How to Become an Electrician in Washington, D.C.

Are you interested in a hands-on career that requires in-depth knowledge of how electrical systems function? If so, becoming an electrician may be the right choice for you. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the electrician trade in Washington, D.C., will grow by 13 percent from 2018 to 2028. While this may not seem like much, this career field sees 190 job openings per year in D.C. alone. [En Español]

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Requirements for Becoming an Electrician in Washington, D.C.

While some states have similar requirements for earning your license as an electrician, these requirements will vary slightly depending on location. In Washington, D.C., licensing is mandatory for apprentices, journeyman, and master electricians. The District of Columbia Board of Industrial Trades, which is part of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, provides the rules and regulations to earn licensing.

To apply for your license as a limited/low voltage master electrician or journeyman electrician, you must have worked as an apprentice electrician for at least 8,000 hours over four years. Additionally, you are required to have a degree in electrical engineering from an accredited college or university and the ability to show at least two years of practical experience in electrical work. This work experience will need to be certified by a licensed master electrician.

If you did not attend an accredited college, trade school or university, you still have other options to apply for your limited/low voltage master electrician or journeyman electrician license. These options include the ability to show comparable experience, or a combination of education and experience that the Board deems equivalent to a college degree, as well as any additional evidence as the Board determines is necessary. The Board is also willing to accept a certificate from a nationally recognized trade organization or labor union, certifying that you have passed the organization’s required examination and that you are designated by the organization as a journeyman electrician. Records must also show that you have not been disciplined or otherwise disqualified by the organization.

Those seeking to apply for their license as a master electrician must meet the requirements above and also have worked as a journeyman electrician for at least four years.

Electrician Apprenticeship Programs in Washington, D.C.

If you want to be successful at this career, there will be footwork involved. Joining an apprenticeship program is a great way to get the experience you need to progress within this field.

The Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (JATC) of Washington, D.C. is comprised of representatives from Local Union 26 International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and representatives from the Washington D.C. Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA). If accepted into this apprenticeship program, you will be placed to work for a contractor of Local Union 26 IBEW. Through this program, you will complete both on-the-job training hours, as well as classroom-related instruction hours.

To apply, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Show proof of a passing grade in algebra 1 or GED equivalent
  • Be a high school graduate or have a GED
  • Provide a photo ID
  • Pass an aptitude test

There is no cost for tuition, and programs are offered for completion within three or five years.

The non-union ABC Metro Washington, the D.C, chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors also offers an electrical apprenticeship, which prepares workers to read blueprints or technical diagrams, install and maintain wiring, control, and lighting systems, inspect electrical components, such as transformers and circuit breakers, identify electrical problems with a variety of testing devices, repair or replace wiring, equipment, or fixtures using hand tools and power tools, and follow state and local building regulations based on the National Electric Code.

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Washington, D.C. Schools for Electricians

In addition to an apprenticeship, you can go to a college or university to gain the experience and classroom hours required to apply for your electrician license. Below are some colleges in Washington D.C. that offer courses in electrical technology:

  • Brightwood College offers an Electrical Technician undergraduate certificate that takes 12 months to complete. Tuition and fees amount to $21,023. Campuses are located in Towson, Beltsville and Baltimore, MD.
  • Lincoln Tech offers an undergraduate certificate in Electrical and Electronics Systems Technology, which takes 47 weeks to complete. The total cost for tuition and fees total $21,919. The nearest campus to Washington D.C. is located about 49 minutes away in Columbia, MD.

Outlook and Salary Expectations

By 2028, according to the BLS, a total of 180 new jobs will be added to the electrician trade in Washington, D.C. If you’re thinking about solving electrical issues for a living in our nation’s capital, you can look forward to an average annual salary of $85,310. Top earners in this field in D.C. make as much as $103,280 per year. These numbers compare favorably with the average annual salary in D.C. for all occupations of $89,800.

Salaries in DC by Occupation

OccupationTotal EmploymentMean Hourly WageMean Annual WageAnnual Salary 10th PercentileAnnual Salary 25th PercentileAnnual Salary 75th PercentileAnnual Salary 90th Percentile
Electricians1,550$38.40$79,870$50,250$65,510$96,120$103,280
Helpers--Electricians170$20.25$42,110$29,110$31,660$49,190$56,830
Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Commercial and Industrial Equipment140$41.41$86,140$67,280$70,780$104,720$106,890
Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers140$28.54$59,360$38,010$44,560$73,040$85,140

Electrician Salaries in DC by Region

AreaTotal EmploymentMean Hourly WageMean Annual SalaryHourly Wage 10th PercentileHourly Wage 25th PercentileHourly Wage 75th PercentileHourly Wage 90th Percentile
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV13,830$31.25$65,010$19.29$23.48$39.09$46.55

Working as an Electrician in Washington, D.C.

The electrician trade will undoubtedly see growth in the near future. If you want to be part of that growth, D.C. could be an ideal place to start. Working here puts you on the pulse of the nation and gives you an opportunity to interact with diverse groups of people, as D.C. sees tens of millions of tourists each year. If you like to put your critical thinking skills to work and you appreciate doing the handiwork to go along with it, you should consider entering this career field to find a potential match for your interests.

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Neighbor States

Residents of District of Columbia may also wish to review their options in Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia and New York.

FAQs

How much do electricians earn in the state of D.C.?

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, electricians in the state of D.C. made an average of $79,870 per year in 2019. Entry-level electricians earned around $50,250 and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $103,280.