How to Become an Electrician in Maine
Electricians install electrical wiring into various types of building structures. They also perform maintenance on electrical wiring. This is an occupation that is in high demand nationally, and the number of electricians employed in the United States is increasing annually. As in other states, it takes a few years to become a licensed electrician in Maine since educational training and work experience are required. However, most future electricians complete an apprenticeship, which allows them to go to school, learn and work at the same time and to be paid for that work. Licensing requirements do vary by state for electricians, so it is important to be familiar with them. [En Español]
Maine Electrical License Requirements
Since licensing is handled differently in each state, it helps to know what board or department to contact to apply to test for an electrician’s license. In Maine, electrical licenses are issued by the Electricians’ Examining Board, part of the Office of Professional and Financial Regulation, an agency within the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation. Electricians can get a journeyman electrician license or a master electrician license.
To become a journeyman electrician in Maine, there are a few different routes to choose from. One option would be to work for four years as an apprentice as well as complete 576 educational hours. These educational hours are specific for the state: 225 hours of courses, with 45 of those hours focusing on the National Electric Code (NEC), and 351 elective hours including 225 electrical trade hours. Another option would be to work for four years with a master electrician as well as complete a two-year high school electrical program and a 45-hour NEC course. The third option is to work for two years under a master electrician and complete an electrical program at a technical or community college, as well as a 45-hour NEC course. Students choosing this third option must apply for licensing within a year of completing the program.
Once the requirements have been met, students can apply to take the journeyman license test. Each student will be notified when they are approved to take the test, and then they will need to schedule the test within two years of being approved to take it. In Maine, test centers are located in Portland and Bangor. The test is 80 questions and takes approximately three hours to complete. The 2005 edition of the NFPA 70- (NEC) may be used for reference on the test.
The journeyman electrician license must be renewed biannually, and a $150 renewal fee applies. Also, every three years the student will need to complete a 15-hour update course to stay current with the NEC. In Maine, a journeyman electrician license is reciprocal with the states of New Hampshire, Vermont, North Dakota, Idaho, Oregon and Wyoming.
To qualify for a master electrician’s license, electricians must work as a journeyman electrician for 4,000 hours, or two years. Master electricians can work independently and run their own businesses. To take the exam, electricians must have completed the 576 education hours needed to be a journeyman electrician and the 45 hours of NEC study. As with the journeyman license, students need to apply to take this test and wait for approval. Four hours are given to take the 100-question test, and the NFPA 70- NEC may also be used for reference during the exam.
The master electrician license must be renewed every two years. Renewal fee is $150. A 15-hour NEC continuing education course must be taken every three years to keep the master electrician license current as well. Master electrician licenses are reciprocal with New Hampshire and Vermont. Maine also has an agreement with the state of Massachusetts to provide reciprocal credit for continuing education (CEU) requirements.
Apprenticeship Programs in Maine
Work and education experience are required before one can become licensed as an electrician. Many students choose apprenticeship programs, because this allows them to work with pay as well as complete the educational requirements to apply for a journeyman license. In Maine, students in high school have the option to complete a pre-apprenticeship program. Both the pre-apprenticeship program and regular apprenticeship programs are run by the Maine Department of Labor (DOL). Students interested in pre-apprenticeship must be a junior or senior in high school, at least 16 years old, a full-time student and academically in good standing. These students will work part-time with a registered employer with the understanding that they will become a full-time apprentice after they graduate. Students in the pre-apprenticeship program can count up to 1,000 of their work hours toward their apprenticeship hours. Some students may also begin taking their college courses during their senior year.
Over 250 employers statewide participate in the Maine DOL’s apprenticeship program and sponsor apprentices. Students enrolled in this program will be helped with their classroom training, and up to 50 percent of their tuition might be reimbursed. Sometimes, an apprentice’s employer or sponsor may help with tuition as well. To be accepted into the apprenticeship program, students must be at least 16, have a diploma or GED, be physically able to work and pass a background check.
The Electrical Training Alliance is a collaboration between the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) union and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA). Their Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committees (JATC) offer union apprenticeships through local chapters of the IBEW.
The IBEW Local 567 Portland Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (PJATC) developed its apprenticeship program to fulfill the classroom instructional requirements over a four-year period. During that time the apprentice will satisfy the State of Maine’s requirements for a journeyman license, providing an apprenticeship license and background check, 900 hours of classroom-based instruction and 8,000 hours of on-the-job experience and training.
Electrician Programs in Maine
Several of Maine’s community colleges offer associate degree and certificate programs in electrical technology. Here are a few:
- Eastern Maine Community College. Eastern Maine Community College offers a certificate program in electricians’ technology. This program is part-time and classes are taken at night. It consists of 39 credit hours and covers the 576 education hours needed to become a licensed electrician. If work experience has been met, students can apply to take the journeyman license test after graduating from this program.
- Northern Maine Community College. Northern Maine Community College offers an electrical construction and maintenance program. There is an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree option and a certificate option. Both programs focus on teaching electrical theory, the national electric code and electrical installation. Hands-on training is also an important part of these programs. The certificate program takes about a year to complete, while the AAS is a two-year program. Students who receive an AAS will be able to apply 4,000 hours toward their work experience when applying to take their journeyman license test.
- Southern Maine Community College. The electrical engineering technology certificate program at Southern Maine Community College combines general education with interactive courses. If students receive an AAS in electrical engineering technology, they will have completed two of their four years of work experience needed to take the journeyman license test. This program can be completed in approximately one year and is made up of 33 credit hours.
There are also trade school and online learning options.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
As reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 2,590 electricians employed in the state of Maine in 2018. The BLS data also showed that, in 2019, the average hourly wages for an electrician in the state was $26.62. The average annual pay was $55,360. Master electricians, especially those with years of experience, can potentially make up to $71,660 annually. The nonmetropolitan area of Southwest Maine has the highest employment of electricians in the state. The highest paid electricians in the state can be found working in Portland and South Portland.
Salaries in Maine by Occupation 2019
|Occupation||Total Employment||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Wage||Annual Salary 10th Percentile||Annual Salary 25th Percentile||Annual Salary 75th Percentile||Annual Salary 90th Percentile|
|Electrical and Electronics Installers and Repairers, Transportation Equipment||110||$21.73||$45,200||$32,940||$37,160||$53,010||$60,960|
|Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Commercial and Industrial Equipment||550||$27.04||$56,240||$39,710||$46,510||$63,820||$74,600|
|Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Powerhouse, Substation, and Relay||**||$39.41||$81,960||$62,060||$69,240||$94,950||$111,830|
|Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers||410||$28.30||$58,850||$38,000||$44,380||$72,840||$82,290|
Electrician Salaries in Maine by Region 2019
|Area||Total Employment||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Salary||Hourly Wage 10th Percentile||Hourly Wage 25th Percentile||Hourly Wage 75th Percentile||Hourly Wage 90th Percentile|
|Portland-South Portland, ME||640||$25.63||$53,310||$15.60||$20.51||$30.49||$35.38|
Working as an Electrician in Maine
Entry-level electricians in Maine can look for work with service shops, power companies, industry equipment supply facilities, construction sites and electrical contractors. They may work as industrial electricians, engineering assistants, power company technicians or in electrical equipment sales. Once they have work experience and receive licensing, electricians may take on positions as managers, supervisors, inspectors or even run their own businesses. The road to becoming a licensed electrician can be a long one, but since it is a career that is not only high-paying but high in demand as well, the many years of training and education are worth it.
- Bangor, ME
- Northeast Maine Nonmetropolitan Area
- Portland-South Portland-Biddeford, ME
- Southwest Maine Nonmetropolitan Area
354 Hogan Rd, Bangor, Maine 04401
Electricians Technology – Certificate Program
Eastern Maine Community College’s Certificate program in Electricians Technology is offered at their campus in the city of Bangor. This public college has in the region of 2,732 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. Fees for tuition for in-state students are in the order of $3,747 and for students from outside the state likely to be about $6,507 yearly. Study materials can cost about $1,400, depending on the program chosen.
33 Edgemont Dr, Presque Isle, Maine 04769-2016
Electrical Construction & Maintenance – Certificate Program, Electrical Construction & Maintenance – Associate Program
Northern Maine Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the town of Presque Isle, Maine. Most of the school’s 931 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. Fees for tuition for in-state students are in the order of $3,681 and for students from outside the state likely to be about $6,441 yearly. Study materials can cost about $1,400, depending on the program chosen.
One College Drive, Calais, Maine 04619
Residential & Commercial Electricity – Certificate Program
The Certificate program in Residential & Commercial Electricity at Washington County Community College is taught at their campus in the town of Calais, ME. The college has roughly 482 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. Fees for tuition for in-state students are around $3,636 and for out-of-state students likely to be about $7,272 yearly. Study materials can cost about $1,400, depending on the program chosen.
2 Fort Road, South Portland, Maine 04106-1698
Electrical Engineering Technologies – Certificate Program
Southern Maine Community College’s Certificate program in Electrical Engineering Technologies is offered at their campus in the city of South Portland. This public college has in the order of 6,045 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. The cost of tuition for in-state students is usually in the order of $3,710 and for students from outside the state in the order of $6,470 per year, while study materials may cost in the order of $1,400, depending on the program.
92 Western Ave, Fairfield, Maine 04937-1367
Electrical Lineworker Technology – Certificate Program, Electrical Technology – Associate Program
Kennebec Valley Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are based at their campus in Fairfield in Somerset County, ME. The college has in the order of 2,450 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. The cost of tuition for in-state students is usually in the order of $3,757 and for students from outside the state in the order of $6,517 per year, while study materials may cost in the order of $1,400, depending on the program.
* College accredition status and tuition fees and are, to our best knowledge, correct at the time of writing, and sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics (http://nces.ed.gov/). Check all details directly with college before applying.
How much do electricians earn in the state of Maine?
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, electricians in the state of Maine made an average of $54,240 per year in 2019. Entry-level electricians earned around $37,120 and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $71,660.