How to Become a Licensed Electrician in Virginia

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in electrical work, you might be wondering how to become an electrician in Virginia. With so many things to consider, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Thankfully, we’re here to make the process clearer!

In this guide, we’ll help you navigate the licensing process and make an informed decision on how to start your journey toward becoming a licensed electrician in Virginia.

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How to Get an Electrician License in Virginia

We laid out our guide in a simple step-by-step format to make things as easy as possible. Below are the steps one needs to take to become an electrician in Virginia.

We always like to direct our readers to our electrician tools guide with personal tips. You don’t need to start your career with every tool out there.

Step 1: Complete an Electrical Apprenticeship OR Trade School with Work Experience

An apprentice is a person who helps electricians in their daily work while using it as an opportunity to gain knowledge and on-the-job training. If you want to fulfill the experience requirements, consider enrolling in an apprenticeship program.

Many of these programs last four years, and you’ll work under a licensed electrician during that time. You’ll also get the formal instruction necessary to earn your license.

To qualify for an electrician apprenticeship in Virginia, you will need to:

  1. Meet the minimum age requirement: In Virginia, the minimum age requirement for an electrician apprentice is 16 years old.
  2. Obtain a high school diploma or GED: Most apprenticeship programs in Virginia require you to have a high school diploma or equivalent. You may also need to have taken courses in algebra, geometry, and trigonometry.
  3. Have a valid driver’s license: Some apprenticeship programs require a valid driver’s license to be eligible.
  4. Pass a drug test: Many apprenticeship programs require applicants to pass a drug test before being accepted.
  5. Find an apprenticeship program: Virginia has several organizations that offer apprenticeship programs, such as the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. (ABC) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). I have listed some popular ones below.
  6. Complete an application: Once you have identified an apprenticeship program you are interested in, you will need to fill out an application. Be sure to provide all the necessary information, including your education and work experience.
  7. Attend an interview: After submitting your application, you may be invited to an interview. This is an opportunity for the program to learn more about you and for you to ask any questions you may have about the program.
  8. Wait for acceptance: If you are accepted into the program, you will need to complete any additional requirements, such as a physical exam or background check, before starting your apprenticeship.
  9. Register with the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry: Once you have been accepted into an apprenticeship program, you will need to register with the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry. This is a requirement for all apprentices in Virginia.

Popular Electrician Apprenticeships in Virginia

Independent Electrical ContractorsChesapeake

Associated Builders and Contractors – Dulles, Richmond, & Norfolk areas

Central Virginia Electrical Contractors Association

Southern Air

Tidewater IBEW – JATC – (union shop)

IBEW – JATC – Washington, DC area (union shop)

IBEW – JATC – Baltimore (union shop)

NC Association of Electrical Contractors – In the neighboring State of NC

Option of Community College and Vocational Training in Virginia

You can also take the path of formal vocational training courses at accredited educational facilities, such as Virginia Community Colleges and technical schools associated with Virginia local school divisions.

Ashworth College – online classroom training

Pennfoster – online classroom training

Ace Tech Institute – Vocational Training


Virginia Technical Academy

Virginia Technical Institute

The above schools are not an exhaustive list. The Virginia Board of Contractors has made a document of approved choices. This list, however, includes other trades so you will need to read it carefully.

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Once completing the apprenticeship program or required classroom training in combination with experience in the field, you’re now one step closer to becoming a certified electrician. You are now armed with the necessary skills and knowledge to take the next big step in your career: the Journeyman electrician exam.

Good luck, and keep up the great work!

smiling electrician working on wires

Step 2: Pass the Journeyman Electrical License Exam

With your electrician apprenticeship completed and under your belt, you’re now ready to take the Journeyman electrician exam.

Here are the eligibility requirements to sit for the journeyman electrical license in Virginia:

  • Get DPOR board approval to sit for the exam. (Application link below)
  • Applicant must be at least 18 years of age
  • Valid high school diploma or GED equivalent
  • Applicants may not be convicted felons and cannot have any outstanding fines with DPOR
  • Four years of experience in combination with 240 hours of formal classroom training OR
  • Five years of experience in combination with 160 hours of traditional classroom training OR
  • Six years of experience in combination with 80 hours of formal classroom training OR
  • Seven or more years of experience in combination with 40 hours of formal classroom training OR
  • A bachelor’s degree or equally significant certificate of completion from an accredited institution in an engineering field connected to the electrical tradesman career path and one year of hands-on experience OR
  • A two-year associate’s degree or equally significant certificate of completion from a reputable community college or technical school with two years of practical experience

As you can see, there are multiple ways to complete the requirements needed to take the exam to become a licensed journeyman electrician.

Whatever path you choose above, the important thing is to make sure you fulfill all the necessary requirements to be eligible to take the journeyman electrician exam and earn your journeyman’s license.

All About the Journeyman Electrician Exam in Virginia

You will first need to get DPOR board approval to take the exam. Here is the application with the DPOR (Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation). Don’t worry; it’s not as daunting as it sounds!

When your application is approved, you’ll be cleared to take the journeyman electrician’s exam, which means you’re one step closer to achieving your dream of becoming a journeyman electrician.

In Virginia, the journeyman electrician exam is administered by PSI Services LLC, a testing company that provides a range of licensing and certification exams in various fields. The journeyman electrician exam assesses the candidate’s knowledge of electrical theory, the National Electrical Code (NEC), and electrical installation practices.

Here are some details about the journeyman electrician exam with PSI in Virginia:

  1. Exam content: The exam consists of 80 multiple-choice questions that must be completed within 3 hours. The questions cover topics such as electrical theory, wiring and installation, motors and controls, and safety.
  2. Reference materials: Candidates are allowed to bring a copy of the National Electrical Code (NEC) and a calculator to the exam. The NEC can be either a print or digital version, but it must be an unmarked, unhighlighted, and non-tabbed edition.
  3. Passing score: To pass the exam, candidates must score at least 70% or 56 correct answers out of 80 questions.
  4. Exam fees: The exam fee is $100, and it must be paid at the time of registration. Candidates can register online through PSI’s website or by phone.
  5. Exam locations: PSI offers exam locations throughout Virginia. Candidates can choose a location that is convenient for them during the registration process.
  6. Exam scheduling: Once the registration is complete, candidates can schedule their exam date and time through PSI’s website or by phone. They must schedule the exam within six months of the registration date.
  7. Exam results: Candidates will receive their exam results immediately after completing the exam. If they pass, they will receive a passing certificate, and if they fail, they will receive a diagnostic report that outlines areas where they need improvement.

Overall, the journeyman electrician exam with PSI in Virginia is a detailed assessment of a candidate’s knowledge of electrical theory, installation practices, and safety. Candidates should prepare thoroughly and study the NEC and other relevant materials to increase their chances of passing the exam.

Step 3: Pass the Master Electrician Exam & License Requirements

Passing the Master Electrician exam is a critical step for electricians who want to advance their careers and take on more complex and challenging electrical projects.

The exam tests an electrician’s knowledge of electrical theory, regulations, and practical skills, and passing it demonstrates a high level of competence in the field.

But hold on to your voltage meters, because there’s more to this story. In order to attain the coveted master electrician license, you must first hold the journeyman license for at least one year. That’s right, you must put in the time and effort to prove yourself as a competent and skilled electrician.

But fear not, the journey is worth it.

The requirements for becoming a master electrician in Virginia are as follows:

  • One year of experience as a licensed Journeyman electrician OR
  • Ten years of hands-on experience verified by an affidavit
  • Apply to the Board of Contractors for approval before taking the Master electrician exam
  • Follow instructions from the Board to register and schedule the exam with PSI

Master Electrical License Exam

The master exam is 4 hours and 30 minutes long, with 90 questions. To pass, you must achieve at least 63 correct answers or a score of 70%. PSI distributes an exam candidate bulletin to assist you in preparing for your test.

Electrician with folded arms and blue hard hat. Two electricians in background.

Step 4: Consider Getting your Electrical Contractor’s License

To become an electrical contractor, you will need to register with the DPOR.

Electrical Contractor licenses in Virginia consist of 2 parts:

  • Class of license (A, B, or C): This refers to the $ amount of projects you may perform.
  • Classification/Specialty: This refers to the type of work you may perform.

Requirements to become an Electrical Contractor in Virginia

  • Complete 8 hours of pre-license education. (Class A, Class B, Class C)
  • Pass the relevant PSI exam (Class A and Class B only)

Virginia Exam for Electrical Contractor’s License

The test is administered by PSI and consists of 4 sections.

  1. Virginia (must pass by 75%)
  2. General (must pass by 70%)
  3. Advanced (must pass by 70%)
  4. Building/Technical (must pass by 70%)

We have given you a brief overview, but I advise you to read up on all the details for obtaining your contractor’s license in Virginia.

Electrician FAQs: Answers to Common Questions About Starting a Career in Electrical Work

If you’re interested in becoming an electrician in Virginia, you likely have a bunch of questions. In this FAQ’s section, we will answer some of the most common questions about how to become an electrician in Virginia.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Electrical License in Virginia?

As mentioned before, the minimum requirement for getting the journeyman electrical license is 240 classroom hours and four years of experience. Once you complete an apprenticeship program and pass the journeyman licensing exam, you are ready to work as a licensed electrician.

The great thing about this part of the journey is that you can work in the field and practice as you learn. It is an excellent opportunity to hone your craft and help family members and other individuals in your circle. Giving back is a massive part of success in this business.

To obtain your master electrician license, you must hold your journeyman license for one year before filling out the paperwork to be eligible for the exam.

What are Electrician Salaries in Virginia by Region?

When looking into how much an electrician in Virginia is paid, some things to consider are the region, level of certifications and licenses, and how good of a job market there is for electrical workers. Our extensive electrician salary guide can be a helpful resource for you.

In Northern Virginia, most journeyman electricians make between $25.77 to 30.31 per hour. Richmond and Chesapeake area journeyman electricians make on average $26.31 per hour.

Master electricians make an average base salary of $32.81 in the Richmond and Chesapeake areas. In Northern Virginia, master electricians make on average $41.57 per hour.

Should I Join an Electrician Union in Virginia?

Electrician apprenticeships can be union or non-union, and each has its own set of pros and cons.

Union Pros:

  • Can negotiate better wages
  • Job security due to contract negotiations
  • Provide extensive training and development programs

Union Cons:

  • Required to pay dues, which can be a significant expense
  • Limited job variety
  • Unions have strict rules and regulations that their members must follow

Non-Union (called Merit-Shop) Pros:

  • Job flexibility: may work for any contractor that is hiring
  • Lower expenses
  • More autonomy: not subject to the same rules and regulations as union electricians

Non-Union (Merit-Shop) Cons:

  • No bargaining power, which can result in lower wages and benefits
  • May have less extensive training and development programs
  • May be more susceptible to layoffs and other employment disruptions.

It’s important to note that these pros and cons may vary depending on the specific union or non-union apprenticeship program in Virginia, as well as the individual electrician’s priorities and preferences.

How to Use Your Electrician License to Get a Job

You can legally perform electrical work throughout Virginia once you’ve obtained your journeyman or master electrician’s license.

To use your electrician license to get a job in Virginia, you can follow these steps:

  1. Research companies: Look for companies that are hiring electricians in Virginia. You can find job postings on job search websites, company websites, or by reaching out to local electrician unions or associations.
  2. Prepare your resume: Create a resume that highlights your electrician experience, including your license, relevant work experience, and any additional certifications or training.
  3. Apply for jobs: Apply for electrician jobs in Virginia that match your experience and qualifications. Be sure to include your electrician license information in your application.
  4. Attend interviews: If you’re selected for an interview, be prepared to discuss your electrician experience and license. You may be asked to provide proof of your license, so make sure you have a copy available.
  5. Follow up: After the interview, send a thank-you note to the interviewer and follow up on the status of your application.

By following these steps, you can use your electrician license to help you get a job in Virginia.

Note that people may check up on your license information with the DPOR to ensure you’re appropriately licensed and well-trained to do the work they need. It’s a good idea to include your license number on your website and business cards if you own a business.

What Are Virginia’s Electrician Reciprocal License Agreements?

Virginia has reciprocal agreements with several states, which means that licensed electricians from those states may obtain a Virginia electrician license without taking the Virginia electrician examination. The states that have reciprocity with Virginia are:

  1. North Carolina
  2. West Virginia
  3. Maryland
  4. South Carolina
  5. Georgia
  6. Alabama
  7. Tennessee

To qualify for reciprocity, the applicant must have a current license in good standing from one of these states and have held the license for at least 1 year. The applicant must also provide documentation of education, work experience, and other requirements, as outlined by the Virginia Board for Contractors. Additionally, applicants must pass a Virginia state-specific business and law exam.

It’s important to note that reciprocity is not automatic, and the applicant must submit the necessary documentation and application to the Virginia Board for Contractors for review and approval. The Board will determine if the applicant meets the requirements for reciprocity and issue the appropriate license if approved.

How Often Do I Need to Renew My Electrician License in Virginia?

Renew your Virginia electrical license every three years to keep it valid. The electrician license renewal fee is between $75 and $200. Renewing your license each year is crucial because it ensures that you are up to date on the latest electrical codes and safety requirements.

What Are the Education Requirements for License Renewal?

Virginia electricians must complete 3 hours of continuing education every three years to renew their license. All courses must be approved by the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation.

Some of the topics covered during CE include fire alarm systems, photovoltaic systems, low voltage wiring, and energy conservation measures.

What are Some Career Opportunities for Electricians in Virginia

After obtaining an electrician’s license in Virginia, you can pursue various job opportunities in the electrical field. You might be surprised at the electrician career paths available to someone with experience and a license. This electrical career infographic gives a quick snapshot.

Here are some examples:

  1. Electrical Contractor: You can start your own electrical contracting business.
  2. Industrial Electrician: You can work as an industrial electrician in manufacturing plants, factories, and other industrial settings.
  3. Maintenance Electrician: You can work in the maintenance department of large facilities, such as hospitals, schools, and government buildings, where you’ll be responsible for keeping electrical systems in good working order.
  4. Project Manager: Oversee large-scale projects from start to finish
  5. Electrical Inspector
  6. Electrical Engineer: With further education and training, you can work as an electrical engineer and design, develop, and test electrical systems and equipment.
  7. Electrical Estimator
  8. Sales Representative: You can work as a sales representative to sell electrical products and services to businesses and consumers.

There are many exciting career opportunities for electricians in Virginia! (Your options may vary depending on your experience, skills, and education.) The best part is that you can try out different positions to see which one works best for your lifestyle.

When Should You Get Your Virginia Electrician License?

Getting licensed early in your career helps you set yourself apart from other qualified electricians. Although it can be expensive, taking the time to become a master electrician will pay off immensely.

Even if you only want to work as an electrician part-time, it is best to go through the proper channels to become certified to have the freedom to do whatever you want based on your needs.


Becoming a licensed electrician in Virginia can be a fulfilling career that offers a range of opportunities. Not only does it allow you to make a positive impact in your community, but it also helps families ensure their homes are safe from electrical hazards.

In this line of work, giving back is a crucial component of success. When homeowners experience issues with their electrical systems, they can feel overwhelmed and concerned about their family’s safety and daily routines, as well as the financial cost of repairs. As an electrician, you can provide reassurance and guidance on the necessary steps to ensure their home is safe and functional.

The work of an electrician is ongoing, and it’s essential to continually learn and stay informed. There are various resources available, such as online courses and conventions, to help you stay up-to-date with the latest electrical codes and safety requirements.

Make sure you stay up to date on the latest developments in the electricity industry by renewing your license! Thank you for taking the time to read this post on becoming an electrician in Virginia. We hope this information was helpful!

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