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Electrical Contractor Licensing in Washington DC

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Electrical Contractors working in the District of Columbia are required to hold a license from the DC Board of Industrial Trades.  Licensing is handled by the Board in connection with Pearson VUE.  Any person or business engaging in electrical work must be properly licensed, including all subcontractors and employees of an electrical contracting business.

The Board protects the health and well-being of the public within the District by ensuring that all persons have the skills and knowledge needed to perform electrical work.  As part of the licensing process, contractors are required to meet the requirements of their chosen license classification, and in some cases, pass a qualifying exam.

License Classifications and Categories for Electrical Contractors in Washington DC

The DC Board of Industrial Trades offers the following license classifications and categories to electrical contractors:

  • EA- Apprentice Electrician License- for individuals who wish to learn the electrical trade by assisting in electrical installations, maintenance and repairs under the direct supervision of a Master Electrician, Electrician or Master Electrician Specialist.
  • EJ- Journeyman Electrician License- for individuals who have completed an apprenticeship and plan to work to gain experience installing, maintaining and repairing electrical wiring, apparatuses, equipment and fixtures under the direct supervision of a Master Electrician, Electrician or Master Electrician Specialist.
  • EM- Master Electrician License- for individuals who are qualified to work on the planning and layout of electrical wiring, apparatuses, fixtures and equipment. Master Electricians are also able to supervise the work of other electricians.
  • DM- Designated Master Electrician License- for individuals who plan to supervise the planning and layout of electrical projects performed by an Electrical Contractor. They are responsible for all work performed by the electrical contracting business they oversee.
  • EMS- Master Electrician Specialist License- for individuals who plan to specialize in the planning and layout of electrical work in a specific category, including:
    • Maintenance and Repair (M/R)
    • Low-Voltage (LOW)
  • DMS- Designated Master Electrician Specialist License- for individuals who plan to supervise the work planning and layout of electrical projects performed by an Electrical Contractor Specialist of the same category, including:
    • Maintenance and Repair (M/R)
    • Low-Voltage (LOW)
  • ECC- Electrical Contractor License- for businesses that plan to install, maintain and repair electrical wiring, apparatuses, appliances and equipment under the direct supervision of a Designated Master Electrician.
  • ECS- Electrical Contractor Specialist License- for businesses that plan to install, maintain and repair electrical wiring, apparatuses, appliances and equipment under the direct supervision of a Designated Master Electrician Specialist of the same category, including
    • Maintenance and Repair (M/R)
    • Low-Voltage (LOW)
  • ECF- Electrical Contractor Specialist Fixtures License- for businesses that plan to install, repair and maintain previously existing electrical fixtures, signs and outlets.

For more information about the license classifications and categories available, contact Pearson VUE at:

1-877-258-9215

Call between 8am and 5pm, Monday through Friday.

Process to Obtain an Electrical Contractor License in Washington DC

  1. Contractors must be at least 16 years old to obtain an Apprentice license, and at least 18 years of age to obtain a license in all other classifications and categories.
  2. In order to conduct business within the District, all corporations, LLCs and partnerships are required to register with and prove that they are in good standing with the Department of Consumer Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) Corporations Division.
  3. Contractors must complete and submit an application to the DC Board of Industrial Trades along with all the required documents and fees.
  4. Some classifications are required to take and pass the DC Electrical Exam, including practical and demonstration sections related to their chosen classification

Work Experience and Education Requirements

The Board requires some license classifications to meet requirements for work experience and/or education in order to qualify to take the exam:

  • EJ- Journeyman Electrician- must have 4 years of work experience (4,000 hours) as an Apprentice Electrician. The Board also accepts electrical experience in the military, equivalent to 4 years, or the completion of a 4 year electrical engineering program from an approved college or university with one year of practical electrical work experience.
  • EM- Master Electricians- must have 4 years of experience working as a Journeyman Electrician, in addition to 4 years of work experience as an Apprentice Electrician, totaling 8 years. The Board also accepts electrical experience in the military, equivalent to 4 years, or the completion of a 4 year electrical engineering program from an approved college or university with 2 years of practical electrical work experience.
  • EMS- Master Electrician Specialist- must have 4 years of work experience under the supervision of a Master Electrician within the specialized category for which the contractor is applying.

Additionally, the above license classifications are required to prove that they have completed a class based on National Electric Code (NEC) within the past 2 years before submitting an application.

EF- Electrical Fixture Contractors must prove at least one year of work experience as a fixture hanger.

The remaining license classifications; DM, DMS, ECC and ECS do not have to meet work experience or education requirements.  These classifications are also not required to pass an exam in order to obtain a license.

EA-Apprentice Electrician applicants are also not required to pass an exam; however they must apply for a license immediately upon becoming employed in the electrical field and prove they are working under the direct supervision of a Master Electrician, Master Electrician Specialist or Electrician.  All Apprentices are also required to prove current enrolled in an Apprenticeship Program at a school approved by the Board.  For a copy of the Verification of School Enrollment form, please visit:

Verification of School Enrollment

For questions about the work experience and education requirements for each classification, contact Pearson VUE at:

1-877-258-9215

Call between 8am and 5pm, Monday through Friday.

Preparing to Submit an Application

In order to qualify for a license, all applicants must be at least 18 years old.  Apprentice applicants must be at least 16 years of age.

All applicants must have a clean background without criminal conviction or moral infraction that would cause them to be unfit for licensing.

If the contractor’s business is a partnership, LLC or corporation, they are required to register with and prove that they are in good standing with the DCRA Corporations Division.  To do so, these business types must request a certified copy of their Articles of Organization/Incorporation and a Certificate of Good Standing by filling out and submitting the DCRA Application for Certificate of Good Standing and Certified Copy. Once obtained, submit these documents along with the license application.

Sole Proprietors are required to submit their Trade Name Certificate of Registration from the DCRA Corporations Division, as well as their business registration from the DC Finance and Revenue.

For more information, please contact the DCRA Corporations Division at:

202-442-4332

*Please note, this process takes approximately 15 days.

Any contractor who holds or has held an electrical license in another state must ask their state’s licensing Board to send verification to the DC Board of Industrial Trades.

Any person applying for an Electrical Contractor/Contractor Specialist license must report all names, past and present, that they have used when performing electrical work.  They must also prove that they do not have any outstanding permits.  Submit the Contractor Name Certification form along with the license application.  For a copy of this form, please visit:

Previous Contractor Name Certification

All individuals and businesses must choose a local representative, who resides within the District of Columbia, to act as their Registered Agent.  Registered Agents must hold a physical address in Washington DC.  Applicants must indicate their chosen Registered Agent and submit the Local Representative Affidavit along with their license application.  For a copy of this form, please visit:

Local Representative Affidavit

All businesses are also required to choose a Designated Master Electrician or Designated Master Electrician Specialist to oversee and claim responsibility for their work.  Electrical Contractors must employ a Master Electrician and Electrical Contractor Specialists must employ a Master Electrician Specialist of the same category.  Submit the Contractor/Designated Master form along with the license application.  For a copy of this form, please visit:

Contractor/ Designated Master Form

*Master/Master Specialists may only oversee the work of one contractor/business at a time. 

All Journeyman, Master Electrician, Master Electrician Specialists and Designated Master Electricians/Specialists are required to submit the following items along with their license application:

  • 2×2, passport-style photograph
  • Notarized letters on company letterhead, verifying all employment experiences. Letters must include:
    • Dates of employment
    • Detailed description of duties performed
    • Signature of supervising Master Electrician/Specialist
    • License number and state in which supervising Master/Electrician/Specialist is licensed
  • Certificate of Moral Character, completed by 3 individuals, not related to the applicant. For a copy of this form, please visit:
    Certificate of Moral Character
*W-2s will also be needed to verify employment history, as well as copies of degrees and transcripts to verify education. 

All Journeyman are required to submit a certificate from a nationally recognized trade organization or electrical labor union, showing that they have passed the organization’s required exam, authorizing them to work as a Journeyman.

The Board offers temporary work permits, which allow individuals and businesses to begin working right away while they wait for their license.  In order to obtain a temporary work permit, contractors must complete a temporary work permit application and pay a $100 fee.  Temporary work permits are good for no more than 2 months.

For more information about the documents and information each classification must submit with their license application, please contact Pearson VUE at:

1-877-258-9215

Call between 8am and 5pm, Monday through Friday.

Submitting an Application

For a copy of the license application, please visit:

New License Application

For a copy of the license application instructions, please visit:

Application Instructions and Forms

Be sure to read all the information in the instruction packet carefully to ensure that all the required documents are in order before submitting the application.  Incomplete applications delay the licensing process.

*All applications and required documents must be turned in to the Board within 90 days of submitting the application.  Otherwise the application will be thrown out. 

All applications must be signed and notarized.

Classifications which are required to pass an exam in order to receive a license must submit the Exam Scheduling Form and include the examination fee with their application.  This includes, Journeyman, Master Electricians and Master Electrician Specialists.  Exams are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.  For a copy of the form, please visit:

Examination Scheduling Form and Instructions

The examination fee is $85.

There is an application fee of $65.

There is a licensing fee of $120 for all classifications, except Apprentice Electricians, who have a licensing fee of $110.

Application, licensing and examination fees may be submitted together as one payment, via check or money order, made payable to “Pearson VUE,” making the total fee required for each classification:

  • EA- $175
  • EJ- $260
  • EM- $270
  • DM- $150
  • EMS- $270
  • DMS- $185
  • ECC- $185
  • ECS- $185
  • ECF- $185
*Do not send payments in the form of cash. 

Please note, only the licensing portion of the fee is refundable, in the event that the contractor’s application is denied, they do not pass the examination, or if they choose to abandon the application process.  Refunds take approximately 6 weeks.

The following classifications are also required to submit an original surety bond in the following amounts:

  • Electrical Contractor- $4,000
  • Electrical Contractor Specialist- $2,000
  • Electrical Contractor Specialist-Fixture- $1,000
  • Master Electrician- $2,000
  • Master Electrician Specialist- $1,000

For a copy of the Bond Form, please visit:

Electrical Bond

Submit the completed application, along with all the required documents and fees to:

Pearson VUE
Department DC-EL
8401 Corporate Drive, Metro-Plex I, Suite 250
Landover, MD 20785

Upon reviewing and approving the application, the Board will issue a license to all applicants where an exam is not required.  Approved applicants who are required to pass the exam will receive an approval notice to take the test.

Upon receiving their license, all contractors are required to frame and display their certificate in all office locations.  Duplicate license certificates are available for $30.  Wallet cards are to be carried at all times when conducting business.

For more information and questions about the application process, contact Pearson VUE at:

1-877-258-9215

Call between 8am and 5pm, Monday through Friday.

The Examination

The following license classifications are required to take and pass the DC Examination:

  • Journeyman Electricians
  • Master Electricians
  • Master Electrician Specialists

The DC Examination is a 2-part, open-book, computer-based test, including:

  • Practical Portion
  • Demonstration Portion

Contractors are allowed to use the following books as references on the day of the exam:

  • National Electric Code Book
  • Ugly’s Electrical Reference

For more information on obtaining the above reference books, contact the International Code Council (ICC) at:

1-888-422-7233

OR

Visit: International Code Council- Certification and Testing

Once the Board approves the contractor’s license application, they will issue an Authorization to Test notice which will contain the date, time and location of the exam.  Authorizations are generally mailed out within 2 week prior to the examination date.

If the contractor does not pass the exam, they may re-submit an application under “Re-examination.” Contractors have 3 years from the date their original application was submitted to complete all Board requirements and pass the exam.

For more information about the examination process, contact Pearson VUE at:

1-877-258-9215

Call between 8am and 5pm, Monday through Friday.

How Long is a Washington DC Electrical Contractor License Valid?

All electrical license classifications and categories are good for a period of 2 years in the District of Columbia.  Licenses expire on November 30th of the odd-numbered year.

The Board mails out renewal reminders approximately 3 months prior to the expiration date.  It is the contractor’s responsibility to ensure that they renew their license on time.

Upon renewal the Board requires an updated surety bond for all required applicants.

For more information about renewing a license and renewal fees, contact Pearson VUE at:

1-877-258-9215

Call between 8am and 5pm, Monday through Friday.

Table of Fees

Fee What is it For? When is it Due?
$100 Temporary Work Permit Fee for contractors who must begin work while waiting for their license Upon submitting the Temporary Work Permit Application
$65 Application Fee Upon submitting the license application
$85 Examination Fee for all Journeyman, Master Electrician/Specialist applicants Upon submitting the license application and exam scheduling form
$110 License Fee for all Apprentice Electrician applicants Upon submitting the license application
$120 License Fee for all other license classifications and categories Upon submitting the license application
$30 Duplicate License Fee Upon submitting the license application or requesting a duplicate license

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