Who do you think has the most grueling licensing procedure and regulation of all the trades in the State of Massachusetts? That's right, the Electrical Trade. And with good reason. The MA Board of Electrical Safety has very strict requirements on obtaining and maintaining an electrical license, because electrical work is dangerous when it is not in the right hands.
I wanted to piggy back on yesterday's blog about the danger in using unlicensed electricians, and tell you a little more about what actually goes into getting an electrical license, and furthermore, what it takes to maintain that license. I promise to only take a few minutes of your time and keep it as basic as possible. Once you hear me out, you will see why hiring someone with a license (v. no license) is a no brainer.
There are several different licenses that can be obtained in order to become an electrician in the State of Massachusetts.
Journeyman's License - the holder of a Class B license and a person qualified to do the work of installing, repairing, or maintaining wires, conduits, apparatus, devices, fixtures, or other appliances used for heat, light, power, fire warning or security system purposes.
Master's License - the holder of a Class A license and a person, firm, or corporation having a regular place of business who, by the employment of journeymen or apprentices, performs the work of installing, repairing or maintaining wires, conduits, apparatus, devices, fixtures or other appliances used for light, heat, power, fire warning or security system purposes; provided, however, that no journeyman electrician so employed shall have more than one apprentice under his supervision; and provided, further, that not more than one such apprentice shall be employed for each journeyman electrician purposes.
Here are the requirements to obtain a Journeyman's License
- Candidates must pass two exams, applied portion and a practical portion.
- The practical portion has 70 questions and a time limit of 180 minutes
- The applied portion has 30 questions and a time limit of 60 minutes.
- 600 classroom related hours. 8,000 field/technical hours.
- A 70% score is required to pass both portions of the exams.
- Topics on the practical portion include general knowledge, services, grounding, bonding, motors, transformers, lighting, overcurrent protection, and alarm systems.
- Topics on the applied portion include circuit calculations, electrical schematics and plans, materials and components, troubleshooting and testing, Massachusetts amendments, licensing laws and regulations.
- Journeyman Electricians are required to pay a fee to take exam and to apply for license, as well as a renewal fee.
- 21 hours of Continuing Education required every (3) years to maintain license.
Here are the requirements to obtain a Master's License
- Candidates must pass 2 exams, business and law and the trade.
- The trade exam has 80 questions and a time limit of 240 minutes.
- A 70% is required to pass.
- Topics on the exam include general knowledge, services, grounding, bonding, motors, transformers, lighting, over current protection, and alarm systems.
- Master Electricians are required to pay a fee to take exam and to apply for license, as well as a renewal fee.
- 21 hours of Continuing Education every (3) years to maintain license.
Think this is easy? Think again. The items listed above are really just the "highlights" of what it takes to get the license. It takes drive and dedication to obtain your license in the first place, and a sincere passion for the trade to maintain it. Remember, 8,000 hours sounds like a lot of hours, right? Well that is the bare minimum requirement to be allowed to even apply for your license. Once you have met the hourly requirements, you still have to pass the exam!
So that person claiming to be an "electrician" who doesn't have a license, doesn't have one because they failed to have 8,000 hours of experience in the trade and 600 hours of classroom instruction. Because of this, they couldn't pass the electrical exam, therefore, they could not obtain a license. I know that I would much rather have someone working on my wiring who has at least 8,000 hours of experience. The old adage certainly applies here, experience matters.
Not only do we hold both licenses at Corrao Electric, and continue to maintain them, but we do far above and beyond the education that is required for the trade. Why you ask? Well that is a discussion for another day. Stay tuned for more on licensing, education and hiring the right guy for your job based on experience, not on price.
Kenny Corrao, Owner
Corrao Electric Co., Inc.