How to Become an Electrician in TN

Once you learn the trade, there is constant demand a job security for electricians. In Tennessee, the average electrician makes over $50K, and that just a start.

Training and Education

We recommend starting with an online or hybrid program that will teach you foundational knowledge.

Local Trade Schools & Programs

Search Electrician Programs

Get information on Electrician programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

Sponsored Listings

    FORTIS College
    Prepares students for entry level electrician jobs with classes in areas such as Alternating Current Theory, A.C. Motors, and Three Phase Power and Transformers.

    • Cookeville, Nashville


    Lincoln Tech
    52 week Electrical and Electronic Systems Technology diploma program. Morning, afternoon and evening classes.

    • Nashville


    Miller-Motte College
    Miller-Motte's Electrical program offers a thorough preparation for entry-level roles in residential and commercial electrical fields. Combining classroom instruction with hands-on training, the program can be completed in just 10 months, with rolling enrollment available. Graduates are equipped to troubleshoot, service, and repair electrical systems to National Center for Construction Education & Research (NCCER) standards, enhancing employability with industry-recognized credentials upon completion.

    • Chattanooga


    Northeast State College

    The Construction Electricity certificate program equips students with skills for residential, industrial, and commercial wiring, focusing on National Electrical Code standards. Key areas include service equipment installation, electrical circuits, conduit bending, and motor operations. This 23-credit hour program's courses can be applied towards an Associate of Applied Science in Electrical Engineering Technology with a concentration in Electrical.

    The Electrical Engineering Technology program prepares students for roles as electricians across various settings, emphasizing wiring procedures, service equipment installation, electrical power distribution, motor control, and programmable logic controllers. The program consists of 63 credit hours.

    The Electromechanical program, accredited by the Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering (ATMAE), prepares individuals for entry-level roles in electrical and mechanical maintenance. Students learn to diagnose and repair problems efficiently, with an emphasis on preventative maintenance. This program also requires 63 credit hours.

    • Blountville


    Tennessee College of Applied Technology
    The Electronics Technology Program trains students in repairing electronic equipment using troubleshooting techniques, emphasizing automation and robotics, leading to certificates or diplomas over 16 months of full-time study at a cost of about $5,700.

    • Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville, Murfreesboro


How Long Does It Take?

Entry level programs range between 7 and 12 months to come complete.

What Are the Costs?

Anywhere from $2,500 to $4,500.

What Do You Study?

The following topics might be part of a study plan.

Introduction and Safety

  • Introduction: Electrical Occupations
  • Safety Overview
  • Electrical Safety
  • Jobsite Safety
  • Soft Skills for the Electrician (optional)

Electrical Theory and Fundamentals

  • Atomic Structure
  • Electrical Quantities and Ohm’s Law
  • Static Electricity
  • Magnetism
  • Resistors
  • Series Circuits
  • Parallel Circuits
  • Combination Circuits
  • Measuring Instruments
  • Conduction in Liquids and Gases
  • Batteries and Other Sources of Electricity
  • Magnetic Induction
  • Basic Trigonometry and Vectors
  • Alternating Current
  • Inductance in AC Circuits
  • Capacitors
  • Surge, Spike, and Lightning Protection
  • Harmonics

Circuits

  • Circuit and Personnel Protection
  • Branch Circuit Basics
  • Required Branch Circuits
  • GFCI Protection and Branch Circuits
  • AFCI Protection
  • Series Circuits
  • Parallel Circuits
  • Combination Circuits
  • Inductance in AC Circuits
  • Resistive-Inductive Series Circuits
  • Resistive-Inductive Parallel Circuits
  • Resistive-Capacitive Series Circuits
  • Resistive-Capacitive Parallel Circuits
  • Resistive-Inductive-Capacitive Series Circuits
  • Resistive-Inductive-Capacitive Parallel Circuits
  • Three-Phase Circuits
  • Single-Phase Transformers
  • Three-Phase Transformers
  • Direct Current Generators
  • Three-Phase Alternators
  • Three-Phase Motors
  • Single-Phase Motors

Wiring

  • Residential Electricity – A Basic Overview
  • Industrial Wiring
  • Commercial Wiring
  • Residential Wiring
  • Appliance Connections

Building Materials

  • Test Instruments
  • Electrical System Operation Principles
  • Hand Tools
  • Power Tools
  • Building Materials – Conductors and Cables
  • Building Materials – Enclosures and Cabinets
  • Building Materials – Terminal Devices
  • Residential Services and Feeders
  • Grounding and Bonding of Services
  • Feeders and Separate Buildings
  • Construction Drawings
  • Required Outlets and Devices

Specialized Courses

  • Electrical Drafting
  • Electrical Testing & Maintenance
  • Motor Controls
  • Electrical Machines
  • Distribution Systems
  • Electrical Planning & Estimating

Salary Range

Electrician pay for various cities and areas within TN is as follows:

AreaHourlyAnnual
Chattanooga$27.15$56,470.00
Clarksville$27.03$56,230.00
Cleveland$25.75$53,560.00
East Tennessee$31.62$65,760.00
Jackson$26.33$54,760.00
Johnson City$23.89$49,680.00
Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol$26.69$55,510.00
Knoxville$26.12$54,330.00
Memphis$27.26$56,700.00
Morristown$25.36$52,740.00
Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin$28.56$59,400.00
North Central$26.72$55,590.00
South Central$32.17$66,910.00
West TN$28.24$58,730.00
Occupation: Occupation: Electricians (SOC Code472111)
source: data.bls.gov

TN Requirements

Tennessee.gov logo

In Tennessee, electrical licenses are issued at the local and state levels. Local licenses for journeyman and master electricians are managed and distributed by individual cities and counties, with some cities like Knoxville offering multiple license classes based on experience and work type.

Journeyman

Generally, prospective electricians will need at least 8,000 hours (or 4 years) of work experience and 576 to 900 hours of classroom instruction to qualify for a journeyman electrician license, per local regulations.

State Wide vs Local Licenses

While state-wide licenses do not require prior experience, local licenses do.

The following are state-wide licenses:

  • Certified Electricians (CE) License
  • Limited License Electrician (LLE) License

Additionally, you must be at least 18 years old–some areas require a minimum age of 20 for journeymen and 24 for master electricians–have a high school diploma or equivalent, pass a high school algebra exam, and hold a driver’s license, as per the Tennesee Department of Commerce and Insurance.

Statewide electrical contractor licenses are issued by the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance through the Tennessee Board for Licensing Contractors.

LLE vs CE

Limited License Electrician (LLE) licenses are accepted in areas without local regulations and allow for projects costing under $25,000, subject to local code enforcement office approval. In some municipalities, electrical codes adopted by the Division of Fire Prevention cover electrical installations performed by an LLE.

A Certified Electrician (CE) license is required for projects valued at $25,000. 

Becoming a Limited License Electrician (LLE)

To become a Limited Licensed Electrician (LLE) in Tennessee, you must pass the LLE trade exam, provide a photo ID, and show proof of U.S. citizenship or qualified alien status. No preapproval is needed to take the exam, and no continuing education requirements exist.

The application process includes paying a $50 fee. It’s important to note that LLEs are not permitted to use the term “contractor” or advertise themselves as “electrical contractors.”

Becoming a Certified Electrician (CE)

To become a Certified Electrician (CE) in Tennessee, you must pass both a statewide electrical contractor exam and its associated business and law exams administered by PSI exams. The exam provider offers a candidate information bulletin to prepare prospective electricians for the licensing exams.

Additionally, you need a CPA to verify your finances and obtain approval from the Contractors Board. You must also have workers’ compensation insurance or a written exemption if you are self-employed.

Renewals

Renewal of your electrician license in Tennessee is recommended 30 days before it expires. To retain your renewal rights, the renewal must be received within 90 days of expiration.

This is not a grace period; you can only legally perform work once your license has been renewed and issued. If your license has expired for 90 days or more, you cannot renew it and must submit a license application to the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance for reinstatement and a fee.

State Reciprocity

Tennessee does not have out-of-state reciprocal agreements for the Limited Licensed Electrician (LLE). However, for contractors, there are reciprocal agreements with Alabama, Arkansas, and Georgia, which provide a trade exam waiver but do not allow the use of another state’s license in Tennessee.

According to the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, the process for license issuance takes 4-6 weeks. 

Tennessee Electrician Unions

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers logo

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) is the main electrician union and one of the world’s most influential labor organizations.

Established in 1891, it is the oldest electrical union globally and has several locations across Tennessee, including:

  • IBEW Local 429 — Nashville, TN
  • IBEW Local 175 — Chattanooga, TN
  • IBEW Local 760 — Knoxville, TN
  • IBEW Local 474 — Memphis, TN
  • IBEW Local 270 — Oak Ridge, TN
  • IBEW Local 934 — Blountville, TN

To join an apprenticeship program with the IBEW in Tennessee, you must be at least 18, possess a GED or a 2-year associate degree or higher, and have passed high school algebra. You must provide official transcripts or records of your education and training, complete the IBEW Apprenticeship Aptitude Test, and interview with the local union office or apprenticeship director. After the interview, your name will be placed on an eligibility list for two years, ranked according to your score.

For experienced electricians, joining the IBEW typically involves contacting your local union office. Requirements vary by location, but generally, you must reside within the union’s jurisdiction, hold a state driver’s license, have a social security card, possess a high school diploma or GED equivalent, and consent to a background check.