How to Become an Electrician in Colorado

With the Colorado Office of Labor Market Information projecting a 36.7% increase in the number of jobs for electricians in the state during the ten-year period from 2012 to 2022, aspiring tradesmen are now eagerly exploring the options available to them for gaining the training necessary to earn an electrician license.

The Colorado State Electrical Board issues licenses to qualified candidates. Qualifying for a license starts by becoming an apprentice, and then a journeyman, before going on to earn an electrician license and eventually becoming an electrical contractor.

Follow these steps to learn how to become a licensed electrician in Colorado:

Gain the Hands-on Technical Training, Classroom Hours, and Job Experience Required to Become a Journeyman
Take the Examination Required to Become a Journeyman
Earn a Master Electrician License
Consider Becoming Licensed as an Independent Electrical Contractor in Colorado

 


 

Step 1. Gain the Hands-on Technical Training, Classroom Hours, and Job Experience Required to Become a Journeyman

Completing technical training, classroom hours and gaining job experience will be your first step toward becoming a licensed electrician in Colorado. To qualify to sit for the journeyman exam, you will need:

  • At least 288 hours of classroom and lab-based technical training and at least 8,000 hours of paid, on-site experience with a licensed electrician or electrical contracting firm

OR

  • 2-year degree in electrical technology and at least 6,000 hours of paid, on-site experience with a licensed electrician or electrical contracting firm

Through your 288 hours of classroom and lab-based technical training, you will study the following topics and more:

  • Grounding and bonding
  • National Electric Code and changes made
  • Wiring methods
  • Theory and calculations
  • Between 10 and 40 hours of OSHA based safety training

There are three primary ways you can complete your electrician training: attend a technical school, join a JATC, or enroll in a non-union training program.

Technical College

Enrolling in a technical college is a good choice if you’re interested in pursuing an education through more traditional education methods, like attending classes and dividing your education up by semesters.

Education at a technical college will meet the 288 hour requirement for journeyman electrician licensure whether you choose to enroll in a full two-year associate’s program or a certificate program. Fortunately, if you graduate from a technical school with an associate’s degree or certificate, that education will count towards a year of required work experience, equivalent to 2,000 hours, so that you only need to complete a total of 3 years of work experience under employment to qualify for your journeyman license.

As a recent graduate or current student of a technical school program you would join the workforce by responding to job placement announcements from local electrical contractors. Most technical schools will help facilitate job placement. In programs designed specifically to help students earn a journeyman license, apprenticeship placement is actually included as part of the program.

Some of the largest electrical contractors in Colorado that may partner with local schools for field experience and on-the-job training include:

  • Sturgeon Electric Company in Henderson
  • Encore Electric in Englewood
  • Dynalectric Colorado in Lakewood

Apprenticeship Programs

Apprenticeship programs consist of completing classroom training and instruction while working with a master electrician or electrical contractor in the field. As an apprentice, your pay will start out lower than a journeyman, but will increase incrementally year over year as you gain more experience in the trade.

If you are interested in the union route, you’ll need to find a JATC (Joint Apprenticeship & Training Committee) in your area. JATCs work in partnership with local union chapters to offer training consistent with the standards of the National Training Alliance. This ensures that training for apprentices follows the same standards around the nation.

There are JATCs in Colorado Springs, Denver, Pueblo, and Clifton. To get into these programs, you need meet the following requirements:

  • Be 18 years of age
  • Provide a photo ID
  • Be able to physically perform the requirements of the trade
  • Be able to transport yourself to the classroom and job site
  • Pass a general aptitude test
  • Have a high school diploma/GED

Signing up for membership through one of the union’s local chapters and becoming a dues-paying, card-carrying member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) would also be required.

Non-union apprenticeship programs will place you with a local non-union contractor in addition to facilitating the classroom-based training programs that meet Colorado’s standards. Here are the largest non-union electrician training programs in Colorado:

Apprentice Registration 

Colorado requires you to register yourself as an apprentice after enrolling in an apprenticeship program. To do this, you’ll need to follow the instructions for online apprentice registration through the Colorado State Electrical Board.

 


 

Step 2. Take the Examination Required to Become a Journeyman

A journeyman electrician is authorized to wire, install, and repair electrical equipment according to code without direct supervision.

The requirements for this license are:

  • Completing the application
  • Four years as a registered apprentice OR four years gaining practical experience in electrical work
  • At least two years experience doing electrical work in industrial, commercial, or similar environments
  • At least 288 hours of training in safety, the National Electric Code, and other electrical education
  • 8,000 hours of experience in the past four years or equivalent combination of education and experience
  • Passing the Journeyman Electrician Exam with a 70%

Once you submit your application and it is approved, your application will be passed on to the exam vendor, PSI. They will contact you with the necessary information for scheduling your exam.

The exam that needs to be taken for an electrician license is the CO Journeyman Wireman Exam. The exam is four and a half hours long, has 90 multiple choice questions, and is open book. The books used for the exam are the 2014 National Electric Code. The fee for the exam is $75. The exam bulletin can be viewed here. The breakdown of questions on the exam is as follows:

  • General Electrical Knowledge – 11 questions
  • Services, Feeders, and Branch Circuits – 9 questions
  • Grounding and Bonding – 14 questions
  • Overcurrent Protection – 6 questions
  • Conductors and Cables – 9 questions
  • Raceways and Boxes – 5 questions
  • Special Occupancies – 5 questions
  • Special Equipment – 5 questions
  • Electrical Devices – 5 questions
  • Motors – 6 questions
  • Transformers – 4 questions
  • Photovoltaics – 2 questions
  • Electrical Calculations – 9 questions

Once you pass the exam and receive your license, you need to renew your journeyman electrician license every three years. In order to renew your license, you need to complete 24 Professional Development Units, or PDUs, every three years. These 24 PDUs must cover four different topics:

  • Grounding and bonding
  • National Electrical Code changes
  • Wiring methods
  • Theory and calculations

You can renew your license by logging into the Department of Regulatory Agencies website.

 


 

Step 3. Earn a Master Electrician License

After working as a journeyman electrician for a few years, you can apply for a master electrician license. Master electricians have more experience than journeyman electricians and are typically authorized to get permits from the county to perform work on residential properties. Here are the requirements and instructions for earning a master electrician license in Colorado.

A master electrician licenses authorizes you to plan, lay out, and supervise the installation and repair of electrical equipment.

The requirements for this license are:

  • Completing the application
  • Four years as a registered apprentice OR four years gaining practical experience in electrical work
  • At least two years experience doing electrical work in industrial, commercial, or similar environments
  • At least 288 hours of training in safety, the National Electric Code, and other electrical education
  • 8,000 hours of experience in the past four years
  • 2,000 hours of experience in the time of a year planning, laying-out, and supervising the installation of electrical equipment
  • Passing the Journeyman Electrician Exam with a 70%

Once you submit your application and it is approved, your application will be passed on to the exam vendor, PSI. They will contact you with the necessary information for scheduling your exam.

The exam that needs to be taken for an electrician license is CO Master Electrician. The exam is four and a half hours long, has 90 multiple choice questions, and is open book. The books used for the exam are the 2014 National Electric Code. The fee for the exam is $75. The exam bulletin can be viewed here. The breakdown of questions on the exam is:

  • General Electrical Knowledge – 6 questions
  • Services, Feeders, and Branch Circuits – 11 questions
  • Grounding and Bonding – 14 questions
  • Overcurrent Protection – 5 questions
  • Conductors and Cables – 4 questions
  • Raceways and Boxes – 5 questions
  • Special Occupancies – 9 questions
  • Special Equipment – 9 questions
  • Electrical Devices – 4 questions
  • Motors – 8 questions
  • Transformers – 4 questions
  • Photovoltaics – 2 questions
  • Electrical Calculations – 9 questions

Once you pass the exam and receive your license, you need to renew your master electrician license every three years. In order to renew your license, you need to complete 24 Professional Development Units, or PDUs, every three years. These 24 PDUs must cover four different topics:

  • Grounding and bonding
  • National Electrical Code changes
  • Wiring methods
  • Theory and calculations

You can renew your license by logging into the Department of Regulatory Agencies website.

 


 

Step 4. Consider Becoming Licensed as an Independent Electrical Contractor in Colorado

In order to sell your electrical services to the public in Colorado, you will need to register as a commercial or residential contractor with the State. With this license, you can hire master electricians and run a business as a local contractor.

An electrical contractor can sell their services as one that plans, lays out, supervises, and installs or makes additions, alterations, and repairs in the installation of electrical equipment.

The requirements for this license are:

There are often additional contractor requirements in local jurisdictions, so be sure to check your intended zones of operation for their requirements.

Once you receive your electrical contractor license, you need to renew it every three years. In order to renew your license, you need to complete 24 Professional Development Units, or PDUs, every three years. These 24 PDUs must cover four different topics:

  • Grounding and bonding
  • National Electrical Code changes
  • Wiring methods
  • Theory and calculations

You can renew your license by logging into the Department of Regulatory Agencies website.

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