When you’re an independent contractor, it’s easy to assume you aren’t accountable to anything higher than the companies that hire you. However, you still have the responsibility to maintain your credentials, file the appropriate paperwork, and take care of the details of your job, rather than relying on a company to oversee the process.

As an electrician, you are responsible for a lot of training, paperwork, and regulations. One of the biggest steps you can take to establish credibility is to have the appropriate licensure for your area. In a tri-state area like Greater Cincinnati, though, you could cross state lines and need completely different credentials. Confused about what you need to begin work as an electrician? Take a look at the requirements for each state.

Ohio

To get your electrician’s license in Ohio according to the Ohio Department of Commerce, you will need to provide proof of:

    • Proof of work experience as a tradesperson in the electrical field for at least five years, with proof that your work required a permit or
    • Registration as an electrical engineer in Ohio, with three years of business experience in the electrical construction industry, or
    • Another, acceptable experience to present to the board

Once you have the experience and training and as long as you have not committed a disqualifying offense, you just need to pass the exam and carry appropriate insurance. Your application must then be notarized and sent in with the appropriate fees. Your license will need to be renewed every year with proof of 8-10 hours of continuing education, only half of which may be online.
The good news is, if you start with an Ohio license, you can apply for a reciprocal license in Kentucky, which may save you some time and money.

Kentucky

To get your electrician’s license in Kentucky, you will need to provide notarized proof of either:

    • Six years of work experience in the electrical field, or
    • Four years of work experience in the electrical field, plus 576 hours of classroom training

You can get this experience and classroom training through a technical college, an apprenticeship program, or an assistant position to an established electrician.

After the years of experience, you will need to pass the Kentucky Standard Journeyman Electrician exam, fill out a license application, and provide proofs of identity to get your independent electrician license in Kentucky. The license needs to be renewed yearly with proof of at least six hours of continuing education.

Indiana

Indiana functions a little differently from Ohio and Kentucky because there is no statewide regulatory board for electrical contractors. Licenses are therefore issued in the city you work in, but you should have no trouble carrying your license from one city to another within Indiana.

To get your electrical contractor’s license in most cities in Indiana, you will need to work through four phases:

    • First, you’ll need four to six years of job experience in the field, which you can obtain through technical college or an apprenticeship
    • Next, a passing score on the required journeyman exams for your city. Journeyman licenses will need to be renewed yearly
    • Next, you need a master electrician certification or license. A master electrician license needs some combination of customer references, documentation of six to eight years of experience, and a passing score on the master electrical exam. A master electrician certificate or license requires yearly renewal.
    • Finally, to obtain an independent electrical contractor’s license, you will need to carry the appropriate insurance coverage and renew your license yearly. Some cities also require surety bonds over a certain amount.

The process of obtaining licensure in each of these three states will take years, but by the end, you’ll be able to work wherever there’s a contract open for you, and you’ll be able to do so at your own convenience – provided you maintain your certification each year.

Ready to begin your journey as an electrician, or join a network of independent contractors? Check out Independent Electrical Contractors of Cincinnati today to get started.