Embarking on a career as a licensed electrician in Michigan is a rewarding choice, offering opportunities for hands-on problem solving, continual learning, and a stable income. However, it requires a commitment to learning and adherence to the state’s regulations. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the steps to become a licensed electrician in Michigan, including establishing eligibility, preparing for and passing the necessary examinations, applying for your license, and maintaining it through renewal processes. We will also cover the reciprocity agreements Michigan has with other states, and delve into the specific requirements for different cities, towns, and counties within Michigan.

Establishing Eligibility

Apprentice Electrician

The first step in your journey to becoming a licensed electrician is to register as an apprentice. As an apprentice, you will gain practical, hands-on experience under the supervision of a licensed electrician. This is where you will learn the ins and outs of electrical work, from understanding blueprints to installing, maintaining, and repairing electrical systems.

In Michigan, you must register with the board as an apprentice electrician within 30 days of starting your employment. To register, you will need to fill out a form provided by the board. Once you have provided proof of your participation in an approved apprenticeship training program, you will be issued a certificate of registration.

It’s important to note that there is a ratio requirement for apprentices to licensed electricians on a jobsite. For every one electrical journeyman or master electrician, there can be no more than three registered apprentice electricians. This ensures that each apprentice receives adequate supervision and guidance during their training period.

Journeyman Electrician

After completing your apprenticeship, the next step is to become a journeyman electrician. To qualify, you must be at least 20 years old and have at least 8,000 hours of experience over a minimum of 4 years. This experience must be related to electrical construction or maintenance of buildings or electrical wiring or equipment, and it must be under the direct supervision of a licensed individual.

Master Electrician

Becoming a master electrician is the pinnacle of an electrician’s career. Master electricians are highly experienced professionals who are capable of supervising entire projects and other electricians. In Michigan, to qualify as a master electrician, you must be at least 22 years old, have at least 12,000 hours of experience obtained over a period of 6 years or more, and have held an electrical journeyman’s license for at least 2 years.

Electrical Contractor

An electrical contractor is a business entity or a person that engages in the business of erecting, installing, altering, repairing, servicing, or maintaining electrical wiring, devices, appliances, or equipment. To qualify for an electrical contractor’s license in Michigan, you must meet the requirements described in article 2 and either hold a master electrician’s license or employ at least one full-time master electrician who resides in Michigan and is actively in charge of and responsible for ensuring compliance with the Michigan electrical code for all installations of electrical wiring and equipment.

Electrician Exams

Once you have met the eligibility requirements, the next step is to pass the necessary examinations. The examination fee for licensure of a master electrician, electrical contractor, or electrical journeyman is $100.00.

The examinations are designed to test your knowledge of the electrical trade, including the Michigan electrical code, electrical fundamentals, and electrical theory. If you fail to pass the master electrician examination or the electrical journeyman examination twice within a period of 2 years, you are ineligible to sit for another examination for at least 1 year. After that 1-year period, you are again eligible to sit for an examination if you present proof of the successful completion of a course on Michigan electrical code, electrical fundamentals, or electrical theory approved by the board.

Applying for the License

Once you have passed the necessary examinations, you can apply for your license. The fee for an initial license or renewal of a license relating to electricians is as follows:

  • Master electrician: $50.00
  • Electrical journeyman: $40.00
  • Apprentice electrician: $15.00

For electrical contractors, the fee for an initial license or for relicensure at a time other than between December 31 and March 1 of the year in which the department issues renewal licenses, the department shall compute and charge the 3-year license fee on a yearly pro rata basis beginning in the year of the application until the last year of the 3-year license cycle. The fee is $300.00 for electrical contractors.

License Renewal

Maintaining your license is an essential part of being an electrician. In Michigan, licenses for electrical contractors expire on December 31 of every third year. They are renewable no later than March 1 every third year by submitting an application and paying a fee of $300.00.

For apprentice electricians, the registration expires on August 31 of each year and is renewable within 30 days after that date if a renewal fee of $15.00 is paid.

Specific Requirements by Cities, Towns, and Counties

The requirements for electrician licenses may vary by city, town, or county in Michigan. It is recommended to check with the local government or the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs for specific requirements. This is important because different jurisdictions may have different codes and regulations that you need to follow.

Electrician License Reciprocity

License reciprocity is a concept that allows professionals licensed in one state to have their credentials recognized in another state. This can be particularly beneficial for electricians who want to expand their business or take on projects in different states. However, the reciprocity agreements vary from state to state, and not all states have such agreements.

In the case of Michigan, it’s important to note that the state does not offer reciprocity to contractors licensed in other states. This means that if you are an electrician licensed in another state and you want to work in Michigan, you will need to go through the Michigan licensing process. This process includes meeting the state’s requirements for education, experience, and examination.

While this may seem like a hurdle, it’s crucial to remember that each state has its own unique set of regulations and standards to ensure the safety and quality of electrical work. The licensing process is designed to ensure that all electricians working in the state are familiar with these regulations and are qualified to provide safe and effective services.

License Bond Requirements and Insurance Needs

License Bond Requirements in Michigan

In Michigan, electricians are required to post a license bond as part of their licensing process. A license bond, also known as a surety bond, is a type of financial guarantee that the electrician will adhere to all state regulations and codes in their work. It serves to protect customers and the state from potential financial loss in case the electrician fails to fulfill their contractual obligations or violates state regulations.

The amount of the bond required can vary depending on the type of electrical license. For example, a contractor might need a larger bond compared to a journeyman electrician. It’s important to check with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs for the specific bond amount required for your license type.

To obtain a license bond, you would typically work with a surety bond company. The cost of the bond (known as the bond premium) is usually a small percentage of the total bond amount and is determined by the surety company based on factors like your personal credit score and business financials.

Insurance Needs for Electricians in Michigan

Insurance is a crucial aspect of running an electrical business in Michigan. It provides financial protection against potential risks and liabilities that can arise from your work. Here are some types of insurance that electricians in Michigan should consider:

  1. General Liability Insurance: This is a fundamental type of insurance that covers claims related to bodily injuries or property damage caused by your business operations. For example, if a customer gets injured due to a faulty installation or if you accidentally damage a customer’s property while working, general liability insurance can cover the associated costs.
  2. Workers’ Compensation Insurance: If you have employees, Michigan law requires you to have workers’ compensation insurance. This type of insurance covers medical expenses and lost wages if an employee gets injured or falls ill due to their job.
  3. Commercial Auto Insurance: If you use vehicles for your electrical business, commercial auto insurance is necessary. It covers damages and injuries resulting from accidents involving your business vehicles.
  4. Tools and Equipment Insurance: Also known as inland marine insurance, this covers your tools and equipment from risks like theft, vandalism, and damage. Given the expensive nature of electrical tools and equipment, this insurance can be very beneficial.
  5. Professional Liability Insurance: Also known as errors and omissions (E&O) insurance, this covers you if a client claims that your professional advice or services caused them financial loss.

Remember, the specific insurance needs can vary depending on the size of your business, the nature of the projects you undertake, and other factors. It’s advisable to work with a knowledgeable insurance agent to ensure you have the right coverage for your electrical business in Michigan.


Becoming a licensed electrician in Michigan is a process that requires dedication, hard work, and a commitment to continuous learning. From starting as an apprentice to becoming a master electrician or electrical contractor, each step of the journey offers new challenges and opportunities for growth.

This guide has provided a comprehensive overview of the steps to become a licensed electrician in Michigan, including establishing eligibility, passing the necessary examinations, applying for and maintaining your license, and understanding the specific requirements for different cities, towns, and counties within Michigan.

Always remember to check with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs for the most current information, and don’t forget the importance of having proper insurance coverage to protect yourself and your business. With the right preparation and resources, you can embark on a rewarding career as a licensed electrician in Michigan.