How to Become a Licensed Electrician in Tennessee

With an excellent combination of country life and city living, Tennessee has plenty to offer electricians in the state. Most of these electricians will need to get their Limited Licensed Electrician (LLE) License from the state. For those working on projects valued at over $25,000, you will need a State Electrical Contractor License. 

This article will discuss both licenses, as well as additional regulations imposed by certain Tennessee cities. 

Do You Need an Electrician’s License in Tennessee?

Electrical work is licensed at both the state and local levels in Tennessee. If you are working in your primary residence, you do not need a license. 

Most counties require electricians to hold their LLE License if working on projects valued under $25,000. Some cities, such as Knoxville, may have unique licensing regulations. Contact your municipality’s electrical permit-issuing agent to ensure that you meet the requirements to work as an electrician in the area. 

If you plan to work or supervise electrical projects valued at over $25,000, you need to hold a state Electrical Contractor License, no matter what municipality you work in. You may also have to register as a contractor within your city. 

Limited Licensed Electricians in TN

LLEs are any person who performs electrical work valued at under $25,000 in the state. To apply for this license, you will first need to take the TN LLE Limited Licensed Electrician exam administered by PSI Exams. 

There is no preapproval or experience required for this exam. The exam is made up of 40 questions given over 130 minutes. You must correctly answer at least 29 items and score a 72.5% or higher to pass. 

Once you pass the exam, you can fill out the LLE application or apply online. On the application, you’ll need to:

  • Prove your U.S. citizenship
  • Provide a photo ID
  • Show proof of your passing exam grade
  • Pay the fees

If mailing your application, allow up to two weeks for review. Online applications will be reviewed sooner. Once approved, you’ll receive your license, which will expire in two years on the same month as issued. Renewals can be completed online.

LLE Fees

  • License fee: $50 
  • Renewal fee: $50
  • Reinstatement fee (if expired): $80
  • Replacement license fee: $5

Electrical Contractors in Tennessee

You must be a licensed electrical contractor if you’re looking to bid on a project valued at over $25,000 in TN. This pertains to both prime contractors and electrical subcontractors. Electrical contractors cover a very large area, including the installation, repair, and structuring of electrical systems.

To become an electrical contractor, you’ll need to:

  • Pass a 2-part PSI exam
  • Prepare a financial statement
  • Present letters of reference and proof of insurance
  • If you’re applying as a business, show proof of registration with the state
  • Complete a contractor’s affidavit
  • Submit the application and pay the fee 
  1. The Electrical Contractor’s Exam

First, you’ll need to take the PSI Exam. More details on registering for the exam can be found here. This exam has two portions, the TN CE Business and Law Management exam and the TN CE Electrical Contractor Exam. The Business and Law exam is 140 minutes and open book, while the Electrical Contractor exam is 260 minutes. 

Once you have passed your exam, you must prepare your financial statement. 

  1. Prepare a Financial Statement

Financial statements are used to determine the monetary limit on your Electrical Contractor License. License monetary limits are decided based on your capital, net worth, and experience. Your financial statement should meet the amounts of the projects you plan to complete. For an unlimited monetary limit, you must show $300,000 in both net worth and capital. 

Your financial statement must be put together by a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA). The statement should be “Reviewed” if the monetary limit is $1,500,000 or less or “Audited” if exceeding that amount.

If this statement shows a deficiency, you must provide a Guaranty Agreement or Bond. Financial statements must match the name on the Electrical Contractor License application.

  1. Prepare Supporting Documents

You must submit one letter of reference by a past client, employer, or official inspector commenting on your work experience. This individual may be from out of state.

You must also show proof of General Liability insurance, as well as Worker’s Comp. If you do not have employees, you may show proof of exemption. 

If you are applying as a business, LLC, partnership, etc., you must prove that you are registered with the Tennessee Secretary of State. Be sure that the name on the registration matches the name on the electrical contractor application.

Finally, you must sign and notarize the Contractor’s Affidavit on page 27 of the application, along with any partners, members, or major stockholders (if applicable). 

  1. Complete the Application

Once you’ve gathered all of your documents, you can fill out the application. Be sure to read the directions carefully and fill in all required spaces. Submit the application with the fee. 

Applications are reviewed during regularly scheduled Board meetings. These meetings occur six times per year, in January, March, May, July, September, and November. You must submit your application by the 20th of the month prior for it to be reviewed. Once the board reaches a decision you will be notified.

Some Boards will determine that an interview must be held before deciding on the applicant, especially if their application is incomplete. This interview is informal, around 30 minutes long, and is scheduled for you.

Once approved, you will receive your license certificate in the mail. Licenses are good for two years. 

Renewal information is mailed 3 months before expiration, and you must renew your license at least 30 days before expiration. There is no grace period, and you will be charged a late fee per month for renewing less than 30 days before its expiration. After 3 months, you will need to reapply for a new license.

Fees

Exam (2 portions): $110

Non-refundable licensing fee: $250

Renewal Fee: $200

Late fee per month: $20

Reciprocity

Reciprocal agreements can be used to waive the exam requirement. You must still fill out the application and submit all necessary documentation and fees, as well as the Request for Contractor License Verification form. License issuance will take 4-6 weeks.

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