How to Become an Electrician in Florida

There is a demand for electricians in the land of sunshine and palm trees. If you want to learn how to become an electrician in Florida and join a growing and thriving field, we’ve systematically laid out the steps you’ll need to take.

And, just so you know, the job growth projection for Florida’s electrician field is expected to increase by 12.4% to the year 2028.

Now is a great time to earn your electrician license in the state of Florida.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Overview
Step 1. Complete an Apprenticeship or Trade School with Required Work Hours
Step 2. Pass the Necessary Licensing Exam to Become a Journeyman Electrician
Step 3. Fulfill the Requirements to Pass the Master Electrician Exam
Step 4. Evaluate Becoming an Electrical Contractor
A Word on Exams


How to Become an Electrician in Florida-Overview

As we get started, let’s clear up a few things that can get confusing.

#1 In Florida, licensing is regulated at the local county or city level for Journeyman and Master electricians.

#2 These rules can vary by county or city. For some perspective, Florida has 67 counties. This article covers the rules for the most populous areas.

#3 There are various boards/governing bodies for various counties within Florida.

Later in this article, we will cover the requirements set by the most populous areas in Florida. But you should know that most jurisdictions adhere to frequent national standards, which are:

  • Work 8,000 hours (4-5years) as an apprentice AND
  • Complete a 4-year registered apprenticeship program (classes 1-2X per week)

steps and elements telling how to become an electrician in Florida

Step 1. Complete an Apprenticeship or Trade School with Required Work Hours

Apprenticeship is the process of learning a craft.  When you attend a registered electrician apprenticeship in the State of Florida, you will work and learn on the job alongside journeyman and/or master electricians. You’ll earn a salary which increases yearly as you gain skills.

Classroom training typically 1-2X per week is a required part of an electrician apprenticeship in Florida. It includes hands-on labs for certain topics.

You have many apprenticeship training program choices in Florida. In fact, according to the Florida Department of Education, there are over 200 registered apprenticeship programs. (http://www.fldoe.org/academics/career-adult-edu/apprenticeship-programs/what-is-apprenticeship.stml)

When you’re learning how to become an electrician in Florida, these 4 options are what you want to look at.

1. Union Apprenticeship Training
2. Non-Union (called Merit-Shop) Apprenticeship Training
3. Community college or Trade School option
4. Work Option (some jurisdictions only)

Apprentices should register with the State of Florida Apprenticeship Office.

1. Union Apprenticeship Training

You have probably heard of IBEW, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which is the trade union representing union electrical workers. Together with NECA (National Electrical Contractors Association), they offer an excellent electrician apprenticeship training program.

This training partnership is called JATC (Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee). They have recently changed their name to the electrical training ALLIANCE.

The IBEW apprenticeship program requires a five-year commitment. In order to complete the apprenticeship, an apprentice must:

1. Accumulate 8,000 hours of on-the-job training. You will be employed by an electrical contractor that works with the IBEW under a collective bargaining agreement. You will be paid wages that increase each year.

2. Successfully complete five years of related classroom training, which amounts to about 192 hours per year. Classes typically meet 1-2 evenings per week.

Apprentices who successfully complete the program become journeymen.

The great news is that in Florida this apprenticeship training is tuition-free. The only cost to the apprentice is for the class/lab fees (this cost may vary from year to year) and a one-time non-refundable application fee, which is currently $25.

Standard requirements to be accepted into the JATC may vary, but you can expect:

  1. Need to be 18 years old
  2. Earned a High School diploma or GED
  3. Have successfully completed a full year of High School Algebra
  4. Must be physically able to perform the work
  5. Submit required documents like driver’s license, transcripts, etc.
  6. Take an aptitude test consisting of reading comprehension and Algebra.
  7. Complete an Interview

The IBEW has 7 JATC apprentice training facilities across Florida that provide classroom training/apprenticeship.

Florida East Coast Electrical JATC
Tampa Area Electrical JATC
Jacksonville Electrical JATC
Gainsville Electrical JATC
Daytona Beach Electrical JATC
Central Florida Electrical JATC
Miami Electrical JATC

One perk from the Jacksonville Electrical JATC: you will receive up to 30 credit hours of college credit from Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ), which can be used to earn an AS Degree in Industrial Management.

2. Non-Union Apprenticeship Training

Florida has a number of excellent non-union apprenticeship training programs.

All of the following non-union apprenticeship training programs are tuition-free in the State of Florida. Students may need to buy books. Book costs vary per year but are sometimes paid by member contractors.

Basic Requirements (may vary slightly) you can expect:

  • Possess a high school diploma or GED
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Physically capable of performing the work of the trade
  • Employed with a member electrical contractor

The following are popular non-union, merit-shop electrician apprenticeships in Florida. Listed a – d.

a. Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC)

How to Join IEC Electrician Apprenticeship

Considered one of the best in the industry, it’s a popular choice for non-union electrician apprenticeship training.

And, you’ll get support as IEC has a referral program to help you find employment with one of its member contractors.

IEC offers a 4-year apprentice program that consists of:

  1. Paid on-the-job training (OJT) totaling 8,000 hours after 4 years.
  2. Attending classes twice per week totaling 160-180 hours per year.

No experience is required and raises are given periodically as apprentices increase in knowledge. Two excellent training locations in the state of Florida are:

After completing your apprenticeship, you can take the journeyman’s exam with 8,000 hours of OJT.

b. Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC)

ABC Electrician Apprenticeship

ABC is a national construction trade association. Electrical apprentices are employed by licensed contractor sponsors that have agreed to hire and provide on-the-job (OJT) training alongside the supervision of their journeymen and foremen.

The apprenticeship is 4-years and consists of

  • working a total of 8,000 hours
  • attending classroom training 2 nights per week

Contact the ABC electrical apprenticeship in Florida closest to you:

Tuition for the classroom training of ABC is paid by your employer. The minimum qualifications:

  • 18 years old or older
  • Interview
  • Work for a licensed electrical contractor.

c. Florida Electrical Apprenticeship & Training (FEAT)

You’ll get a comprehensive education with this electrician apprentice training in Florida. FEAT has been training electricians since 1987 and has over 200 participating employers.

You will work for a FEAT participating electrical contractor where you learn hands-on skills. Your apprenticeship training will include classroom training 2 nights a week where you learn theory and code.

Tuition is paid by your employer although the apprentice may have to pay for his or her books.

d. Builders Association of North Central Florida (BANCF)

The BANCF apprenticeship program has been offering training since 1994. A high school diploma or GED is NOT required. The requirements to join are:

  • must be at least 18 years of age
  • attend classes 2x per week
  • work for a BANCF participating employer

All tuition is paid by the employer and necessary books are purchased by the apprentice.

You should know that apprentices are accepted into the program only once per year. But the participating employers still hire year-long. They may recommend you to the apprenticeship program if you show a good work ethic and initiative.

3. Technical Trade School or College Option

Local community colleges or technical trade centers are an option you may want to consider to become an electrician in Florida.

You can complete the classroom portion of your training at a technical school or college that is recognized by the Florida Department of Education/Department of Labor and Employment Security.

Potential employers may find you more valuable with a basic understanding of electricity and a scope of skills under your belt. There is also the possibility of obtaining an internship and working with an employer during your schooling.

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Get information on Electrician programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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4. Work for a Licensed Electrician with No Schooling

There are some jurisdictions in Florida where you may work for 6 years to qualify to sit for the Journeyman’s exam. No schooling required.

But keep in mind that it’s an extra 1 or 2 years of work before becoming a Journeyman electrician. Your wages during those additional years may not rise to the level of a typical Journeyman’s wages.

Step 2: Pass the Necessary Licensing Exam to Become a Journeyman Electrician

Congratulations! If you’ve successfully completed your electrician apprenticeship, you are ready to sit for your journeyman’s exam.

Local municipalities administer licensing; there are no statewide regulations.

Since the requirements for licensing varies by jurisdiction, we will detail the conditions for some of the larger areas in Florida.

Quick note: Students in the 5-year IBEW apprenticeship many times take the Journeyman electrician exam during their 4th year. In the fifth-year of their apprenticeship, they work as licensed Journeyman.

Miami-Dade County

In Miami-Dade, licensing is handled through the Construction Trade Qualifying Board (CTQB). When you pass your exam you will receive a Certificate of Competency, which is your license and is only valid for use within Miami Dade.

To qualify to sit for a Journeyman electrician exam you must:

  • show proof of at least 3 years experience working under a licensed Master contractor.
  • One year and a half of the proof of experience can be shown by education, diplomas, or transcripts of schooling.

Passing score: 75%

There are counties within Florida that have a reciprocity agreement with Miami-Dade. Start by contacting the individual county where you would like reciprocity to obtain the requirements needed to apply there.

Journeymen are required to earn 16 hours of continuing education credits during each term as a condition of license renewal.

Hillsborough County

To sit for the electrician Journeyman exam in Hillsborough County Florida, you must provide proof that you either:

  • worked 6 years as an apprentice under a licensed contractor
    OR
  • worked 4 years (8,000 hours) as an apprentice AND completed an approved apprentice program

When you pass the Journeyman exam and receive your Certificate of Competency from Hillsborough County, it will be recognized in all jurisdictions in the state of Florida.

Passing Score: 75%

Unless requested to do so for employment, you will not need to reciprocate your license with any other jurisdiction in Florida.

View a journeyman electrician application for Hillsborough County below for an example.

Click to access journeyman-new-applicant.pdf

Broward County

In order to apply for your Journeyman Certificate of Competency, which will be your license to work as a Journeyman electrician, you must:

  • Have no less than 4 years of practical electrical experience working under the direct supervision of a certified or registered electrical contractor in a State registered apprenticeship. (The board may consider a person’s formal or vocational education as experience, in its sole discretion.)

Passing score: 75%

It might be helpful to look at the application for Journeyman electrician in Broward County, Florida.

Palm Beach County

The Construction Industry Licensing Board of Palm Beach handles the licensing for journeyman electricians. The requirements to sit for the exam are:

  • Completion Certificate from a registered 4-year Apprenticeship Program which includes 4 years of work experience OR
  • Complete 2 years in a registered apprenticeship with 2 years of work experience plus an additional 3 years of work under the direct supervision of a certified or licensed contractor OR
  • 6 years of practical work experience under the direct supervision of a certified electrical contractor.

Passing score: 75%

Exam Tips from Palm Beach County

Please note the most common reasons for failing an exam are
 Not preparing for the exam
 Underestimating what will be tested on the exam
 Not knowing the technical terms as opposed to the common terms in your trade
 Not answering all the questions

Jacksonville/Duval County

The journeyman electricians license in Jacksonville is issued by the Construction Trades Qualifying Board.

To be eligible to sit for the exam

  • Must show evidence of at least 4 years of practical experience as an apprentice or helper in the trade. OR
  • Other relevant experience or training hours that may be approved by the board.

Passing score: 75%

Volusia County

Licensing in Volusia County, Florida is handled through Contractor Licensing. Take a look at their exam application.

You must show proof of:

  • Successful completion of a 4-year approved electrician apprenticeship. OR
  • Complete 2-years of an approved apprenticeship with an additional 3-years work experience under the direct supervision of a state-certified or registered electrician. OR
  • Six years of practical work experience under the direct supervision of a state-certified or registered electrician.

Passing score: 70%

Step 3. Fulfill the Requirements to Pass the Master Electrician Exam

Increase your skills and work to earn your master electrician’s license in Florida. This will open more employment doors for you including more lucrative pay.

Master electricians possess advanced knowledge and experience in the electrical field and the National Electrical Code.

As a Master Electrician in Florida, you can be a qualifying agent. All primary qualifying agents are liable for the supervision of operations of a business; this includes the financials and all fieldwork at every site. Primary qualifying agents must be employed in a supervisory position or be an officer of the business.

Since master electrician licensing in Florida is handled by local jurisdictions, requirements vary. We cover some of the more populous areas here.

Miami-Dade County

Licensing in Miami-Dade for master electricians is regulated by the Construction Trades Qualifying Board.

Requirements include:

  • Work two years as a Journeyman electrician
  • Complete an application and pay the application fee
  • Pass the exam with a score of 75% or better

Testing is conducted by Prov and consists of two parts: technical and business. There are 75 questions and you have 3 hours allowed time.

The business portion of the exam has 50 questions and you are allotted 2 hours. It tests your knowlede of:

  • payroll taxes
  • workers’ compensation
  • unemployment compensation
  • lien laws
  • laws /subjects that affect daily operations of contractors

Broward County Master Electrician License

Requirements to sit for the Master electrician license in Broward County requires you to have no less than 7 years of practical work experience that includes:

  • a minimum of 3 years practical work experience as a Journeyman
  • a person’s formal or vocational education may be considered as practical experience by the board, in its sole discretion.

You must have a passing score of 75% or better on both the technical and business part of the exam. 4 hours allotted for technical, 2 hours allotted for business.

Jacksonville/Duval County Master Electrician License

To be eligible for a master electrician certificate, the applicant shall have and shall include in his application evidence of at least four years of practical experience as a journeyman in the electrical trade or craft under a valid craftsman or contractor certificate issued by an agency acceptable by the Board. The Board may accept one of the following in lieu of journeyman experience if it is in a field which would qualify the applicant in the trade or craft concerned:

(1) A bachelor or equivalent degree in engineering from an accredited college or university and two years of proven experience in the trade requested.

(2) Registration by the state as a professional engineer and two years of proven experience in the trade requested.

(3) The demonstration of at least eight years of acceptable experience for a master electrician as determined by the Board.

Step 4. Evaluate Becoming an Electrical Contractor

If you enjoy being your own boss, which also comes with huge responsibilities and risks, consider becoming an electrical contractor.

Licensing for Contractors is controlled by the Electrical Contractor’s Licensing Board of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

Electrical contractors in Florida are either Certified or Registered.

  • Certified License – Must pass a state examination and have a certificate of competency issued by the DBPR (Department of Business and Professional Regulation). This allows you to work as a contractor anywhere in Florida.
  • Registered License – Work is limited to certain local jurisdictions. A registered license allows you to only work in the cities or counties where you have fulfilled the competency requirements for the jurisdiction where the registration is issued.

Determining whether to become a certified or registered electrical contractor in Florida will mainly depend on your career goals.

Becoming state certified is more expensive and time-consuming. I believe there are companies you can hire to undertake the legwork for you as it can be complicated.

It might be helpful to take a look at the exam details for the state electrical contractor examination to give you a better idea of how it operates.

What types of licenses does the Florida Electrical Contractor’s Licensing Board offer?
  • Certified Electrical Contractor (EC)
  • Registered Electrical Contractor (ER)
  • Certified Alarm System Contractor I (EF)
  • Registered Alarm Contractor I (EY)
  • Certified Alarm Contractor II (EG)
  • Registered Alarm Contractor II (EZ)
  • Certified Electrical Specialty Contractor (ES)
    • Residential Electrical Specialty
    • Utility Line Specialty
    • Lighting Maintenance Specialty
    • Sign Specialty
    • Limited Energy Specialty
    • Two-Way Radio Communications Enhancement Systems Specialty
  • Registered Electrical Specialty Contractor (ET)
    • Residential Electrical Specialty
    • Utility Line Specialty
    • Lighting Maintenance Specialty
    • Sign Specialty
    • Limited Energy Specialty

I know licensing can get confusing. This quick guide gives a description of the scope of work allowed for each license. I think you’ll find it pretty helpful.

State Contractors are governed by the Department of Business & Professional Regulation. For information on licensure:
Call: (850) 487-1395
Visit: http://www.myfloridalicense.com/DBPR/construction-industry

A Word on Exams

I advise you to find a good exam course with a reputable company prior to taking your electrician master/contractor exam. A few choices you may want to consider:

Thompson Learning Company – there is also an area on their website showing common exam questions that may be helpful too.

Contractor Campus

Mike Holt Enterprises

Tom Henry’s Code Electrical Classes

No matter how much code you know, it’s a smart move to be fully prepared by taking a prep course.

SOURCES

http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
http://www.floridajobs.org/
http://www.bancf.com/Education-and-Training/apprenticeship-program.html#Registration
https://www.broward.org/Building/Contractors/Pages/Get-a-License.aspx
http://www.fecjatc.com/Palm%20Beach%20Journeyman%20Exam%20Application.pdf 
https://www.iec-fecc.org/jounrneyman-licensing
https://discover.pbcgov.org/pzb/contractors/Pages/Special-Act.aspx
http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/
https://freida.labormarketinfo.com/vosnet/analyzer/results.aspx?enc=L3Rx1LKHF+xq6eiD/TQsJUscs4fpuIN/O5qqpTbo6Cg= (Labor market info)
https://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
https://library.municode.com/fl/
http://www.miamidade.gov/building/contractor-education.asp
https://www.miamidade.gov/licenses/electrical.asp#5

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