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- Job Outlook
- Get Your Trainee Certificate and Complete Your Training
- Getting your Journeyman License
- Become a Master Electrician or Electrical Administrator
- Become an Electrical Contractor
According to the Employment Security Department of Washington State, electrician jobs will see a 21.8% increase between 2014 and 2024.
Electricians in the State of Washington are paid $51,211 annually, though their salary can reach $58,356 per year.
By contrast, these salaries are higher than at the national level, as the average one is $47,951 per year and the highest $54,640 per year.Annual Salary Range:
Average Salary of Electricians in Washington
The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (WDLI) is the authority issuing licenses for electricians.
These are the steps to become an electrician in the State of Washington:
- Get your trainee certificate and complete your training
- Get your journeyman license
- Become a master electrician or electrical administrator
- Become an electrical contractor
Get Your Trainee Certificate and Complete Your Training
To get the trainee certification, you have to apply to the WDLI for it, and only if you’re at least 16 years old.
Use this application form, and mail it to:
- Department of Labor and Industries
- Electrical Licensing and Certification
- PO Box 44460
- Olympia WA 98504-4460
You can also apply online, but don’t forget to pay the application fee, which is $46.30.
Your training is completed when you accumulated 8,000 hours of work experience and 24 hours per year of classroom education.
In class, you’ll study, though keep in mind that only approved education courses recognized by WDLI:
- Ohm’s Law & Combination Circuits
- Calculation for Trainees
- Low Voltage Conductors & Cables
- Theory of Electrical Circuits
- Wiring and Protection
- Control Systems
- Standby Generators
- Grounding vs Bonding
- Basic Motor Controls
- Lighting Protection
- Lighting & Signs
- Hazardous Locations
- How to Navigate the NEC
- Volts, AMPS, OHMS
- Electrical Systems
- AC Theory
- Basic electronics
- Commercial & Industrial Load Calcs
- Lighting Systems and Ballasts
- AC Motor/Box & Raceway
- General Requirements for Conductors
There are 3 ways in which you can gain the work experience:
- Union or Non-Union Apprenticeship
- Trade School
- On-the-Job Training
In all these situations you’ll be working while supervised by a licensed electrician.
Don’t forget to renew your certification every 2 years while being a trainee and make sure your employer uses the Affidavit of Experience Form to document your experience.
Apprenticeships Through Unions and Non-unions
The WDLI is the best place to start searching for an apprenticeship, and they even facilitate the process of joining a program, especially because you have the option to search for these programs in your county.
You’ll be able to find both union and non-union apprenticeship programs, but remember that each program may have different requirements.
Joining an apprenticeship through a union, usually means you have to join the union as well.
Attending a trade school means you’ll earn all the classroom education hours you must accumulate but you also may be placed on an entry-level position for 2 years, to gain 4,000 hours of work experience.
Usually, after you complete your education, you can continue working for your employer until you gain a total of 8,000 hours of experience on the job, while being supervised.
17 Electrician Schools in Washington
|Bates Tech||1101 South Yakima Avenue Tacoma, WA|
|Bellingham Tech||3028 Lindbergh Ave Bellingham, WA|
|Big Bend Community College||7662 Chanute Street NE Moses Lake, WA 98837|
|Clover Park Tech — Lakewood Campus||4500 Steilacoom Boulevard Lakewood, WA|
|Clover Park Tech — South Hill Campus||17214 110th Avenue East Puyallup, WA 98374|
|IEC of Washington||1712 Pacific Avenue Everett, WA 98201|
|JATC of Kennewick||8340 West Gage Boulevard Kennewick, WA 99336|
|JATC of Northwest Washington||306 Anderson Road Mt. Vernon, WA 98273|
|JATC of Puget Sound||550 Southwest 7th Street Renton, WA 98057|
|JATC of the Inland Empire||3210 East Ferry Avenue Spokane, WA 99202|
|JATC of Southwest Washington||3001 South 36th Street Tacoma, WA 98409|
|North Seattle College||9600 College Way North Seattle, Washington 98103|
|Outside Linemen JATC||9817 Northeast 54th Street Vancouver, WA 98662|
|South Seattle College — Georgetown Campus (apprentice program)||6737 Corson Avenue South Seattle, WA 98108|
|Spokane Community||1810 North Greene Spokane, WA|
|Wenatchee Valley College — Omak Campus||116 West Apple Avenue Omak, WA 98841|
|Wenatchee Valley College — Wenatchee College||1300 Fifth Street Wenatchee, WA 98801|
Informal On-The-Job Training
It’s also rather common for trainees to find an electrician willing to hire them.
If you take this route, make sure the electrician has a proper license in the State of Washington or the time spent there won’t be taken into consideration.
You still have to complete the classroom hour education and you have to make sure that you spend at least 4,000 hours working on commercial or industrial spaces.
Getting your Journeyman License
To get the license as a journeyman you have to first apply and then pass an exam.
The application costs $86.30 and can be done online, however, make sure to include the affidavits filled in by your employers, to show you completed 8,000 hours of practical training.
You must register at the L&I Electrical Licensing and Certification, and they will either accept or reject you for the journeyman exam.
If you’re accepted you’ll have to register with the PSI Exams for the journeyman exam and you can take it at any of their centers across the state.
You’ll have to answer 77 questions covering these topics:
- Wiring & protection
- Overcurrent protection
- Grounding & bonding
- Wiring methods
- Electrical equipment
- Motors, HVAC, Generators & transformers
- Hazardous locations
- Special occupancies
- Special equipment
- Emergency & standby
- Special conditions
- Communication systems
- Washington laws & rules
- Major load calculations
- General trade knowledge & Theory
The information bulletin has more details regarding the exam, if you need them.
You have to renew this license every 3 years, after proving 12 hours of continued education from an approved provider, as follows:
- 8 hours on current national electrical code changes
- 4 hours must cover the currently adopted revised code of Washington and the Washington administrative code
- The remaining 12 hours can cover any approved course
Getting a Specialty Electrician License
You can get this license after 4,000 hours of training on the job and 48 hours of classroom education, for the following specialties:
- Pump and irrigation
- Limited energy system
- HVAC/refrigeration system
With 2,000 hours of work experience and 24 hours of classroom education, you can get a license as a specialist for:
- Domestic well
- Nonresidential maintenance
- Nonresidential lighting maintenance and lighting retrofit
- Residential maintenance
- Restricted nonresidential maintenance
- Appliance repair
- Equipment repair
- Door, gate, and similar systems
You’ll still need to apply for these licenses, and you can do so online, after paying the $86.30 fee.
The information bulletin has more information regarding the exam you need to take, based on the specialty you want to get a license for.
Your certification must be renewed every 3 years, but only if you complete 24 hours of continued education.
Become a Master Electrician or Electrical Administrator
You can advance to this level after you completed 4 years of working as a journeyman, and you must also pass an exam.
PSI Exams administers the exams for both licenses, and that’s where you can register for them.
Don’t forget to provide documentation for your work as a journeyman.
Both these exams cover the same topics as the journeyman one, however you’ll have to answer 110 questions for the master electrician test and just 95 questions for the electrical administrator test.
Either license must be renewed every 3 years, with the same 24-hour of continued education requirement.
Become an Electrical Contractor
If you have a certification as either a master electrician or electrical administrator, you can get a license as an electrical contractor as well.
This license allows you to directly sell your services to the public, and you must apply for it directly to the WDLI after paying the fee of $306.
You renew this license online every 3 years after paying the $250 renewal fee.
You are not required to continue your education for this certification.