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- Job Outlook
- Completing the Apprenticeship Period
- Become Licensed in Your Area
- Become an Independent Electrical Contractor
- Electrician Schools by City
The energy sector is Tennessee’s most important industry, and the state has a variety of energy sources: solar, water, nuclear.
This lead to the increased popularity of the electrician trade and a growth of 12.9% in jobs is predicted between 2014 and 2024.
As an electrician in the State of Tennessee, expect to be paid $43,563 per year, though the salary can reach $49,640 annually.
These salaries are lower than the national ones, where the median one is $47,951 per year and the highest $54,640 per year.Annual Salary Range:
Average Salary of Electricians in Tennessee
In Tennessee, each county is responsible for issuing certificates for electricians, and the steps are generally the same:
- Complete an apprenticeship period
- Get the license for your area
- Become an independent electrical contractor.
Completing the Apprenticeship Period
The rule of thumb for the apprenticeship period is 8,000 hours of work experience, combined with at least 576 or a maximum of 900 hours of classroom education.
You can accumulate these hours, in 2 different ways:
- Either find an apprenticeship position through a union or directly with an employer;
- OR, enroll in a technical college and gradually switch to an entry-level position for your training as an apprentice.
In some cases, if you have documented work experience with a licensed electrician or in the construction field, you might be able to use that to enter the electrical field.
Before enrolling in a technical college, you should know that their programs are meant to meet the requirements of the jurisdiction in which they operate.
One of the colleges has different programs designed for different kind of certifications, as seen below:
- Level 1 Apprentice Certificate Programs require 432 clock hours
- Level 2 Apprentice Certificate Programs require 864 clock hours
- Level 3 Apprentice Diploma Programs require 1,296 clock hours
No matter which program you enroll, in, expect to study the following topics:
- OSHA Regulations
- Hand Tools and Power Tools
- Construction Drawings
- Basic Rigging
- Material Handling
- Electrical Safety
- Conductor Terminations and Splices
- Grounding and Bonding
- Circuit Breakers and Fuses
- Control Systems
- Electrical Circuits
- Electrical Theory
- National Electrical Code (NEC)
- Device Boxes
- Raceways & Fittings
- Conductors & Cables
- Residential Electrical Services
- Electrical Test Equipment
- Alternating Current
- Electric Lighting
- Conduit Bending
- Pull and Junction Boxes
- Conduit Installations
- Cable Tray
- Commercial Electrical Services
- Motor Calculations
- Motor Controls Load Calculations-Branch
- Feeder Circuits
- Conductor Selection and Calculations
- Hazardous Locations
- Overcurrent Protection
- Distribution Equipment
Some schools have partnerships with local electrical companies, so apprenticeships or entry-level positions might be made available to the students, though it’s more common for future electricians to find jobs on their own.
16 Electrician Schools in Tennessee
|Chattanooga State Community College — Dayton Campus||200 North 4th Avenue Dayton, TN 37321|
|Chattanooga State Community College — Kimball Site||2100 Main Street Kimball, TN 37347|
|Chattanooga State Community College — Main Campus||4501 Amnicola Highway Chattanooga, TN 37406|
|Dyersburg State Community College||1510 Lake Road Dyersburg, TN 38024|
|JATC of Chattanooga||3924 Volunteer Drive Chattanooga, TN 37416|
|JATC of Knoxville (ETAK)||6107 Central Avenue Pike Knoxville, TN 37912|
|JATC of Local Union #1925||402 Jackson Street Martin, TN 38327|
|JATC of Memphis||6211 Shelby Oaks Drive Memphis, TN 38134|
|JATC of Oak Ridge||138 North Lincoln Circle Oak Ridge, TN 37831|
|JATC of the Tri-Cities Area||P.O. Box 388 Blountville, TN 37617|
|Mid-South Chapter IEC||2814 Stage Center Drive Memphis, TN 38134|
|NEJATC — JATC of Nashville||310 Fesslers Lane Nashville, TN 37229|
|Nashville State||120 White Bridge Nashville, TN 37209|
|Northeast State Tech||2425 Highway 75 Blountville, TN|
|Tennessee College of Applied Technology||1303 Old Fort Parkway Murfreesboro, TN|
|Tennessee College of Applied Technology||1233 East College Street Pulaski, TN 38478|
If you want to join a union, the easiest way is to contact your local Joint Apprenticeship & Training Committee (JATC) and inquire about the available apprenticeship positions.
These programs also include classroom education, though not at the same level as those at the technical college.
Requirements to join:
- Be 18 years old
- Have a high school diploma/GED
- Pass a high school algebra class
- Pass a general aptitude test covering reading and math skills
- Be able to transport yourself to job locations and school
- Join the union
The Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) and Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) trade associations are the places to go to for those who don’t want to join the union.
To join a non-union apprenticeship program, you’ll have to meet similar requirements as for the union programs.
Work Directly With an Electrical Contractor
Working directly with an electrical contractor, as an apprentice, is the most common way of earning your journeyman license in Tennessee.
This is especially true for those who seek specific certifications where the needed experience is just 2 or 3 years, and not 4.
It is however recommended that you do attend classroom education through a union or non-union, as you’ll be better prepared for the journeyman exam you’ll have to pass.
Limited Licensed Electrician (LLE)
Some areas in Tennessee are not covered by a licensing body, and to work in there as an electrician you’d need this certification.
This license is issued by the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance and only after passing an exam.
Its holders can only perform jobs that are valued at less than $25,000 and they still need to meet the local requirements for a license.
Additionally, this certification doesn’t replace the contractor’s license.
Become Licensed in Your Area
You’ll have to check with your local licensing body to see which are the requirements you must meet, and how you obtain your certification.
Let’s have a look at some bigger cities and the process of getting licensed there.
Here you can get one of 4 types of certificates:
- Class 1 – Electrical Contractor: it requires 5 years of experience and it allows you to get permits and sell your services to the public.
- Class 2 – Electrical Residential Contractor: it requires 4 years of experience, it allows you to secure permits and sell your services for residential properties only.
- Class 3 – Electrical Maintenance: it requires 4 years of experience, it lets you perform electrical work on properties owned by you or your business and that are listed in the license application.
- Class 4 – Electrical Appliance Dealer: it requires 2 years of experience, it lets you perform electrical work related to appliances (including switches, controls, and circuits) that were sold by you or your business.
By filling out this application you’re able to get one of these licenses.
Remember that you have to renew the certification every year, but there are no requirements for continuing your education for the purpose.
In this jurisdiction, after the apprenticeship period, you apply directly for a master electrician license which is issued by the Electrical Examiners and Appeals Board in Nashville, as there is no journeyman license.
For this license, you need 6 years of experience, as follows:
- 3 years as an apprentice
- 3 years as a hired electrician
In some cases, the board accepts the training from a technical college instead of direct experience.
If you think you meet the requirements, contact the Board to find out more details regarding the process related to getting your license.
Shelby County/Memphis, TN
In these jurisdictions, you can earn both the journeyman and the master electrician licenses.
Requirements for the journeyman electrician license:
- 20 years old
- 3 years of experience.
The journeyman exam lasts for 4 hours, has 80 multiple-choice questions and you find the application form in this exam bulletin.
Requirements for the master electrician license:
- Be 24 years old
- 4 years of experience as a journeyman electrician.
The master exam lasts for 5 five hours, has 100 multiple-choice questions and you can apply with the form from this exam bulletin.
You have to renew your license every year.
Become an Independent Electrical Contractor
To become an independent electrical contractor in Tennessee, you need a few years of experience as a professional electrician and becoming familiar with the Department of Commerce and Insurance (DCI).
You can get one of these licenses:
- Limited Licensed Electrician – You cannot promote yourself as a contractor, and you cannot bid on works with a value of over $25,000, and you can learn more about it from this page.
- Contractor Electrical license – no limitations.
The requirements for both certifications are the same, and we’ll talk more about the second license.
There are 3 steps in getting it:
- Testing, and passing the test – there are actually 2 exams you have to take:
- Business and Law exam
- The specific trade exam
- Application, along with providing the appropriate documentation
- Receiving the answer and the license, if you pass the previous steps
You’ll have to file with the Secretary of State if you file as a corporation.
After sending your documents, you might be called for an interview and the answer might come after 4 to 6 weeks.
The license must be renewed every year, 30 days before it expires, however, you’ll receive a reminder by mail, some 90 days before the deadline.