Electricians are vital to our society, providing safe and reliable electrical systems for homes, businesses, and public facilities. In New Mexico, electricians must be licensed, ensuring they possess the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience. This guide provides detailed information on how to establish eligibility, apply for, and renew an electrician license in New Mexico.

Gaining Necessary Experience

The first step towards becoming a licensed electrician in New Mexico is to gain the necessary field experience. This experience can be gained through:

  • On-the-job training: This typically involves working as an electrician’s helper or assistant, learning the trade while working under the supervision of a licensed electrician. This type of training provides hands-on experience and a direct understanding of the work involved in the electrical trade. You’ll learn how to install, maintain, and repair electrical systems in a variety of settings, from residential homes to commercial buildings. You’ll also learn about safety practices, electrical codes, and how to read and interpret electrical plans and diagrams.
  • Trade schools: Trade schools offer structured programs that combine classroom instruction with practical training. These programs often include courses on electrical theory, electrical code requirements, and safety practices, as well as hands-on training in electrical installation, maintenance, and repair. By attending a trade school, you can gain a solid foundation of knowledge and skills in a relatively short period of time. You’ll also have the opportunity to earn a diploma or certificate, which can enhance your employability.
  • Apprenticeship programs: Apprenticeship programs combine on-the-job training with classroom instruction. These programs are often sponsored by trade unions or contractor associations and typically last four years. During an apprenticeship, you’ll work under the supervision of a licensed electrician while also taking classes on electrical theory, code requirements, and other related topics. Apprenticeship programs provide comprehensive training and often lead to higher-level positions in the electrical trade.

In New Mexico, the requirements for earning a journeyman electrician license vary depending on the specific classification of the license. For some classifications, two years (or 4,000 hours) of experience is required. For other classifications, four years (or 8,000 hours) of experience is required.

Taking the Journeyman Electrician Exam

After gaining the necessary work experience, the next step is to take the journeyman electrician exam. This exam is administered by PSI and consists of two parts:

  • Code Examination: This part of the exam tests your knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC), which sets the standards for safe electrical installation, inspection, and use in the United States. The NEC covers a wide range of topics, including wiring and protection, wiring methods and materials, equipment for general use, and special occupancies. To prepare for this part of the exam, you should study the NEC and become familiar with its layout and content. You should also practice answering code-related questions, as the exam will test your ability to apply the code to specific situations.
  • Theory Examination: This part of the exam tests your understanding of electrical theory, including concepts such as Ohm’s law, electrical circuits, and electrical safety. You’ll need to understand the principles of electricity, how to calculate electrical loads, how to troubleshoot electrical problems, and how to use electrical testing equipment. To prepare for this part of the exam, you should study textbooks and other resources on electrical theory, and practice solving electrical problems.

You must score at least 70% on each part to pass the exam. Once you pass the exam, you’ll be eligible to apply for a journeyman electrician license. This license is valid for three years and must be renewed through PSI. In addition to renewing your license, you must also complete at least 16 hours of continuing education during each three-year period.

Obtaining an Electrical Contractor’s License

After becoming a licensed journeyman electrician, you may choose to further your career by obtaining an electrical contractor’s license. This license allows you to bid on and contract for electrical services. In New Mexico, obtaining an electrical contractor’s license requires:

  • Practical Experience: You need two to four years of practical experience related to the specific license classification. This experience can be gained through work as a journeyman electrician. The experience should cover a wide range of electrical work, including installation, maintenance, and repair of electrical systems, and compliance with electrical codes and safety standards.
  • Proof of Financial Responsibility: You’ll need to provide proof of financial responsibility, such as a surety bond or a certificate of insurance. This requirement is designed to protect consumers in case you fail to fulfill your contractual obligations.
  • Current New Mexico Tax ID Number: You must have a current New Mexico tax ID number. This number is used for tax reporting purposes and is issued by the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department.
  • Examinations: You must pass two exams: the Business and Law Exam and The Electrical Inspector Exam. These exams are administered by PSI and are open-book, meaning you can refer to the NEC and the New Mexico Electrical Code (NMAC) during the exams. The Business and Law Exam covers topics such as contract law, business organization, risk management, and New Mexico’s construction laws and rules. The Electrical Inspector Exam covers topics such as electrical inspection methods, electrical code requirements, and electrical safety practices.

Once you pass the exams and meet all other requirements, you’ll be issued an electrical contractor’s license. This license is valid for one year and must be renewed annually at a cost of $50.

Electrician License Reciprocity

New Mexico has reciprocity agreements with several states for electrical licenses. This means that if you hold a valid license in one of these states, you may be eligible to receive a license in New Mexico without having to take the examination. The states with which New Mexico has reciprocity agreements include:

  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Idaho
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Oklahoma
  • South Dakota
  • Utah
  • Texas
  • Wyoming

You can find more information about the reciprocity agreements and the specific requirements for each state on their respective websites. It’s important to note that reciprocity is not automatic; you must apply and meet all the requirements of the New Mexico Regulation & Licensing Department.

License Bond Requirements in New Mexico

In New Mexico, electricians are required to post a license bond as part of the licensing process. This bond serves as a financial guarantee that the electrician will comply with the state’s regulations and standards. The amount of the bond varies depending on the type of license. For instance, a journeyman electrician is required to post a $2,000 bond, while an electrical contractor must post a $5,000 bond. The bond must be issued by a surety company authorized to do business in New Mexico.

Insurance Needs for Electricians in New Mexico

Insurance is a critical component of running a successful electrician business. It protects your business from financial losses due to accidents, injuries, and property damage. Here are the main types of insurance that electricians in New Mexico should consider:

  • General Liability Insurance: This is a must-have for electricians. It covers claims for injuries or damages to third parties as a result of your work. It also includes legal fees to defend your business from any covered claim. The policy limits of $1,000,000 single claim and $2,000,000 aggregate will be sufficient in most cases.
  • Workers’ Compensation Insurance: If you have employees, you’re required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This covers your employees for injuries or illnesses caused by their employment. The cost of workers’ compensation for electricians is generally around $2.65 per hundred dollars of payroll.
  • Commercial Auto Insurance: If you use vehicles in your business, you’ll need commercial auto insurance. This covers any damages or injuries caused by your business vehicles.
  • Inland Marine Insurance: This covers your tools and equipment from loss or theft.
  • Umbrella Insurance Coverage: This provides coverage for catastrophic losses that exceed the underlying policy limits.

Remember, the specific insurance requirements can vary depending on the size of your business, the type of work you do, and other factors. It’s always a good idea to work with an insurance professional who understands the unique needs of electricians.


Becoming a licensed electrician in New Mexico involves several steps, including gaining necessary experience, passing the required exams, and obtaining an electrical contractor’s license. By following these steps, electricians can ensure they meet all the requirements to practice their trade legally and safely in New Mexico.

For more information, please contact the New Mexico Construction Industries Division:

  • Bureau Chief: Michael Padilla, (505) 670-5826
  • Licensing Manager: Katherine Torres-Swick, (505) 490-0477