Career Advice

A guide to the differences between licensed and certified electricians

An advantage of using licensed and certified electricians is that they guarantee safe and correctly completed electrical work in structures. When people or businesses engage an electrician, they need to make sure that person is unquestionably qualified to complete the service. Licensed and certified electricians must be distinguished from one another for this reason. In this post, we examine the parallels and discrepancies between licensed and certified electricians, the procedures required for aspirant electricians to obtain either of these credentials, the options available to them following this, and the accompanying advantages.

Who are licensed electricians?

Licensed electricians are professionals who have completed the necessary training, education, and certification to work on electrical systems and wiring. They are authorized by the appropriate regulatory authorities to perform electrical installations, repairs, and maintenance in compliance with safety and building codes. Here are the key characteristics and qualifications of licensed electricians:

  1. Education and Training: Licensed electricians typically undergo formal education and training programs, which may include vocational schools, technical colleges, or apprenticeships. They learn the principles of electrical theory, safety practices, and hands-on skills.
  2. Licensing: To become a licensed electrician, individuals must pass rigorous licensing exams administered by state or local authorities. These exams assess their knowledge of electrical codes and regulations. The specific licensing requirements vary from one jurisdiction to another.
  3. Apprenticeship: Many licensed electricians start as apprentices, working under the guidance of experienced electricians. Apprenticeships provide on-the-job training and the opportunity to learn practical skills.
  4. Specializations: Electricians can specialize in various areas, such as residential, commercial, or industrial electrical work. They may also become experts in specific tasks like installing solar panels, working on HVAC systems, or focusing on energy-efficient technologies.
  5. Safety Compliance: Licensed electricians are well-versed in electrical safety standards and regulations. They are trained to work safely with electricity and adhere to all safety protocols.
  6. Problem Solving: Electricians are skilled problem solvers. They diagnose electrical issues, troubleshoot problems, and implement effective solutions.
  7. Up-to-Date Knowledge: Licensed electricians stay current with the latest industry trends, technologies, and code changes. They continuously update their knowledge and skills to meet evolving electrical standards.
  8. Permitting and Inspection: They are knowledgeable about the permitting and inspection processes. Licensed electricians ensure that electrical installations comply with local building codes and regulations, and they obtain the necessary permits for their work.
  9. Customer Service: Many licensed electricians provide excellent customer service. They communicate effectively with clients, explain the work that needs to be done, and provide estimates for projects.
  10. Career Opportunities: Licensed electricians have a wide range of career opportunities. They can work for electrical contracting companies, become self-employed, or specialize in a particular area of the industry.
  11. Continuing Education: To maintain their licenses, electricians often need to complete continuing education courses, ensuring that they stay current with industry best practices and emerging technologies.

Licensed electricians play a critical role in ensuring the safe and efficient operation of electrical systems in residential, commercial, and industrial settings. Their expertise is essential for maintaining electrical infrastructure and preventing electrical hazards.

Who are certified electricians?

Certified electricians are professionals who have completed specific training and education programs and have earned certifications in the field of electrical work. Certification is a way to demonstrate their expertise, skills, and knowledge in various aspects of electrical systems and installations. Here are the key characteristics and qualifications of certified electricians:

  1. Education and Training: Certified electricians typically undergo formal education and training programs focused on electrical theory, practical skills, and safety practices. These programs may be offered by technical schools, vocational colleges, or trade associations.
  2. Certification: To become a certified electrician, individuals must pass a certification exam or series of exams. These exams assess their understanding of electrical codes, regulations, and best practices. The specific certification requirements can vary depending on the certifying body and the area of specialization.
  3. Specializations: Certified electricians often have the option to specialize in specific areas of electrical work, such as residential, commercial, industrial, or renewable energy. They may also choose to specialize in tasks like electrical system design, automation, or energy-efficient technologies.
  4. Safety Compliance: Certified electricians are well-versed in electrical safety standards and regulations. They are trained to work safely with electricity and follow all safety protocols to protect themselves and others.
  5. Problem Solving: Electricians, including those with certifications, are skilled problem solvers. They diagnose electrical issues, troubleshoot problems, and implement effective solutions.
  6. Up-to-Date Knowledge: Certified electricians stay current with the latest industry trends, technologies, and code changes. They engage in continuing education to maintain their certification and ensure that they remain knowledgeable in their field.
  7. Permitting and Inspection: Certified electricians understand the permitting and inspection processes. They ensure that electrical installations comply with local building codes and regulations, obtain the necessary permits for their work, and coordinate with inspectors as needed.
  8. Customer Service: Many certified electricians provide excellent customer service. They communicate effectively with clients, explain the work that needs to be done, and provide estimates for projects.
  9. Career Opportunities: Certified electricians have various career opportunities, such as working for electrical contracting companies, becoming self-employed, or specializing in specific areas of the industry.

Certified electricians are trusted professionals who are equipped to handle a wide range of electrical tasks. Their certifications demonstrate their commitment to professionalism, safety, and high-quality work in the field of electrical installations and maintenance.

Licensed versus certified electricians

Licensed and certified electricians differ most significantly in that a certified electrician often needs to pass a test to obtain their certification, whereas licensed electricians do not. They are comparable in that they both possess the knowledge, experience, and education necessary to pursue careers in the installation, upkeep, and repair of electrical systems found in buildings. They both also hold electrical work licenses, which is crucial for demonstrating to clients that they have the skills required to carry out tasks properly.

Before determining whether to become certified or licensed, persons interested in this field must first determine which type of job they want to accomplish because the tests electricians must pass focus on various parts of electrical work. While qualified electricians can securely undertake more complicated jobs, such as wiring entire homes or running new wires for huge appliances, licensed electricians are only permitted to perform basic electrical work, like fitting light fittings and outlets. This is because certified electricians have passed a more stringent testing process that assures they can properly complete these more complex processes.

Licensed and certified electricians are both qualified professionals in the field of electrical work, but they differ in terms of their qualifications, the scope of their work, and the requirements they need to meet. Here’s a comparison of licensed and certified electricians:

Licensed Electricians

  1. Licensing Authority: Licensed electricians obtain their licenses from state or local government authorities. The licensing process and requirements can vary significantly from one jurisdiction to another.
  2. Education and Training: To become a licensed electrician, individuals typically complete an extensive apprenticeship program, which includes on-the-job training and classroom instruction. The duration of the apprenticeship can vary by location.
  3. Licensing Exam: Licensed electricians must pass a state or local licensing exam to demonstrate their knowledge of electrical codes, regulations, and safety standards specific to their jurisdiction.
  4. Scope of Work: Licensed electricians are authorized to work on a wide range of electrical projects, from residential to commercial and industrial installations. They can also handle tasks such as wiring, circuit installation, and electrical system repairs.
  5. Permitting and Inspection: Licensed electricians are responsible for obtaining the necessary permits for electrical work, and they must comply with local building codes and regulations. They also coordinate inspections to ensure work meets safety standards.
  6. Safety Compliance: Licensed electricians are well-versed in safety practices and are trained to work with electricity safely. They prioritize safety for themselves and those around them.

Certified Electricians

  1. Certifying Body: Certified electricians earn their certifications through various certifying bodies or organizations in the electrical industry. Certifications are not typically issued by government agencies.
  2. Education and Training: To become certified, electricians complete specialized training and education programs that focus on specific areas of electrical work or specific skills. These programs may be offered by trade associations or educational institutions.
  3. Certification Exam: Certified electricians pass a certification exam that evaluates their expertise in a specific area of electrical work. The requirements for certification can vary based on the certifying organization.
  4. Scope of Work: Certified electricians often specialize in particular areas of electrical work, such as residential wiring, industrial automation, renewable energy systems, or energy-efficient technologies. Their work is specialized and often requires in-depth knowledge and expertise in their chosen area.
  5. Up-to-date Knowledge: Certified electricians stay current with the latest industry developments, technologies, and code changes relevant to their specific field of certification.
  6. Additional Skills: In addition to their specialized knowledge, certified electricians may possess general electrical skills but often excel in their area of specialization.

In summary, licensed electricians are authorized to work as electricians based on government-issued licenses, which typically require a broad range of electrical knowledge. Certified electricians, on the other hand, have chosen to specialize in specific areas of electrical work and have earned certifications to demonstrate their expertise in those areas. The choice between hiring a licensed or certified electrician depends on the specific needs of a project.

The steps to becoming a certified electrician

Here are the three steps to becoming a licensed electrician:

1. Consider pursuing an apprenticeship

Apprenticeships in the electrical industry are an excellent way for students who are interested in this subject to acquire the knowledge, abilities, and credentials required to operate in a highly specialized field. Before beginning the actual apprenticeship program, the majority of apprenticeships demand that its students finish a foundation course. Depending on what kind of qualification students desire to receive upon completion, foundation courses can run anywhere from one to two years. For instance, if students wanted a qualification after their coursework, they could opt for an NVQ level two or level three (both of which are recognized by employers).

2. Earn credentials from an accredited university.

Most students who want to earn credentials from a reputable university do so by passing a pertinent training course. This is because training sessions frequently involve circuitry and wiring, safety regulations, the installation of electrical devices, and building codes. The training program a student chooses must have permission from the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC), an impartial organization that oversees the electrical sector, to guarantee they may earn the required credentials.

3. Pass all required tests.

A potential electrician must pass the following tests to become certified:

  • The Principles and Practice of Electrical Installation Regulations (PPR) examination: This measures a candidate’s understanding of and proficiency with the rules outlined in the Wiring Regulations.
  • Exam for the Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR): This examination determines whether aspiring electricians are capable of appropriately interpreting an EICR report and applying it to a specific situation.
  • The Low Voltage Domestic Installations (LVDI) examination: This measures a candidate’s ability to accurately understand LVDI installations and apply them in a particular context.

Which career options are open to certified electricians?

Since their certification allows them to operate in the construction industry, where they can repair or install electrical equipment or systems in structures or other buildings, for instance, qualified electricians have access to a variety of opportunities. Additionally, licensed electricians collaborate with clients to determine which electrical systems will fit inside a new structure and how to install them correctly. Even large-scale initiatives like power stations or entire neighborhoods in need of electrical work are handled by them. This is so that their certification will increase their value and make it simpler for them to get employment.

Advantages of earning a certification in electrical work

There is no doubt that the income potential for electricians can be increased by getting an electrical certification. There are several additional advantages as well. For instance:

  • Electricians can demonstrate their expertise and understanding in the area via a certification, which is an industry standard.
  • Being certified increases employability because it shows proficiency in all essential electrical areas.
  • Electricians who work for themselves can benefit from certification because it draws clients looking for a reliable trader.

How to obtain an electrical license

Here are the two steps to becoming a licensed electrician:

1. Begin an apprenticeship

Starting an apprenticeship with an organization that licenses electricians, like the NICEIC, is the first step in obtaining an electrician’s license. This is due to the fact that these organizations are experts in educating and regulating everything pupils need to know about electrical installation. It’s typically quite simple to identify one because apprenticeship programs frequently promote the fact that they have the endorsement of one of these organizations. However, if you are unable to locate one nearby, try searching online to determine the location of the closest authorized course.

2. Pass the tests offered by both organizations.

Your next step after completing your apprenticeships is to sit for your tests with an electrician body. This is essential because the boards can see from these tests that students possess the theoretical information needed to support their practical skills. After passing these tests, you’ll have earned your license and be able to start working as a licensed electrician, whether you’re employed or self-employed.

There are several test sessions available throughout the year, based on when you are prepared to take them. There are training offered before each test session so you are fully prepared for test days. Anyone who might benefit from them is welcome to attend these free workshops.

What career options are open to licensed electricians?

One of the many opportunities available to licensed electricians is employment with an electrical contractor. Licensed electricians may work on industrial, household, or commercial structures. This could entail giving current systems a periodic maintenance checkup installing new wires or fixing existing wires. Workers who aren’t yet certified electricians may be supervised by licensed electricians. Installing switches and lights in residential dwellings is one example of this, as is maintaining the systems to keep them up to code.

A licensed electrician may also work as an inspector. Inspections check the safety and functionality of electrical equipment using oscilloscopes and multimeters. As part of their duties, they must also examine any equipment that has already been installed by someone else to see if it complies with industry best practices for safety and performance. Inspectors also look at buildings where electrical work has already been performed by other contractors or people, like roofers or plumbers, to see if their work has been done correctly and in accordance with the code. This is in addition to evaluating equipment like fuses and circuit breakers.


A fantastic option for some people to start careers in electrical engineering is to get their electrical license. This is so because earning an electrical license has numerous advantages.

Frequently Asked Questions about licensed and certified electricians

  • What does a Victoria A-grade electrician do?

The owner of an electrician license in Victoria is permitted to operate independently on any kind of electrical installation project. The holder of this license is not permitted to do electrical installation services for compensation or profit.

  • Who holds the position of an electrician with the highest ranking?

Master Electrician

The top rank of an electrician is called master. State-specific requirements differ for becoming a master electrician, but in most cases, you need to have been a journeyman for at least seven years and put in at least 4,000 hours.

  • How quickly can you become an electrician?

How long it takes to finish electrician training relies on the prerequisites you’ve already met and the credits you’ve earned. A general electrician requires 8,000 hours of training, and the average full-time apprentice makes $2,000 annually. You need to finish a four-year program even if you work full-time.

  • What are the typical requirements for becoming a licensed electrician?

The requirements for becoming a licensed electrician can vary significantly depending on the jurisdiction and local regulations. However, there are common steps involved in obtaining an electrical license. These steps often include completing a formal apprenticeship program, which includes both on-the-job training and classroom education. After completing the apprenticeship, candidates typically need to pass a licensing exam that assesses their knowledge of electrical codes, safety standards, and local regulations. Some areas may also require applicants to demonstrate a certain amount of work experience.

  • How can I verify the certification of a certified electrician?

To verify the certification of a certified electrician, you can follow these steps:

a. Check the Certifying Body: Determine which organization or certifying body issued the certification to the electrician. Certifying bodies may include trade associations, educational institutions, or industry organizations.

b. Contact the Certifying Body: Reach out to the certifying body through their official website or contact information. Many certifying bodies have online directories or verification tools where you can search for certified individuals.

c. Provide Necessary Information: You may be required to provide the electrician’s full name, certification number, or other identifying details to verify their certification status.

d. Request Proof: Once you’ve located the electrician in the certifying body’s directory, you can request proof of their certification, such as a certificate or verification letter. This will confirm that the electrician is indeed certified in their specialized area.

It’s important to ensure that the certifying body is reputable and recognized within the industry. Verification helps ensure that you are hiring a qualified electrician with the specific skills you require for your project.

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