To work in the electrical construction trade in Washington, you must have a valid electrician certificate issued by L&I.

The electrical construction trade includes, but is not limited to, installing and maintaining:

  • Electrical wires and equipment that are used for light, heat, or power.
  • Remote control, signaling, power limited, or communication circuits or systems.

Becoming an electrician

To become a certified general journey level or specialty electrician in Washington, you must start as an electrical trainee or have equivalent out-of-state or military experience.

All electricians must meet the experience and training requirements to qualify for examination. There are two levels of certification for electricians: general journey-level and specialty electricians. Each has different qualification requirements.

Journey Level

A general journey level electrician (EL01) is certified to work in commercial/industrial and all specialty electrical categories.

  • At least 8,000 hours working as an electrical trainee under the supervision of a certified journey level electrician. At least 4,000 hours must be spent working in commercial or industrial installations.
  • 96 hours of basic classroom instruction.
  • Trainees must be supervised a minimum of 75% of the time.

Beginning July 1, 2023:

  • To qualify for EL01 examination, you must have completed a recognized electrical apprenticeship program.
  • To work on a commercial jobsite, trainees must be registered in a recognized electrical apprenticeship program, unless performing specialized work (e.g., low-voltage, signs, etc.).
Specialty electricians

There are 14 specialty categories in the electrical construction trade, each with a specific scope of work. Depending on the specialty, there are different experience and training requirements.

Specialties with 4,000 hour experience requirements

The following specialties require at least 4,000 hours of work experience in a selected specialty as an electrical trainee. Trainees must be supervised by an electrician certified in the same specialty or a by journey level electrician, be supervised a minimum of 75% of the time, and complete 48 hours of basic classroom instruction.

  • Residential (EL02) – Single and multi-family dwellings.
  • Pump and irrigation (EL03) – Domestic and public water irrigation systems, not including wastewater.
  • Signs (EL04) – Placement and connection of signs and outline lighting.
  • Limited energy system (EL06) – 30 volts and less low-voltage systems, and all telecommunications work.
  • HVAC/refrigeration system (EL06A) – 30 volts and less control, and limited line voltage work within HVAC/R systems only.
  • Nonresidential maintenance (EL07) – Maintenance, repair, and replacement of existing electrical equipment.
Specialties with 2,000 hour experience requirements

The following specialties require at least 2,000 hours of work experience in a selected specialty as an electrical trainee. Trainees must be supervised by an electrician certified in the same specialty or a by journey level electrician, be supervised 100% of the time, and complete 24 hours of basic classroom instruction.

  • Domestic well (3A) – Circuit extensions and controls only. 7.5 horsepower or less, 250 volt domestic water and residential wastewater pumps.
  • HVAC/refrigeration - restricted (6B) – 30 volts and less control and limited voltage line work within small (250 volt, 125 amp, single phase) HVAC/R systems only.
  • Nonresidential lighting maintenance and lighting retrofit (7A) – Maintenance and energy upgrades within existing luminaires only.
  • Residential maintenance (7B) – Limited device and equipment replacement in dwelling units.
  • Restricted nonresidential maintenance (7C) – Limited device and equipment replacement in non-residential occupancies.
  • Appliance repair (7D) – Repair and replacement of household and other small (250 volt, 60 amp, single phase) appliances.
  • Equipment repair (7E) – Repair and replacement of less than 60 volt self-contained utilization equipment.
  • Door, gate, and similar systems (10) – Specific equipment or system work from associated controllers only.
Apply

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 for journey level or specialty electricians.

Apply

Online

To apply for electrician certification online, you will need:

  • Your legal name
  • Your Social Security number
  • Mailing address
  • Email address
  • An electronic payment: We accept credit/debit cards and electronic checks (E-Check) – a one-time withdrawal from your checking account.
  • The required documentation of your experience and basic classroom instruction on file with L&I to support your application:
    • Affidavits of experience - You can verify your affidavits of experience documenting your required hours of experience are on file with us by calling our office at 360-902-5269. If we do not have your affidavits of experience on file, you will need to mail them to us. Affidavits must be received within 30 days after applying, along with a copy of your receipt.
    • Basic classroom instruction – You must meet the minimum number of hours for the certification you are applying for. To verify the hours on file, call our office at 360-902-5269. Your course provider reports these hours directly to us.
  • Required fees:
    • $90 for your application
    • Your examination fee – this fee varies by specialty and is paid directly to the testing agency (PSI)

Mail

To apply by mail, print the appropriate application and follow the directions on the form:

In person

To apply in person, visit your local L&I office.

What L&I will do

  • Review your affidavits of experience, or out-of-state or military experience.
  • 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.
Renew

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 to complete your renewal, including a minimum of 8 hours of code update and 4 hours of RCW/WAC review.

If you pay your renewal fee but have not completed your continuing education requirements, your certificate will be placed in an inactive status until education requirements are met.

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.

Renewal requirements

Before you renew your 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 electrical exam to reinstate your certificate. If you have any issues with your certificate, contact us at ElectricalProgram@Lni.wa.gov for assistance. If an education course is not appearing on your record, contact your course provider.

Renew

Online

To renew online, you will need the following:

  • Your 12-digit training certificate number.
  • Social Security number.
  • Email address and phone number.
  • Your renewal fee of $72.70, or $145.50 if renewing late (payable by credit or debit card or electronic check).

Mail

To renew by mail, you will need to send your:

Mail to:

L&I Electrical Program
P.O. Box 44460
Olympia, WA 98504-4460

Note: Your application must be received by L&I before your expiration date to renew on-time, or within 90 days of your expiration date to renew late.

In person

To renew in person, visit your local L&I office with the following:

What we will do

Within 5 days after we receive your renewal, we will:

  • Send your certificate, if you met the continuing education requirement, paid the fees, and have no outstanding fees or penalties.
  • Notify you if there are any outstanding issues that need to be resolved
For more information

Related resources

Renew your license, update your address or pay reinstatement fee online

Request a duplicate or replacement license or certificate online

Request a Duplicate or Replacement License or Certificate by mail (F500-032-000)

Request for Change of Address (F500-044-000)

Contact us

Electrical Licensing and Certification 360-902-5269
Electrical Citation and Amusement Ride Support Desk 360-902-5570
Electrical Plan Review 360-902-5246
Electrical Program - Tumwater Building 360-902-5249

Email: ElectricalProgram@Lni.wa.gov

Mailing address

Washington State Department of Labor & Industries
Electrical Program
P.O. Box 44460
Olympia WA 98504-4460