In order to perform work or oversee electrical projects in the State of Washington, contractors are required to hold a license or certificate. Licenses and certificates are issued by the Washington Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) Electrical Program.
As part of the certification process, contractors are required to meet L&I’s requirements for education and work experience, and pass a qualifying exam. As part of the licensing process, contractors are required to prove that they hold the proper forms of bonding and insurance.
License/Certificate Types and Classifications for Electrical Contractors in Washington
L&I offers the following license and certificate classifications to contractors working in the electrical trade:
- Electrical Contractor License- allows contractors to participate in the business of electrical contracting. All licensees are required to hold or employ someone who holds a certificate as a Master Electrician or Electrical Administrator to oversee their work.
- Master Electrician Certificate- allows the certificate holder to oversee and perform electrical work to ensure that all work is in compliance with laws, rules and codes in the State of Washington.
- Electrical Administrator Certificate- allows the certificate holder to oversee electrical work and to make sure that all work falls in line with codes, rules and laws within the state. Administrators are not allowed to engage in electrical installations.
- Electrician Trainee Certificate- first step to earning an Electrician Certificate. All trainees must work under the supervision of an Electrician Certificate holder.
- Electrician Certificate- allows the certificate holder to participate in journeyman-level and specialty electrical work.
*L&I also offers licenses and certificates for contractors who want to participate in or oversee Telecommunications work.
Process to Obtain an Electrical License or Certificate in Washington
- Contractors must determine if they want to obtain a license or certificate, based on the type of work they plan to do. All Electrical Contractor License applicants must designate a certificate-holder, such as a Master Electrician or Electrical Administrator to oversee their work.
- If the contractor is applying for a certificate they must meet the education and work experience requirements for their classification. Contractors must prove that they meet the requirements by submitting an application to L&I.
- If the contractor is applying for a certificate they must take and pass the exam for their chosen classification.
- If the contractor is applying for a license, they must submit an application online and pay the fee. Additionally they must submit documented proof of the proper insurance, bonding and proof that they have chosen a certificate-holder to oversee their work.
- Certificate holders are required to attend continuing education courses prior to renewal.
Education and Work Experience Requirement for Certificate Applicants
The following certificate applicants are required to prove that the meet the number of required hours for education:
- Trainee Certificate applicants- must have 48 hours of basic trainee classes in order to activate their certificate.
- Electrician Certificate applicants- must have 96 hours of basic classroom instruction if applying for a general journey-level certificate. Specialty Electrician applicants must have between 24 and 48 hours of basic classroom instruction, depending on the specialty work they plan to engage in. For more information, please visit the Department of Labor and Industries’ website.
*Be sure to expand all links in this section to view all the information
The following certificate applicants are required to prove that they meet the number of required hours of work experience:
- Electrician Certificate applicants- must have 8,000 documented work hours while holding a Trainee Certificate. 4,000 of those hours must be working on commercial or industrial installations to qualify.
- Master Electrician Certificate applicants- must prove that they have held an Electrician Certificate for at least 4 years if they were working as a journeyman, or 2 years if they were working as a specialty electrician.
Once the contractor is able to prove that they meet the requirements for education and work experience, they must submit an application to L&I in order to gain approval to take the exam.
*When applying for an Electrical Administrator Certificate, contractors do not need to submit an application until they have passed the exam.
For a copy of the application, and for more specific information about the requirements, please visit the Department of Labor and Industries’ website.
Call L&I at:
The Examination Process for Certificate Applicants
In order to obtain a Trainee, Electrician, Master Electrician or Electrical Administrator certificate, all contractors must take and pass a qualifying exam. L&I 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 prepare for the exam.
Examinations are open-book and required basic knowledge of:
- Rules and laws pertaining to electrical work in Washington State
- National Electric Code
- Basic-level electrical theory
Once L&I has reviewed the contractor’s application and determined that they meet the work experience and education requirements for their certificate classification, they will issue an eligibility notice, authorizing the contractor to register for the exam.
*Electrical Administrator applicants do not need authorization, and may register for and take the exam prior to submitting the application.
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 between $45 and $105 depending on the number of hours it takes to complete each section of the test. The number of sections required depends on the certificate classification the contractor is applying for. A break-down of each examination is found in the Candidate Information Bulletin.
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 exam. To schedule an exam, call PSI at: (800) 733-9267
Testing Centers are located in:
- Federal Way (Seattle)
- Port Orchard
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 the exam with a score of 70% or higher. Once the contractor passes the exam, they will receive their certificate of competency allowing them to participate in or supervise electrical work and installations.
For more information about the examination process, contact PSI at:
Preparing and Submitting an Application for an Electrical Contractor License
Contractors applying for an Electrical Contractor license do not need to meet education and work experience requirements, or pass an exam. However, they do need to choose someone who holds a certificate to oversee their work.
Electrical Contractors are required to employ someone who holds either a Master Electrician Certificate or an Electrical Administrator Certificate. This person is responsible for ensuring that the contractor’s work is up to codes and standards within the state.
Contractors will need their Administrator/Master’s certificate number at the time they fill out the application.
Contractors are required to fill out an online application.
There is a fee of $306.10. L&I accepts payments in the form of credit card and E-check.
Once the contractor has completed the online application process, they are required to submit the following documents to L&I in order to receive their license:
- Unified Business Identification (UBI) number
- Surety bond or assignment of savings account in the amount of $4,000
- Notarized Assignment of Administrator/Master Certificate form (stating the certificate-holder they have chosen to oversee their work)
- Industrial Insurance Account- if the contractor plans to employ workers
Additionally, all businesses such as LLCS, LLPs and corporations must be properly registered with the Washington Secretary of State and the Department of Revenue.
Submit all required documents to L&I at:
Department of Labor & Industries
P.O. Box 44460
Olympia, WA 98504-4460
Once L&I receives the application, they will notify the contractor within 5 days to verify if all the correct information is on file. Once the application is approved, the contractor will receive their license.
For questions about the application or licensing process, contact L&I at:
How Long is a Washington Electrical License or Certificate Valid?
All licenses and certificates expire 2 years from the date they were originally issued. In order to renew a license or certificate, contractors must pay a renewal fee and satisfy all L&I requirements.
All certificate holders are required to attend continuing education courses prior to renewal. The number of hours required depends on the certificate classification that the contractor holds. For example:
- Trainee Certificate holders- must complete 48 hours of basic trainee classes
- Electrician, Master Electrician and Electrical Administrator Certificate holders- must complete 24 hours of continuing education
All continuing education courses must be approved by L&I in order to count toward the requirement.
For more information about license or certificate renewal, please contact L&I at:
Table of Fees
|Fee||What is it For?||When is it Due?|
|$45-$105||Hourly cost to take the examination depending on how long it takes to complete each section of the test||Upon registering for the exam.|
|$154||Application fee for a Master Electrician Certificate||Upon submitting the application|
|$132.20/ $152.20||Renewal fee for a Master Electrician or Electrical Administrator Certificate either online/by mail||Every 2 years upon renewal|
|$120.40||Application fee for an Electrical Administrator Certificate||Upon submitting the application|
|$86.30||Application fee for an Electrician Certificate||Upon submitting the application|
|$69.70/$80.10||Renewal fee for an Electrician Certificate either online/by mail||Every 2 years upon renewal|
|$36.40/$42.30||Application fee for a Trainee Certificate when applying online/by mail or in-person||Upon submitting the application|
|$44.70/$51.20||Renewal fee for a Trainee Certificate either online/by mail||Every 2 years upon renewal|
|$306.10||Application fee when applying for an Electrical Contractor License||Upon submitting the application|
|$230.20||Renewal fee for an Electrical Contractor License||Every 2 years upon renewal|