Electrical Safety and Licensing Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do I Need an Electrician License?

1.1. General Questions

1.1.1. Who needs to be licensed?

Anyone who performs electrical work in the state of Texas must be licensed.

Electrical work is defined as:

  • Any labor or material used in installing, maintaining or extending an electrical wiring system and the appurtenances, apparatus or equipment used in connection with the use of electrical energy in, on, outside, or attached to a building, residence, structure, property, or premises
  • Service entrance conductors, as defined by the National Electrical Code.

1.1.2. Are there any exemptions to the licensing requirements?

Yes. For a list of exemptions to this requirement, please see the exemptions page.

1.1.3. I live/work and perform electrical work in an unincorporated area. Do I need a license?

Yes.

1.1.4. I work as an electrician in agricultural operations only, such as farming and ranching. Do I need a statewide electrician’s license?

No, a state electrician’s license is not required for electrical work performed on a building, structure, or equipment used in agriculture. For more on exemptions, see the exemptions page for more information.

An agricultural operation is defined as:

  • cultivating the soil to produce crops for human food, animal feed, or planting seed for the production of fibers
  • the practice of floriculture, viticulture, silviculture, and horticulture, including the cultivation of plants in containers or non-soil media, by a nursery grower
  • raising, feeding, or keeping animals for breeding purposes or for the production of food or fiber, leather, pelts, or other tangible products having a commercial value
  • raising or keeping equine animals
  • wildlife management; and
  • planting cover crops, including cover crops cultivated for transplantation, or leaving land idle for the purpose of participating in any governmental program or normal crop or livestock rotation procedure.

1.1.5. When did the licensing provisions become effective?

  • If you perform electrical work, the licensing provisions took effect September 1, 2004.
  • If you perform residential appliance installation, the licensing provisions took effect March 1, 2008.
  • If you perform journeyman lineman work, the licensing provisions took effect June 1, 2014.
  • If you perform journeyman industrial work, the licensing provisions took effect June 1, 2019.

1.2. Public Entities

1.2.1. Are employees of public entities required to have an electrician’s license?

Yes. Persons performing subject electrical work must be licensed as electricians, unless exempt under Section 1305.003.

1.2.2. Are public entities required to have an electrical contractor's license?

No. Texas law does not require a political subdivision (i.e. school district, municipality, etc.) to hold an electrical or electrical sign contractor’s license to allow an employee to perform electrical work. These public entities are not required to have a contractor's license because they do not contract with the public; however, the employees performing electrical work are still required to work under the general supervision of a master electrician.

1.3. Residential Appliance Installers

1.3.1. If I have another type of electrical license issued by TDLR, do I have to obtain a Residential Appliance Installer license to perform the appliance installation?

No, but you must work for a licensed electrical contractor and hold the appropriate electrical license in order to perform the installation.

1.4. Journeyman Industrial Electricians

1.4.1. Am I required to hold a Journeyman Industrial Electrician license to perform industrial electrical work?

It depends on where you perform the electrical work. There is an exemption under Section 1305.003 (14) for electrical work performed at a business that operates a chemical plant, petrochemical plant, refinery, natural gas plant, natural gas treating plant, pipeline, or oil and gas exploration and production operation. The text goes on to stipulate that new construction would not fall under this exemption nor would persons working for contractors from out of state/country. If you meet the exemption criteria in its entirety, a Journeyman Industrial Electrician license would not be required by statute.

1.4.2. If I currently hold a journeyman or master electrician license, am I required to hold a Journeyman Industrial Electrician license?

No. Nothing prohibits a licensed electrical apprentice, journeyman, or master from performing industrial electrical work as a journeyman industrial electrician license is optional.

1.5. Apprentices

1.5.1. Do new hires have to possess an apprentice card before they can begin work on a job site?

Yes, anyone performing electrical work must obtain a license prior to performing the work. There is no grace period that allows you to work while waiting for your license to be issued. NOTE: Apprentice applicants who register online and report no criminal convictions will automatically be issued a temporary license.

2. Electrician Licensing and Fees

2.1. Renewals and New Licenses

2.1.1. How do I apply for a new electrician, lineman, wireman, or apprentice license?

The qualifications and fees for obtaining new electrical licenses are found on the "Apply for a New License" pages:

Apply for a New Individual License:

2.1.2. How do I renew my electrician, lineman, wireman, or apprentice license?

The requirements and fees for renewing electrical licenses are found on the "Renew a License" pages:

Renew an Individual License:

2.1.3. Are there any vision acuity requirements for the electrician’s license in Texas? Does the law require 20/20 or 20/40 vision?

No.

2.2. Master Electricians

2.2.1. If I am or have been a master/master sign electrician, can I verify my own “on-the-job training” for my state licensing application?

Yes. If you hold or have held a municipal or regional master/master sign electrician’s license, then you can verify your own “on-the-job training” for those years that you held the license. Please provide the verification information on the experience history portion of your application and complete an Experience Verification Form.

2.2.2. Can I use two years of holding a Journeyman Industrial Electrician license to sit for the Master Electrician exam? (licenses will be available by September 1, 2018).

No. Eligibility to sit for the Master Electrician exam requires that you hold a Journeyman license for two years as required by Texas Occupations Code, Section 1305.153 - not a Journeyman Industrial Electrician license.

2.3. Residential Appliance Installers

2.3.1. What is the difference between a Residential Appliance Installation Contractor License and a Residential Appliance Installer License?

A Residential Appliance Installation Contractor is a person or entity licensed as a residential appliance installation contractor that is in the business of residential appliance installations. A Residential Appliance Installer is a licensed individual who performs electrical work limited to residential appliance installation on behalf of a Residential Appliance Installation Contractor.

2.3.2. Do Residential Appliance Installer experience hours count as credit towards another electrical license?

No.

2.3.3. Can I assign my Residential Appliance Installer’s license to more than one Residential Appliance Installation Contractor?

No, a Residential Appliance Installer license may only be assigned to one Residential Appliance Installation Contractor, unless the Residential Appliance Installer owns more than 50% of the installation contracting business.

3. Contractor Licensing and Fees

3.1. How to I apply for a new contractor license?

The qualifications and fees for new contractor license applications are found on the "Apply for a New License" pages:

3.2. How to I renew my contractor license?

The procedures and fees for renewing a contractor license are found on the "Renew a License" pages:

3.3. Are there any insurance requirements for a licensee?

The insurance requirements for contractor licenses may be found on the "Apply for a New License" pages:

For additional requirements, please see Administrative Rule 73.40.

3.4. How do I change the business name on my Electrical/Electrical Sign Contractor license?

  • Complete an ELC004 Contractor Notice of Change and Duplicate License Request form.
  • All current and new information must be completed on the form.
  • Only the company owner of record can authorize changes to an Electrical/Electrical Sign Contractor license. The owner must sign on the bottom line (owner's signature), authorizing the name change.
  • An updated Certificate of Liability Insurance (COI) must be submitted with the form.
  • The new company name must match the name on the COI.

NOTE: If the company is being sold or transferred to a different owner, the new company owner must apply for a new license.

3.5. Do I have to be a Master Electrician, or employ a Master Electrician, to conduct business as a Texas Residential Appliance Installation Contractor?

No. To be a Residential Appliance Installation Contractor you must either obtain and assign your own Residential Appliance Installer license to your company, or employ a licensed Residential Appliance Installer to assign their license number to the company as the “Appliance Installer of Record.”

3.6. Do I have to be a Master Electrician, or employ a Master Electrician, to conduct business as a Texas Electrical Contractor?

Yes. As an Electrical Contractor, you must either obtain and assign your own Master Electrician license to your company, or employ a licensed Master Electrician to assign their license number to the company as the “Master Electrician of Record.”

3.7. Do I have to be a Master Sign Electrician, or employ a Master Sign Electrician, to conduct business as a Texas Electrical Sign Contractor?

Yes. As an Electrical Sign Contractor, you must employ either a Master Sign Electrician or a Master Electrician. As the business owner, you may also be the license holder by assigning your own license to your company as the “Master Electrician of Record.”.

3.8. How do I Change my Master Electrician, Master Sign Electrician, or Residential Appliance Installer of Record?

When your Master Electrician, Master Sign Electrician, or Residential Appliance Installer of record leaves employment with your business, you must notify the department and designate a new individual to take their place within thirty business days from the date of separation. You may submit this notification by mail on an Electrical Contractor Notice of Change and Duplicate License Request (PDF).

4. Examinations

4.1. What examination do I need to take to become a licensed electrician?

For complete details about the examination process, please see the Electrician Exam Information page.

4.2. Do electrical contractors, sign contractors, or appliance installer contractors need to pass an exam?

No. Contractor licenses do not require examinations.

5. Reciprocity

5.1. I have an electrician license from another state. How can I get a Texas electrician license?

If you are currently licensed in another state, and you would like to become licensed in Texas, please see the Out of State Applicants page.

5.2. I have an electrical contractor, sign contractor, or appliance installer contractor license from another state. How can I get a Texas license to operate an electrical contracting business?

Texas does not have a path for transferring electrical contracting business licenses. If you wish to apply for a Texas license, please see the "Apply for a New License" pages:

6. Continuing Education

6.1. What continuing education requirements do I need to complete to renew my license?

Electricians, linemen, wiremen and apprentices should see the Electrician Continuing Education page for details about requirements.

Contractors and Residential Appliance Installers are not required to complete continuing education.

6.2. How can I become a continuing education provider?

Businesses seeking to become approved continuing education providers should see the Continuing Education Providers for Licensed Electricians page.

7. Compliance

7.1. How can I get assistance with understanding, interpreting, or complying the laws and rules?

Help with following the law and administrative rules is available on our Compliance Guide page.

If you need further help, please contact Jerry Daniel/Electrical Occupations Code Specialist (512-799-1489) OR Larry Reichle/Electrical Program Specialist (512-779-2857).

8. Enforcement

8.1. How do I report someone who performs electrical work or residential appliance installation without a license?

If you are in an area where a municipal or regional licensing program exists, you should first contact and/or file a complaint with that local authority.

8.2. How do I file a complaint with TDLR against an electrician or residential appliance installer/contractor?

To file a complaint with TDLR, you can access the online complaint process.

You may also contact the Enforcement Division at (512) 539-5600.

8.3. How can I find out if an electrician or residential appliance installer is licensed?

Visit our license database and search for the individual or company by name or license number.

You can also contact Customer Service at 800-803-9202 (Texas only), or (512) 463-6599.

9. Municipal Licenses and Permits

9.1. I have a municipal electrician’s license. Can I perform electrical work in Texas?

Yes, but you can only perform electrical work within the city where you are licensed. A municipal license is not valid statewide.

9.2. Where will a state license allow me to work?

A state license is valid anywhere in Texas.

9.3. Can a city or region still require me to have a city license and charge me a fee?

Yes, IF you do not hold a state license issued by TDLR. However, the new statutory language of Section 1305.201 prohibits a city from collecting certain fees from an electrician who holds a state electrical license, in reviewing the Senate Research Center bill analysis for HB3329, it appears the author’s/sponsor’s intent was to address the practice by some cities of charging electricians a fee to “register” their state license. The language does not, however, prevent cities from collecting “building permit” fees. Also they may not require you to take a municipal or regional examination if you hold a state electrical license.

9.4. I am a Residential Appliance Installation Contractor. Am I required to pull a permit to do a residential appliance installation?

It depends. Although the state does not require residential appliance installation permits, Section 1305.201(a) of the Texas Electrical Safety and Licensing Act does not prohibit a municipality or region from regulating residential appliance installers. They may, for example, require appliance installers to pull permits, pay fees, or have their work inspected when performing work within their municipality or region.