As an electrician or electrical contractor in Hawaii, it’s crucial to understand the steps and requirements for establishing eligibility, applying for, and renewing your electrician license. This guide provides a detailed overview of the process, including reciprocity with other states, specific requirements for different locations and counties in Hawaii, license bond requirements, and insurance needs.

Establishing Eligibility

Before applying for an electrician license in Hawaii, you must first establish your eligibility. The Professional and Vocational Licensing (PVL) division of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) oversees the licensing of electricians in Hawaii. According to the DCCA, the eligibility requirements include:

  1. Experience: Applicants must have a minimum of 10,000 hours of work experience in the electrical trade, with at least 5,000 hours in commercial and industrial work. The remaining hours can be in residential work.
  2. Education: Applicants must complete an approved curriculum from a recognized institution. The HCC Approved Curricula List provides a list of approved courses.
  3. Examination: Applicants must pass the Hawaii Electrician Examination. The Electrician Examination Information Bulletin provides detailed information about the examination.

Applying for an Electrician License

After establishing eligibility, the next step is to apply for the electrician license. The Application for Electrician and Plumber License provides a detailed guide on how to apply. The application process involves:

1. Legal Requirements

No person can act or assume to act as an electrician or plumber without a license previously obtained in compliance with Chapter 448E, Hawaii Revised Statutes and Chapter 16-80, Hawaii Administrative Rules. The electrician’s or plumber’s license does not allow one to contract to perform electrical or plumbing work. A contractor’s license pursuant to 444, HRS is required.

2. Qualifying for the Examination

Hawaii does not reciprocate with any jurisdiction. Incomplete or deficient applications will delay processing. Applicants must meet the requirements in effect at the time of application, apply, be qualified by the Board of Electricians and Plumbers, and attain a passing score on Hawaii’s licensure examination.

3. Types of Licenses and Requirements

  • Journey Worker Electrician: Requires 5 years but not less than 10,000 hours in residential or commercial wiring and satisfactory completion of 240 hours of electrical academic coursework.
  • Supervising Electrician: Requires 4 years of experience as a licensed journey worker electrician or equivalent.
  • Journey Worker Industrial Electrician: Requires 4 years but not less than 8,000 hours in industrial electrical work and satisfactory completion of 200 hours of electrical academic coursework.
  • Supervising Industrial Electrician: Requires 3 years of experience as a licensed journey worker industrial electrician or equivalent.
  • Maintenance Electrician: Requires 1 year of electrical maintenance work and satisfactory completion of 80 hours of electrical academic coursework or 2 years of schooling in the trade with not less than 1,000 hours of hands-on lab exercises.
  • Journey Worker Plumber: Requires 5 years but not less than 10,000 hours of plumbing work in compliance with the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC).
  • Master Plumber: Requires being registered as a licensed journey worker plumber in this or another state for at least 2 years.

4. Experience Verification

Applicants must submit completed and notarized forms “Experience Verification(s) – Electrician Only” OR “Experience Verification(s) – Plumber Only” from EACH licensed electrician OR plumber under whom they received their experience/training.

5. Electrical Academic Coursework

All journey worker & maintenance electrician classifications are subject to an educational component. The electrical academic coursework outlined shall be conducted by or accepted by a University of Hawaii Community College.

6. Filing Deadline and Exam Information

A complete application along with appropriate fees must be received at least seven (7) working days before the board meeting date. Board meetings are usually scheduled in the months of February, April, June, August, October, and December. Examinations are usually scheduled in the month after the board meeting.

7. Application Form

Complete the on-line fillable application and print the form OR print legibly in dark ink. Answer all questions. If an item is not applicable, indicate “NA”. Application must be signed. Submit application, supporting documents, and application fee by the filing deadline.

8. Social Security Number

Your Social Security Number is used to verify your identity for licensing purposes and for compliance with federal laws and Hawaii Revised Statutes.

9. Fees

Attach the application fee of $40 (non-refundable). Additional fees will be assessed after board approval and passage of the examination. Make checks payable to: COMMERCE & CONSUMER AFFAIRS.

10. Supporting Documents

Complete and ATTACH to your application: Experience Verification Form, License Verification Form(s), and Verification of completion of the required electrical academic coursework.

11. Examination

Upon approval by the board of your application, you will be sent an “Examination Registration Form.” This form is to be completed and sent directly to the testing contractor along with the appropriate examination fee and one (1) copy of your approval letter.

12. Maintaining the License

All PLUMBER licenses, regardless of issuance date, are subject to renewal on or before June 30, every three years (triennial renewal) beginning June 30, 2006. All licensed plumbers will need to provide proof of completing the continued competency requirement at the time of renewal. Please keep the board informed of any address changes in writing.

All ELECTRICIAN licenses, regardless of issuance date, are subject to renewal on or before June 30, every three years (triennial renewal) beginning June 30, 2006. All licensed electricians will need to provide proof of completing the continued competency requirement at the time of renewal. Please keep the board informed of any address changes in writing.

License Renewal

Electrician licenses in Hawaii must be renewed biennially. The Electrician Continuing Competency Requirements page provides detailed information about the renewal process, which includes:

  1. Continuing Education: Electricians must complete 16 hours of continuing education every two years. The courses must be approved by the Board.
  2. Renewal Fee: The renewal fee is $225, payable to the “Commerce and Consumer Affairs.”
  3. Renewal Application: Submit the renewal application form, along with proof of continuing education and the renewal fee, to the Professional and Vocational Licensing Division.

Reciprocity with Other States

Hawaii has reciprocity agreements with several states, allowing electricians licensed in these states to apply for a Hawaii license without taking the Hawaii Electrician Examination. The License Verification for Electricians document provides detailed information about the reciprocity process.

Electrician License Reciprocity

Electrician license reciprocity refers to an agreement between states where they mutually recognize the licensure of electricians from the other state. This means that if an electrician is licensed in one state, they may not need to go through the entire licensing process again in another state that has a reciprocity agreement with the original state. This can save electricians time and money, and it can also facilitate the process of expanding their business into new territories.

However, it’s important to note that not all states have reciprocity agreements. According to The License Verification for Electricians document, Hawaii is one of the states that does not offer reciprocity to contractors licensed in other states. This means that if an electrician is licensed in another state and wants to work in Hawaii, they will need to go through the full licensing process in Hawaii, regardless of their licensure status in their home state.

The lack of reciprocity in Hawaii could be due to a variety of factors, including differences in state regulations, licensing requirements, and standards for electricians. It’s also possible that Hawaii has chosen not to enter into reciprocity agreements in order to maintain control over the quality and standards of electricians working within the state.

License Bond Requirements

A license bond, also known as a surety bond, is a type of insurance that protects the public. It guarantees that the electrician will comply with all state regulations and codes. If the electrician fails to meet these requirements, a claim can be made against the bond.

In Hawaii, electricians are required to post a contractor’s license bond as part of the licensing process. The bond amount varies depending on the type of contractor license. The bond amount is $5,000 for a journey worker electrician and $20,000 for an electrical contractor. The License Bond Requirements document provides detailed information about the bond requirements.

The bond acts as a form of financial guarantee that the electrician will perform their duties in accordance with state laws and regulations. If a customer or other party suffers a financial loss due to the electrician’s failure to meet these requirements, they can file a claim against the bond. The surety company that issued the bond will then pay out the claim, up to the full amount of the bond.

Insurance Needs for Electricians in Hawaii

Insurance is a crucial aspect of any business, including electrical contracting. It provides protection against potential risks and liabilities that could result in significant financial losses. For electricians in Hawaii, there are several types of insurance that are particularly important.

  1. General Liability Insurance: This is a fundamental type of insurance that covers claims of bodily injury, property damage, and personal injury that your business could be found liable for. It’s essential for protecting your business against the costs of lawsuits and other financial liabilities. Electricians in Hawaii must also have liability insurance. The minimum coverage amounts are $100,000 for bodily injury and $25,000 for property damage.
  2. Workers’ Compensation Insurance: If you have employees, Hawaii law requires you to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This type of insurance covers medical expenses and lost wages for employees who get injured or become ill because of their work.
  3. Commercial Auto Insurance: If you or your employees use vehicles for work-related tasks, commercial auto insurance is necessary. It covers liabilities arising from accidents involving your business vehicles.
  4. Inland Marine Insurance: This type of insurance covers tools and equipment that are often in transit. For electricians, whose expensive tools and equipment are a crucial part of their work, inland marine insurance can provide important protection.
  5. Umbrella Insurance: This is a form of liability insurance that provides coverage beyond the limits of your other policies. It can be a financial lifesaver in the event of a large claim or lawsuit.
  6. Surety Bonds: As mentioned earlier, electricians in Hawaii are required to post a contractor’s license bond as part of the licensing process.

Remember, the specific insurance needs can vary depending on the size of your business, the number of employees, and the nature of the work you do. It’s always a good idea to consult with an insurance professional to ensure you have the right coverage for your business.


Becoming an electrician in Hawaii involves a series of steps, including education, experience, examination, and licensing. It’s a profession that requires technical knowledge, practical skills, and adherence to safety practices. Despite the absence of license reciprocity in Hawaii, the state offers a comprehensive path to licensure for those interested in this field.

In addition to obtaining a license, electricians in Hawaii must also meet certain insurance and bonding requirements. These measures are designed to protect the public, the electrician, and the integrity of the electrical industry in the state. By understanding and fulfilling these requirements, you can embark on a rewarding career as an electrician in Hawaii.