‘Electricians Act – Revisions’ Passes; Plugs Holes in Last Year’s Bill
Mention the new electrical license bill that was passed last year by the General Assembly, and if you are an apprentice, journey worker, master electrician, or business owner, the most likely response is probably one of confusion, if not outright concern. Very few responses reflect the intent of why the bill was created and received support from both the merit shop and union sectors.
The objective of the original bill was to bring standardization across all local jurisdictions across Maryland in addition to our neighbors, Delaware, District of Columbia, Virginia, and West Virginia. Up until the passing of this bill, these states viewed Maryland’s regulations as substandard, and obtaining certain types of licenses from them by reciprocity was not possible at the state or county levels. But there were some holes we attempted to rectify with this year’s bill (mainly, no ‘Grandfather’ clause for people who have been working in the trade but never gone through an apprenticeship program or received a journeyperson license from a local jurisdiction).
We hope we have succeeded.
In a nutshell, last year’s — and this year’s — bill accomplished the following:
- Requires all individuals working in the electrical trade to have a license, whether it is a Master, Journeyperson or Apprentice. (Note: this does not require individuals to be in a registered apprenticeship program, but all individuals must have a state-issued license.)
· Those without a license can be cited.
- Established that local jurisdictions could no longer issue a license for either of these classifications; however, they could still require a “registration” in their jurisdiction and charge a fee for said registration.
What’s THE most important information we can convey to our electrical contractors right now?
1. Have your electricians go online and apply for the journeyperson electrician license BEFORE DECEMBER 31, 2022 (Note: the application for the exam exemption will be available online on July 1; use this LINK).
- As long as they apply before the 12/31 deadline, they can get their license without having to take the exam.
- Those individuals who had a Journeyman license from one of those jurisdictions that had one prior to the new law being passed and were not able to renew by the local county should input that expired license number and the date 1/1/2023
2. For those individuals who work in the electrical trade but whose experience does not rise to the level of journeyperson, they need to secure an Apprentice license (this is available: Electrical Apprentice License
Path to get a new state journeyperson license by DECEMBER 31 2022 WITHOUT having to take an exam:
a) Those that can provide documentation of four (4) years of experience working under a Master. There is a template on the PSI site for the letter the Master is to provide for the individual. ABC and IEC Chesapeake are working on obtaining a sample letter for individuals to utilize.
b) Provide written proof that the applicant has successfully completed an electrician apprenticeship program approved by the Maryland Apprenticeship and Training Council (or equivalent for those individuals who graduated from a program in another state) or the Federal Office of Apprenticeship that consists of:
· At least 576 classroom hours; and
· 8,000 of work experience
IMPORTANT: After the 12/31/22 deadline, THE ONLY APPLICANTS WHO CAN SECURE THE JOURNEYPERSON LICENSE WITHOUT HAVING TO TAKE AN EXAMARE THOSE WHO HAVE SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED AN APPROVED ELECTRICIAN APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM.
Issues that remain unresolved:
- What about those electricians with a “Shelved” Master’s license? These are individuals who work for another company and under that company’s master. By ‘Shelving’ their Master’s license, they are absolved from paying for insurance and taking Continuing Education courses to keep their license current. Under the new law, there is no path for an individual with a ‘Shelved’ Master license to secure a journey license. This issue will be attempted to be resolved when the regulations are written. If that is not possible, we will correct it in the next legislative session.
- At present, there are no immediate plans to accommodate those individuals who do not speak English by making the journeyperson or Masters exam available in Spanish or any other language.
- What about electricians who have licenses from other states:
- Reciprocity w Maryland exists with the District of Columbia, Virginia, W. Va., and DE for Masters but not yet for journeyperson (reciprocity is listed on the app but only for local jurisdictions)
- NOTE: Remember, those individuals who have successfully completed a State or Federally approved program from another state, can still secure a license by showing proof of their completion.