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Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 3
Junior Member
I'm in England at present, but can someone help by describing the process for becoming a Licensed Electrician in the United States?

Specifically, is there is a training standard, or certificate, for Level 4 Electrical Safety Training (working on or near parts energized at over 600 volts)?

OSHA 29 CFR 1910.332 defines what type of training is required generally for electrical work but does not explain how it is organised, controlled or certified nationally.

Thanks very much, David

Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 806
There is no national standard or license here. Licensing requirements are set by individual states or municipalities, and vary widely from place to place.

Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,143
David - welcome to ECN!

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view), there is nor "national" accredidation or licensure for electrical workers in the US. I'm mostly familiar with residential / light commercial level (my area); maybe some of our linemen and PoCo folks could fill you in on the high voltage (distribution level) stuff.

The closest thing to it (a national license) would be an International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Journeyman level union card, as that would allow you to work in any IBEW Local around the country.

As far as being independently licensed, most municipalities (and some counties or states) have their own testing and license process, with different examinations based on different versions of the NFPA's National Electrical Code or the jurisdiction's version thereof (Chicago or New York Code, the California Electrical Code, etc). Most jurisdictions also have "time-in-work" requirements in addition to the "theory" and "Code knowledge" requirements.

While an IBEW card will normally get you into the test (on time in work), it usually is not enough on it's own to simply get you a license without testing. Of course, sometimes, the hardest thing is just getting into the test!

Hope I was of some help...

[This message has been edited by DougW (edited 04-22-2004).]

Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 3
Junior Member
Thanks for your replies, guys, that all helps.


Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 2,527
David, here’s my take on your question.

The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration deals primarily with safety issues, but does not so much address administration of certification and licensing of tradesmen. Whereas OSHA is a federal “umbrella” organization, this does not preclude states from having their own occupational-safety enforcement—usually adapted for regional conditions and historic aspects.

OSHA sections 29CFR1910.331, .332, .333, .334, .335 are often grouped together as dictating rudimentary electrical training for electricians and non-electricians in the workplace. Custodians use electrical appliances that have recognized electrical-safety considerations. Painters need to recognize exposed conductors normally isolated by elevation but reachable by ladder. These correspond to very basic concepts, and have become mandatory rules for places of employment that evolved from statically significant categories of injuries and deaths in industry.

For example, “qualified” electrical employees need to fundamentally understand what specific parts of electrical equipment are energized, at what voltage class they operate and procedures to test and secure the subject equipment before direct contact or adjacent work is attempted.

[§1910 generally excludes regulations unique to construction sites and equipment, which are primarily covered in §1926.]

A preamble states: The provisions of 1910.331 through 1910.335 cover electrical safety work practices for both qualified persons (those who have training in avoiding the electrical hazards of working on or near exposed energized parts) and unqualified persons (those with little or no such training)…

Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 3
Junior Member
Thank you, Bjarney, for your input too. I've got enough now to go on with, very useful. David.

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