Michigan’s many electrical contracting companies offer skilled electricians the opportunity to work in residential, commercial and industrial environments. The number of jobs for electricians in Michigan is expected to increase by 20 percent during the ten-year period leading up to 2022 (US Department of Labor).
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The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Bureau of Construction Codes regulates the licensing of qualified applicants looking to become electricians in the state.
Follow these steps to learn how to become a licensed electrician in Michigan:
Step 1. Obtain the On-Site Work Experience and Classroom Training Hours Required to Become a Journeyman Electrician
The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs is the overarching licensing authority for the state, however, Detroit and Grand Rapids have individual city-level licensing bodies that administer the licensing process within their jurisdictions.
The standard requirement for journeyman licensure in Detroit and all licensing jurisdictions is 8,000 hours (4 years) of documented experience performing electrical wiring work as an apprentice under the supervision of a Journeyman or Master Electrician along with 576 hours of classroom-based instruction related electrical theory and safety.
The one exception to this rule is found in Grand Rapids where as many as 2,000 hours (1 year) of the experience requirement may be reduced for applicants that hold a BS in Electrical Engineering. Additionally, as many as 1,000 hours (6 months) of the experience requirement may be reduced for applicants that have taken courses in electrical technology or engineering or completed a lesser technical school program resulting in an associate degree, diploma or certificate.
To begin your training, you would select from electrical training programs provided through vocational-technical schools, community colleges, IBEW-union Joint Apprenticeship & Training Committees, non-union trade organizations, electrical utility companies or state agencies approved by the U.S. Department of Labor to provide apprenticeship and training programs.
The Michigan Apprenticeship Steering Committee (MASCI) maintains a list of approved training programs. Apprenticeship resources may be found at MASCI’s website, the Michigan Educators Apprenticeship and Training Association (MEATA) website, the MIRoad2Work.org website, as well as the Michigan Workforce Development Agency’s list of Registered Apprenticeship Programs.
As an electrical apprentice in Michigan, you must obtain at least 576 hours of related technical instruction (RTI), (450 hours of which are considered core courses) at a minimum of 144 hours each academic year. In addition, you must obtain 8000 hours of RTI experience in no less than four years, working for an electrical contractor who is licensed and participates in an approved, registered electrical apprentice training program.
In order to qualify for an electrical apprenticeship in the state of Michigan, you must:
- Be 18 years of age
- Hold a high school diploma/GED
- (The exception to the above is if you are 16 and choose a high school apprenticeship program, listed at the miroad2work.org website)
- Be a Michigan resident
- If you are applying for an apprenticeship in Grand Rapids or Detroit, be a resident of the chosen city
- Pass a drug screening test
- Pass a criminal background check
- Have reliable transportation
Examples of classes that you can expect to take in an electrical apprenticeship training program include:
- Basic HVAC
- Blueprint reading
- Branch circuit distribution
- Electrical theory
- Electrical grounding
- Fire alarm systems
- Industry orientation (Michigan laws and rules)
- Material identification
- Motor controls
- National Electrical Code
- OSHA/Safety Awareness
- Overcurrent protection
- Programmable controllers
If you live in the cities of Grand Rapids or Detroit, you must seek apprentice registration through your local licensing organization. If you live in any other part of Michigan, seek an apprenticeship training program locally, but apply for apprenticeship registration through the state.
If you are a resident of the city of Detroit:
- Complete the City of Detroit Apprentice Registration application, along with your employer/trainer
- Enclose a passport-sized photo, documentation of your training course, documentation of your employer, and a copy of the front and back of your Michigan driver’s license
- Bring or mail all information to the Electrical Inspection Division Board of Electrical Examiners in Detroit (address on application)
- If approved, you must submit a $15 registration fee in person to the Electrical Division, where you will be issued your Apprentice Registration. It must be renewed yearly.
If you reside in the city of Grand Rapids:
- Complete the Application for City Apprentice Electrician Registration, along with your employer/trainer
- Enclose check/money order payable to the City of Grand Rapids for $10
- Submit to the City of Grand Rapids Design & Development Services Dept. Building Inspections Office/Electrical Trade (address on application)
- You will be issued your Apprentice Electrician Registration, which expires yearly on December 31 and must be renewed by that date
If you live in any other part of Michigan:
- Complete the Application for Electrical Apprentice or Fire Alarm Specialty Technician Apprentice along with your employer/trainer
- Enclose a check payable to the State of Michigan for $15
- Submit to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Bureau of Construction Codes/Electrical Division (address on application)
- You will receive your Apprentice Electrician Registration, which must be renewed yearly
If you have military experience and training in the electrical field, you may be exempt from registration fees. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to see if you qualify for a veteran’s exemption or to see how your experience and training can be credited.
Upon completion of your electrical apprenticeship in Michigan, you will receive a nationally recognized credential from the Department of Labor. You can then move on to obtain your journeyman electrician’s license.
Step 2. Pass the Examination to Earn Your Journeyman Electrician License
Now that you have completed your electrical apprenticeship, you may apply to take the examination to receive your journeyman electrician’s license. Again, this process varies depending upon where you live in Michigan, but the basic requirements do not vary.
To Receive a Detroit Journeyman Electrician License:
In Detroit, an Electrical Journeyman is defined as a person other than an Electrical Contractor who engages in the practical installation or alteration of electric wiring. If you live in Detroit you may apply for your Journeyman Electrician License if you:
- Are at least 20 years old
- Are a legal resident of the city of Detroit
- Have a current Electrical Apprentice Registration form on file
- Have proof that you have completed 8000 hours of work experience and 576 hours of RTI over four years
Complete two copies of the Application for Journeyman Electrician’s License. Submit it along with two passport-sized photos of yourself and a copy of your Michigan driver’s license (front and back), and a notarized letter on company letterhead from your employer stating that you have received 8000 hours of practical experience in electrical construction, maintenance of buildings, or electrical wiring or equipment under the direct supervision of a licensed Michigan Master Electrician, to the Electrical Division. You will receive approval via postal mail, and at that time must visit the Electrical Division to pay the $55 fee for the Journeyman Electrician’s Exam. You will then be permitted to schedule the exam.
The City of Detroit Journeyman Examination is open codebook, meaning that you may use the State Electrical Code, 2011 National Electrical Code, and Public Act 217. All of these resources will be provided to you during the exam. It consists of 80 multiple-choice questions over two and a half hours, on:
- Fundamentals and Practical Electricity- 25 percent:
- Part 8 Rules- 12.5 percent
- National Electrical Code- 62.5 percent
You must receive a score of 75 percent or better to pass the exam. If you pass, you must return to the Electrical Division to pay the licensing invoice of $45 and receive your Journeyman Electrician’s License. Your license renews yearly.
To Receive a Grand Rapids Journey Electrician License:
If you reside in the city of Grand Rapids, you may apply to take the Journey Electrician Exam if you:
- Are at least 20 years old
- Are a legal resident of the city of Grand Rapids
- Complete the Electrical Journey Exam Application
- Submit a notarized statement from your employer that you completed 8000 hours of practical experience as a registered apprentice over four years, under the direct supervision of a Journey or Master Electrician; or proof of a BS in Electrical Engineering and 6000 hours of practical experience; or proof of a certificate, diploma or associate degree in electrical technology and 7000 hours of practical experience
- Submit an examination fee of $25 payable to the City of Grand Rapids
- Submit your application at least 15 days before the exam date. Exam dates for the year are listed here.
You will be notified via postal mail if you are approved to take the Electrical Journey Exam. The exam is three hours long, and you are permitted to use a copy of the current National Electrical Code during the exam.
If you pass the exam, you must submit the Application for City Journeyman Electrician License, along with a $25 fee payable to the City of Grand Rapids. Your Journeyman Electrician License will be issued to you via mail. It is renewable yearly on December 31.
To Receive a State of Michigan Journeyman Electrician License:
You are eligible to apply to take the Michigan Journeyman Electrician Exam if you:
- Are at least 20 years old
- Are a resident of an area of Michigan other than the city of Grand Rapids or the city of Detroit
- Complete the Application for Journeyman Examination, along with notarized documentation from employers documenting your 8000 hours of practical experience in electrical construction/maintenance of buildings under the direct supervision of a licensed electrician over four years
- Submit completed application and supporting documentation to the Electrical Division in Lansing (address on application). Do not submit any fees to the State of Michigan at this time.
If approved to take the examination, you will be notified directly from PSI Exams with instructions on how to schedule your exam. The exam fee of $100 is payable to PSI Exams when you schedule online or via phone. Exams are offered at centers in Holt, Southfield, Grand Rapids, Gaylord, and Marquette.
The Electrical Journeyman Exam consists of 80 questions and you have 150 minutes to complete them. It is an open book exam, and you may use a copy of the National Electrical Code, 1956 PA 217, and the Michigan Electrical Code Rules Part 8 during the exam. You must bring your own reference material to the exam.
Content of the exam includes questions on the electrical administrative act, current electrical code rules, grounding and bonding, overcurrent protection, wiring methods and installations, boxes and cabinets, feeders, services, motors and motor controls, load calculations, special occupancies, appliances, lighting, box and raceway fill, power limited circuits, electrical theory, and general electrical trade knowledge.
You must get at least 75 percent of the questions correct to pass the exam. If you pass, you will be notified via mail and billed $40 for a journeyman electrician license. The license renews annually at a fee of $40. You will be mailed renewal materials prior to expiration. Additionally, you must complete an approved 15 hour update course within one year of the state’s adoption of a new version of the National Electrical Code.
The state of Michigan does not offer reciprocity with any other state for any of its electrical licenses.
Step 3. Earn a Master Electrician’s License
After working as a Journeyman Electrician in Michigan, you may wish to pursue a Master Electrician’s License.
To Earn a Master Electrician License in Detroit:
In Detroit, a Master Electrician is a person who has the necessary qualifications, training and experience to supervise the installation of electrical wiring and equipment. In order to apply, you must:
- Be at least 22 years old
- Be a resident of the city of Detroit
- Have held a Detroit Electrical Journeyman’s License for at least two years
- Have completed 12,000 hours of practical experience over six years
You must submit two completed Master Electrician License applications, along with a copy of front and back of your current Michigan driver’s license, and two passport sized photos of yourself. Additionally, you must submit notarized letter from your employer that you have completed at least 12,000 hours of practical experience in electrical construction, maintenance of buildings or electrical wiring or equipment under the direct supervision of a Master Electrician over six years. Submit this information to the Electrical Division. If approved, you must come to the Electrical Division to pay the Electrical Masters Exam fee of $63 and schedule an exam date.
The Electrical Masters Exam is open codebook, and consists of 75 multiple choice questions over a three hour time limit. Contents include:
- Public Act 217/Part 8 Rules- 20 percent
- National Electrical Code – 40 percent
- Calculation Problems – 20 percent
- Electrical Theory and Concepts – 20 percent
You will receive your exam results in writing via mail. If you pass, you must bring a licensing fee of $55 to the Electrical Division, where your Master Electrician License will be issued. It renews on a yearly basis.
To Earn a Master Electrician License in Grand Rapids:
If you have held an electrical Journeyman’s License in Grand Rapids for at least two years, live within the Grand Rapids City Limits, and meet the following qualifications, you may apply to take the Master Electrician Exam in Grand Rapids:
- Have completed 12,000 hours of practical experience over six years (must provide a notarized statement from employers attesting to this)
- Complete the Electrical Master Exam application
- Enclose an examination fee of $25 payable to the City of Grand Rapids
You will be notified by mail if you are accepted to take the exam. When you pass, you will be notified in writing. You must then submit an Application for City Master Electrician License, along with a fee of $50, to the address listed on the application. Your Master Electrician License in Grand Rapids renews yearly on December 31.
To Earn a State of Michigan Master Electrician License:
You are eligible to apply to take the State of Michigan Master Electrician Examination if you:
- Are at least 22 years old
- Live in Michigan (but not within the City of Grand Rapids or the City of Detroit)
- Have at least 12,000 hours of experience over six years in electrical construction, maintenance of buildings, electrical wiring or equipment under the supervision of a Master Electrician
- Complete the Application for Master Electrician Examination. Do not submit any fees to the State of Michigan yet.
You will be notified by PSI Exams if you are approved to take the examination. You will pay PSI the $100 exam fee. It covers additional knowledge of planning and supervising electrical installations in all categories, and consists of 75 questions over three hours. Again, it is an open code book exam. You must score 75 percent or better to pass. You are limited to two attempts every two years if you fail the exam. After that, you must reapply to take the exam.
You will be notified in writing if you pass. At that time, you must submit a $50 fee for your Master Electrician License. The license renews annually at a fee of $50.
Step 4. Consider Becoming an Independent Electrical Contractor in Michigan
If you wish to start your own business in Michigan, you should become an Electrical Contractor. At the state level, you must hold your master electrician license and pass an examination. Complete the Application for Electrical Contractor Examination. You will be notified by PSI when you are cleared to schedule the exam, which costs $100 and consists of 40 questions given over an hour and a half. You must score 75 percent or better to pass.
If you hold a Detroit Master Electrician License and wish to become an Electrical Contractor, you must complete one Registration Form and two Licensing Application forms, and a registration fee of $25. Submit them with a copy of your driver’s license (front and back), and your Master Electrician license. (You may apply to become an Electrical Contractor in Detroit if you are not a Master Electrician, but if so, you must hire a Master Electrician and submit a copy of his or her license). If you are approved to take the Electrical Contractor exam, you must pay a fee of $55. The exam is 40 multiple choice questions over one and a half hours. It covers:
- Electrical Code Rules- 20 percent
- Electrical Administrative Board Rules- 20 percent
- Electrical Administrative Act 217 of 1956- 20 percent
- Act 230 of 1972- 25 percent
- Act 497 of 1980- Construction Lien Act – 15 percent
If you pass the exam, you must pay for your Contractor’s License ($55) at the Electrical Division.
If you hold a Grand Rapids Master Electrician License, you must pass the Electrical Contractor Examination to earn your Contractor’s License. Submit the application, with examination fee of $25. The examination is 40 multiple-choice questions and you must score 75 percent or better to pass. You must then complete the Application for City Electrical Contractor License and submit it with a fee of $100 and a copy of your Master Electrician License (may be Grand Rapids or state license). The license renews yearly at a fee of $100.