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How to Become an Electrician in Maine

As Maine’s labor market thins out amid a significant wave of retirements (in 2015, the Maine Department of Labor projected that more than 400,000 workers will retire in the next 15 years), the demand for electricians and other skilled tradesmen is creating more jobs than employers in the state can fill. This is great news if you’re thinking about becoming an electrician. Not only does this mean more job opportunities, but when demand rises, wages often follow as residential builders and major commercial and civil construction contractors compete to hire licensed electricians from a smaller pool of candidates. This makes now the perfect time to take the steps required to earn your electrician license.

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The Electricians’ Examining Board, under the Maine Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, is responsible for licensing qualified applicants in the state. Learn how you can get started working toward your journeyman license in preparation for becoming a master electrician.

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

Gain the Experience and Classroom Hours Required to Become a Journeyman
Take the Examination Required to Become a Journeyman Electrician
Earn a Master Electrician License
Consider Starting an Electrical Business in Maine

 


 

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

You can fulfill Maine Electrician’s Examining Board experience and classroom hour requirements for journeyman electrician licensure in ONE of the following ways:

Complete 8000 hours of service as an apprentice and 576 hours of classroom study approved by the Electricians Examining Board (225 hours of required courses, including 45 hours on the National Electrical Code; 351 hours of elective courses, of which at least 225 hours must be trade-related)

OR

Graduate from an accredited regional applied technology high school two-year electrical program, work for 8000 hours performing electrical installations under the supervision of a master electrician, and complete a 45-hour course on the National Electrical Code.

OR

Graduate from an accredited community college electrical program or vocational electrical program through the Department of Corrections, work for 4000 hours performing electrical installations under the supervision of a master electrician, and complete a 45-hour course on the National Electrical Code. If you choose this route, you must apply to take the Journeyman Electrician Examination within one year of graduation.

OR

If you have military experience and training in the electrical field, you should contact the Electrician’s Examining Board at military.trades@maine.gov before submitting your application. This will ensure that you are given the proper credit for your training and experience.

Pre-Apprenticeship Program 

In Maine, you can actually begin training to become an electrician while still in high school. Under Maine’s Pre-Apprenticeship Program, students in 11th and 12th grades may log 1000 hours of on-the-job training as an electrician working part-time during the school year and part-or full-time during the summer. Pre-apprenticeship hours count towards apprenticeship hours.

Apprentice License 

An apprenticeship program would involve both classroom and hands-on practical training under the supervision of a licensed master, journeyman or limited electrician. The Maine Department of Labor’s Career Center (the same agency that runs the Pre-Apprenticeship Program) also runs the state’s standard mandatory Apprenticeship Program. More than 250 employers across the state of Maine sponsor registered apprenticeships through this program.

Once enrolled in the Apprenticeship Program, you will receive assistance enrolling in your classroom training program, and may be reimbursed up to 50 percent of the cost of tuition.

In order to become an apprentice through this program, you must:

  • Be at least 16 years old
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Be physically and intellectually capable of completing the work and courses required
  • Pass a criminal history background check
  • Be legally eligible to work in the United States

You and your sponsor must complete this form to register for the Maine Apprenticeship Program. Your wages as an apprentice will be specified by your sponsor on the form. If you have earned any credit hours for prior training or experience (from a Pre-Apprenticeship Program, for example), your sponsor must account for them on the form.

To apply for an Apprentice Electrician License upon starting your apprenticeship, complete this Individual License Application. It must be mailed with a fee of $96 (which also covers the criminal history background check) to the Electricians Examining Board. The status of your application will be listed on the Board’s website. As soon as it changes from Pending to Active, you may legally work as an apprentice in Maine.

The Apprentice Electrician License renews every two years based upon your licensure date. It may be renewed online, and the biennial renewal fee is $50.

After completing your apprenticeship, you can move on to take the Journeyman Electrician License Examination.


 

Step 2. Take the Exam Required to Earn Your Journeyman Electrician License

After you complete your apprenticeship hours and training, you may apply to become a Journeyman Electrician. A Journeyman Electrician works for, but not under the direct supervision of, a master electrician, limited electrician, or electrical company.

Verify that you have completed the following during your apprenticeship to confirm that you are eligible to take the Journeyman Electrician License Exam:

  • Completing 8000 hours of service as an apprentice electrician, AND
  • Completing 576 hours of study from a school that is accredited or approved by the Electricians’ Examining Board

Once you have met these requirements, complete the Examination Application Form. You must submit a fee of $25 with your application for the examination, as well as a copy of your diploma or transcript.

After submitting your application, check the website to see when you are approved to take the exam. Your status will change from Pending to Approved To Take The Exam. You will also receive a letter from the state with instructions. There is a $75 fee for the exam, payable to Prometric. Exams may be scheduled online. Once you have received approval to take the exam, you must schedule it within two years, as your approval will be invalid after that time.

The Journeyman Electrician License Examination is a computerized exam given at test centers in Portland and Bangor. It consists of 80 multiple-choice questions, and you have three hours to complete the exam. Questions on the exam are weighted as listed below:

  • General Electrical Knowledge: 10 percent
  • Wiring and Protection – 25 percent
  • Wiring Methods and Materials-30 percent
  • Equipment for General Use – 20 percent
  • Special Occupancies- 5 percent
  • Special Equipment – 3 percent
  • Special Conditions- 2 percent
  • Communications Systems- 5 percent

You are allowed a copy of NFPA 70 –National Electrical Code, 2005 edition to use as a reference during the exam.

A score of 70 is required to pass the exam. If you pass the exam, you will be sent a license application form by the Board with instructions.

Your Journeyman Electrician License must be renewed every two years. It may be renewed online, where you may also pay the $150 renewal fee. You must complete a 15 hour current National Electrical Code update course every three years to maintain your Journeyman Electrician License in Maine.

Maine has reciprocal agreements with the states of New Hampshire, Vermont, North Dakota, Idaho, Oregon and Wyoming at the Journeyman Electrician level. Complete this Reciprocity Application if you already have a license in one of these states.

You will need to work as a journeyman for at least 4000 hours before qualifying for a master electrician’s license.


 

Step 3. Earn a Master Electrician’s License

In Maine, a Master Electrician is defined as a qualified person who can install electrical wires, conduits, apparatus, fixtures and other electrical equipment, not necessarily under the employment of an electrical company. This means that if you earn your Mater Electrician License you could go into business for yourself.

In order to qualify to take the Master Electrician Exam, you must have competed the 576 hours of classroom study as noted above for Journeyman Electrician, including 45 hours of current National Electrical Code study, plus work 4000 hours under a Journeyman Electrician license (or 12,000 hours without one).

If you have met these requirements, complete the Examination Application Form and submit it along with the required fees and documentation. Once approved, you may schedule the Master Electrician Exam through Prometric. Again, you must receive a score of 70 to pass the exam, which consists of 100 multiple-choice questions given over a four-hour period. You may keep a copy of the NFPA 70- National Electrical Code to refer to during the exam.

Exam content includes:

  • General Electrical Knowledge- 10 percent
  • Wiring and Protection – 25 percent
  • Wiring Methods and Materials- 20 percent
  • Equipment for General Use- 20 percent
  • Special Occupancies-10 percent
  • Special Equipment- 5 percent
  • Special Conditions- 5 percent
  • Communications Systems- 5 percent

Your Master Electrician License renews every two years at a fee of $150. Renewal may be done online. You must complete a 15 hour current National Electrical Code update course every three years.

Maine has reciprocal agreements with New Hampshire and Vermont at the Master Electrician level. You must complete a Reciprocity Application if you hold a license in one of these states.

 


 

Step 4. Consider Starting An Electrical Business in Maine

If you wish to establish your own electrical company as a sole proprietor in Maine, you would not be required to file any legal documents with the state. Going into business for yourself as a master electrician is as easy as:

  • Choosing your business name
  • Filing a certificate with the clerk of the city or town in which you wish to establish your business
  • Obtaining local licenses and permits
  • Obtaining an Employer Identification Number

As a business, you may work under your own name, just make sure to do a search on the Maine Secretary of State’s website to make sure the name isn’t already taken.

If you would like to establish an electrical company and have other electricians work for you, you must register with the state of Maine as a corporation, limited partnership or limited liability company. You must also register for sales and use tax, income tax withholding, and a business license.

Maine has a handy interactive guide to starting a business online, Business Answers, in which you input the type of business you want to start and it tells you what licenses and permits you need.

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