The electrical trade has long been recognized as one of the most stable and well paying skilled trades in America. In Florida, the field is experiencing such a demand that the state’s Department of Economic Opportunity is predicting a 32.2% increase in the number of jobs for electricians during the ten-year period leading up to 2024. This means now is the time to get the experience and training you need to start your career as a certified electrician.
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In Florida, journeyman and master level electrician certification is handled at the local level, while electrical contractor certificates are issued through one centralized state agency, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation Electrical Contractors’ Licensing Board.
Follow these steps to learn how to become a certified electrician in Florida:
Step 1. Complete the Classroom Hours and Gain the Experience Required to Become a Journeyman
You will start your career in the electrical trade by getting the training and experience necessary to meet the requirements for journeyman certification set by the Construction Trades Qualifying Board for the city/county in which you live. The requirements across most of Florida’s city/county jurisdictions align with the national standards of four to five years (8,000 hours) of documented experience, along with 144 hours of classroom-based education each year.
Miami-Dade County is an exception. Here you can earn a journeyman certificate after just 3 years of documented experience performing electrical work, with up to 1.5 years of the experience requirement able to be substituted for an equivalent education (Associate of Applied Science in Electrical Systems Technology, diploma, or electrical trade certificate).
There are three primary options for completing your technical training and gaining the experience required to become a journeyman in Florida:
- Enroll in a technical college electrical trade program
- Join a union apprenticeship program
- Use non-union resources to locate training opportunities and find employment
Technical School Programs
By enrolling in a technical school, you’ll be able to complete an electrical technician career diploma program, or earn an Associate of Applied Science in Electrical Technology, or electrical trade certificate that will satisfy the classroom training hour requirements for journeyman electrician certification in all county and municipal jurisdictions throughout Florida.
In Miami-Dade County, your education and technical training can be used to offset up to half of the 3-year experience requirement. The Miami-Dade Construction Trades Qualifying Board will determine the exact education-for-experience substitution you will be allowed after an individual review of the curriculum you completed in your electrical program.
Many technical school programs include an internship that would give you the opportunity to work at job sites with a locally licensed electrical contracting company. This could lead to full-time employment after you complete the program if entry-level openings for trainee or apprentice positions are available.
Holding a career diploma or associate’s degree through a technical program or community college will make you a strong candidate for entry-level positions. Many electrical contractors look to hire new graduates for apprenticeship positions, advertising on job boards with local Construction Trades Qualifying Boards and trade associations. Some of the biggest electrical contracting companies in the state include:
- Empire Electric in Miami
- Walton Electric, Inc. in Vero Beach
- PVM Electric in West Palm Beach
In Florida, both union and non-union apprenticeship programs are authorized through the State Department of Education. An authorized apprenticeship program would include four years (8,000 hours) of job experience and no less than 144 hours of classroom instruction for each year you are in the apprenticeship, for a total 576 hours.The Department of Education allows apprenticeship sponsors to set their own curriculum as long as the program results in complete competency in the electrical trade.
Local Joint Apprenticeship & Training Committees established through a joint effort between Florida chapters of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) union and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) provide apprenticeships that ensure you receive comprehensive technical training, classroom instruction and field experience that aligns with National Training Alliance standards.
There are 7 electrical JATCs in Florida that sponsor apprenticeships through unionized electrical contracting companies throughout the state:
- Central Florida Electrical JATC
- Tampa Area Electrical JATC
- Jacksonville Electrical JATC
- Daytona Beach Electrical JATC
- Florida East Coast Electrical JATC
- Gainesville Electrical JATC
- Miami Electrical JATC
The admission to JATC programs typically requires you to:
- Be 18 years of age
- Have a high school diploma/GED
- 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
- Complete an oral interview process
You also have options available to you if you prefer to work with a non-unionized electrical contracting company. The trade associations that facilitate non-union electrical apprenticeships in Florida are:
- Independent Electrical Contractors Florida West Coast Chapter
- ABC-Florida Gulf Coast Chapter (Tampa)
- ABC-Florida East Coast Chapter (Coconut Creek)
- Florida Electrical Apprenticeship and Training
- Florida Electrical Apprenticeship Association
Through one of these programs, you’ll have access to resources that will help you find a local electrical contractor looking to take on an apprentice. Once your apprenticeship begins, these programs will facilitate the required classroom instruction at a local training center.
Step 2. Take the Examination Required to Become a Journeyman in Your Area
Here you will find information on the final step toward earning a journeyman electrician certificate in three of Florida’s largest jurisdictions.
City of Jacksonville
The Construction Trades Qualifying Board issues certificates for tradesman in Jacksonville.
The City of Jacksonville defines a journeyman craftsman as a person who has been examined by the Board and found to have the skills, knowledge and experience required to work in a particular trade or craft and who holds a current Board-issued journeyman craftsman certificate. Specifically, for electricians, this means electrical journeymen can work as an electrician, unsupervised, under the employment of an electrical contractor.
To earn the journeyman certificate in Jacksonville, you’ll need to prove you worked for four years as an electrical apprentice and pass the journeyman exam with a 75% or higher.
The journeyman electrical exam is offered four times a year. You can get information about exam content and scheduling by contacting the Construction Trades Qualifying Board.
Journeyman electrical certificates need to be renewed every two years.
In Miami-Dade, the Construction Trades Qualifying Board issues Certificates of Competency at the journeyman level.
To get a Journeyman Certificate of Competency, you need to meet the following requirements:
- Three years of experience
- Pass the Journeyman Electrician exam
Information about the Journeyman Electrician exam can be found in the posted bulletin. The test is three hours long, and has 75 questions on it. The following subjects are covered on the test:
- General Electrical Theory & Principles – 15 questions
- Plan Reading – 5 questions
- Wiring & Protection – 14 questions
- Wiring Methods & Materials – 18 questions
- Motors & Controls – 5 questions
- Equipment for General Use – 6 questions
- Special Occupancies – 2 questions
- Special Equipment – 3 questions
- Special Conditions – 2 questions
- Communication Systems – 5 questions
After you pass the exam, you need to renew your certificate of competency every two years. To do this, you need to keep up with the continuing education requirements. You must complete 16 hours of continuing education every two years, eight hours for each year. To locate continuing education providers, check this list.
In Orange County, electrician licenses are issued by the Orange County Government. Information about licensing can be found at the Permits & Licenses webpage.
A journeyman electrician is defined as an electrician who is capable of performing electrical construction work under the supervision of a master electrician.
To become a journeyman electrician in Orange County, you need to have completed a 4-year (8,000 hour) apprenticeship program and pass the journeyman electrical exam.
For information about the journeyman electrical exam, the application, and the renewal requirements, contact the Orange County Government.
Step 3. Earn a Master Electrician Certificate in Your Area
After earning a journeyman certificate or license or equivalent, you can take the next step and earn a master electrician certificate. Master electricians have more experience than journeyman electricians and are typically authorized to get permits from the county to perform work on residential properties. Master electrician certificates and licenses are issued at the local level.
City of Jacksonville
The Construction Trades Qualifying Board issues certificates for tradesmen in Jacksonville.
The City of Jacksonville defines a master craftsman as a person who has been examined by the Board and found to have the skills, knowledge and experience required to plan, lay out, supervise and do the work associated with a particular trade or craft and who holds a current Board-issued master craftsman certificate. The means that as a master electrician, you can work unsupervised, even under your own employ after getting the proper contracting credentials.
To earn the master certificate in Jacksonville, you’ll need to prove you have worked for four years as an electrical journeyman and pass the master electrician exam with a 75% or higher.
The master electrician exam is offered four times a year. You can get information about exam and scheduling by contacting the Construction Trades Qualifying Board.
Master electrical certificates need to be renewed every two years.
In Miami-Dade, the Construction Trades Qualifying Board issues Certificates of Competency at the master level.
To get a Master Certificate of Competency, you need to meet the following requirements:
- Two years of experience with a Journeyman Certificate of Competency
- Pass the Master Electrician exam
Information about the Master Electrician exam can be found in the posted bulletin. The test is three hours long, and has 75 questions on it. The following subjects are covered on the test:
- General Electrical Knowledge – 10 questions
- Communication Systems – 5 questions
- Equipment for General Use – 4 questions
- Motors & Controls – 4 questions
- Plan Reading – 6 questions
- Special Conditions – 6 questions
- Special Equipment – 6 questions
- Special Occupancies – 6 questions
- Wiring & Protection – 10 questions
- Wiring Methods & Materials – 18 questions
After you pass the exam, you need to renew your certificate of competency every two years. To do this, you need to keep up with the continuing education requirements. You must complete 16 hours of continuing education every two years, eight hours for each year. For a list of continuing education providers, check this list.
In Orange County, electrician licenses are issued through the Orange County Government. Information about licensing can be found at the Permits & Licenses webpage.
A master electrician is defined as an electrician who is capable of supervising electrical construction work.
To become a master electrician in Orange County, you need to show proof of two years of experience as a journeyman electrician and pass the master electrical exam.
For information about the master electrical exam, the application, and the renewal requirements, contact the Orange County Government.
Step 4. Consider Becoming Licensed as an Independent Electrical Contractor
After working as a master electrician, you can take the next step and become an electrical contractor in Florida. This will allow you to hire journeymen and master electricians, as well as big jobs and offer services to the public. Statewide, contractor licenses are issued through the state Electrical Contractor’s Licensing Board (ECLB).
There are two types of contractor licenses: Registered Contractor and Certified Contractor. A Registered Contractor is limited to working within certain jurisdictions, whereas Certified Contractors can bid jobs anywhere in the state.
Registered Contractor – To get properly licensed as a Registered Contractor, you have to apply for a competency card with the ECLB for the county you want to work in. The requirements for this competency card differ for each county. Contact the Jacksonville Construction Trades Qualifying Board, the Miami-Dade Construction Trades Qualifying Board, the Orange County Government, or your other local county Board for requirements.
Certified Contractor – To be properly licensed as a Certified Contractor, you need to meet the following requirements:
- Four years of experience in your trade
- Pass certified contractor licensing exam
- Prove you have general liability and property damage insurance within 30 days of receiving your license
To apply for the certified contractor licensing exam, you need to complete this application. Be sure to apply for the exam 30 days before the deadline to account for processing time. You can also find all the study materials for the certified contractor exam here.
The specific insurance requirements for an electrical contractor are:
- $300,000 per occurrence
- $500,000 property damage insurance
- $800,000 per combined single unit
You also need to have worker’s compensation insurance.
Once you get your contractor license, you need to renew your license every other year and keep up with continuing education requirements. You need to take 14 hours of continuing education classes every two years before you can renew your license. A list of education providers can be found here.