Electrician certificates are not actually required by law. They are merely suggested credentials for contractors and tradesman who want to prove themselves ready for any type of electrical work. This third-party endorsement of skills is a great selling point but does not really concern the state. The US government allows states to control electrician standards. This is referred to as licensing.
Electrician requirements for licensed personnel require certain hours and certain accountability—just as certifications do. Actually, the state usually delegates this task to local building officials, at least in the construction business. However, there are different categories of electricians. For instance, some types of electricity work can only be performed by master electricians; others by journeymen or residential electricians.
Naturally each local county or state will set the guidelines for these tradesmen. While there is no federal standard (one distinct advantage of certification which goes beyond state lines) there is often what you call reciprocity agreements. Also bear in mind that not all states allow a statewide classification of a master electrician or journeyman…and in these cases, the worker would have to live in a specific county and deal with that particular licensing board.
Electrician certificates don’t really help you in terms of becoming licensed. However, the demands for certification are often equal or greater to licensing criteria. The law does prohibit electricians from working without proper supervision. Many electricians by job actually work for contractor companies. The only way to work alone would be to serve in an apprenticeship, which could last several years. This training period would be supervised by a Master electrician and perhaps a Journeyman electrician as well.
Electrician certificates do not cover safety, but licensing does. In fact, it is against the law in most areas for under qualified individuals to do work on any electrical apparatus that involve voltages over a certain amount. (Typically 100 volts, though sometimes as low as 25 volts) Companies may also create their own standard rather than defaulting to the state.
It’s obvious why so much caution has to be taken, since electricians are subject to dangerous working conditions at times. It is a regulated position because of various hazards involved with working with electricity. However, once you learn the science of electricity and the do not do’s, you are sure to have an exciting and lucrative career ahead of you. Some Master electricians can earn hundreds of dollars an hour if not more! Why not look into finding an electrician certificate training course so you can learn the fundamentals and work your way towards licensing?