Electrical Contractor License
A City of Chicago electrical contractor license is required to install, alter, or maintain any wiring or equipment regulated by the Chicago Electrical Code. This includes electrical, lighting, communication, and alarm systems and equipment.
Electrical contractor licenses are issued by the Department of Buildings.
Frequently Asked Questions
When is an electrical contractor license required?
An electrical contractor license is required to install, alter, or maintain any wiring or equipment for the utilization of electricity for light, heat, power, signaling, or communication, or any other equipment regulated by the Chicago Electrical Code. This requirement applies whether or not a permit is required.
There are two exceptions:
- An electrical contractor license is not required to install, alter, or maintain any wiring or equipment that is or will be used by a public utility under the jurisdiction of the Illinois Commerce Commission in its operation as a public utility.
- An electrical contractor license is not required for a private alarm contractor or private alarm contractor agency licensed by the State of Illinois under the Private Detective, Private Alarm, Private Security, Fingerprint Vendor, and Locksmith Act of 2004 that is acting within the scope of its license. (To obtain a permit in Chicago, however, a State-licensed private alarm contractor must register its state license with the city.)
Who can perform electrical work under an electrical contractor license?
The electrical contractor license authorizes electrical work to be performed by the licensed business and its employees, working under the supervision of a licensed supervising electrician. When performing Class 1 work, all employees of the business that are performing electrical work must meet minimum qualifications (described below).
“Employees” means individuals that the business treats as employees for purposes of unemployment insurance contributions, worker’s compensation, and income taxation. An electrical contractor license does not authorize electrical work to be performed by individuals who are paid as independent contractors.
If employees of another business will be performing electrical work at a job site, that business must be licensed as an electrical contractor and listed on the permit.
What are the requirements for employees of an electrical contractor?
When an electrical contractor is performing electrical work either:
- in a building that exceeds 55 feet in height
- within an area classified as an assembly (Group A) occupancy with an occupant load of 300 people or more
and that electrical work is being done before a certificate of occupancy has been issued for that portion of the building or as part of work that will require a new certificate of occupancy to be issued, then that work is known as Class 1 electrical work and each person performing electrical work for or at the direction of the electrical contractor at the work site must be one of the following:
- A licensed supervising electrician
- An individual who has successfully completed an electrician apprenticeship program recognized by the United States Department of Labor and requiring at least 8,000 hours of relevant on-the-job training and classroom instruction, as evidenced by a written certificate of completion
- An individual who is currently enrolled in an electrician apprenticeship program recognized by the United States Department of Labor and requiring at least 8,000 hours of relevant on-the-job training and classroom instruction
The electrical contractor must maintain records showing compliance with this requirement at the work site and for at least two years following completion of the work.
Employees of electrical contractors performing types of electrical work not described above (Class 2 electrical work) must work under the supervision of the licensed supervising electrician(s) associated with the contractor license.
Are there different types of electrical contractor licenses?
Yes, there are two types of electrical contractor licenses:
A “general” license allows the licensed business and its employees to perform any type of electrical work, subject to limitations described below.
A “low voltage” license only allows the licensed business and its employees to perform electrical work involving Class 1, 2 and 3 remote-control, signaling and power-limited circuits and communications circuits.
The type of contractor license is based on the type of examination passed by the contractor’s licensed supervising electrician.
Who may obtain an electrical contractor license?
Electrical contractor licenses are issued to businesses, including sole proprietorships, that employ at least one licensed supervising electrician.
What is required to obtain an electrical contractor license?
To obtain an electrical contractor license, a business must employ at least one individual who is a licensed supervising electrician.
How do I apply for a new electrical contractor license?
Continental Testing Services processes electrical contractor license applications on behalf of the Department of Buildings.
Applications are submitted through the Continental Testing Services web site.
How do I renew an existing electrical contractor license?
Existing electrical contractor licenses are renewed through the Department of Buildings web portal.
How much does an electrical contractor license cost?
|License Classification||Initial License Fee||Renewal Fee|
|Electrical Contractor - General||$150.00||$150.00|
|Electrical Contractor - Low Voltage||$150.00||$150.00|
Change of supervising electrician: $100.00
How long is an electrical contractor license valid?
An electrical contractor license is valid for one year from issuance.
An electrical contractor license is automatically inactivated if there is no valid supervising electrician license associated with the contractor license.
Ordinances and Rules
|This information is provided to help you better understand licensing requirements in the City of Chicago. It may not reflect all conditions, limitations, or exceptions that may apply to a particular situation and is not intended as a substitute for legal advice. To the extent the information on this page differs from the Municipal Code of Chicago or applicable rules, the ordinance or rule controls.|