• Certified Electrician vs Licensed Electrician: What’s the Difference?

    According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), about 24,000 fire incidents happen every year, only because of electrical issues. When it comes to electrical work, it’s incredibly important to hire a qualified professional as it concerns the safety of your family! 

    However, there is confusion when choosing the right electrician as you may have come across the terms “certified electrician” and “licensed electrician” and wondered what’s exactly the difference between them.

    Today, we are going to discuss the exact differences between certified electrician vs licensed electrician to help you make the best decision when choosing an electrical service provider. 

    While certification is a valuable indicator of an electrician’s expertise, licensing is a non-negotiable requirement for legal and safe electrical work. But if you want non-negotiable quality of work and professionalism we prefer you to hire both. Good news is, Sacramento’s electrical contractors usually have electricians who are both certified and licensed.

    Difference Between Certification & License


    Certification is a voluntary process that shows an electrician’s commitment to their work and ability to meet industry standards. Organizations such as the Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) and the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) offer certification programs that assess an electrician’s knowledge and skills through exams and practical evaluations.

    When comparing a certified electrician vs licensed electrician, it’s important to note that certification alone does not legally authorize an electrician to work independently. However, it does signify that the electrician has gone above and beyond to prove their expertise and stay current with industry best practices.

    IEC Apprentice Electrician

    This certification is for individuals who are currently enrolled in or have recently completed an IEC Apprenticeship Program. The program typically takes four years to complete and includes a combination of classroom instruction and on-the-job training.

    IBEW Apprenticeship Program

    The IBEW Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (JATC) offers a five-year apprenticeship program that combines classroom instruction with on-the-job training. Apprentices receive paid training and benefits while learning the skills necessary to become a journeyman electrician.

    Both the IEC and IBEW certifications are widely recognized in the electrical industry and can lead to better job opportunities and higher wages. However, it’s important to note that certification requirements may vary by state or local jurisdiction, so electricians should research the specific requirements for their area.


    Licensing is a mandatory requirement for electricians to legally perform electrical work in most states. Each state has its own licensing requirements, which typically involve a combination of education, experience, and passing a complete exam.

    To become a licensed electrician, individuals must first complete an apprenticeship program, which usually takes around four years. During this time, they work under the supervision of a licensed electrician, gaining hands-on experience and classroom instruction. 

    Once they have met the necessary requirements, they can apply for a journeyman or master electrician license, depending on their level of experience and the state’s regulations.

    Journeyman Electrician License

    A Journeyman Electrician License allows an individual to work independently on most electrical projects. They have completed their apprenticeship and have demonstrated their competence through a licensing exam. Journeyman electricians can install, maintain, and repair electrical systems in residential, commercial, and industrial settings.

    Master Electrician License

    A Master Electrician License is the highest level of licensing an electrician can achieve. To qualify for this license, an electrician must have several years of experience as a licensed journeyman and pass an additional exam. Master electricians are qualified to design, plan, and supervise electrical projects of all sizes. They also have the authority to obtain permits and oversee other electricians.

    Why Does Licensing Matter?

    When it comes to the safety and reliability of your electrical systems, licensing is a must. Licensed electricians have proven their knowledge and skills through strict training and testing. 

    They are familiar with local building codes and safety regulations, ensuring that your electrical work is up to standard and compliant with the law.

    Opting for a licensed electrician also provides you with legal protection. If something goes wrong with the electrical work, you have recourse through the state licensing board. Additionally, many insurance companies require that electrical work be performed by a licensed professional to maintain coverage.

    Benefits of Hiring Both Licensed & Certified Electrician

    While licensing is the bare minimum requirement for an electrician, choosing one who is both licensed and certified offers even greater peace of mind. An electrician who has invested in additional certifications demonstrates a higher level of dedication to their work and a commitment to staying up-to-date with the latest industry advancements.

    When you hire a licensed and certified electrician, you can expect:

    1. Expert knowledge and skills

    2. Adherence to safety regulations and building codes

    3. Professional and reliable service

    4. Peace of mind knowing your electrical work is in capable hands

    We understand the importance of providing quality service. That’s why we recommend only licensed and certified electricians who are dedicated to delivering top-notch workmanship and exceptional customer care. When you choose a certified Electrician for your electrical needs, you can trust that you’re in good hands.


    Identifying the differences between a certified electrician vs licensed electrician can be confusing and selecting them can be a more daunting task, but understanding the differences is essential for making the right decision about your electrical service needs. 

    By choosing an electrician who is both licensed and certified, like those at reliable Sagan Electric, you can rest assured that your electrical projects will be completed to the highest standards of quality and safety. 

    Don’t settle for less when it comes to the integrity of your electrical systems – trust the licensed and certified professionals to get the job done right.

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