Licensed electricians are always in demand, especially in Texas. The state’s 29 million citizens need reliable electricity, and there’s an ever-growing need for new installations and upgrades to current electrical systems.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industry is projected to grow faster than other industries during the next 10 years (8 percent growth from 2019 to 2029), taking into account a steady economy and increase in home and business construction.
The pay is good, too. In 2020, the median salary for electricians was $56,900 a year.
Here’s everything you need to know about pursuing a career as a licensed electrician in the Lone Star State.
What is a Licensed Electrician?
Licensed electricians possess specialized expertise, experience, and training in their field that unlicensed or uncertified electricians lack.
Licensed electricians are the go-to authorities to work on important projects such as faulty wiring or inspect vital electrical components such as circuit breakers.
Licensed electricians work in the public and private sectors, fixing anything in a home that uses electricity or installing and inspecting electrical aspects of new buildings. Texas requires that professionals electricians working on both business and private properties are licensed.
Types of Electrician Licenses in Texas
Texas offers different types of electrician licenses with different electrician titles, including apprentice, journeyman, and master.
These titles relate to levels of experience in the field. The state also divides electrician licenses into different subcategories, such as electrical sign apprentice, journeyman lineman, and master sign electrician.
Here’s a closer look at the license categories:
Beginners in the field, apprentice electricians are trained by journeymen and masters, assisting them in different types of electrical work.
In order to obtain an apprentice license, applicants must be at least 16 years old and can perform work while being supervised by a residential wireman, a journeyman electrician, or a master electrician. Texas also offers an electrical sign apprentice license.
A licensed journeyman electrician is supervised by a master electrician and must be at least 18 years old. An electrician must have at least 7,000 hours of on-site training with a master electrician’s supervision to submit for a journeyman license.
Once submitted, electricians take an exam and must 1,000 more hours to reach the required 8,000 hours of training needed to be licensed.
Types of journeyman licenses in Texas include journeyman lineman and journeyman industrial electrician. You must be at least 18.
The top level of electrician licenses in Texas, master electricians must complete 12,000 of training under a licensed master electrician. You also must be licensed as a journeyman electrician for at least two years and be at least 18.
- Other types of licensed electricians in Texas are maintenance electricians, residential appliance installers, and residential wiremen. These licenses often have different requirements.
For example, to become a licensed residential wireman, you need 4,000 of on-site training supervised by another residential wireman or a master electrician before you take an exam.
How to Earn Electrician Licenses in Texas
There are several steps to take to qualify for electrician licenses in Texas.
- Applicants must have a valid Texas driver’s license or identification card.
- To qualify for an apprentice license, you must have a high school diploma. Passing the General Education Development test, a GED, is required to apply for a journeyman or master electrician license.
- Journeyman and master electrician levels in Texas require applicants to pass examinations. Scores of at least 70% are needed to pass, and applicants can retake the exam as needed until they pass.
- Exams in Texas are open book. Applicants can use the most recent edition of the National Electrical Code while taking the exam. The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation offers several locations in the state to take the test. There are exam fees for each test, usually averaging between $60-$100.
- Licensing exams cover a wide range of electrical knowledge, including everything from service equipment to circuit conductors and generators.
- You’ll also have to pay application fees for apprentice, journeyman, and master licenses, ranging between $20-$75.
- Most electrician licenses require applicants to finish four hours of continuing education courses, including general apprentice, journeyman, and master electricians.
The coursework includes National Electrical Code, Texas Electrician Law, Texas Electrician Administrative Rules, and National Fire Protection Association electrical safety.
- After you receive an apprentice license, you will need to renew it online every year of an apprenticeship.
A journeyman license is renewed online every 18 months, along with proof of completed continuing education hours. The same criteria are followed for renewing master electrician licenses.
Educational Training for Electricians in Texas
Texas has many technical schools and community colleges offering well-regarded training for those interested in a career as an electrician.
These range from smaller colleges, such as Altierus Career College-Houston Bissonnet and the Lamson Institute to larger community colleges, such as Texas State Technical College and St. Philip’s College.
Colleges offer two-year to four-year degree programs related to electrical work but you are not required to have a degree to apply for an electrician license in Texas.
There are also trade schools to consider that provide electrical apprentice programs in Texas, including the Austin Electrical Training Alliance, El Paso Electricians Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (JATC), and the North Texas Electrical JATC. Unions also offer electrician apprenticeship trading programs.
Trade schools that are approved by The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation often allow apprentices to do a total of 11 months, or 48 weeks, of wiring training in classrooms. Trade schools cover such electrical industry topics as fiber optics, grounding, electrical code, and arc welding.
Trade schools often set up students with partnered licensed electrical companies that provide further supervisory training. The Texas Board of Licensing and Regulation has approved over 40 apprenticeship programs throughout the state.
Electrical training programs also train students in other skills required for a successful career as an electrician, including safety skills, mastery of codes, and customer service skills related to both residential and commercial work.
tdlr.texas.gov; U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, electricianschooledu.org/texas