How to become an Electrician?
If you or someone you know is interested in becoming an electrician, this document might help you.
In Washington State, there are many jobs that work with electrical equipment, the job that most people refer to as an electrician is the EL01 General Journey-Level Electrician. This job is recognized by the State Authority Having Jurisdiction: Washington Labor & Industries Electrical Section, as:
- A general electrical license and/or certificate encompasses all phases and all types of electrical and telecommunications installations and minor plumbing under RCW 18.106.150. For the purposes of RCW 18.106.150, the like-in-kind replacement includes the appliance or any component part of the appliance (e.g., such as, but not limited to, the thermostat in a water heater).
- This license/certificate is the only category that may install new electrical equipment and conductors in commercial and industrial occupancies.
- This license/certificate requires 8000 hours of experience in the installation of electrical equipment, with at least 4000 hours of experience in the installation of new equipment in commercial or industrial.
- An EL01 General Journey-Level Electrician:
- Union-represented EL01 electricians have top-of-the-line medical/dental benefits
- Union-represented EL01 electricians pay as of 2023: $69.99/hour
- Union-represented EL01 electricians have a pension and 401K, training benefits, and other union association discounts with merchants
- Union apprenticeship, day 1 pay as of 2023: $29.40/hour (full benefits start 3 months after beginning training/work) https://ibew46.com/
- As of March 2023, there are 19433 people certified as EL01 in Washington State, the most there has ever been.
If you are an experienced electrician, perhaps from another state, or with previous documented hours from the US Military, from a previous job, or from a training school, you should first contact Labor & Industries Electrical Licensing Department at 360-902-5269 to determine how to apply that experience to your official file with the State.
If you are starting without experience or training that qualifies as experience in Washington State, you should start by contacting the Puget Sound Electrical Joint Apprenticeship Training Council (PSEJATC) in Renton, WA (for residents of King County).
Effective July 1, 2023, in order to work as an electrician trainee gaining experience hours toward becoming an EL01 Electrician, a trainee must be enrolled in a State-recognized apprenticeship program. These are divided by county. The only non-employer apprenticeship program in King County for this apprenticeship program is the PSEJATC.
Puget Sound Electrical Joint Apprenticeship Training Council can be contacted at: https://www.psejatc.org/ 550 SW 7th St. Renton, WA 98057 | p 425.228.1777
- Is a highly competitive selection process. 1500 people apply each year, in 2022 the PSEJATC accepted 300 applicants
- Provides all the training, but the student does pay some costs—such as textbooks, lab fees
- Is college-level accredited, you earn credits toward a college degree as you learn the trade
- Provides an employment dispatch—the school finds you a job
- Similar to college, this program provides a social aspect—you make friends with common interests
- The employer pays your tuition. No student loans. And, you get paid to learn on the job.
How to become a Specialty Electrician?
If you or someone you know is interested in construction/maintenance/repair work that involves electrical, this document might help you.
In Washington State, there are many jobs that work with electrical equipment, the job that most people refer to as an electrician is the EL01 General Journey-Level Electrician. There are, however, 15 Specialty Electrician jobs, many with both non-electrical and electrical tasks. These jobs are recognized by the State Authority Having Jurisdiction: Washington Labor & Industries Electrical Section, as:
- EL02 Residential Electrician (installation, construction, maintenance, repair of residential occupancies like houses)
- EL03 Pump and Irrigation (Installs and maintains pumps used for watering crops, domestic water pumps in commercial and industrial applications)
- EL03A Domestic Pump & Well (Installs and maintains pumps used for domestic water at residential)
- EL04 Signs (Installs and maintains electric signs and outline lighting for businesses)
- EL06 Limited-Energy (Dozens of careers such as fire alarm system installation, sound systems, building controls and automation, and solar panel installation, security systems like card-access and cameras)
- EL06A HVAC (Heating, Refrigeration, Air-Conditioning for residential, commercial, and industrial applications, works on boilers, chillers, air-handlers, temperature and humidity controls and equipment)
- EL06B Restricted HVAC (Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning for residential and light commercial applications)
- EL07 Maintenance (Repair, replace, and maintain electrical equipment in any occupancy, typically commercial and industrial facilities)
- EL07A Lighting Maintenance (Commercial and industrial light fixtures)
- EL07B Residential Maintenance (Repair, replace, and maintain electrical equipment in residential occupancies)
- EL07C Restricted Maintenance (Repair, replace, and maintain electrical equipment in commercial or residential occupancies, limited to 277-volt lighting and 250 volts on other circuits)
- EL07D Appliance Repair (Residential size and type appliances, install, maintain, repair)
- EL07E Equipment Repair (Typically works with industrial machines such as lathes, CNC machines, compactors, and bailers, usually in commercial or industrial applications for manufacturing)
- EL09 Telecommunications (Data, telephone, fiber optics, working for a communications company or repair and maintenance provider such as cable-tv, commercial phone system providers)
- EL10 Door, Gate (Commercial and industrial doors such as parking garage and secure pedestrian doors
If you are interested in a career in one of these specialty electrician career fields, you DO NOT have to apply to the Puget Sound Electrical Joint Apprenticeship Training Council, you can apply directly to the employer and they will get you started learning the craft.
PSEJATC has strong programs for EL01, EL02, and EL06. This is a highly competitive program, and not everyone will make it in on their first application. Some people are interested in specializing in one of the many jobs that work with wires but also have other tasks. Some specialties qualify as experience that may be credited toward becoming an EL01 (these include EL02, EL03, EL04, EL06, EL06A, EL07)—making them an ideal path to take if you have to wait to be accepted into the PSEJATC program to become an EL01 Apprentice. The PSEJATC accepts new apprentices once per year in the August/September timeframe.
To find a job in one of the specialties, you can try job-posting boards such as Indeed, Monster, etc. Use a search term such as “electrical trainee” or “specialty electrician” or even try using the name of the type of specialty electrician listed above. You can also try searching for other union apprenticeships such as Local 286/302 Operating Engineers https://www.iuoe302.org/, Local 32 https://ualocal32.com/ Plumbers, Pipefitters, HVAC, and Sheet Metal Workers.
Verify Training is a CEU and Prep-for-Exam provider specializing in electrical CEU, refrigeration, and boilers. Verify Training is not affiliated with any of the above listed organizations. We do not provide career coaching services or job placement, and we do not operate an apprenticeship program recognized by Washington State. This information is only intended to help the many great people looking to become electrical professionals. While we strive to provide accurate information, we are not the controlling entity of the rules or the options available on the market–we do not warranty the accuracy or claim that the information above is all the information required to make an informed decision. We highly encourage researching all options, companies, programs, and rules/laws regarding the electrician career fields to make an informed decision.