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Electrical Contractor Licensing in Wisconsin

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Electrical Contractors in the State of Wisconsin are required to obtain the proper credentials and licensing in order to install, maintain, repair or participate in the business of electrical contracting.  Licenses and credentials are issued by the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services.

The process for licensing/credentialing varies, depending on the type of electrical work the contractor plans to perform.  In some cases, contractors are required to have a number of years of work experience or education, and pass a trades credentialing exam.

License/Credential Types for Electrical Contractors in Wisconsin

The Department offers the following license/credential types for contractors working in the electrical trade:

  • Electrical Contractor
  • Electrical Apprentice
  • Master Electrician
  • Journeyman Electrician
  • Industrial Electrical Apprentice
  • Industrial Journeyman Electrician
  • Registered Electrician
  • Registered Master Electrician
  • Residential Electrical Apprentice
  • Residential Journeyman Electrician
  • Residential Master Electrician

This article will cover how to obtain the following license/credential types:

  • Electrical Contractor- allows contractors to begin a business, such as a partnership, LLC, corporation, etc., in order to offer electrical maintenance, repair and installation services.
  • Electrical Apprentice- allows contractors to participate in electrical wiring activities under the supervision of a licensed electrician at the Master or Journeyman level.
  • Journeyman Electrician- allows contractors to perform electrical work under the supervision of a licensed Master-level electrician.
  • Master Electrician- allows contractors to participate in all forms of electrical work.

Visit the Department’s website for more information about the other licenses and credentials offered.

Process to Obtain an Electrical Contractor License in Wisconsin

  1. Contractors must determine the type of license/credential that they want to obtain.
  2. Contractors must meet the requirements for their specific license/credential type. In some cases, this means meeting a number of years of work experience/education.
  3. Contractors must complete and submit an application to the Department for their specific license/credential type, and pay the appropriate fees.
  4. Some licenses require contractors to take and pass a trades credentialing examination.
  5. Upon renewal, some license/credential types require contractors to complete a number of hours of continuing education.

Work Experience and Education Requirements

Some license/credential types require contractors to meet a number of hours of work experience or education.  Meeting these requirements is necessary in order to qualify for a license, or to qualify to take the trades credentialing exam.

The license types listed below each have specific requirements for work experience/education:

  • Electrical Apprentice- all applicants must be enrolled in electrical apprenticeship program. Contractors must provide proof of enrollment at the time they submit their application.  The Department accepts contracts or proof of indentureship from the Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards.  Contact information for local Bureau offices is found on the Electrical Apprentice application.
  • Journeyman Electrician- in order to qualify to take the exam, applicants must meet one of the following requirements:
    1. Complete a construction electrical apprenticeship program
      OR
    2. Have at least 8,000 hours of work experience within the electrical trade, over the past 48 months. In some cases, a degree or diploma from a 2 year program in a school of electrical engineering or completion of a 2 year electrical-related program from an accredited technical or vocational school, may count toward 2,000 hours or 12 months of the work experience requirement.
  • Master Electrician- in order to qualify to take the exam, all applicants must meet one of the following requirements:
    1. Hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree in electrical engineering
      OR
    2. Hold a Journeyman Electrician license and have at least 12 months of experience
      OR
    3. Have at least 10,000 hours of work experience over a 60 month period. In some cases electrical-related education and vocational programs may count toward the work experience requirement.  Education may count toward 500 hours for each semester completed or up to 3,000 hours or 3 years of the work experience requirement.
*Journeyman Electricians have the option of trading in their license for a Master Electrician license at renewal time.  For more information, please call: 608-266-2112

Completing and Submitting an Application

To obtain a copy of the application, choose appropriate link below, based on the contractor’s license/credential type:

Be sure to sign and date the application where indicated.  All contractors are required to provide their Social Security Number.  The Department advises that contractors make a copy of their completed application for record-keeping purposes.

For contractors who are required to take the exam, the application gives the option for exam times, as well as first and second choices for the examination site.  When an exam is required, applications are due at least 30 days before the requested exam date.

Along with the application, contractors are required to submit the appropriate fees.  The Department accepts checks, made payable to “State of WI- DSPS.”

Refer to the chart below to determine the applicable fees for each license/credential type:

License/Credential Type Application Fee Exam Fee Registration/Credential Fee
Electrical Contractor $35 N/A $200 (due upon submitting the application)
Electrical Apprentice $15 N/A $15 (due upon submitting the application)
Journeyman Electrician $35 $30 $100 (due upon passing the exam)
Master Electrician $35 $30 $200 (due upon passing the exam)
*Credential Fees for Electrical Contractors, Journeyman Electricians and Master Electricians are due at the time that the contractor passes the exam.  Credential fees are also prorated depending on the date that the contractor submits their application.  Each license application includes a chart which explains prorated fee based on the application submission date.

 

Mail the completed application and fees to:

DSPS Trades Credentialing
P.O. Box 78780
Milwaukee, WI 53293-0780

Applications are also accepted in-person at the Department office:

1400 East Washington Ave
Madison, WI 53703

For questions about the application, requirements or fees, contact the Department at:

By Phone: 608-266-2112

OR

By Email

Once the contractor receives their license/credential, they must comply with the following Department rules:

  • Contractor must keep their license/credential on their person at all times when working or conducting business.
  • Contractors are required to include their license/credential number on all construction bids and contracts.
  • Contractors may only work with persons who are properly licensed and credentialed by the Department.
  • Contractors must obtain and maintain the proper permits for their projects at all times. Permits are issued by the Department’s uniform building permit, by the municipality in which the project is located, or by a Uniform Dwelling Code (UDC) inspection agency.

The Examination Process

The following license types are required to take and pass the trades credentialing exam:

  • Journeyman Electrician
  • Master Electrician

Examinations are open-book.  Contractors must pass the exam with a minimum score of 70%.

The exam covers electrical information related to:

  • Wisconsin Administrative Code- to obtain reference information, call: 608-266-3358 or 800-362-7253
  • National Electric Code- to obtain reference information, call: 800-344-3555

Once the contractor’s license/credential application is approved by the Department, they will receive a letter confirming the date and time of the exam.

Testing centers are located in:

  • Appleton
  • Pewaukee
  • Eau Claire

Each exam site offers a morning examination session, beginning at 8am; and an afternoon session, beginning at 1pm.

On the day of the exam, be sure to arrive at least 15 minutes before the scheduled test to allow time for check-in.  Contractors also need to bring along a photo ID.

All exam results are mailed out within 21 days of the contractor taking the test.  Upon passing the exam, contractors will receive instructions for paying their credential fee and obtaining their license.

If the contractor does not pass the exam on the first try, they will receive information about scheduling a re-take.

For more information about examinations, please visit the Department of Safety and Professional Services website.

How Long is a Wisconsin Electrical Contractor License Valid?

Electrical Contractor, Journeyman Electrician and Master Electrician licenses and credentials are good for 4 years in the State of Wisconsin, expiring on the date they were originally issued.  Electrical Apprentice credentials are good for 1 year and must be renewed annually.

The Department mails out renewal letters and postcards, approximately 30 days before the license/credential is set to expire.

Some notices may indicate that the contractor may renew online.  If the renewal notice does not indicate anything about online renewal, renewing online is not possible.  If online renewal is not available, mail all renewal information to:

DSPS Trades Credentialing
P.O. Box 78780
Milwaukee, WI 53293-0780

In some cases, contractors may be required to attend continuing education courses, prior to their license/credential expiring.  Both Journeyman Electricians and Master Electricians are required to attend 24 hours of continuing education upon renewal, prior to expiration.

Please visit the Department of Safety and Professional Services website for more information about approved continuing education and license renewal.

Table of Fees

Fee What is it For? When is it Due?
$235 Application and Credential Fee for an Electrical Contractor Upon submitting the license/credential application
$30 Application and Registration Fee for an Electrical Apprentice Upon submitting the license/credential application
$65 Application and Examination Fee for a Journeyman Electrician Upon submitting the license/credential application
$100 Credential Fee for a Journeyman Electrician Upon passing the examination
$65 Application and Examination Fee for a Master Electrician Upon submitting the license/credential application
$200 Credential Fee for a Master Electrician Upon passing the examination

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