How to Become an Electrician in Delaware

The Delaware Department of Labor is predicting that the number of jobs in the electrical trade will grow by 18.3% through 2024. Working as an electrician provides plenty of opportunities for career advancement, with the most ambitious eventually pursuing business ownership as independent contractors.

In order to work as an electrician, you should become familiar with the State of Delaware Board of Electrical Examiners. This board issues all electrician licenses in the state, starting with an apprentice license, then a journeyperson license, before offering a master electrician or other advanced licenses to qualified candidates.

After earning a master license, you can become an electrical contractor through the Delaware Division of Revenue, which issues two types of contractor licenses.

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

Gain the Practical Experience and Classroom Hours Required to Become a Journeyperson
Take the Examination Required to Become a Journeyman
Earn a Master Electrician License in Delaware
Consider Becoming Licensed as an Independent Electrical Contractor

 


 

Step 1. Gain the Practical Experience and Classroom Hours Required to Become a Journeyperson

The Board requires licensed journeyperson electricians to have completed an apprenticeship program or gained job experience equivalent to 8,000 hours (4 years) under a licensed master electrician.

There are two ways to meet these requirements:

  • Get a certificate or associate’s degree at a technical college and work as a trainee/apprentice for an electrical contractor.
  • Join a union apprenticeship program, or use the resources of a non-union organization to complete your training and find employment with an electrical contractor.

The Board does not have any classroom education requirements for meeting the requirements for a journeyperson electrician license, however, an education is essential to working as an electrician. No matter which path you take for your training, you’ll be getting instruction on topics related to safety and the theory and science of electrical systems.

Technical Schools

By enrolling in a technical school, you can earn an electrical technician certificate or Associate of Applied Science in Electrical Technology and be on your way to a career as an entry-level electrician. This is a great way to get classroom based instruction and lab-based hands-on technical training, preparing you not only for your journeyperson electrician license, but eventually for a master electrician license.

Even after completing a formal program, you would still need to gain 8,000 hours of job experience to qualify for a journeyman license. Often, technical school programs will include field training that will place you with a Delaware licensed electrical contractor. In ideal situations, this results in full-time employment.

Alternately, you can search for electrical contractors that are hiring apprentices or trainees. You can find job postings on public boards, as well as union and non-union boards. You could look for jobs with such respected local companies as:

  • All-Pro Electric and Construction Services in Newark
  • White Clay Electrical Services in Wilmington
  • Supreme Electric Company in Port Deposit

Earning an associate’s degree can be extremely useful later when working toward a master electrician license. If you hold an associate’s degree, rather than needing six years of experience as a journeyperson to meet the qualifications for master electrician licensure, you would only need four years.

Apprenticeship Programs

If you’re interested in a unionized apprenticeship program, you’ll need to get to know the Local 313 IBEW Union. You can contact their office to find out about their JATC, or Joint Apprenticeship & Training Committee. JATC apprenticeship programs are available thanks to partnerships between IBEW and NECA local union chapters under the National Training Alliance.

To be admitted to most JATC programs, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • Be 18 years of age
  • Have a high school diploma/GED
  • Have a high school transcript proving you passed Algebra 1
  • Be able to transport yourself to the classroom and job site
  • Be able to physically perform the requirements of the trade
  • Pass a general aptitude test

Joining the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) through the union’s local chapter is required.

If you chose to join a non-union organization, you’ll find that they offer similarly high quality training for apprentices. You’ll still need to find employment with a local contractor looking to take on an apprentice, but you’ll be able to apply for openings through the Independent Electrical Contractors, Chesapeake Area Chapter.

Apprentice Application

Once you enroll in an apprenticeship program, you need to get an apprenticeship license from the Board of Electrical Examiners. You will start by filling out this application and submitting it with a $59 fee. You’ll submit your application with a letter from your program director or supervisor confirming that you are in an apprenticeship. You need to renew your license every two years.


 

Step 2. Take the Examination Required to Become a Journeyperson

To qualify for a journeyperson electrician license in Delaware, you must:

  • Complete the application
  • Pass the journeyman electrician exam with a 75% score
  • Be 20 years old
  • Complete an apprenticeship program OR have over 8,000 hours of full-time experience under a licensed master electrician

After you fill out the application and hear back from the Board of Electrical Examiners, you’ll be able to schedule your exam with Prometric. The journeyperson electrical exam is three hours long, has 80 multiple choice questions, and is open book. On the exam, you may refer to the 2014 National Electric Code. Here is the breakdown of the topics on the exam:

  • General Electrical Knowledge – 10%
  • Wiring and Protection – 22%
  • Wiring Methods and Materials – 19%
  • Equipment for General Use – 19%
  • Special Occupancies – 10%
  • Special Equipment – 5%
  • Special Conditions – 5%
  • Communication Systems – 5%
  • Safety – 5%

Once you pass the exam and receive your license, you need to renew your license every two years. To do so, you need to fulfill the continuing education requirements. The number of continuing education hours you need to complete are different depending on when you first receive your license.

  • If you get your license less than a year before the two-year renewal cycle ends, you do not need to complete any education hours.
  • If you get your license less than two years but more than a year before the two-year renewal cycle ends, you need to complete two education hours.
  • If you get your license at the beginning of the two-year renewal cycle, you need to complete five education hours.
  • If it is not your first time renewing your license, you are to complete five education hours per two-year cycle.

To find classes, visit the Board of Electrical Examiners page for continuing education providers.

 


 

Step 3. Earn a Master Electrician License in Delaware

Holding a master electrician license indicates you are more experienced than a journeyperson and are capable of supervising any electrical project.

The requirements for this license are:

  • Completing the application
  • Passing the master electrician exam with a 75% score
  • Six years of full time experience under a master electrician OR four years of full time experience with a two year degree in applied electrical technology

After you fill out the application and hear back from the Board of Electrical Examiners, you’ll be able to schedule your exam with Prometric. The master electrical exam is four hours long, has 100 multiple choice questions, and is open book. On the exam, you may refer to the 2014 National Electric Code and the most recent edition of OSHA Construction Industry Regulations. Here is the breakdown of the topics on the exam:

  • General Electrical Knowledge – 10%
  • Wiring and Protection – 23%
  • Wiring Methods and Materials – 19%
  • Equipment for General Use – 19%
  • Special Occupancies – 9%
  • Special Equipment – 5%
  • Special Conditions – 5%
  • Communication Systems – 5%
  • Safety – 5%

Once you pass the exam and receive your license, you need to renew your license every two years. To do so, you need to fulfill the continuing education requirements. The number of continuing education hours you need to complete are different depending on when you first receive your license.

  • If you get your license less than a year before the two-year renewal cycle ends, you do not need to complete any education hours.
  • If you get your license less than two years but more than a year before the two-year renewal cycle ends, you need to complete five education hours.
  • If you get your license at the beginning of the two-year renewal cycle, you need to complete ten education hours.
  • If it is not your first time renewing your license, you are to complete ten education hours per two-year cycle.

To find classes, visit the Board of Electrical Examiners page for continuing education providers.

 


 

Step 4. Consider Becoming Licensed as an Independent Electrical Contractor

In order to offer your electrical services to the public in Delaware, you will need to register as a residential or non-residential contractor with the State. With this license, you can hire master electricians and run a business as a local contractor. The Delaware Division of Revenue issues contractor licenses.

The two types of contractor licenses, residential and non-residential, indicate where your primary place of business is. Residential license holders have their place of business within Delaware, whereas non-residential license holders have their place of business out of state. These instructions apply to residential licenses, but the general concepts apply for the non-residential license as well. Be sure to read all the documentation in the non-residential application packet if you are applying for that.

To get a residential contractor license, you have to complete the application and show proper insurance compliance, including unemployment and worker’s compensation.

When you receive the license, you will need to renew it every year. The first time you renew your contractor license, the fee will be prorated. After that, it will cost $75 a year.

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