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ultimate guide for apprentice, journeyman and master electricians in colorado

Colorado does not currently have a state wide contractor license.There are only two trades which are regulated at the state level:

For other licenses, the laws differ depending on the county. 

However, several Contractor Licenses are offered in Denver through the Department of Community Planning and Development.

complete guide for electrical contractors looking to get licensed in colorado

Electrical Contractor Classifications in Colorado

In Colorado there are 3 levels of licensing for electrical contractors:

Residential Wireman

To qualify for the residential wireman electrician classification in Colorado you must meet the following requirements:

  • 4,000 hours of experience gained in no less than 2 Years
  • Includes new construction, remodeling and additions to buildings for residential occupancy.
  • Also include electrical installation in one, two, three, and four-family dwellings, which do not extend more than two stories above ground.

Journeyman Electrician

To get the Colorado Journeyman electrical license, you must meet the following requirements:

  • 8,000 hours of experience earned in no less than 4 years
  • 4,000 hours of which must be in commercial/industrial work

Master Electrician

To qualify for the Colorado Master Electricians License you must meet any of the following qualifications:

  • You must either be a Graduate electrical engineer of an accredited college or university AND 2,000 hours of construction experience earned in no less than 1 year
  • Graduate of an electrical trade school or community college AND 8,000 hours of experience earned in no less than 4 years, OR
  • 2,000 hours of experience earned in no less than 1 year in addition to the requirements listed above
  • A portion of your hours must be in planning and layout
  • A portion of your experience must be in supervision as a journeyman electrician


Learn more about electrical training courses

Who Needs to Have a Colorado Electrical License?

who needs an electricians license in colorado

Anyone performing electrical work of any kind or work requires pulling a building permit.

Projects that involve installing, fabricating, or repairing residential or commercial electrical systems are overseen by the Colorado electrical board.

Projects may include but are not limited to:

  • Electrical Installations for residential and commercial new construction, remodels, and additions 
  • Electrical installations and repair for: theaters, office buildings, gas stations, etc.
  • Photovoltaic finish wiring
  • Services, Feeders, and Branch Circuits 
  • Planning and layout of electrical wiring apparatus or light, heat and power.
  • Grounding and Bonding ​
  • Conductors and Cables
  • Raceways and Boxes
  • Electrical Devices
  • Electrical Calculations

Colorado Electrical License Requirements

In order to take the Colorado contractor exam, you must meet the following electrician qualifications:

  • 18 years of age
  • Valid USA Identification 
  • Social Security Number or ITIN #
  • Not currently on probation or parole

You must also 

  • Journeyman Level Experience (amount varies depending on level)
  • Pass an Electrical Exam
  • Have an Active Contractor Bond
  • Have a Registered Legal Entity (Sole, Partnership, LLC, or Corporation)

What is Journeyman Level Experience?

Electrical Engineer adjusts electrical equipment with a multimeter in his hand closeup. Professional electrician in electric automation cabinet. electrical contractors in Colorado must meet state requirements

The Colorado Electricians Practice Act defines a journeyman as:

"A person having the necessary qualifications, training, experience, and technical knowledge to wire for, install, and repair electrical apparatus
and equipment for electric light, heat, and power, and for other purposes, in accordance with standard rules governing such work"

The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) will require that you have journeyman level experience as an electrician.

While different regions may have varying definitions for what a journeyman is, typically this is someone who:

  • Can perform all of the duties associated with their trade
  • Has worked un-supervised performing their trade
  • Has supervisory level experience
  • (in some cases) has completed a Journeyman certification

Definition of a Master Electrician

The Colorado Electricians Practice Act defines a Master Electrician as:

"A person having the necessary qualifications, training,
experience, and technical knowledge to properly plan, lay out, and supervise the installation and repair of wiring apparatus and equipment for electric light, heat, and power, and for other purposes, in accordance with standard rules governing such work, such as the national electrical code"

Colorado Electrical License Application Processing 

You can apply for the Electrical Contractor License Online here

Documents that must be included with your application are:

Some things to remember:

  • According to Colorado law: all addresses and phone numbers on record with the Division of Professions and Occupations (DPO) are public record and must be provided to the public when requested.
  • You will be responsible to keep all records current within the DPO system

Licensing Fees

  • You must pay a $210 application processing fee with a credit card (American Express, MasterCard, Visa or Discover) or electronic check to complete the application process.
  • All fees are non-refundable.

Colorado Electrical License Exam

a calculator and pen laying on top of a paper. there are three separate exams for each area of experience for the colorado electrical license

All applicants must pass the Colorado electrical contractor exam. The exam is administered by a third party company called PSI.

Enrolling into an electrician school can be extremely helpful if you are in anyway confused by the electrical trade fundamentals.

There are separate exams for the Residential Wireman, Journeyman and Master Electrician's licenses:

Residential Wireman Test

  • 90 Questions  
  • 240 Minutes
  • 70% (63 Questions) Correct to Pass


The exam will cover the following topics:

  • General Electrical Knowledge 
  • Services, Feeders, and Branch Circuits
  • Grounding and Bonding
  • Over-current Protection
  • Conductors and Cables
  • Raceways and Boxes
  • Special Equipment
  • Electrical Devices
  • Electrical Calculations

Journeyman Electrician Test

  • 90 Questions
  • 240 Minutes
  • 70% (63 Questions Correct to Pass


The Journeyman electrician test will cover the following topics:

  • General Electrical Knowledge 
  • Services, Feeders, and Branch Circuits ​
  • Grounding and Bonding
  • Over-current Protection
  • Conductors and Cables
  • Raceways and Boxes
  • Special Occupancies
  • Special Equipment
  • Electrical Devices
  • Motors
  • Transformers
  • Photovoltaics
  • Electrical Calculations

Master Electrician Test

  • 90 Scored Questions
  • 240 Minutes
  • 70% (63 Questions) Correct to Pass


The master electricians test will cover the following topics:

  • General Electrical Knowledge
  • Services, Feeders, and Branch Circuits
  • Grounding and Bonding
  • Over-current Protection
  • Conductors and Cables
  • Raceways and Boxes
  • Special Occupancies
  • Special Equipment
  • Electrical Devices
  • Motors
  • Transformers
  • Photovoltaics
  • Electrical Calculations


Click here for online electrical courses

Colorado Business License

if you are looking to get a colorado electrical license, you should also think about starting a business entity

Colorado allows those applying for the Contractor License to choose if they would like to set themselves up as a business entity. 

If you already have a registered business entity and you would like to apply for a license in Denver, than you must include the following documentation about your business along with your application.

Typically, there are 4 common business structures among construction professionals:

  • Sole Proprietor - License held through an individual
  • Partnership - License held through a partnership
  • LLC - License held through a company that exists as its own entity
  • S-Corporation - License held through a corporate entity

For a complete look at the differences between these business structures, check this guide.

For more information about getting a business license in Colorado and the nature of your business you can contact any of the following agencies:

Worker's Compensation

Colorado requires all business that have employees to carry worker's compensation insurance, regardless of their construction trade.

Worker's Compensation requirements for Colorado contractor license applicants can be found on the website of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

DORA Colorado Electrical License Look-up

For consumers or homeowners looking to search an active Colorado contractor license, you may access information on the Department of Regulatory Agencies search portal

Anyone advertising themselves a certified electrician, should hold the Colorado contractor license.

What State Reciprocate With The Colorado Electrical Contractor License

The Colorado State Electrical Board adheres to laws set by the National Electrical Reciprocal Alliance (NERA). Colorado has electrician license reciprocity agreements with the following states:

  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • South Dakota
  • Utah
  • Wyoming

According to state laws, you must meet the following requirements to transfer your license to Colorado.

  • Hold a journeyman or master electrician certificate that is active and in good standing
  • Certificate must be gained through a state administered examination
  • Colorado will not issue reciprocity to individuals who hold a license through "grandfathering" 

Electrician Apprenticeships in Colorado

an electrician working on a telephone pole. To get your colorado electrical license, it is highly recommended that you begin with an apprenticeship

Whether you are looking to become a journeyman electrician in Colorado or begin a career in the construction industry, you will want to begin by mastering a trade.

One of the best ways to build a solid foundation in your career is by looking into an apprenticeship program or electrician course.

Trade schools can provide you with valuable training in electrical fundamentals.

Colorado electrical contractors must have skillsets beyond simply trade knowledge. You must learn the fundamentals of running a construction business, safety as well as how to become an electrician.

If you are new to the world of construction and have heard the term “journeyman” or “apprentice” and are not sure what these terms mean, or perhaps where to even start.

Each state has different requirements and standards for certifications. To Learn more about the step by step path from an Apprentice to Journeyman!

Blueprint Reading Course

blueprint reading is a fundemental skill for those looking to get the colorado contractor license

In addition to electrician training, those looking to do pursue a career in construction or get the Colorado General Contractor license, should learn how to read blueprints.

Blueprints communicate important information about the way in which a structure is built as well as what materials are necessary or have been used for its construction.

Being comfortable with construction blueprints is an invaluable skill for those looking to get the Colorado electrical license.

See our Free Blueprint Reading Course!

OSHA Safety Certifications

two contractors working high up on a beam. to get a colorado contractor license, or licensed in denver you may be asked to know osha safety regulations

Statistically, 21% of all work-related fatalities are in construction.

That equals about 1 and 5 worker deaths on average.

In the construction industry, the leading cause of worker deaths is reported as falls, struck by an object, electrocution, and caught-in/between.

Safety is a huge part of managing a construction site. General Contractors as well as licensed plumbers should know everything about safely supervising a project.

If you or your workers are not properly trained, it can place unnecessary risk to not only your personal safety but your bottom line as a business. 

For employment with a licensed general contractor in Colorado, you may be asked to complete some level of OSHA Safety Training.

Get Started

Becoming a licensed electrician in Colorado can be a huge step up in your career if you are looking to start your own business or become an RMO for a company!

The Construction industry is highly lucrative. Whether you are looking to get licensed in other states or offer handyman services in Colorado.

The key is to take action and follow these steps from beginning to end.

If you have found this article, be sure to let us know! and check back for more updates in the future.

If you are looking to get work in another state you can find information here about electrical contractor licenses in: CaliforniaNew MexicoArizonaLouisiana, and Florida

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