1) Yes Texas uses a state license program: http://www.license.state.tx.us/electricians/elec.htm
If you can pass the SBCCI test, administered by a local testing agency in your area, that will satisfy the test part. I am not sure of the residency issue, you may need to read the link above.
2) Then Union is a good way to get some training and your benefits may pay some of your wages while you train and are not up to scale. There is lots of work here for people who want it and the union will put you to work.
In a nut shell, I have recommended to many young men that the Union would be a good career path, you really have nothing to lose to try it.
$30.36 (not all take home $3.75 of that is the insurance that I mentioned above).
1st Year $17.20/$18.51
2nd Year $19.88
3rd Year $22.50
4th Year $23.81
5th Year $25.12
If you go in with a license but not all the skills there is a program called JIT (journeyman in training) with pay appropriate to your skill level.
4) I look for people with these qualities (in this order):
Shows up every day
, and on time.
Can think on their feet.
Produces a lot ever day.
If I am lucky they can:
I have 4 ex-military guys now that don’t take any crap and can do anything I ask them to, do it well, and do it fast, but I went through about 50 to find them. Dependability and Leadership are by far the most desirable skillsets for this trade.