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How to Become an Electrician in Kentucky

With the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting a 26% increase in the number of jobs for electricians in Kentucky during the ten-year period leading up to 2024, there has never been a better time to get the experience and training you need to become a licensed electrician.

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You will be issued a Standard Journeyman Electrician license through the Commonwealth of Kentucky Electrical Division of the Public Protection Cabinet-Electrical Licensing Section after meeting the experience requirements described below. You also have the option of going on to earn an electrical contractor’s license.

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

Gain the Hands-on Experience and Classroom Training Required to Become a Licensed Electrician
Take the Examination Required to Earn an Electrician License
Consider Earning Your Master Electrician License
Consider Becoming Licensed as an Independent Electrical Contractor

 


 

Step 1. Gain the Hands-on Experience and Classroom Training Required to Become a Licensed Electrician

You would qualify for the Standard Journeyman Electrician license through the Kentucky Electrical Division of the Public Protection Cabinet in one of two ways:

  • Submit notarized proof of six years of job experience performing electrical work

OR

  • Submit notarized proof of four years of experience performing electrical work along with 576 hours of classroom training

There are three standard ways to gain the training and on-the-job experience required to earn your license:

  • Enroll in a technical college electrical program and transition into the workforce
  • Enroll in a formal union or non-union apprenticeship program
  • Apply for an assistant or technician position with a licensed electrical contractor

Technical Schools

Through a technical program in electrical systems technology you can earn a career diploma or an associate’s degree, with courses counting towards the classroom training hours required for licensure.

There is still the matter of getting the hands-on job experience in the field required for your electrician license. Some technical programs include a field training experience component that would allow you to transition to full time employment. You can also take advantage of formal union or non-union apprenticeship programs after earning a degree or take advantage of your school’s career services to find an employer interested in taking on a paid apprentice. Prospective employers will value the degree you hold.

Here are some of the topics you’ll cover during your technical school training:

  • Introduction to the National Electric Code
  • CPR and First Aid Training
  • DC/AC Theory
  • Blueprint Reading
  • Motor theory
  • Grounding and resistance theory and testing
  • Lightning Protection

Union and Non-Union Apprenticeship Programs

Union programs offer traditional apprenticeships that offer both the education portion and the work experience portion through in-house resources. Joint Apprenticeship & Training Committee (JATC) offices offer formal apprenticeship programs under a partnership between local International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) union chapters and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA). Together, the IBEW and NECA offer formal union apprenticeship programs through what is know as the Electrical Training Alliance, which ensures a high quality education for aspiring electricians around the country.

Kentucky is home to three JATC (Joint Apprenticeship & Training Committee) offices:

Admission to these programs typically requires :

  • Be 18 years of age
  • Provide a photo ID
  • Be able to physically perform job requirements
  • Have reliable transportation to the classroom and job site
  • Pass electrical Training Alliance Aptitude Test Battery
  • Have a high school diploma/GED
  • Willingness to join the union and pay dues

You’ll need to be registered as an apprentice with the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the US Department of Labor. This helps ensure you are being treated fairly as a worker.

Non-union apprenticeship programs offer many of the same benefits as a union apprenticeship, but would involve working with non-unionized contracting companies, sometimes referred to as “open shops” or “merit shops.”

There are two primary choices for non-union programs: the IEC (Independent Electrical Contractors) and the ABC (Associated Builders and Contractors). Here is a list of offices they have in Kentucky:

Eligibility requirements generally include:

  • Be 18 years of age
  • Photo ID
  • Be physically capable of performing duties of the trade
  • Pass the IEC of the Bluegrass Entrance Exam (if applying for IEC apprenticeship)
  • Have a high school diploma/GED

You’ll need to be registered as an apprentice with the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the US Department of Labor. This helps ensure you are being treated fairly as a worker

Apply for an Entry-Level Job

If a full, formal trade school or formal apprenticeship program isn’t the right fit, you can also gain the experience necessary to earn your electrician license by working in an entry-level job as an electrician’s assistant while taking individual courses at a local community college or trade school and working your way up through time and experience. This would involve striking out on your own to find a local employer interested in taking on a trainee or apprentice.

Some of the larger electrical contracting companies in Kentucky you may consider reaching out to include:

  • Beacon Electrical Service Inc in Fairdale
  • Caye Electric in Louisville
  • Relco Electric in Fern Creek

 


 

Step 2. Take the Examination Required to Earn an Electrician License

To apply for an electrician license through the Kentucky Electrical Division of the Public Protection Cabinet, you would need to supply:

  • Proof of passing test results
  • Notarized proof of six years of experience OR four years of experience plus 576 hours of classroom training
  • An application with application fee
  • Color photo of applicant
  • Copy of driver’s license or birth certificate

The exam that needs to be taken for an electrician license is the Kentucky Standard Journeyman Electrician – 703. The exam is four hours long, has 80 multiple choice questions, and is open book. The books used for the exam are the 2014 National Electric Code and any edition of Ugly’s Electrical Reference. The fee for the exam is $100. The breakdown of the exam subjects is:

  • General Knowledge – 6%
  • Services and Service Equipment – 11%
  • Feeders – 4%
  • Branch Circuits and Conductors – 19%
  • Wiring Methods and Materials – 26%
  • Equipment and Devices – 13%
  • Control Devices – 4%
  • Motors and Generators – 6%
  • Special Occupancies, Equipment, and Conditions – 11%

To schedule a test, follow this link, select “Non-authorized Candidates,” and search for “703_KY” without the quotes. This will direct you to the “Kentucky Standard Journeyman Electrician” exam. Click on the exam and follow the prompts to schedule the exam.

After passing the exam, fill out this short application, and send it along with notarized proof of work experience, proof of passing the Kentucky Standard Journeyman Electrician Exam, a color photo of yourself, and the requisite application fee based on the fee schedule. The fee is determined based on the month you were born and the month you are applying in.

After receiving your electrician license, the license needs to be renewed annually, by the last day of your birth month. Renewing an electrician license requires:

  • $50 renewal fee
  • Proof of six hours of continuing education from an approved provider
  • Renewal application

The six hours of continuing education cover topics such as changes in OSHA requirements or the National Electric Code, electrical math, and other electrical related materials. Only two of the six hours can be spent covering safety related topics. The six hours have to be completed in the twelve months before the renewal. Classes do not carry over from previous years. To get the six hours of continuing education, see the list of approved online providers or the calendar for the next three months of classes.

 


 

Step 3. Consider Earning Your Master Electrician License

After earning and maintaining an electrician license for two years or more, you can earn a master electrician license.

A master electrician license holds the bearer responsible for all the electrical work done under their supervision.

Applying for a master electrician license is much like applying for an electrician license. The requirements are:

  • Proof of passing test results
  • Notarized proof of eight years of experience OR six years of experience plus 576 hours of classroom training
  • Application with application fee
  • Color photo of applicant
  • Copy of driver’s license or birth certificate

The exam that needs to be taken for a master electrician license is Kentucky Standard Master Electrician – 701. The test is five hours long, has 100 multiple choice questions, and is open book. The books used for the exam are the 2014 National Electric Code and any edition of Ugly’s Electrical Reference. The fee for the test is $100. The test covers the following subjects:

  • General Knowledge and Plan Reading – 12%
  • Services and Service Equipment – 16%
  • Feeders – 4%
  • Branch Circuits and Conductors – 16%
  • Wiring Methods and Materials – 19%
  • Equipment and Devices – 10%
  • Control Devices – 3%
  • Motors and Generators – 8%
  • Special Occupancies, Equipment, and Conditions – 12%

To schedule a test, follow this link, select “Non-authorized Candidates,” and search for “701_KY” without the quotes. This will direct you to the “Kentucky Standard Master Electrician” exam. Click on the exam and follow the prompts to schedule the exam.

After passing the exam, fill out this short application, and send it along with notarized proof of work experience, proof of passing the Kentucky Standard Master Electrician Exam, a color photo of yourself, and the requisite application fee, which you can determine based on the fee schedule. The fee is determined based on the month you were born and the month you are applying in.

After receiving your master electrician license, the license needs to be renewed annually, by the last day of your birth month. Renewing a master electrician license requires:

  • $100 renewal fee
  • Proof of six hours of continuing education from an approved provider
  • Renewal application

The requirements for continuing education are the same for master electrician license holders as they are for electrician license holders. Only two of the six hours can be spent covering safety related topics. The six hours have to be completed in the twelve months before the renewal. Classes do not carry over from previous years. To get the six hours of continuing education, see the list of approved online providers or the calendar for the next three months of classes.

 


 

Step 4. Consider Becoming Licensed as an Independent Electrical Contractor

In order to independently market electrical services to the public in Kentucky, you will need to earn an electrical contractor license. With this license, you can hire other electricians and run a business as a local contractor.

If you want to earn an electrical contractor license, holding a master electrician license first is not required, although at least one electrician employed in your business must have a master electrician license. If you are working for yourself, you must be the one to have a master electrician license.

Earning an electrical contractor license is different than earning an electrician or master electrician license because it deals with getting the proper insurance and passing a different sort of test than the previous two licenses. The requirements for an electrical contractor license are:

  • Proof of passing test results
  • Certificate of Liability Insurance (minimum of $500,000 general liability) and workers’ compensation insurance (send a notarized workers compensation waiver if the sole employee of the company)
  • Completed application
  • Application fee
  • Color photo of applicant
  • Copy of driver’s license or birth certificate

The exam that needs to be taken for a master electrician license is Kentucky Business and Law – 231. The test is 90 minutes long, has 30 multiple choice questions, and is open book. The book used for the exam is Kentucky Contractors Business and Law, 5th edition. The fee for the test is $60. The test covers the following subjects:

  • Business Structure Practices and Licensing – 10%
  • Estimating and Bidding – 13%
  • Contractors and Acceptance – 7%
  • Project Management and Planning – 13%
  • Financing and Recordkeeping – 13%
  • Insurance and Bonding – 10%
  • Labor Law and Personnel Policies – 10%
  • Tax, Lien Laws, and Dispute Resolution – 13%
  • Safety and OSHA Compliance – 10%

To schedule a test, follow this link, select “Non-authorized Candidates,” and search for “231_KY” without the quotes. This will direct you to the “Kentucky Business and Law” exam. Click on the exam and follow the prompts to schedule the exam.

After passing the exam, fill out this short application, and send it along with proof of insurance, proof of passing the Kentucky Business and Law Exam, a color photo of yourself, and the requisite application fee which you can determine based on the fee schedule. The fee is determined based on the month you were born and the month you are applying in.

After receiving your contractor electrician license, the license needs to be renewed annually, by the last day of your birth month. Renewing a contractor electrician license requires:

  • $200 renewal fee
  • Certificate of Liability Insurance (minimum of $500,000 general liability) and workers’ compensation insurance OR notarized workers compensation waiver if the sole employee of the company
  • A designated master electrician employed (can be sole employee of company)
  • Proof of six hours of continuing education from an approved provider
  • Renewal application

The requirements for continuing education are the same for contractor electrician license holders are they are for master electrician license holders and electrician license holders. Only two of the six hours can be spent covering safety related topics. The six hours have to be completed in the twelve months before the renewal. Classes do not carry over from previous years. To get the six hours of continuing education, see the list of approved online providers or the calendar for the next three months of classes. Be sure to note there are separate classes for contractor electrician holders. They must be taken in addition to master electrician classes if both licenses are held.

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