How to Become an Electrician with License in New York, NY

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Before performing any electrician related tasks in New York, you will have to be appropriately licensed. However, unlike most states, New York does not provide electrician licenses on a state-level. Instead, most municipalities have their own licensing boards and handle the licensing on their own. For this reason, you will have to check the laws that apply in the municipality you wish to perform electrical work at.

Electrician License NY

The general process of obtaining a license is the following:

  • Graduate from high school or get a GED
  • Take classes or courses in electrical wiring, installation, applied electricity etc.
  • Have at least seven and a half (7.5) years of experience in the installation, alteration and repair of wiring and appliances for electric light, heat and power in or on buildings or comparable facilities
  • Apply for an apprenticeship program. Check here for more information.
  • Take and pass your respective region’s licensing examinations.
  • Provide a completed license application, accompanied with proof of your work history and a passing score.
  • Wait until the electrical licensing board processes your application. They will notify you accordingly after they make the final decision.

In this article, we will examine the requirements for obtaining a license in New York City. There are two types of licenses:

New York City Department of Buildings

As of December 17, 2012, the NYC Department of Buildings is responsible for all electrician licensing exams. It also enforces the City’s electrical code, performs plan examinations and issues licensing trades.

The Department can be reached at:

Executive Office
280 Broadway, 7th floor
New York, NY 10007
Interactive Voice System: (212) 566-5000
TTY Number: (212) 566-4769

You may also find contact information for the various branches and offices here.

New York City Master Electrician License

A Master Electrician is licensed to perform electrical work as an independent contractor in or any buildings, lots or parts thereof in NYC. Their license is valid for 1 year and the following fees apply:

  • License Fee: $310.00
  • Renewal Fee: $60.00
  • Seal Renewal Fee: $30.00
  • Late Renewal Fee: $310.00

The requirements for obtaining a master electrician license can be found in this section.

Also check the Master Electrician Insurance Requirements here.

Finally, don’t forget to check Electrician Jobs in New York.

New York City Special Electrician License

A Special Electrician is licensed to perform electrical work in or on specific buildings, lots or parts thereof in NYC. The license is valid for 1 year and the following fees apply:

  • License Fee: $310.00
  • Renewal Fee: $60.00
  • Seal Renewal Fee: $30.00
  • Late Renewal Fee: $310.00

The requirements for obtaining a special electrician license can be found in this section.

Finally, don’t forget to check Electrician Jobs in New York.

Master and Special Electrician License Requirements

In order to acquire a master or special electrician license, the following are required:

- You have to be at least eighteen (18) years old.

- You have to have at least seven and a half (7.5) years of experience or the equivalent within the ten (10) years before applying for the license with a minimum of 10,500 hours or the equivalent of satisfactory experience in the installation, alteration and repair of wiring and appliances for electric light, heat and power in or on buildings or comparable facilities. Experience should have been gained under:

  • The direct supervision of a Department-licensed Master Electrician or Special Electrician.
  • For applicants with experience outside the New York City area, the direct supervision of an individual with comparable qualifications as determined by the Buildings Commissioner.

Additionally, you will have to meet one of the following levels of experience:

- You are a journeyman electrician with at least seven and a half (7.5) years of work experience with a minimum of 10,500 hours of this experience working with tools on the installation, alteration and repair of wiring and appliances for light, heat and power in/on buildings or comparable facilities.

- You are a master of science (M.S.) or a bachelor of science (B.S.) in the electrical trade. For M.S., at least two and a half (2.5) years of experience with a minimum of 3,500 hours of this experience working with tools on the installation, alteration and repair of wiring and appliances for electric light, heat and power in/on buildings or comparable facilities is also required. For B.S., at least three and a half (3.5) years of experience with a minimum of 4,900 hours of this experience working with tools on the installation, alteration and repair of wiring and appliances for electric light, heat and power in/on buildings or comparable facilities.

- You are a graduate of a vocational, industrial, trade school or apprenticeship program registered with the New York State Department of Labor. The specialization of this education should be of electrical wiring, installation and design or applied electricity. Additionally, you should have at least five and a half (5.5) years of experience with a minimum of 7,700 hours of this experience working with tools on the installation, alteration and repair of wiring and appliances for electric light, heat and power in or on buildings or comparable facilities.

- You have taken college or university courses in an electrical or mechanical engineering degree program or a bachelor of science (B.S.) in electrical or mechanical engineering program. This experience combined with work experience amount to seven and a half (7.5) years of work experience with a minimum of 7,000 hours of this experience working with tools on the installation, alteration and repair of wiring and appliances for light, heat and power in/on buildings or comparable facilities.

- You have taken courses at a vocational, industrial or trade school, registered with the New York State Department of Labor specializing in electrical wiring, installation and design or applied electricity. This experience combined with the work experience amounts to seven and a half (7.5) years of work experience with a minimum of 7,700 hours of this experience working with tools on the installation, alteration and repair of wiring and appliances for light, heat and power in/on buildings or comparable.

- You are an employee of a government agency, private inspection agency or other entity, accepted by the Buildings Commissioner whose duties primarily involve the inspection of electrical work for compliance with the electrical code and the electrical code technical standard. This experience combined with your work experience should amount to seven and a half (7.5) years of work experience with a minimum of 7,000 hours of this experience working with tools on the installation, alteration and repair of wiring and appliances for light, heat and power in/on buildings or comparable facilities.

New York City Electrician License Exams and Training

In order to acquire a master or special electrician license, you will have to pass a written and practical exam.

The written exams involve completing the exam application (found here), checking the box that indicates whether you are a Master or Special Electrician candidate and submitting the application with the $525 fee to the Department.

Having passed the written exam, you have to apply to take the practical exam (application found here). Again, complete the exam application, indicate whether you are a Master or Special Electrician candidate and submit the application with the $350 fee payable by money order only.

Both fees should be submitted to:

NYC Department of Buildings
Licensing Unit – Exams
280 Broadway, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10007

After your exam application has been submitted, you will have to schedule your examination.

If your application is accepted, you will be notified via e-mail by the exam administrator in three to four weeks with instructions on how to schedule your exam. There are several locations in the City where you can give the exams.

The written exam consists of multiple-choice questions testing your knowledge of the NYC Administrative Code. The exam is closed books and you will not be allowed to use reference materials during the exam.

If you pass the exam, you will receive a letter notifying you of your exam score in approximately five weeks.

For more details on the exams, please check the Candidate Information Bulletin here.

New York City Electrician License Background Investigation

On top of the exams, you will additionally have to pass a background investigation. This is accomplished by submitting the following documents, in person and by appointment only, to the Department:

  • Typewritten LIC38 license application
  • Examination Score Report Form
  • Notarized Background Investigation Questionnaire
  • Experience Verification Forms from all supervisors for the years you are claiming as experience (Experience Verification Forms from company Human Resources will not be accepted)
  • Social Security History of Earnings for the years you are claiming as experience (There is a fee charged by the Social Security Administration for this service. You must request the report to be run by “company name”. Check this page for more information)
  • Photo ID (driver license)
  • Original Social Security Card
  • Original birth certificate, current passport or Green Card
  • Proof of residence with a utility bill, lease or deed (Cell phone bills will not be accepted)
  • Latest pay stub or W-2
  • Two (2) passport sized photographs
  • $500 background fee
  • $91.50 fingerprint fee

The aforementioned documents have to be sent at:

Licensing Unit
NYC Department of Buildings
280 Broadway, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10007

Applying for a Master or Special Electrician License in New York City

After passing the written exam and the background investigation, you will finally have to apply for your Master or Special Electrician license.

  • If you successfully pass, you will be notified in writing by the Department’s Licensing Unit that you are eligible to apply for a Master or Special Electrician license.
  • You have one year from the date of that letter to begin submitting the required documents for your license. You will have to retake the exam if for any reason you fail to complete the process within one year of the date on the letter.
  • You must make an appointment to apply for a license by calling the Licensing Unit at (212) 566-4100 (note that you will not be able to apply without an appointment). All documents submitted must be originals; copies will not be accepted.

New York City Electrician License Renewal

All renewal applications are due between 30 and 60 days prior to the license expiration date. In order to renew your license, you should bring your electrical license application to the Buildings Department Licensing unit at 280 Broadway, 6th Floor, at Chambers Street in Lower Manhattan.

In case you are late with the renewal, you will have to appear before the Electrical Board.

Check Electrician Schools in New York, NY

The above apply for the following largest cities (among others):
New YorkBuffaloRochesterYonkersSyracuse
AlbanyNew RochelleMount VernonSchenectadyUtica
White PlainsTroyNiagara FallsBinghamtonRome
Long BeachPoughkeepsieNorth TonawandaJamestownIthaca
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