Electrician

MICHIGAN – ELECTRICIAN LICENSING GUIDE

  1. How the Profession is Organized in Michigan
  2. Eligibility for Licensing
  3. Examinations
  4. Time and Costs
  5. Other Careers and Credentials
  6. Beyond Licensing
  7. Important links
  8. Tips

1. HOW THE PROFESSION IS ORGANIZED IN MICHIGAN

OVERVIEW 

This guide looks at things that you, as an electrician who has gained electrical experience in a foreign country, must do to become eligible for examination as an electrician in Michigan. It also includes background and tips on the electrical profession to give you an idea of the opportunities available in this field in Michigan.

REGULATION OF ELECTRICIANS IN MICHIGAN

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), Bureau of Construction Codes (BCC), regulates the licensing of electricians in Michigan. In order to perform electrical wiring in Michigan, a person must be a licensed electrician or a registered electrical apprentice.

Michigan reviews the credentials of, conducts examinations, and licenses the following types of electrician. This guide will focus on the requirements for electrical journeyman and master electrician. Information on the additional types of electrician licenses is presented in number 5, Other Careers and Credentials, below.

  • Electrical Apprentice
  • Electrical Journeyman
  • Master Electrician
  • Electrical Contractor
  • Fire Alarm Specialty Technician
  • Fire Alarm Contractor
  • Sign Specialist
  • Sign Specialty Contractor

EMPLOYMENT

As of May 2013, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean hourly wage for electricians in Michigan is $27.89, with a mean annual wage of $58,020. Employment opportunities as a licensed electrician are available in the residential, commercial, and industrial environments. Electricians work indoors and outdoors, in nearly every type of facility.

JOB PROSPECTS AND OUTLOOK (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Employment of electricians fluctuates with the overall economy. On one hand, there is greater demand for electricians during peak periods of construction building and maintenance. On the other hand, workers may experience periods of unemployment when the overall level of construction and maintenance falls. Electricians in factories tend to have the most stable employment. Electricians with the widest variety of skills should have the best job opportunities.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of electricians will grow 20 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. As homes and businesses require more wiring, electricians will be needed to install the necessary components. Overall growth of the construction industry and the need to maintain older equipment in manufacturing plants also will require more electricians.

Alternative power generation, such as solar and wind, is an emerging field that should require more electricians for installation. Increasingly, electricians will be needed to link these alternative power sources to homes and power grids over the coming decade. Employment growth stemming from these sources, however, will largely be dependent on government policy.

Electricians – Percent Change in Employment

Projected 2012 - 2022

 Electricians - Percent Change in Employment

Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. economy.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

2. ELIGIBILITY FOR LICENSING

The state of Michigan does not reciprocate with any other state or country for electrical licensing. As a result, you are required to take and pass an examination to receive a license and perform electrical work in the state of Michigan.

A non-resident electrician who is licensed in another state or country may receive a temporary journeyman electrician license for a period of not more than 90 days after it is determined the non-resident electrician qualifies for examination. The non-resident electrician must submit a letter requesting a temporary license to be issued, stating what date they want the temporary license to take effect. A $40.00 fee is required for issuance of a temporary journeyman license.

The process for obtaining a license to work as a journeyman electrician or master electrician in Michigan is as follows:

  1. Complete the JOURNEYMAN ELECTRICIAN EXAMINATION APPLICATION or MASTER ELECTRICIAN EXAMINATION APPLICATION and submit it to the Bureau of Construction Codes for review.

    Please note: If you reside in the city of Detroit or the city of Grand Rapids or you have an electrical-related business requiring licensure in these two cities, you must apply to those jurisdictions to take the examination. Detroit and Grand Rapids issue electrical licenses locally and have their own application forms. Their forms should be used to apply for licensing in those two communities.
  2. Include the following information with your completed and signed application form:

    a. A copy of any current journey or master electrician license you hold and any notarized documentation verifying your electrical wiring experience.

    b. Payment of the application fee.
  3. Experience requirements for electrical journeyman and master electrician are as follows:

    a. Electrical Journeyman
  • Must be at least 20 years of age.
  • Have not less than 8,000 hours of practical experience obtained over a period of not less than 4 years related to electrical construction or maintenance of buildings or electrical wiring or equipment under the direct supervision of a person licensed under the Electrical Administrative Act, 1956 PA 217, or the equivalent as determined by the Electrical Administrative Board.
  • Credit may be provided for graduation from or attendance at a recognized training or educational program.
  • Must take and pass the examination.

    b. Master Electrician
  • Must be at least 22 years of age.
  • Have not less than 12,000 hours of experience obtained over a period of not less than 6 years related to electrical construction, the maintenance of buildings, or electrical wiring or equipment under the supervision of a master electrician or equivalent experience as determined by the Electrical Administrative Board.
  • Must take and pass the examination.
  1. Your application will be reviewed by the Bureau of Construction Codes, Electrical Division. Complete applications will be submitted to the Michigan Electrical Administrative Board for review. The board reviews the experience of out-of state applicants to determine if they meet the experience requirements or an equivalent of the experience requirements. The board meets quarterly and applicants will be notified of the date and time of the board meeting. Applicants may choose to attend to answer any questions the board may have.
  2. Applicants will be notified of the board’s final decision. Applicants who have been approved will be notified of the date and time of the examination. Applicants who are not approved will be notified of their appeal rights.  

3. EXAMINATIONS

The examination is administered by the Bureau of Construction Codes and will be based on the Stille-DeRossett-Hale Single State Construction Code Act, 1972 PA 230; the Electrical Administrative Act, 1956 PA 217; the Electrical Administrative Board General Rules; and the edition of the Michigan Electrical Code that has been adopted and is in effect at the time of your examination.

GENERAL EXAMINATION PROCEDURES & BASIC CHARACTERISTICS:

You will not be admitted to the examination at any time other than that for which you are scheduled. No one will be admitted once the examination begins. You must bring your admission card and an official, signed, photo identification. Acceptable identification includes:

  • Driver’s license with photo.
  • State of Michigan identification with photo.
  • Passport
  • Immigration card or notarized photograph (signed and notarized on the back of the photograph).

The Bureau of Construction Codes does not provide code books at the examination sites. Applicants will be allowed to bring a National Electrical Code book for use during the examination. Handbooks are not allowed.

EXAMINATION DETAILS:

The Journey examination covers entry-level knowledge of the electrical industry as outlined in all the categories listed below. You are allowed 2 ½ hours to complete the examination which consists of 80 questions.

The Master examination covers additional knowledge required to plan and supervise electrical installations as outlined in all categories listed below. You are allowed 3 hours to complete the examination which consists of 75 questions.

EXAMINATION CATEGORIES:

  1. General knowledge of the electrical trade, including terminology and the ability to make practical calculations.
  2. The determination of system and circuit grounding and design and use requirements for grounding, including choosing proper size grounding conductors.
  3. Knowledge of circuit classifications and ratings and design and use requirements for circuits, including branch circuit loads.
  4. The determination of ampacity, type of insulation, usage requirements, methods of installation, protection, support, and termination.
  5. Knowledge of the installation of motors and control circuits.
  6. The calculation of electrical loads and determination of proper size, rating, and type of service and feeder conductors.
  7. Knowledge of fuses, circuit breakers, and all types of protective devices for conductors and equipment.
  8. Knowledge of all types of raceways and their uses, including determining proper size, conductor fill, support, and methods of installation.
  9. Knowledge of circuits and equipment characterized by usage and electrical power limitations, including differentiating them from electric light and power circuits.
  10. Knowledge of all types and applications of lighting fixtures, ratings, requirements for occupancies, special provisions, and clearances.
  11. Knowledge of state laws, rules and code amendments to include the Electrical Administrative Act, 1956 PA 217; State Construction Code Act, 1972 PA 230; Electrical Administrative Board General Rules; and the Michigan Electrical Part 8 Code Rules.

In addition to each category, applicants should have the ability to read plans and drawings and apply knowledge of the relevant safety procedures and requirements.

4. TIME AND COSTS

The application fee for each examination is $100.00. The journeyman license is issued initially at a cost of $40.00 and is required to be renewed annually at a cost of $40.00. The master license is issued initially at a cost of $50.00 and is also required to be renewed annually at a cost of $50.00.

Additional costs to maintain your electrical license will include fulfilling the continuing educational requirements. Each licensee is required to complete an approved 15-hour code update course within one year of the state’s adoption of a new version of the National Electrical Code. The Bureau of Construction Codes does not regulate the cost of the approved educational courses so the cost may vary with each course.

5. OTHER CAREERS AND CREDENTIALS

REGISTERED CODE OFFICIAL:

A licensed electrician may qualify for employment as a registered code official with a local code enforcement agency (Building Officials and Inspectors Registration Act, 1986 PA 54).

ADDITIONAL ELECTRICAL LICENSES:

If qualified, you may also submit an application for examination for the following licenses issued by the Bureau of Construction Codes, Electrical Division.

A licensed master electrician, fire alarm specialist, or sign specialty technician in combination with a contractor license may also work as a self-employed electrical, fire alarm, or sign contractor providing even further opportunities.

  • Electrical Contractor
  • Fire Alarm Specialty Technician
  • Fire Alarm Contractor
  • Sign Specialist
  • Sign Specialty Contractor

For details regarding the qualifications necessary to make application for the above electrical licenses, please visit our website at www.michigan.gov/bcc.

6. BEYOND LICENSING

MAINTAINING LICENSURE

Journey and master electrician licenses expire December 31st of each calendar year. Approximately 3 months prior to expiration, you will be mailed a License Renewal Application. To renew the license, the form must be signed and returned to our office prior to expiration along with the license renewal fee (journey license renewal fee is $40.00 and the master license renewal fee is $50.00).

To maintain your license you will also be required to complete an approved code update course within one year of the state’s adoption of a new version of the National Electrical Code.

LICENSING MOBILITY (RECIPROCITY):

The state of Michigan does not have any reciprocal agreements to honor the electrical licenses of other states or countries. Electrical licenses are only granted to applicants after passing an electrical examination and payment of the licensing fee.

Electrical licensing laws and rules vary greatly from state to state. It is advised to contact any other state and/or jurisdiction in which you wish to perform electrical wiring in order to understand their requirements.

7. IMPORTANT LINKS

PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS:

  • International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI)
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)
  • Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC)
  • Various local electrical contractor associations throughout the state of Michigan

8. TIPS

TRANSLATION:

If the documents you wish to submit with your examination application are written in a language other than English, please provide an official notarized English translation.

APPLICATION:

Please submit your Application for Examination at least 60 days prior to your requested examination date if possible. This will allow the Electrical Division adequate time to review your application prior to submitting it for review to the Electrical Administrative Board. With ample time, the Electrical Division will be able to assist you if further documentation or corrections to your application are required.

DOCUMENTATION:

Do not submit original documentation such as notarized employment letters, certificates, degrees, or licenses issued by other municipalities. You should submit clean, readable copies only. Please keep all original documents for your records.

Please ensure that all notarized documents are also signed by the Notary Public.

CONTACT US:

If you are unsure of a step in the electrical licensing process or have any other questions regarding application, please contact the Bureau of Construction Codes, Electrical Division, at 517-241-9320 or bccelec@michigan.gov. We will be happy to assist you.