How to Become an Electrician in Washington

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), reports that Washington is seeing big growth in careers for qualified electricians. The job growth rate is over 11 percent, which is much faster than overall job growth in the state and in the country. If you are willing to put in a few years of paid training and to take some classes in electrician schools you could be one of the people to fill all the positions opening up for electricians in the coming years. [En Español]

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Requirements for Becoming an Electrician in Washington

Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries is responsible for licensing electricians at all levels, beginning with trainees. A trainee is an apprentice, and to start your career in this field you must become a certified trainee through the department. To qualify you have to be at least 16 years old and be registered in an apprenticeship program, which may be union, non-union or through trade schools.

To be licensed at the next level, as a journeyman electrician, you must complete that training program. This means completing at least 8,000 hours of work experience under an electrician, with 4,000 hours in an industrial setting, completing 96 hours of instruction in electrical topics and passing a journeyman exam. At this stage you can also become licensed as a specialty electrician if you have enough experience. Specialties include appliance repair, signs, HVAC, door and gate systems and more.

After working as a journeyman electrician for four years or longer, you can take the exam for a master electrician license. You may also choose to become a licensed electrical contractor, which allows you to start a business and offer electrical services. To become a contractor you must have insurance and a surety bond and either be a master electrician or hire one.

Electrician Apprenticeship Programs in Washington

Union apprenticeship programs in Washington are through the Electrical Training Alliance, which includes the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union (IBEW) and the National Electrical Contractors Alliance. The Department of Labor and Industries can help individuals find an apprenticeship program. There are several union programs in the state, known as Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committees (JATC), often associated with local IBEW chapters:

  • Kennewick JATC, Kennewick
  • Inland Empire Electrical Training Trust, IBEW Local 73, Spokane
  • Northwest Washington Electrical Industry JATC, Mount Vernon
  • Southwest Washington Electrical JATC, Tacoma

Apprenticeship programs include both the work experience hours, which are paid, and classroom hours that meet the journeyman requirement. It takes five years to complete a program. If you choose to do a non-union apprenticeship, you will need to find an electrician willing to take you on as a trainee and enroll in a post-secondary program to get classroom instructional hours.

Washington Schools for Electricians

Another option in Washington for working toward becoming a licensed journeyman electrician is to enroll in a trade school program. There are two such programs in the state, which provide the needed classroom hours and place students in apprenticeships for work experience hours:

  • Perry Technical Institute, Yakima. The electrical technology program at Perry prepares students with two years of classroom learning and hands-on work. Students earn an associate degree with this program and get two years of work experience. Most will be hired to stay on with their supervising electricians to get the final two years of needed work hours.
  • Bates Technical College, Tacoma. The electrical construction program at Bates offers a two-year associate degree program for students interested in getting the two years of work and class experience. Bates also offers a residential electrician certificate for fewer credits.
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Outlook and Salary Expectations

If you are training to be an electrician in Washington right now, you can expect to a very positive outlook for starting your career. The growth in the industry has been strong for years and will continue to be strong. The BLS states that there were 22,810 electricians working in the state in 2018 and that there will be more than 25,310 by 2028, leaving many opportunities for new electricians to find jobs.

You can also look forward to a great salary as an electrician in Washington. In 2019 the average salary for licensed electricians was $68,040, and the average salary for those earning in the top 10 percent was $111,710. There is a tremendous potential to grow and earn more in this industry, with specialties, additional years of experience on the job, and as an electrical contractor and business owner.

Salaries in Washington by Occupation

OccupationTotal EmploymentMean Hourly WageMean Annual WageAnnual Salary 10th PercentileAnnual Salary 25th PercentileAnnual Salary 75th PercentileAnnual Salary 90th Percentile
Electricians19,840$34.21$71,160$37,290$48,890$92,050$111,710
Helpers--Electricians370$22.23$46,230$27,450$33,280$57,700$73,700
Electrical and Electronics Installers and Repairers, Transportation Equipment160$41.69$86,710$46,230$66,680$109,140$117,530
Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Commercial and Industrial Equipment1,830$35.90$74,670$47,460$63,290$89,450$102,050
Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Powerhouse, Substation, and Relay220$44.50$92,560$67,970$84,630$104,980$121,200
Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers2,060$41.43$86,180$46,390$69,220$104,390$119,410

Electrician Salaries in Washington by Region

AreaTotal EmploymentMean Hourly WageMean Annual SalaryHourly Wage 10th PercentileHourly Wage 25th PercentileHourly Wage 75th PercentileHourly Wage 90th Percentile
Lewiston, ID-WA240$40.34$83,910$20.90$26.57$55.59$63.06
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA7,510$37.22$77,420$20.60$28.78$46.43$50.90
Bellingham, WA730$29.30$60,950$17.26$22.43$35.92$41.85
Bremerton-Silverdale, WA1,140$28.59$59,470$19.43$23.09$33.17$36.62
Kennewick-Richland, WA1,320$35.22$73,250$14.59$25.96$45.37$49.21
Longview, WA200$29.53$61,430$16.97$21.41$35.89$42.57
Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WA810$40.77$84,810$21.14$29.89$54.34$59.68
Olympia-Tumwater, WA630$29.96$62,320$17.37$21.51$38.17$47.45
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA10,420$36.51$75,940$18.88$24.80$47.20$56.82
Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA1,130$27.64$57,490$14.04$19.74$34.29$39.97
Walla Walla, WA70$30.34$63,120$19.37$25.05$33.03$41.05
Wenatchee, WA240$31.44$65,390$17.68$21.97$37.63$53.43
Yakima, WA410$27.26$56,690$16.31$21.38$33.92$38.63

Working as an Electrician in Washington

The outlook is positive for future Washington electricians. As a trainee you may work with a master electrician or for a contractor, but as a journeyman you will have even more options. Licensed electricians may work for contractors, government agencies, industrial companies, power companies, commercial buildings and for residential customers. Electricians can also be business owners with an electrical contractor license.

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College Programs

Bellingham, WA Area

Bellingham Technical College

3028 Lindbergh Ave, Bellingham, Washington 98225-1599
(360) 752-7000
Electrical Construction Certificate – Certificate Program, Electrician – Associate Program

Bellingham Technical College offers various Certificate program options for future professionals, a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are taught at their campus in the city of Bellingham. The college has around 2,403 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Fees for tuition for in-state students are likely to be about $3,461 and for students from other states likely to be about $4,387 yearly, while study materials may cost about $1,080, depending on the program.

Central Washington Nonmetropolitan Area Area

Big Bend Community College

7662 Chanute St NE, Moses Lake, Washington 98837-3299
(509) 793-2222
Industrial Electrical – Certificate Program, Industrial Electrical – Associate Program

Big Bend Community College offers various Certificate program options for future opticians, a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are based at their campus in the town of Moses Lake. The college has about 2,070 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The cost of tuition for in-state students is about $4,149 and for students from other states in the order of $4,596 per year. Books and supplies can cost in the order of $840, although this will depend on the program.

Eastern Washington Nonmetropolitan Area Area

Walla Walla Community College

500 Tausick Way, Walla Walla, Washington 99362-9267
(509) 522-2500
Electrical Technology – Certificate Program, Electrical Technology – Associate Program

Walla Walla Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Walla Walla, Washington. This public college has about 4,617 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The cost of tuition for in-state students is usually about $4,455 and for students from outside the state likely to be about $5,955 yearly, while books and supplies may cost about $1,000, although this varies from program to program.

Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA Area

Clark College

1933 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver, Washington 98663-3598
(360) 992-2000
Electrical and Computer Engineering – Associate Program, Electrical and Computer Engineering – Certificate Program

Clark College offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Vancouver. Most of the school’s 10,477 students are on 4-year programs. The college is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Fees for tuition for in-state students are likely to be in the order of $3,613 and for students from outside the state likely to be about $8,966 yearly, while books and supplies may cost about $840, although this varies from program to program.

Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA Metropolitan Division Area

Edmonds Community College

20000 68th Ave W, Lynnwood, Washington 98036-5912
(425) 640-1459
Electrical – Certificate Program

Edmonds Community College’s Certificate-level Electrical program is based at their campus in Lynnwood in Snohomish County. Most of the school’s 8,571 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Fees for tuition for in-state students are in the order of $3,822 and for students from outside the state likely to be about $9,177 yearly, while study materials may cost about $840, depending on the program.

Renton Technical College

3000 NE Fourth St, Renton, Washington 98056-4123
(425) 235-2352
Electrical Plant Maintenance – Certificate Program

Renton Technical College offers various Certificate program options for future opticians. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Renton. This public college has in the region of 3,961 students in total, with most students on 4-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The cost of tuition is in the order of $5,377 yearly, while study materials may cost about $825, depending on the program.

Spokane, WA Area

Spokane Community College

1810 North Greene Street, Spokane, Washington 99217-5399
(509) 533-8020
Electrical Sales Option – Certificate Program

Spokane Community College offers various Certificate program options for future professionals. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Spokane, Washington. This public college has in the order of 10,218 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The cost of tuition for in-state students is usually in the order of $3,460 and for students from outside the state in the order of $8,813 per year. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,134, although this will vary with the program.

Tacoma, WA Metropolitan Division Area

Bates Technical College

1101 S Yakima Ave, Tacoma, Washington 98405
(253) 680-7000
Electrical Engineering Technician – Certificate Program, Electronics Technician – Associate Program

Bates Technical College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and two Associate programs. All programs are based at their campus in the city of Tacoma. The majority of of the school’s 3,272 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The cost of tuition for in-state students is in the order of $4,677 and for students from outside the state in the order of $10,095 per year. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,020, although this will vary with the program.

Wenatchee-East Wenatchee, WA Area

Wenatchee Valley College

1300 Fifth St, Wenatchee, Washington 98801-1799
(509) 682-6800
Industrial Electricity and Controls – Certificate Program, Electronics – Associate Program

Wenatchee Valley College offers various Certificate program options for future opticians, a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Wenatchee. This public college has approximately 3,218 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Tuition fees for in-state students are generally in the order of $3,779 and for students from outside the state approximately $4,196 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $840, although this will depend on the program.

Yakima, WA Area

Perry Technical Institute

2011 W Washington Ave., Yakima, Washington 98903-1296
(509) 453-0374
Electrical Technology – Certificate Program

Perry Technical Institute’s Certificate-level Electrical Technology program is based at their campus in the city of Yakima, Washington. The majority of of the school’s 825 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. The retention rate of full-time students at this college is over 80%. Tuition fees for the Electrical Technology program are in the order of $36,711 yearly, while study materials may cost about $3,308. Usually, the program is completed in 24 months.

Yakima Valley College

South 16th Ave. & Nob Hill Blvd., Yakima, Washington 98907-2520
(509) 574-4600
Electrical Technology – Associate Program

Yakima Valley College’s Associate-level Electrical Technology program is based at their campus in the city of Yakima, WA. The majority of of the school’s 3,960 students are on 4-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Fees for tuition for in-state students are in the order of $4,409 and for students from outside the state likely to be about $4,832 yearly, while study materials may cost about $840, 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.

Neighbor States

Residents of Washington may also wish to review their options in Idaho, Oregon and California.

FAQs

How Long Does it Take to Become an Electrician in Washington State?

The training and education program for becoming a licensed journeyman electrician in Washington takes at least four years to complete. Both union apprenticeship and trade school programs include 8,000 hours of on-the-job work experience and 96 hours of classroom learning.

How much do electricians earn in the state of Washington?

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, electricians in the state of Washington made an average of $71,160 per year in 2019. Entry-level electricians earned around $37,290 and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $111,710.