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Texas Electrician License: How to Get Certified as an Electrician in TX

August 4, 2022 9 min. read
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Looking to get your Texas electrician license? We don’t blame you. The industry is experiencing record-low supply coupled with ever-growing demand, which is a perfect storm for aspiring electricians.

Your electrician license is the gateway to the rest of your career. Once you secure that certification, you can work without supervision, operate your own business, bid on public projects, and escalate your earnings.

According to our electrician salary data, entry-level electricians make an average of $35,851, while Journeyman electricians earn $58,180—that’s a 62% wage increase. Fortunately for you, you don’t have to climb the corporate ladder or schmooze your way to promotions. You just have to follow the step-by-step progression from Apprentice to Journeyman to Master Electrician.

And we’re here to help guide you through the entire process:

Bookmark this page and check back often to see if you’re on the right course for getting your license. This resource will help you find answers to all your questions faster than a dozen Google searches.

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

Yes, you need a license to be an electrician in Texas. The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) oversees licensing for electricians, and they require anyone performing electrical work (big or small, cheap or expensive) to obtain certification. 

However, a few exceptions qualify for exemption:

  • Agriculture: Those working on farms, irrigation systems, and agricultural equipment don’t need licensing.
  • Appliances: Appliance dealers and manufacturers don’t need a license to service or repair existing appliances.
  • Elevators and Escalators: Professionals who perform electrical work on elevators and escalators are exempt from licensing.
  • Homeowners: You don’t need a license to perform electrical work on a property you reside in. Note that this doesn’t mean you can perform electrical work on any property you own—it must be a dwelling you live in.
  • Vehicles: Car dealerships and service shops don’t need a license to perform electrical work on vehicles.

Beyond those exemptions, you need a Texas electrician license to perform electrical work in the Lone Star State.

Penalties for contracting without a license

Your electrician license protects yourself, customers, and the public, and the TDLR takes these violations seriously. Operating without a license could land you a hefty $1,000-$3,500 fine and/or a one-year license suspension

The Department looks at various factors to determine the penalty, including the number of similar violations in the past and what level of penalty is necessary to avoid this reoccurring.

Types of electrician licenses in Texas

Texas offers a variety of electrician licenses. Not sure which is right for you? Here are the types of electrician licenses in Texas and what they provide:

Apprentice licenses

  • Apprentice ElectricianPerform electrical work under the on-site supervision of a Master Electrician, Journeyman Electrician, or Residential Wireman.
  • Apprentice, Electrical SignPerform electrical sign work under the on-site supervision of a Master Electrician, a Master Sign Electrician, or a Journeyman Sign Electrician. Signs include electronic billboards, signs on buildings, and scoreboards at sporting venues.

Journeyman licenses

  • Journeyman ElectricianPerform electrical work under the general supervision of a Master Electrician. General supervision means the professional doesn’t need to be by your side every moment—they can oversee, direct, and double-check your work.
  • Journeyman Industrial ElectricianPerform electrical work exclusively at businesses that operate chemical plants, petrochemical plants, natural gas plants, natural gas treating plants, refineries, pipelines, or oil and gas exploration and production operations. Industrial Electricians don’t work on residential or commercial projects.
  • Journeyman LinemanPerform electrical work involving the operation and maintenance of equipment used to transmit and distribute electricity from an original source to a substation.
  • Journeyman Sign ElectricianPerform electrical sign work under the general supervision of a Master Electrician or Master Sign Electrician.
  • Maintenance ElectricianPerform electrical maintenance work under the general supervision of a Master Electrician.

Master licenses

  • Master ElectricianInstall, maintain or extend electrical wiring systems.
  • Master Sign ElectricianWork on behalf of Electrical Sign Contractors to install, maintain, or extend electrical systems for electric sign work.

Residential licenses

  • Residential Appliance InstallerPerform electrical work for residential appliance installation and pool-related electrical installation and maintenance.
  • Residential WiremanPerform electrical installations in single-family and multi-family dwellings (not exceeding 4 stories).

Texas electrician license requirements

Apprentice license requirements

Journeyman license requirements

Master license requirements

  • Hold Journeyman license for at least 2 years
  • 12,000 hours of on-the-job training
  • Submit your application with payment
  • Pass the Master Electrician exam

How do I get an electrician license in Texas?

The whole process of becoming a licensed electrician in Texas takes a minimum of 4 years. You must accumulate at least 8,000 hours of on-the-job training to qualify for your Journeyman Electrician License, and construction professionals typically work around 2,000 hours yearly.

You’ll need at least another two years to apply for your Master Electrician License.

Here’s the step-by-step process for getting your electrician license:

  1. Apply for an electrical apprentice license (no examination or prior experience necessary)
  2. Gain 8,000 of work experience (under the supervision of a Master Electrician licensed in Texas)
  3. Apply to become a Journeyman Electrician and submit this Experience Verification Form
  4. Take and pass the Journeyman electrical licensing exam
  5. Hold your Journeyman license for 2 years and accumulate an additional 4,000 hours of on-the-job training (for a total of 12,000 hours) under the supervision of a Master Electrician in Texas
  6. Apply to become a Master Electrician

Ready to take one of the examinations? TDLR partners with PSI to offer electrician examinations across the state:

  • Abilene
  • Amarillo
  • Arlington
  • Austin
  • Corpus Christi
  • Dallas
  • El Paso
  • Fort Worth
  • Harlingen
  • Houston
  • Lubbock
  • McAllen
  • Midland
  • San Antonio
  • Tyler
  • Waco

Visit the PSI website or call them at (833) 333-4741 to schedule your exam. Check the Candidate Information Bulletin for available dates and required fees for each examination.

The exams are open book style, but you’re responsible for bringing your own National Electrical Code®, 2020 Edition textbook.

Reciprocity agreements with other states

Texas has reciprocity agreements with a handful of states. If you have licensing in one of the following states, the TDLR will allow you to skip examination and accelerate your application process for licensing in Texas—however, your level of certification will impact your reciprocity eligibility. Journeyman electricians have looser requirements than Master’s, allowing more states to qualify under this certification.

Master electrician reciprocity agreements

  • Louisiana
  • North Carolina

You must have passed the examination in your state, held the license for at least 1 year, completed 12,000 hours under the supervision of a master electrician, and provide proof of current good standing with the state. Use this form for your application.

Journeyman electrician reciprocity agreements

  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • Idaho
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Mexico
  • Oklahoma
  • South Dakota
  • Wyoming

You must have passed the examination in your state, held the license for at least 1 year, completed 8,000 hours under the supervision of a master electrician, and provide proof that your license is in good standing. Use this form for your application.

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

In Texas, there are costs that all individuals will need to pay to become a licensed electrician, and some additional costs if you want to run your own business. Below, we’ve broken down the costs you can expect for both individuals and businesses.

Individual electrician license costs

Apprentice Electrician and Electrical Sign Apprentice

  • $20 application/renewal fee

Journeyman Electrician

  • $30 application/renewal fee
  • $78 exam fee

Journeyman Industrial Electrician and Journeyman Sign Electrician

  • $30 application/renewal fee
  • $64 exam fee

Journeyman Lineman

  • $30 application/renewal fee
  • $61 exam fee

Maintenance Electrician 

  • $20 application/renewal fee
  • $64 exam fee

Master Electrician 

  • $45 application/renewal
  • $78 exam fee

Master Sign Electrician)

  • $45 application/renewal
  • $64 exam fee

Residential Appliance Installer 

  • $30 application/renewal fee
  • $64 exam fee

Residential Wireman

  • $20 application/renewal fee
  • $64 exam fee

Business owner costs

Electrical Contractor, Electrical Sign Contractor, Residential Appliance Installation Contractor, 

  • $110 application/renewal fee

Apprentice Training Program Provider

  • $95 registration fee

Do I need to renew my electrician license? 

Yes, you need to renew your license annually. You can renew your license online here by using the appropriate renewal link.

Apprentices must complete 4 hours of continuing education each license cycle to qualify for renewal. They can also use a department-registered electrical apprenticeship training course to qualify for their 4 hours of education. 

Journeyman and Master Electricians must also complete 4 hours of continuing education each license cycle.

What happens if my electrician license expires?

If your license expires, you won’t be able to legally perform any electrical work. You can renew a license online that has been expired for less than 18 months, but if it’s between 18 months and 3 years, you’ll have to apply by mail for renewal.

Licenses that have expired by over 3 years aren’t eligible for renewal. You’ll have to re-apply for a license as a new applicant.

Here are the late-renewal fees with expired licenses:

  • 90 days or less: $45
  • 91 days – 18 months: $60
  • 18 – 36 months: $60

Requirements for business owners

Once you have your Master’s Electrician license, you can start your own business. You must obtain your Electrical Contractor License to hire and manage other electricians. Here are the different contractor licenses to consider:

You also need to obtain the proper insurance before doing business:

  • Liability Insurance CoverageMust have a minimum of $300,000 per occurrence, $600,000 aggregate, and $300,000 aggregate for product and completed operation.
  • Worker’s CompensationMust provide proof of worker’s compensation insurance or a certificate of authority to self-insure. You can also elect for no compensation if you hire no employees.

Beyond these legal requirements, you’ll also want to brush up on the step-by-step process of launching a successful electrician business. You’ll want to think about financing, investing in the right equipment, hiring the best team, pricing your services, marketing your business, and earning your first customer.

Does an electrician license increase your earning potential? 

Absolutely. Without an electrician license, you can’t legally perform electrical work for pay. You can do your own home improvement projects, but you won’t be able to perform services for residential, commercial, or industrial customers.

As an apprentice, you’ll earn around $35,851 annually. Some of these wages will be deducted to pay for your apprenticeship program and materials, but you’ll get to keep most of it. As you progress from apprenticeship to Master, your earnings potential will increase. Master Electricians in Texas with 18+ years of experience tend to make an average of $64,130.

Texas isn’t the highest-paying location for electricians, though. States like Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada, and Hawaii all pay higher average wages. For example, electricians working in California earn $67,826 on average—that’s 36% more than electricians in Texas.

Of course, you have to factor in the cost of living and quality of life, but these are wages you want to know when planning your career. 

Want more insights into how much money you can expect to earn depending on your licensing, years of experience, and geographic location? Take a peek at our Essential Electrician Salary Guide. It provides crowdsourced salary information you can use to make data-backed decisions about your career.

Use this guide when planning your career, finding where to put down roots, and paying your employees. It’ll help ensure you get the most bang for your buck and keep up with the industry benchmarks.

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