By Stefanie Trice Gill
Maine currently has a shortage of electricians, yet many foreign-trained electricians who come here are told they have to “start again.” This is not always the case. Sometimes those with overseas education and experience in electricity may qualify for licensure without a U.S. degree. A place to begin is a 45-hour course in the National Electrical Code (NEC) and registration for the Journeyman Electrician’s Exam.
Maine’s Electricians’ Examining Board decides who will be licensed as an electrician in Maine. IntWork interviewed Catherine Carroll, the board administrator, who confirmed that the board “can consider any comparable education, training, and work experience from any country.”
Carroll advises foreign-trained electricians living in Maine to go to the Electricians’ Examining Board website and select “Apply for an exam” (Journeyman). At no cost to the applicant, the board will then review the application and notify the applicant what, if any, additional training or experience they require to sit for the journeyman’s exam.
Maine requirements for licensed journeyman electricians
Qualifying work experience, from any country: Four years (8,000 hours) of work experience in “electrical installations,” including installation, repair, alteration, and maintenance of electrical conductors, devices and fixtures, telephone, cable, closed-circuit television, power generation systems, etc. Those who have less than four years experience can still qualify for an electrician helper license, with no exam or work experience required. The cost is $46.00. Apply online at Maine Electricians’ Examining Board.
Qualifying education, from any country: 576 hours or more of training, including 225 hours studying Electricity I, Electricity II, Math I, Controls I – at least 45 hours in each area – and a current NEC course. These 45-hour courses can also be taken online at maineelectricalinstitute.com or novelengineering.org. Also required are 351 hours of combined professional trades coursework and any degree-related coursework in math, science, engineering, human relations, communications, business, etc.
Q & A
Can someone with a Maine associate’s degree in electrical technology (from Southern Maine Community College, Midcoast Community College, or other community colleges in Maine) qualify?
Graduates of these programs can sit for the journeyman’s exam and are credited 4,000 work hours.
I’m already working with an employer in an electrical installer role. Can they help me?
Employers may provide training or cover the costs of licensure. If not, a candidate can apply independently.
I have studied and worked in electricity extensively. What do I do?
Go to the Electricians’ Examining Board website and select “Apply for an exam” (journeyman).
I have other questions about getting licensed as an electrician. Who can I ask?
Contact the Board of Maine Examiners at [email protected] or (207) 624-8457. Board Administrator Catherine Carroll also administers the licensure boards for plumbers, certified public accountants (CPAs), soil scientists, and geologists, and can answer any questions.
Stefanie Trice Gill, MBA, is founder and lead recruiter at IntWork, a diversity recruiting agency that matches BIPOC and immigrant professionals with Maine companies. Contact her at www.IntWork.com.