How to Become a Licensed Electrician in Ohio: License Requirements and Guide

A decision to become an electrician in any part of the world is obviously not an unwise one. Not only would you be sought after as an electrician, but you would also be doing something that makes others live more comfortably. In the world we live in today, people continue to need professionals for residential, commercial, and industrial electrical fixtures. 

The situation is no different in the state of Ohio. Some parts of Ohio like Columbus, Cleveland, and Dayton are considered part of the ten best housing markets in the nation. As such, there is a high demand for tradesmen in these places.

In this article, we cover how to become a licensed electrician in Ohio. This starts from the required training and experience necessary to become a journeyman and then to become an independent electrical contractor. So let’s get started!

How to Get a Licensed Electrician in Ohio – Step by Step

Here are steps to becoming an electrician in Ohio:

Step 1: Obtain training and experience needed to become a journeyman electrician, contractor, or an electrician employee

Step 2: Apply for a journeyman electrician license or obtaining additional experience to qualify as a contractor’s license 

Step 3: Consider becoming an independent electrical contractor 

Step 1 – Obtain the training and experience needed to become a journeyman electrician, contractor, or an electrician employee

In Ohio, the electrician trade is regulated independently by the cities and counties as opposed to the state regulating it.

The two cities in Ohio that require journeyman licensing are Middletown and Hamilton. In order to become a journeyman electrician in these cities, you will need a minimum of 3 years of job experience and hands-on training. These can be obtained through employment or an apprenticeship and safety, technical, and theory training in the classroom.

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Other cities and counties operate with this same requirement. However, you would have to as an electrician employee under your employer’s contractor’s license without a need to own a license until you have acquired at least five years of experience. 

You can get the training you need to own your license by enrolling in a technical school or a formal apprenticeship program.

Technical Colleges

Typically, when you enroll in a trade school program on electrician, you will earn either a certificate of completion in electrical technology. Alternatively, you can also earn a two-year degree in apply electrical technology.

By completing the above trade school program, you will fulfill the classroom-based technical training requirement for journeyman and contractor licensure.

Some of the topics that you would be taught during your program include: 

1. Blueprint Reading

2. Algebra with Trigonometry

3. Basic Math Computations 

4. Electrical Theory

5. OSHA Regulations and First Aid

6. Basic Telecommunications

7. Motor Controls

8. Electrical Code

9. Basic Alarm Technology

10. Logic Circuits and Programmable Controllers

11. Motor and Generator Theory

12. Fire Access & CCTV Systems

13. Semi-Conductors 

14. Power Distribution and Load Calculations

15. Telecom Cabling 

To gain the experience needed to earn your license in either Hamilton or Middletown, you would have to work as a trainee or start a formal apprenticeship. You can decide to search for jobs through the resources available in your college; you could also search for jobs on your own. Jobs could also be gotten through union and non-union apprenticeship programs.

Union Programs

Many successful electricians today have gone through union apprenticeship programs. You could also decide to tow this path. Many local IBEW and NECA union chapters form an alliance to offer Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committees – JATC.

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In Ohio, there are 17 different JATCs offering union apprenticeship programs as follow:

1.  Akron Area Electrical JATC in Akron

2.  Butler Co Electrical JATC in Hamilton

3.  Canton Electrical JATC in Massillon

4.  Cincinnati Electrical Training Center

5.  Cleveland Electrical JATC in Valley View

6.  Dayton Ohio Area Electrical JATC in Dayton

7.  Lake, Ashtabula, and Geauga Electrical JATC in Mentor

8.  Lima Area Electrical JATC in Lima

9.   Lorain County Electrical JATC in Lorain

10.  Marietta Electrical JATC in Reno

11.  Newark Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee in Nashport

12.  Portsmouth Electric JATC in Lucasville

13.  Steubenville JATC

14.  The Electrical Trades Center in Columbus

15.  Toledo Electrical JATC in Rossford

16. Warren JATC

17.  Youngstown Elec. JATC in Boardman

Non-Union Programs

Some would rather go with a non-union apprenticeship. Non-union apprenticeship programs, also called “open shops,” are developed by trade associations. This is an excellent alternative for you if you already got some training before and would love to continue. The whole training package is what they offer. 

Below are the non-union apprenticeship programs in Ohio:

  1. Central Ohio AEC-IEC (Columbus)
  2. IEC Dayton (Dayton)
  3. IEC of Greater Cincinnati (Cincinnati)
  4. Northern Ohio ECA (Lakewood)
  5. IEC Western Reserve Chapter (Youngstown)
  6. ABC-Central Ohio Chapter (Columbus)
  7. ABC-Northern Ohio Chapter (Broadview Heights)
  8. ABC-Ohio Valley Chapter (Springboro)

Step 2 – Apply for a Journeyman Electrician License or obtain additinal experience to qualify as contractor’s license 

After completing your apprenticeship, you should automatically get a journeyman electrician license and work with an electrical contractor. However, this is not how it is in most parts of Ohio.

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Journeyman electrician licenses are only needed in the cities of Middletown and Hamilton. In other cities in Ohio, you would have to work as an electrician employee using your employer’s contractor license.

You would also be able to apply for the examination required to earn a contractor’s license. This can be done through the Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board after obtaining a total of 5-years of experience.

In Middletown, after completing your apprenticeship, you would have to complete the application to apply for the journeyman electrician license examination. This can be done through the City of Middletown Division of Building Inspection.

Once you pass the exam with at least a 70%, you would receive your license. This is only after your application has been reviewed and approved by the Chief Building Official.

Step 3 – Consider becoming an independent electrical contractor 

Even without a journeyman electrician license in most cities of Ohio, you can still earn an independent electrical contractor license and set up your own business. You only need to have the following requirements: 

  1. Be at least 18 years old
  2. Have at least five years of experience
  3. Pass the electrical contractor exam
  4. Pass the business and law exam

Once you pass the required exams, you will get your license as an independent electrical contractor. 

Electrician License Renewal in Ohio

Independent Electrical Contractor License: In Ohio, you will need to renew this license every year. 

Electrician License Reciprocity in Ohio

Ohio has electrical license reciprocity with the following states: North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Louisiana. 


If you’re now in the state of Ohio and you’re considering becoming an electrician, now would be a good time to go for it.


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