.S. citizen to apply for either electrical license. Both licenses require the interested person to complete an application, pay a fee, and pass an exam. Contractor licenses also require background checks and insurance coverage for approval.
Journeyman Electrician License
To obtain a Journeyman Electrical License in Middletown, you’ll need to:
- Complete the application
- Pay a fee of $50. This covers the application and exam fee, plus a second exam if you were to fail the first time.
- Pass the 50-question multiple-choice exam with a 70% or higher. Exams are given from 8:00 am to 1:30 pm on workdays, and you must bring a picture I.D. with you. If you fail the exam for a second time, you’ll have to wait one month and pay the fee again to retake the exam.
Middletown Journeyman Electrical Licenses are reciprocated in Hamilton. For more information on Hamilton’s examination dates, contact the city at (513) 785-7353.
State Electrical Contractor License
Ohio Commercial Electrical Contractors are granted licenses by the Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board (OCILB).
To apply for this license, you must:
- Have been an electrical tradesperson for at least 5 years immediately before submitting your application, showing proof through permits and W2s OR
- Be a registered engineer in Ohio at the time of your application
- Not have a prior conviction of a disqualifying offense outlined in H.B. 263
- Have proof of contractor liability coverage of $500,000 minimum
Getting your OH Electrical Contractor License
If you meet the requirements above, you can begin the process to apply for your Ohio Commercial Electrical Contractor License.
- Complete the OCILB contractor application form
- Attach the documents that prove your recent work experience, including
- A minimum of 1 permit for each of the last 5 years by the licensed contractor/your employer
- Copies of your W-2s for the past 5 years that show you have worked for a licensed contractor
- Remove and redact all social security numbers from your forms
- Sign and notarize the application form
- Pay the $25 exam application fee
When your application has been approved, you must then
- Complete and pass a state and federal background check
- Once passed, you can schedule for and sit for a 2-part state examination
- When you receive a “pass” status for both parts of the exam, you must send a copy of the examination results and proof of at least $500,000 in contractor liability insurance to the state
Electrical Contractor License Renewals in Ohio
You must renew your license prior to the expiration date via the online portal. Renewals cost $60. You do not need to show proof of your liability insurance, but you must possess it at all times.
To renew your license, you will need to complete 8-10 hours of continuing education every year, and only 4-5 hours may be online.
Specialty contractors who only hold an electrical license should take ten hours of continuing education per year, with five hours being electrical code and the remaining 5 in any health and safety, business, or technology course approved by the electrical section.
For more information on continuing education requirements, see the Ohio Laws and Administrative Rules page.
Electrical Contractor Reciprocity with Other States
Ohio Electrical contractors have reciprocity with the six states listed below. This is not in effect if you were grandfathered in.
- West Virginia
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
You can submit a reciprocity application for each state, found here.