Should electrician be licensed?

14 Replies

Hello all,

I am having the electrical updated on my 1947 house.  It’s a fairly extensive project as most of the house is not yet grounded.

I have found a couple electricians who seem knowledgeable and experienced, but are not formally licensed.  How necessary is it to go with a licensed electrician?  

Also, does the electrician need to be licensed if he is working under another company?

I would 100% go with someone who is licensed, insured, and has whatever licenses are required by your local city (contractors license).

I would be willing to bet if you have a non-licensed electrician do the work there will be items that are not done fully to code.

Also, it you ever have an issue with a fire, shock, or issue during installation, you'll want to know that they have insurance.

Totally depends on the state and the rules can change depending on size of property, here in VT license required only for 3+ units.  If someone from Georgia doesn't chime in first you can find such regulations on the state websites, electrical regs may be listed under the fire protection office rather than building codes. 

If your state requires a license for the applicable situation, the answer would likely depend on whether that company employs a licensed master electrician who can sign for the work of said unlicensed contractor.    

@Nick Brubaker If your contract has a license number, go for it. If it doesn’t, ditch it. If you want to save bucks, it’s the same as hiring from craigslist and home depot. Either they/he is/are licensed, or not, there’s no inbetween or workaround.

I would only go with someone licensed due to liability. If they mess it up, you could be held liable I imagine 

What do the rules in your area say? I have only ever used licensed electricians, however I am told my new area does not do licensing (only in the cities) so I imagine no one around here is paying a premium for licensed guys when the average is unlicensed.

I was chatting with my electrician a few years back about the issue of licensing. He advised me he heard of cases where the homeowners insurance company refused to pay claims of damage when it was revealed unlicensed people was used. They have to be licensed and insured.

When major work is involved, such as major updating, only a licensed electrician can pull a permit. And when plumbing and electrical work needs an inspection, it usually goes smoothly with established guys that knows the inspectors. My dad had a plumber do a job once and it failed plumbing inspection three times. 

It's real easy to find an unlicensed electrician. I have a friend with a mobile home park that was sued several times for a shock incident with a  service connection and a child. Having the licensed electrician being the last one to touch the job protected him.

Thank you all.  I have decided to go with a licensed electrician!

@Nick Brubaker , If an electrician works for a large electrical company under the supervision of a licensed master electrician for years, there is no reason for him to have a license unless he wants to go out on his own. But his work is as good as, or better, than a individual licensed electrician who has been doing it for a year or two. 

If it were between a guy some friend knows someone who can do electrical work and an individual licensed electrician, I am going with the licensed one every time. But just because someone does not have a license in their name does not mean they are not authorized to do electrical work. And if working for a large electrical company under the supervision of a licensed master electrician, they can usually pull permits under that license as long as it is approved. 

Just trying to point out the difference between the "some guy" electrician and a professional electrician who may not have a personal license because he does not need one because he works for a large electrical company that has one.

Best of Luck!

Here in NY the area I live in we have multiple licenses. Within the 4 surrounding counties there is 2 that have licenses for the county and 5 city licenses. I personally have 4 of those licenses. So anyone working in a county that doesn't have a license in that county actually can't be a licensed electrician where they are. It doesn't matter how good you are. There are good and bad electricians regardless of licensing. Our license only needs to be carried by the contractor to. The contractor could hire 100 people with no experience but they are covered by the contractors electrical license. So it depends on your state/county/city.

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