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.).

Reciprocity with Oregon

Reciprocal agreement with Oregon
Interested in an Oregon reciprocal general journeyman license?

In general, Oregon reciprocal licenses are available to those who obtained Washington (01) general journey level electrician certificates after completing 8000-hour Apprenticeships requiring at least 576 classroom hours of education and passing Washington exams. Anyone having a master (01) general journey level electrician certificate is also eligible. If this does not describe you, you are not eligible.

For Washington licensing verification, mail your Oregon Reciprocal License Verification Form along with a completed Request for Electrical Licensing Verification (F500-128-000) and fee of $27.90 to the address shown in the top left corner of the request form. We will fill out your verification form and mail it back to you. Mail is the only option, do not send anything by email or fax.

Interested in a Washington reciprocal certificate?

Washington reciprocal certificates are generally available to those electricians who obtained their Oregon general journeyman electrician (J) licenses after completing 8,000-hour Apprenticeships requiring at least 576 classroom hours of education and passing Oregon exams. Anyone having an Oregon General Supervising Electrician (S) license obtained by Oregon examination is also eligible.

If this describes you, and you have never held a Washington (01) general journey level electrician certificate before, or failed to pass an exam for one in the last two years, and you are not otherwise disqualified by conditions in WAC 296-46B-942(20), you are likely eligible.

  • If this does not describe you, you are not eligible. No waiting periods apply: Oregon license holders can apply any time after they receive their Oregon license.

For licensing verification from Oregon, submit Part C of the Washington reciprocal application to Oregon as follows:

By mail:

Department of Consumer and Business Services
Building Codes Division
PO Box 14470
Salem, OR 97309

By fax: 503-378-2322

Oregon charges no fee to process verification requests. Once completed, the original form will be returned by mail if you do not provide instructions requesting it be returned by fax and a fax number to send it to. Please direct questions about Oregon licensing verification to: license.bcd@oregon.gov.

No other reciprocal agreements exist.

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.

Out of state applicants - (01) journey level or 4000 hour specialty exams:

Learn how you may qualify – see the flowchart on this form: Out-of-State Application for Electrical Examination (F626-009-000).

Determine where you fit best. If you are not a 01 general journey level candidate, see if specialty work scopes in Chapter 296-46B-920 WAC match your experience. Apply accordingly.

Include documentation with your application proving you meet the requirements for experience and education referenced in the flowchart.

Mail everything to the address on the form in a single envelope. Include the application fee – see form. There are no online payment or submission options.

Do not email anything. Use our Verify tool to keep track of your status.

In state applicants - (01) journey level or 4000 hour specialty exams:

Before you apply, complete your hours of approved electrical basic trainee classes – 96 for (01) exams, 48 for 4000 hour specialties.

Use our Verify tool to confirm that you have enough hours of work experience on record to qualify for examination. When you do, apply online.

If you are sending affidavits at the time of application, submit them along with an In-State Application for Electrical Examination (F626-001-000) form.

Mail everything to the address on the form in a single envelope. Include application fees – see forms. Use certified mail if you want to track receipt. There are no online payment or submission options.

Do not email anything. Use our Verify tool to keep track of your status.

In state applicants - 2000 hour specialties:

The road to examination for 2000 hour specialties requires documenting hours of work experience while supervised by an electrician 100 percent of the time.

Learn about experience requirements and how to qualify for examination: Application for a 0% Supervision Modified Electrical Training Certificate & Specialty Examination (F500-097-000).

Do not apply online.

Mail everything to the address on the form in a single envelope. Include the application fees – see forms. There are no online payment or online submission options available.

After you pass your exam, we will send you a nonrenewable 0% supervision modified training certificate that allows you to work without supervision in the specialty you applied for until it expires.

Before your 0% supervision modified training certificate expires:

Complete 24 hours of hours of approved electrical basic trainee classes. Submit an Application for a 2000 Hour Specialty Certificate (F500-098-000) when you have 2000 hours of experience.

After we record your hours, we will mail your certificate to you.

Do not email anything. Use our Verify tool to keep track of your status.

What L&I will do
  • Mail you a notice once your application is approved with instructions on how to schedule your exam with PSI. Learn more about exams by visiting our Electrical Examinations page.
  • Send a letter stating the reason(s) for denial.
Change or Renew

You must renew your electrician certificate every 3 years. It expires on your birthdate. Renewal fees double after expiration. Not renewable if expired more than 90 days; retest is your only option.

Change or Renew

To change your address or renew online, you will need the following:

  • Last 4 digits of your Social Security number.
  • Your 12-digit electrician certificate number. Use our Verify tool to find it if you need to.
  • If renewing, 24 hours of continuing education credit. See requirements below.

Fees are payable by credit/debit card or electronic check.

Renewal requirements

Before you renew, make sure you're eligible:

  • Use our Verify tool to see if you have:
    • 24 hours of approved continuing education credit including 8 hours of code update, 4 hours of RCW/WAC. Contact your course provider if you do not see credit.
    • Outstanding or unpaid citations you need to take care of.

When not working in Washington, you can pay your renewal fee without completing education requirements. This places your certificate into inactive status until you meet education requirements or expire.

Having trouble? Contact us at ElectricalProgram@Lni.wa.gov. Please provide your certificate number and let us know what you are experiencing.

What we will do

Mail a renewal letter to you that acts as your certificate for 30 days. Your card should arrive in about 30 days. Nothing will arrive if you do not have your address up to date.

Changing your address? Make sure to change it on every license or certificate you hold.

For more information

Find an office location near you.