Just for everyone's amusement, I'd like to explaing how this topic is handled in Reno, Nv. ,,, aka "south of the border."
First, any employer can hire anyone.
If the employer is a manufacturer, and he wishes to have this person do electrical work, the employer need only pay a few dollars, and the city will issue that person an 'industrial electrician' card. The card is of no value outside of that employer - it is not transferable to another employer, nor does it imply any particular competence.
If the employer is an electrical contractor, the employer needs a state- issued EC license. For this you need pass two tests - one on the electrical code, and one on contracting law. In order to take the tests, you must be able to document five years of journeyman level work for a licensed electrical contractor.
The EC may hire anyone as a 'helper.' If the person is to do electrical work, they must hold either an apprentice 'card' or a journeyman 'card' that is issued on behalf of the city.
For the apprentice card, the applicant needs to be officially enrolled in one of two (federal) Dept. of Labor recognized apprenticeship programs.
For the journeyman card, the apprentice must complete the four years' of coursework, as well as document 8000 hours of work for a licensed EC, with that experience spread among different areas.
Let me put this system in perspective.
I know one gent who spent 23 years as an electrician in the Navy. Beginning as a simple seaman, he retired as a full Captain. He was not allowed to even take the test for the journeyman card in Reno. He was able to take the state test as a 'qualified employee' and worked for five years under another EC license. That is, the employer - who was not qualified to take the test - was able to be an 'electrical contractor' only because he had this gent as his 'qualified employee.'
Another man came to Reno, after several years in serious industrial electrical experience. Not having a journeymans' card from the electricians' union, his experience was not recognized. The apprentice programs felt he was 'too old,' and would not let him into the programs. He found an employer who (officially) only used him on 'outside of town' jobs, he paid his own way through the courses, and after four years of work compelled the city to let him take the test for the journeymans' card. Five years after that, he tested for, and received his EC license. Which is fortunate, as his employer for these nine years was ready to retire
Who said any government had a monopoly on insanity?