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Massachusetts Electrician License: How to Get Certified as an Electrician in MA

November 10, 2022 8 min. read
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Want to become a legally licensed electrician in Massachusetts? There’s good news: the world is facing a craftsman epidemic. There’s already an abundance of unfilled electrician positions, and that number will only go up as younger generations buy homes and start businesses in need of electrical work.

You won’t earn your Massachusetts electrician license overnight, but the investment is worth the effort. According to our Electrician Salary Guide, licensed electricians in Massachusetts earn $57,401 on average — that’s 8% more than the national average.

Like most things, you’ll have to make your way from the bottom to the top. To help you, we’ve broken down the entire process step by step to make it easier for you to find the information you need:

Bookmark this page and check back regularly to ensure you’re on the right path to obtaining your Massachusetts electrician license. It’s better to have a plan from the get-go rather than waiting until you’re years into the process.

Do you need a license to be an electrician in Massachusetts?

Yes, you need a license to perform any electrical work in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Board of State Examiners of Electricians oversees licensing, examinations, and renewals. They’re also responsible for prosecuting anyone found working without a license—don’t be one of them.

Your electrician license verifies that you’ve obtained the necessary training and education to perform electrical work safely. It also ensures you’re up to date on the National Electric Code (NEC) and best practices.

Not every state has state licensing requirements for electricians. For example, Indiana doesn’t have state licensing—these requirements are handled at a local municipality level.

Note that a business license isn’t the same thing as an electrician’s license. A business license shows that you can start and legally operate a business in a specific area, but you’ll still need an electrician’s license to perform electrical work in Massachusetts.

To start accruing experience and learning the electrician’s trade, you’ll need to begin as an apprentice. You’ll be registered with the state as an apprentice, but this isn’t the same as being licensed. Apprentices can perform basic electrical repairs and faults, but all work must be done under the direct supervision of a Master Electrician.

How do I get an electrician license in Massachusetts?

Here’s an overview of the step-by-step process to get an electrician license in Massachusetts:

  1. Begin working as an electrician apprentice to accumulate on-site experience
  2. Take approved coursework to acquire classroom hours
  3. Apply for a Journeyman Electrician license and pass the examination
  4. Gain additional classroom credits and on-job experience
  5. Apply for a Master Electrician license and pass the examination
  6. Work for an electrical company or start your own business

Ready to start your electrician apprenticeship in Massachusetts? Complete the Apprentice Agreement document and turn it into the Massachusetts Division of Apprentice Standards. They’ll help you choose an appropriate apprenticeship based on your career goals and eligibility. 

For example, you might be better off joining a pre-apprenticeship program to get hands-on experience before moving into a full apprenticeship program. This is a good method for seeing if the electrician’s path is right for you before making a more significant commitment.

Beyond apprenticeship, here’s a list of the types of electrician licenses in Massachusetts:

  • Journeyman Electrician License (Class B license): Works as an individual at a firm or corporation to install, repair, and maintain wires, conduits, devices, apparatus, fixtures, or appliances used for light, heat, power, fire warning, or security system purposes.
  • Master Electrician License (Class A license): Works as an individual at a firm or owns a firm or corporation and hires licensed electricians to install, repair, and maintain wires, conduits, devices, apparatus, fixtures, or appliances used for light, heat, power, fire warning, or security system purposes.
  • Systems Contractor (Class C license): Works as an individual or owns a firm or corporation to supervise the installation of fire warning or security systems by a licensed electrician.
  • Systems Technician (Class D license): Works as an individual to install and maintain fire warning and security systems in homes and businesses.

Applicants seeking to obtain one of these licenses must complete the requirements before sending in their application and scheduling a licensing exam. Below, we’ll go over the specific requirements for obtaining each electrician’s license.

Massachusetts electrician license requirements

The licensing requirements are different depending on which type of license you’re applying for. 

Journeyman Electrician requirements

You’ll need to accumulate 8,000 hours of electrical work experience and 600 hours of approved coursework as an apprentice before applying for a Journeyman Electrician license. 

Your 8,000 hours of electrical work need to be accrued over at least a 4-year period (and no more than 10 years). Look at the Work Process Schedule for an example of how apprenticeships tend to divide these hours.

Your classroom work is mostly comprised of readings regarding the National Electrical Code (NEC) and Massachusetts state-specific amendments to these codes.

Master Electrician requirements

You must hold your Journeyman license for at least 1 year and accumulate an extra 150 hours of classroom credits (relevant to the electrical code) before you can take the Master Electrician examination. When you combine that with the necessary experience to become a Journeyman, you’ll have amassed at least 5 years of full-time experience and 750+ credit hours of classroom education.

Systems Contractor requirements

You need to gain 8,000 hours of practical experience (over at least a 4-year period) installing fire alarms and security systems to qualify for the system contractor examination.

Systems Technician requirements

You must complete 6,000 hours of practical experience (over at least a 3-year period) installing fire alarms and security systems to qualify for the technician examination.

Reciprocity Agreements for Electricians Licensed in Other States

The Massachusetts Board of State Examiners of Electricians has reciprocity agreements for electricians in other states. Professionals with Master, Journeyman, System Contractor, or Technician licenses in another state “which…maintain standards substantially the same as those of the commonwealth for electricians” can receive a license in Massachusetts without examination.

However, despite this terminology outlined in the Applying for License by Reciprocity document, this agreement only works for Journeyman and Master electricians in New Hampshire. Other out-of-state electricians will need to apply through the Board of State Examiners of Electricians.

How much does it cost to get an electrician license in Massachusetts?

Your costs will vary depending on which license you obtain and how you go about getting your electrician education.

When you join a registered apprenticeship, you’ll become a paid employee. However, some programs cost money, which will be taken from your wages. You’ll continue making more money as you progress through your apprenticeship.

Here are the wages you can expect as an apprentice:

  • 1st year: 40% of a Journeyman’s wages
  • 2nd year: 50% of a Journeyman’s wages
  • 3rd year: 55% of a Journeyman’s wages
  • 4th year: 65% of a Journeyman’s wages
  • 5th year: 70% of a Journeyman’s wages

Here are the fees you can expect for each electrician license in Massachusetts:

Journeyman Electrician requirements

  • Application and exam fee: $226
  • License fee: $104
  • Renewal fee: $78

Master Electrician requirements

  • Application and exam fee: $276
  • License fee: $155
  • Renewal fee: $117

Systems Contractor requirements

  • Application and exam fee: $276
  • License fee: $155
  • Renewal fee: $117

Systems Technician requirements

  • Application and exam fee: $226
  • License fee: $104
  • Renewal fee: $78

Do I need to renew my electrician license? 

Yes, electricians in Massachusetts must renew their license every 3 years. Visit the Board of State Examiners of Electricians license renewal page for detailed instructions on submitting your renewal.

First-time renewers must follow the instructions outlined here, but non-first-timers can renew online through the e-PLACE Portal. If these instructions don’t help, you can email the Board at [email protected] or [email protected] for additional help.

Electricians renewing their license must submit the required fee (see costs above) and complete 21 hours of continuing education. While 6 of those 21 hours can be used on professional development on your choice of topic, 15 of them must be used to sharpen your knowledge of the Massachusetts Electrical Code.

What happens if my electrician license expires?

You must pay an additional late fee of $57 if you miss the renewal deadline. If you allow your license to expire by more than 3 years, the state will require you to retake the examination to reinstate your license.

Also, if you fail to renew your electrician’s license, you won’t be able to perform any electrical work. If you’re found performing work with an outdated license, the Board will prosecute you—and this could result in a revoked license and expensive fees.

Stay on top of your license expiration by checking its status. The e-PLACE Portal lets you search for your license. Enter in the licensing entity, license type, license number, name, business name, or address to learn about any license or permit status.

The process of renewing your license is simple and easy, but don’t forget to complete your continuing education requirements. You don’t want to risk operating on an expired license because you still need to finish your classroom hours.

Does an electrician license in Massachusetts increase your earning potential?

Does having an electrician license in Massachusetts increase your earnings potential? You bet it does. And even if it didn’t, you wouldn’t be legally allowed to perform work without one.

According to the data compiled in our Electrician Salary Guide, Apprentice Electricians make an average of $35,851 per year while Master Electricians make $69,385—that’s a 92% wage increase.

You won’t find many jobs that provide you with almost a 100% wage increase with 5 years of experience—especially when you don’t even need to spend 4+ years in college.

See for yourself. Check out any of our salary guides to find out how much you could be making based on your location and experience.

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