Washington is a good state to become an electrician in, and we have the info to get you started if you’re considering a new career.
Everyone needs to train for this trade, and then pass an exam to obtain a license from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (WDLI).
Article Table of Contents
In Washington, apprentices need to accumulate 8,000 hours of work experience along with 96 hours of classroom education in order to earn their licenses.
The following topics will be taught in class:
- Hazardous Locations
- How to Navigate the NEC
- Volts, AMPS, OHMS
- Electrical Systems
- A Theory
- Basic electronics
- Commercial & Industrial Load Calcs
- Lighting Systems and Ballasts
- AC Motor/Box & Raceway
- General Requirements for Conductors
- Ohm’s Law & Combination Circuits
- Calculation for Trainees
- Low Voltage Conductors & Cables
- Theory of Electrical Circuits
- Wiring and Lighting Protection
- Control Systems
- Standby Generators
- Grounding vs Bonding
- Basic Motor Controls
- Lighting & Signs
The minimum accepted age for an apprenticeship is 16, and the application fee is $47.
Only those accepted can choose to enroll in one of the following:
- Union or Non-Union Apprenticeship
- Trade School
- On-the-Job Training
All apprentices will be issued certifications before they starting training.
Union or Non-Union Apprenticeship
Apprenticeships are still a very common way of becoming an electrician.
Union apprenticeships are available through Electrician Training Alliance Joint Apprenticeship & Training Committees (JATC) and they require membership.
Those who don’t want to become union members, need to contact non-union organizations accepting apprentices.
Attending trade school is an equally popular way of becoming an electrician, and in many cases, the entry-level position is made available for those enrolling in these schools.
|Perry Technical Institute||2011 W Washington Ave., Yakima, WA 98903|
|Washington State Community and Technical Colleges||1933 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver, WA 98663|
|Washington State Community and Technical Colleges||3028 Lindbergh Ave, Bellingham, WA 98225|
|Washington State Community and Technical Colleges||7662 Chanute St NE, Moses Lake, WA 98837|
|Washington State Community and Technical Colleges||1101 S Yakima Ave, Tacoma, WA 98405|
Informal On-The-Job Training
Another option of training as an electrician is by finding licensed electricians willing to take on trainees.
This option is very similar to the non-union apprenticeship and more appropriate for those who already know a licensed electrician.
Become a Journeyman
- Fill out the application
- Pay the application fee – $86.30
- Attach proof of completed apprenticeship
- Pass the exam organized by the L&I Electrical Licensing and Certification, through PSI Exams
The 77 questions in the exam cover the following topics:
- Wiring and protection
- Overcurrent protection
- Grounding & bonding
- Wiring methods
- Electrical equipment
- Motors, HVAC, Generators & transformers
- Hazardous locations
- Special occupancies and equipment
- Emergency & standby
- Special conditions
- Communication systems
- Washington laws & rules
- Major load calculations
- General trade knowledge & Theory
Applying for a Specialty Electrician License
Those who accumulated 4,000 hours as an electrical trainee, may apply for a specialty electrician license.
Their training must cover these areas:
- Pump and irrigation
- Limited energy system
- HVAC/refrigeration system
For the following specialties, candidates need to accumulate 2,000 hours of experience and 24 hours of classroom instruction:
- Domestic well
- Nonresidential maintenance
- Nonresidential lighting maintenance and lighting retrofit
- Residential maintenance
- Restricted nonresidential maintenance
- Appliance repair
- Equipment repair
- Door, gate, and similar systems
Specialty certifications are issued to those who pass the appropriate exam, organized by PSI Exams.
Requirements to take the exam:
- Fill out the application form
- Pay the application fee – $86.30
Master Electrician or Electrical Administrator
Master electrician requirements:
- 4 years experience as a journeyman electrician
- Detail the type of work performed
- Apply for and pass the exam
The sole requirement for the electrical administrator certification is to pass the specific exam.
The exams are organized by PSI Exams and they cover the same topics as the journeyman exam, though the difference is in the number of questions:
- 110 questions for the master electrician exam
- 92 questions for the electrical administrator exam
The type of certification you’ll have as an electrician will influence how much you earn.Annual Salary Range: Annual Salary by Location:
|Location||Avg. Annual Salary|
Regional Salary in Washington
|Region||Employed||Avg. Annual Salary||Avg. Hourly Pay||Top 10% Annual Salary||Bottom 10% Annual Salary|
|Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WA||450||$92,880||$44.66||$133,790||$48,340|
|Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA||1,170||$76,040||$36.56||$109,720||$40,570|
|Walla Walla, WA||110||$67,330||$32.37||$83,800||$36,840|
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.
Apprentices need to renew their certifications every other year.
Your journeyman certificate will expire every 3 years and 24 hours of continuing education credits are needed to renew it, as follows:
- 8 hours must cover the changes to the national electrical code
- 4 hours must cover the changes to the revised code of Washington and the Washington administrative code
- The remaining 12 hours can cover any approved course
The specialty certification, master electrician and electrical administrator certifications need to be renewed every 3 years after completing 24 hours of continuing education courses.