Electrician certifications may seem similar to licensing and it is easy to get the two procedures mixed up. However, there are clear differences between the two concepts. Schools usually offer programs for certification, traditionally residential class or master electrician class. In order for a person to achieve a residential certification, he or she must have a high school diploma or GED equivalent and also put forth about 4,000 hours as a professional electrician. Sometimes certification also requires a completion of a training program, an associate’s degree in a related field, a BS in a related field and perhaps some time as an electrical inspector.
There are also different electrician certifications for Master Electrician; namely there are more hours required in general electrician work and in electrical inspector work. Most schools create programs exclusively for the certification requirement. There are many institutions that provide certification and details can differ slightly between various programs. Practically all of your work experience required must be verifiable, meaning you work for a contractor.
Now what is a license, on the other hand? A license refers to a permit to work in a particular occupation. The license is a grant given by governmental authorities, whether local or state issued. Here’s the main factor; certifications are voluntary and exist as a means of separating yourself from amateurs without much education or work experience. However, licensing is a requirement and the state has some strong demands regarding eligibility. And this is not surprising considering how dangerous electrical work can be.
Some states may require up to seven years working as an electrician before licensing can be attained. During this time, such a professional would be working under the supervision of a master electrician. Certifications, in contrast, are largely coming from organizations—usually professional societies who consider a new tradesperson an official and knowledgeable electrician. However, certifications are not a good old boy’s club! Certifications, just as licensing, must be renewed periodically and are usually only valid for a limited period of time.
Many electricians opt for both licensing and certification, particularly if they want to establish a solid reputation among the community. While state licensing is demonstrable to many residents and businesses, certification goes a long way in impressing other companies in construction, plumbing and other work.
For more information on how to become certified and reach a broader customer base, start looking into schools in your area or online!