Electrical licenses & certificates
You must have a valid electrical certificate or license from us to do electrical work in Washington. Electrical work has a broad definition and covers a wide range of electrical activities. It can be as big as multi-million dollar industrial power distribution and controls or as small as limited energy camera or speaker system.
Businesses who wish to engage in the electrical construction or telecommunication trade are required to become licensed with the department.
Individuals performing electrical installations or working in the electrical construction trade are required to be certified as electricians or master electricians. Those learning the electrical construction trade are required to hold an electrical training certificate.
Licensing & certification
To learn to be an electrician, you need to begin as a trainee. An electrical trainee must have a trainee certificate and work under the supervision of a certified electrician. Trainees who wish to become certified as a journey level electrician or work on a commercial job site after July 1, 2023 must also be registered with an approved apprenticeship program.
To become a certified general journey level or specialty electrician, you must have the required experience and education and pass the appropriate exam. Those wishing to become certified as a journey level electrician after July 1, 2023 must complete an approved apprenticeship program. These individuals are certified to work for a licensed electrical contractor performing electrical installations and supervise electrical trainees.
To become an electrical administrator, you must pass a qualifying exam. Electrical administrators make sure an electrical contractor's work follows the electrical laws and rules. Administrators are not certified to work as an installer in the electrical trade, unless they also carry an electrician certificate, or electrical trainee certificate and work under the supervision of a certified electrician.
To become a telecommunications administrator, you must pass a qualifying exam. Telecommunication administrators make sure a telecommunication contractor's electrical work follows electrical laws and rules.
To do electrical work, you must get an electrical contractor license from us. You must have a valid UBI number, either a $4,000 bond or assignment of savings, and a designated master electrician or administrator. The master electrician or electrical administrator’s responsibility is to make sure the company follows the appropriate laws and rules.
To engage in the business of doing telecommunications work, you must get a telecommunications contractor license from us. You must have a valid UBI number, either $4,000 Electrical/telecommunications bond or assignment of savings, and a minimum of $170,000 general liability insurance. A designated telecommunications administrator’s responsibility is to make sure that the company follows the appropriate laws and rules.
To become a master electrician, you must have the required experience as an electrician and take and pass the appropriate exam. Master electricians are certified to act as an administrator to make sure an electrical contractor's work follows the electrical laws and rules. They may also work with the tools of the trade performing electrical installations and provide supervision of electrical trainees.
An index of permits L&I and other state agencies issue, where to get them and how to get the work inspected.
To become a certified master electrician in Washington, you must be certified as a general journey level or specialty electrician with L&I for a specific amount of time.
There are two levels of certification for master electricians: general journey level and specialty master electricians.
- Journey level master electrician: To qualify for the master electrician exam you must be certified as a general journey level electrician by L&I for at least 4 years.
- Specialty master electrician: To qualify for the exam you must be certified by L&I in an specialty, for at least 2 years.
Depending on the date you pass the examination and your birthdate, your initial certification will be good for a minimum of 25 months up to a maximum of 36 months.
When you pass the master electrician examination, it replaces your existing electrical certification. You can't carry both an electrician and master electrician certificate for the same certification.
To apply for a master electrician examination online, you will need:
- Your Social Security number
- Mailing address
- Email address
- Required fees
- $160.60 for your application
- Your examination fee - this fee varies by specialty and is paid directly to the testing agency (PSI)
Complete the Application for Master Electrician Certification Examination (F500-088-000)
Send the original form, along with a check or money order to:
Department of Labor & Industries
PO Box 44460
Olympia, WA 98504-4460
You can apply in person at any local L&I office.
If applying in person, bring the completed forms above to your local L&I office. Payment can be made in person with cash, check, money order, or credit/debit card.
What L&I will do:
- Review your application to verify that you meet qualification requirements.
- Mail you a notice once your application is approved with instructions on how to schedule your exam with PSI.
- Send a letter if your application is denied, stating the reason(s) for denial.
As a master electrician, you are required to notify us within 10 days of any change in your assignment status.
When you assign as the designated administrator/master electrician to an electrical contracting company, you are accepting the responsibility to ensure the electrical contractor complies with all appropriate Washington state electrical laws and rules.
To assign yourself as the designated administrator/master electrician to an electrical contractor or unassign yourself, you must submit a completed Change Assignment of Administrator/Master Certificate (F503-009-000) form, along with the fee of $41.60.
Master electrician's certificates must be renewed every 3 years. Your certificate expires on your birthdate. You must complete 24 hours of L&I approved continuing education, including a minimum of 8 hours of code update and 4 hours of RCW/WAC review.
Before you renew your master electrician's certificate online, make sure you're eligible to renew:
- Use our Verify tool which will tell you if you have:
- Met the education requirements
- Any outstanding, unpaid citations
- An expired or suspended certificate
If your certificate is more than 90 days past the expiration date, you must reapply and take the master electrical examination to reinstate your certificate. If you have any issues with your certificate, contact us for assistance. If an education course is not appearing on your record, contact your course provider.
To renew online, you will need the following:
- Your 12-digit certificate number
- Last 4 digits of your Social Security number
- Email address and phone number
- Your renewal fee of $137.90, or $275.90 if renewing late, payable by credit/debit card or electronic check
By mail or in person
To renew by mail, you will need to send your:
- Renewal notice or a printed application Administrator/Electrician/Master Electrician Certificate Renewal form (F500-045-000).
- Check or money order for $158.70, or $317.50 if renewing late, payable to the Department of Labor & Industries.
Department of Labor & Industries
P.O. Box 44460
Olympia WA 98504-4460
To renew in person, visit your local L&I office with the following:
- Renewal notice or a printed application, Administrator/Electrician/Master Electrician Certificate Renewal form (F500-045-000).
- The renewal fee of $158.70, or $317.50 if renewing late. We accept cash, check, money order, or credit/debit cards.
Late renewal requirements
If you pay your renewal fee but have not completed your continuing education requirements, your certificate will be place in an inactive status until education requirements are met. If you are assigned to an electrical contractor fulfilling the duties of an administrator, you will be unassigned.
You should renew your certificate before it expires. If you are on the job with a card that is expired, suspended, inactive, or revoked, you can be subject to citation and fines. If you don't renew before your certificate expires, a late-renewal fee will be charged. If you are assigned to an electrical contractor fulfilling administrator duties, you will be unassigned on the expiration date of your certificate.
If you are unassigned due to late renewal or not meeting educational requirements, you must complete the Change Assignment of Administrator/Master Certificate (F503-009-000) form to become reassigned to the electrical contractor.
What L&I will do
We will verify that you have:
- Completed the required continuing education.
- Paid the appropriate renewal fee.
- No outstanding fines or penalties.
Within 5 days after we receive your renewal, L&I will:
- Send your certificate.
- Notify you if there are any outstanding issues that need to be resolved.
For more information
- Electrical Licensing and Certification: 360-902-5269
- Electrical Citation and Amusement Ride Support Desk: 360-902-5570
- Electrical Plan Review: 360-902-5246
Find an office location near you.
Washington State Department of Labor & Industries
P.O. Box 44460
Olympia WA 98504-4460