Electrical Contractors in the State of Tennessee are required to hold a license from the TN Department of Commerce & Insurance. Licenses are issued by the Department’s Board for Licensing Contractors. The Board protects the safety and welfare of the public by requiring that all electrical work be performed by licensed professionals.
As part of the licensing process, contractors are required to pass a 2-part exam, submit a financial statement, prove that they have experience in the electrical trade and carry the proper forms of insurance.
License Types for Electrical Contractors in Tennessee
The Board offers two different license types to electrical contractors:
- Electrical Contractor License (CE)- for contractors working on projects over $25,000, including labor and materials
- Limited License Electricians (LLE)- for contractors working on projects under $25,000, including labor and materials
Contractors and subcontractors are required to hold one of these license types before they begin bidding on electrical projects in Tennessee.
Each license type is assigned a monetary limit, which determines the size of the projects the contractor may take on once they are licensed. Monetary limits are based on the contractor’s work experience and financial situation.
This article covers the steps needed to obtain an Electrical Contractor License (CE). For more information about Limited License Electricians (LLE), please visit the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance website.
By Phone: 615-253-2144
*Some counties in TN do not require electrical inspections. In this case an LLE may be required in addition to a CE. For more information, please call 615-253-2144.
Process to Obtain and Electrical Contractor License in Tennessee
- All contractors must register for, take and pass the TN Business & Law exam, and Electrical Trade Exam, administered by PSI Services LLC. Businesses have the option of choosing someone within their company to act as a qualifying agent and take the exam on the business’ behalf.
- Contractors must obtain an audited or reviewed financial statement from a CPA showing their net worth and working capital
- Contractors must obtain a letter of reference from a past client, employer or codes official who can comment on their work experience. The Board prefers contractors have at least 3 years of work experience in electrical contracting or subcontracting
- Contractors must provide proof of general liability and workers compensation insurance
- Corporations and LLCs must register with the Tennessee Secretary of State
- Contractors must complete and submit an application to the Board by the deadline, along with all the required documents and fees.
The Examination Process
Before submitting an application for an Electrical Contractor License (CE), all contractors must pass a 2-part, open-book examination, including:
- Business & Law Exam
- Trade Exam
*Low Voltage Electrical Contractors (less than 70 volts), such as those working with alarm systems, fire detection, intercom, cabling, telephone lines and sound may not be required to take and pass the Trade portion of the exam. For more information, please call: 615-741-9771
Businesses have the option of choosing someone within their company to act as a Qualifying Agent (QA) to take the exam on the business’ behalf. The QA may be:
- Business Owner
- Partner in a Partnership
- Major Stockholder in a Corporation
- Full-time Employee within the Company
The Board holds a contract with PSI Services LLC to administer the exam. The PSI Candidate Information Bulletin contains all the information needed to register for and take the exam, including the exam registration form, sample test questions and a list of study materials and suggested references.
Applicants may register for the exam ONE of the following ways:
- Online– follow the link for new user registration
- By Phone- call PSI and use their automated system 24 hours a day. Representative are standing by to assist callers during regular business hours:
- Fax- when registering by fax, allow 4 business days for processing. Fax the registration form and payment information to:
- By mail: allow approximately 2 weeks for processing when submitting the exam registration form by mail. Complete the exam registration form from the Candidate Information Bulletin. Mail the registration form and payment to:
PSI Licensure: Certification
3210 E Tropicana
Las Vegas, NV 89121
The cost to take the exam is $110. Separately, the cost to take each section of the exam is $55.
PSI accepts payments in the form of:
- Cashier’s Check or Money Order may payable to “PSI.”
- Visa or Mastercard when applying online or by phone or fax
Once PSI accepts the exam registration form, it is the applicant’s responsibility to call PSI to schedule their test. To schedule an exam, call PSI at: (800) 733-9267
Testing centers are located in:
- Johnson City
On the day of the test, examinees should arrive at least 30 minutes for before their scheduled test to allow time for check-in. They are also required to bring 2 forms of identification, including:
- A government issued photo id with the examinee’s signature; such as a driver’s license or passport
- Another form of identification with the examinee’s name and signature; such as a credit card or debit card.
Contractors must pass each portion of the exam with a minimum score of 73%. Scores are issued same-day before the contractor leaves the testing center.
Contractors should keep their passing score report, as they will need to submit their exam scores along with their license application.
Preparing to Submit an Application
Once the contractor has taken and passed the exam, it is time to start filling out the application and gathering the required documents.
Contractors are required to submit the following along with the completed application:
- 1 Letter of Reference- from an employer or past client who has knowledge of the contractor’s work experience; or from a codes official who has inspected the contractor’s work. The Board prefers that all contractors have at least 3 years of work experience in the electrical trade. The number of years of work experience that the contractor has helps determine the monetary limit for the contractor’s license.
- Reviewed or Audited Financial Statement- prepared by a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) showing the contractor’s net worth and working capital. Financial statements help the Board to determine the monetary limit, or project size, that contractors may bid and work on. Monetary limits are calculated at the maximum of 10 times the lesser of the contractor’s working capital, in addition to the number of years work experience the contractor has. Contractors must submit a reviewed financial statement for monetary limits of $1,500,000 or less. An audited financial statement is required if the monetary limit is over $1,500,000. In some cases, contractors may qualify for a monetary limit increase if they submit a line of credit or a supplemental financial statement with a guaranty indemnity. If the contractor’s working capital and net worth is $300,000 or more, they may qualify for an unlimited license. Financial statements must reflect the financial situation of the business owner. The name on the statement must match exactly with the name on the application and all corresponding documents. More information about financial statements and monetary limits is found inside the application packet.
*The Board does not accept compiled or income tax-based financial statements.
- Proof of General Liability Insurance- based on the contractor’s monetary limit. Contractors must submit a certificate of insurance along with their application. Minimum coverage amounts depend on the following monetary limits:
- For limits up to $500,000- minimum coverage amount of $100,000
- For limits of $501,001 to $1,500,000- minimum coverage amount of $500,000
- For limits over $1,500,001 – minimum coverage amount of $1,000,000
- Proof of Worker’s Compensation Insurance- all contractors are required to hold worker’s compensation insurance, unless they do not plan to have employees or hire workers.
- Proof of Registration with the Tennessee Secretary of State- if the contractor’s business is an LLC or Corporation. Other business types are not required to register. For more information about registration, please call:
Visit: Tennessee Business Services Online
Be sure to read and follow all instructions included in the application packet prior to filling out the application. The packet contains further information about the insurance, reference letter and financial statement requirements.
For questions or help completing the application, please contact the Board:
By Phone: 1-800-544-7693 or 615-741-8307
Submitting an Application
Please remember that a completed application includes the following documents:
- Passing exam scores, from PSI Services
- Reference form/ letter of reference
- Financial statement
- Proof of insurance
*Contractors should make copies of all documents for their records.
There is also a non-refundable $250 license fee that must be submitted along with the application. The Board accepts payments in the form of:
- Personal check
- Company check
- Cashier’s check
- Money order
*Cash and credit card payments are not accepted at this time.
Make checks payable to “State of Tennessee.”
All applications are due by the 20th of the month before the scheduled Board meeting. The Board meets to review applications 6 times per year.
View the Board’s meeting schedule on the Department of Commerce & Insurance’s website.
*Please note that applications must be in the Board office on or before the deadline. Applications postmarked on the 20th will not be considered for review.
Mail the completed application, along with all the required documents and fees to:
Tennessee Board for Licensing Contractors
500 James Robertson Parkway
Nashville, TN 37243-1150
The Board also accepts applications in-person at the above address on the 4th floor of Davy Crockett Tower. However, all application fees must be taken to the Cashier’s Office.
It takes approximately 4 to 6 weeks for the Board to review and process applications. In some cases, the Board may require a personal interview with the contractor. If a personal interview is needed, the Board will notify the contractor via phone, email or fax.
Once the Board approves the contractor’s application, they will issue a license. The contractor’s license will bear the following information:
- Contractor’s name
- License Classification- (CE) Electrical Contractor
- License ID number
- Monetary limit
- License expiration date
How Long is a Tennessee Electrical Contractor License Valid?
Electrical Contractor Licenses (CE) are good for a period of 2 years in the State of Tennessee. The expiration date is printed on all licenses. The Board mails out renewal notices approximately 90 days before the license is set to expire.
All renewal applications, documents and fees are due 30 days before the license is set to expire to allow time for processing. At renewal time, contractors are required to submit the following:
- $200 renewal fee
- Renewal application
- Proof of current insurance
- Financial statement
*Corporations and LLCs must also prove that their registration with the TN Secretary of State is active and in good standing.
For more information about the renewal process, please contact the Board at:
Table of Fees
|Fee||What is it For?||When is it Due?|
|$55||Cost to take the TN Business & Law portion of the exam||Upon registering for the examination|
|$55||Cost to take the Trade portion of the exam||Upon registering for the examination|
|$250||License Fee||Upon submitting the license application|
|$200||License Renewal Fee||Every 2 years, upon submitting the renewal application|