How to Become an Electrician in Oregon

Portland has a young population and a vibrant culture, which has created a prime home seller’s market in response to more and more residents moving into the area and a growing tech sector.

As businesses and residents move into older buildings and homes, and as new ones are built, the demand for skilled tradesmen, including electricians, is increasing. In fact, the State of Oregon Employment Department has projected a 16% increase in the number of jobs for electricians working in the state during the ten-year period leading up to 2024. Many are entering the trade to take part in a secure field with great pay and career opportunities.

If you’re interested in becoming licensed as a professional electrician in Oregon, first you’ll work as an electrical apprentice for at least four years, receiving your initial training and completing classroom hours. Then, you’ll be able to work as a journeyman electrician. After a few more years of experience, you can get a supervising electrician license and an electrical contracting license.

In Oregon, the Building Codes Division issues the non-contracting licenses, and the Construction Contractors Board issues contracting licenses.

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

Gain the Experience and Technical Training Required for a Journeyman or Limited License
Take the Examination Required for a Journeyman or Limited License
Earn a Supervising Electrician License in Oregon
Consider Becoming Licensed as an Independent Electrical Contractor

 


 

Step 1. Gain the Experience and Technical Training Required for a Journeyman or Limited License

Earning a general journeyman license in Oregon requires one of the following:

 Completing an approved apprenticeship program

OR

576 hours of classroom and lab-based technical training and verification of 8,000 hours of on-the-job experience obtained outside of Oregon. Experience must break down as follows:

  • 1,000-3,000 hours residential
  • 1,000-3,000 hours commercial
  • 1,000-3,000 hours industrial

OR

16,000 hours of on-the-job experience obtained outside of Oregon. Experience must break down as follows:

  • 2,000-6,000 hours residential
  • 2,000-6,000 hours commercial
  • 2,000-6,000 hours industrial

Oregon also grants a variety of specialty and limited licenses for the electrical trade, each with different job experience and classroom hour requirements.

To begin your career as a professional electrician, you would typically start out as an electrical apprentice. Electrical apprenticeships give you on the job experience with an electrical contractor as well as formal classroom education to prepare you for professional work. Review Oregon’s approved apprenticeship programs for a variety of electrical specialties:

  • Limited Energy Tech (A,B)
  • Limited Residential Electrician
  • Inside Electrician
  • Limited Renewable Energy Electrician

 


 

Step 2. Take the Examination Required for a Journeyman or Limited License

After finishing your apprenticeship, you can pursue a General Journeyman (J) license.

You may also pursue any number of other limited licenses available in Oregon based on any specialized focus that may have been part of your apprenticeship:

  • Limited journeyman manufacturing plant (PJ)
  • Limited energy technician Class A (LEA)
  • Limited energy technician Class B (LEB)
  • Limited maintenance electrician (LME)
  • Limited residential electrician (LR)
  • Limited journeyman sign electrician (SIG)
  • Limited journeyman stage electrician (ST)
  • Limited building maintenance electrician (BME)
  • Limited renewable energy technician (LRT)
  • Ltd. maintenance manufactured structures (LMM)

The limited licenses indicate that you can only perform duties specific to the area in which you are licensed, whereas a general journeyman license authorizes you to do electrical work in all areas, assuming you are working under an electrical contractor or supervising electrician.

Start by filling out this application. The Building Codes Division will approve your application and send you instructions on how to prepare for your particular licensing exam. See this document for information on materials you can reference during the open book exam. You have to pass the exam with a score of 75% or higher to receive your license.

After you receive your license, you need to renew your license every three years. As a part of renewing any license, you need to complete the continuing education requirements specific to the license you hold.

The Building Codes Division will send you a letter in the mail reminding you of the coming deadline no less than 30 days before your renewal is due. You can renew your license at this online portal.

 


 

Step 3. Earn a Supervising Electrician License in Oregon

After working as a journeyman electrician for four years, you can apply for a general supervising electrician license. General supervising electricians are responsible for pulling permits from the city on behalf of the electrical contractor you are working for, as well as supervising journeyman electricians during electrical projects.

To get this license, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • Four years of experience as a general journeyman electrician
  • Passing the supervising electrician exam.

Start by filling out this application. The Building Codes Division will approve your application and send you instructions on preparing for the exam.

After you receive your license, you need to renew your license every three years. As a part of renewing your license, you need to complete the continuing education requirements described here covering changes made to the National Electric Code.

The Building Codes Division will send you a letter in the mail reminding you of the coming deadline no less than 30 days before your renewal is due. You can renew your license at this online portal.

 


 

Step 4. Consider Becoming Licensed as an Independent Electrical Contractor

As a general supervising electrician, you worked for an electrical contractor authorized to operate their business in Oregon. However, you can act as your own supervising electrician and hire employees and work as an independent electrical contractor in Oregon.

To become an electrical contractor in Oregon, you need to get a contractor license from the Construction Contractor’s Board (CCB). The CCB has a helpful step-by-step guide describing the licensing laws and forms required for a contractor’s license.

This will involve completing the following steps:

  1. Determine the buildings you’ll be working on, which will determine your classification of license. Here is a chart that breaks this down.
  2. Complete your pre-exam training and take the exam.
  3. File your business name.
  4. Submit a bond to the CCB. Use this page to determine your bond and get the bond applications.
  5. Submit proof of your general liability insurance and worker’s compensation.
  6. Fill out a residential contractor application, a commercial contractor application, or a dual contractor application, based on the type of buildings you’ll be working on.

After you complete these steps and receive your contracting license, you need to be sure to renew your license every two years through this online system.

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