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Electrical License Test – What to Expect

If you’ve finished your electrical apprenticeship, you’re getting ready to take your electrical license test and become fully licensed. Many people do not pass the first time, with a 32.14% pass rate reported in some states. Read on to increase your chances of passing it on the first try.

Many variables of the electrical license test (also known as the Journeyman’s test) are dependent on the state you’re residing in. For example, in Texas, the exam has a 4-hour time limit with 80 questions to complete, requiring at least a 75% to receive licensure. Generally, the test will be around 70 questions and require at least a 70% to pass and have a 4 hour time limit.

Some states, like Pennsylvania and New Jersey, don’t have regulations or requirements regarding the licensure of electricians at the state level, but counties and localities within those states do have requirements. There will also be a fee to take the exam which varies from state to state.

The exam is administered via either paper and pencil or on a computer. What you’ll be allowed to bring with you for your exam is also dependent on your state. In Washington state, you’re permitted to bring many resources, whereas if we return to Texas, only a bound copy of the National Electrical Code is allowed. You’ll want to contact your state licensing agency for more specifics as to the format of the exam at your locality. Many agencies offer previews and blueprints of their test so that candidates can better prepare for it.

No matter where you take the test to get your electrical license, the knowledge required to pass it is largely the same. You’ll be expected to be well-versed in basic electric theory; the test covers a wide range of topics. There is heavy emphasis on the National Electric Code, as familiarity with and adherence to this code is a vital to getting your electrical license. Other regulations will be covered as well, such as the National Electrical Safety Code, the International Building Code, and the International Energy Conservation Code.

Equally important will be your technical knowledge and aptitude with basic electrical theory. You’ll need to be familiar with code formulas, as well as various other laws governing how electricity behaves. Practical abilities will also be tested, such as reviewing drawings and construction blueprints for accuracy, determining logistical requirements for a project, and the running of electrical lines. There are also state-specific rules and regulations that you will be tested on.

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