License Requirements and Trade Schools to Become an Electrical Contractor in Ohio

Similar to being a general contractor in Ohio, learning the craft as an electrician takes time, effort, and patience. In Ohio, however, there are no statewide licensing or educational requirements for general electricians; all licensure is done locally, in cities or counties. Commercial electricians, commercial plumbers, HVAC, refrigeration, and hydronics contractors, on the other hand, are required to be licensed by the Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board (OCILB) at the state level.

If you want to work as an electrician in Ohio, you need to enroll in a trade school or find an apprenticeship to learn the ropes.

Electrical work is one of the most dangerous occupations in the US, especially if you don’t know how to perform it correctly. Furthermore, formal electrical training will provide you with the information you’ll need to pursue a commercial job in Ohio or work as an electrical contractor in another state in the future, if that’s something you’re interested in. Here’s everything you need to know to become an electrician in Ohio, whether you’re already doing electrical work or just looking into your choices.

Ohio’s Electrical License

If you already have an electrician’s license from another state, you may be allowed to work in Ohio without having to go through the complete licensing and training procedure. According to the Ohio Division of Industrial Compliance, Ohio has reciprocity agreements with six other states and a variety of other professions.

Only those who have passed a state-recognized license test are eligible for reciprocity across states in Ohio.

Suppose you are an electrician or are planning a career as an electrician. In that case, you should consider purchasing insurance for electricians in Ohio if you intend on working for yourself or managing a business. Find out more here.

Requirements for obtaining an Ohio journeyman electrician’s license

If you want to get a state-level commercial electrician license in Ohio, you must complete a number of prerequisites. In general, the procedure is straightforward: you must first apply to take the license exam, then take and pass the exam. You will then be issued a commercial electrician license.

To be considered, you must satisfy the OCILB’s requirements, which are as follows:

  • Must be at least 18 years old, a United States citizen or legal resident, and have never been convicted of a disqualifying offense or felony.
  • Have worked as an electrician for at least five years before submitting the application;
  • Are a registered electrical engineer working in Ohio who possesses at least three years of experience prior to filing the application;
  • or have an appropriate level of other experience as determined by the OCILB.
  • Carry a minimum of $500,000 in contractor liability insurance, as well as any penalties that may apply.

Before submitting your test application, make sure it’s properly filled out, error-free, and notarized. Applications that are incomplete, include mistakes, or are not notarized will almost certainly be delayed in their assessment. After the board approves your application, you must pass a state and federal background check.

You can take the exam once your application has been fully authorized. Once you have passed the exam, you will be licensed as a Ohio commercial electrician. After receiving your license, you must renew it and continue your study. Each time you renew your license, you will be charged $60. This may be done online through the Ohio Department of Commerce Online Licensing website for four hours per year or twelve hours every three years. You must reapply for your license and retake the exam if your license ever expires or you do not renew it.


Hamilton, Ohio, is one of just two cities in the state that has its own set of rules for general contractors, including electricians. To conduct any work that requires a permit in Hamilton, you must first register with the city. Before undertaking any work or getting the relevant permissions, electricians must first register as Master.

You must contact the city of Hamilton to apply for registration. You must also present verification of your OCILB-issued electrical contractor license and pay the $200 new licensing fee in addition to the application. Every year, you must renew your license with the city, which costs $100.


The only other city with its own contractor license requirements is Middletown, Ohio. You must first apply to take the journeyman electrician license exam, which requires a completed application as well as a $50 exam fee. You must take the test at the Division of Building Inspection on One Donham Plaza once your application has been accepted. The test lasts three hours and is open book. To pass, you must correctly answer at least 70% of the questions.

Your license will be awarded if you pass the exam, and you will be able to operate as an electrician in Middletown under the supervision of someone who has qualified to master electrician status. You can subsequently submit an application to the city, pay the $200 fee, and receive a state-issued electrical contractor license to become a master electrician.

Exam for Electrical Contractors

PSI Exams administers two independent tests for the electrical contractor exam. The first test is the electrical contractor exam, which is a 100-question open-book examination. You have four hours to finish it, and you must correctly answer at least 70% of the questions to pass. You will need to answer questions on a variety of topics including general electrics, control devices, conductors and cables, raceways, panelboards, boxes, transformers, utilization equipment, etc.

Items for the Pre-Test

You must also take and pass a business law test for contractors. This test is open-book as well; however, it is somewhat shorter. There are just 50 questions to answer, and you have two hours to complete them. To pass, you must answer at least 70% of the questions correctly. This exam covers the following topics:

Organizational Structure; Licensing; Estimation and Bidding; OSHA Record Keeping and Safety; Personnel Regulations; Contract and Project Management; Insurance and Bonding; Financial Management; Tax Laws; Pretest Items Lien Laws;

You will earn your electrician license after passing both examinations. Please check the Candidate Bulletin Information for OCILB on PSI’s website for further information on testing locations, examination accommodations, permitted reference materials, and preparation advice.

Requirements for Electrician Apprenticeships

To operate as a general or even commercial electrician in Ohio, you do not need to be an electrical apprentice. An apprenticeship, however, is a fantastic method to get the skills and information you’ll need to thrive in this field while also earning money, developing professional contacts, and gaining the experience you’ll need to apply for a license.

To become an apprentice in Ohio, you must first register with the state; the ApprenticeOhio website characterizes the procedure as “much like applying for a job.” You apply direct to a an eligible program to become a registered apprentice. To learn more about the options that may be accessible to you, fill out the “I’m Interested in Becoming an Apprentice” form online.

Electrical Apprenticeships in Ohio

You may also look for an electrical apprenticeship in Ohio through various resources and organizations. Hundreds of different apprenticeships are listed on the OhioMeansJobs website, all of which are state-registered programs. Many of these programs are union programs and are linked with the 17 Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committees in Ohio. Non-union programs are also featured on this page. You may also utilize generic job-searching websites like Indeed or Monster to look for other chances.

Ohio Electrical Trade Schools

Throughout Ohio, there are several electrical trade schools and programs. Many communities have their own school or program, and other cities, like Columbus and Piqua, have two or three. You’ll be able to discover a program near you that delivers the training you need, no matter where you reside in the state.

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