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Handle electricity improperly and you run the risk of shock, injury, and even fire. So when consumers have electrical needs, it’s important they use a licensed electrician.

Only a master or journeyman electrician licensed by the Board of State Examiners of Electricians can be legally hired to perform electrical work at a home or business. In addition to licensing electricians, the Board also licenses Fire Warning and Security System Contractors and Fire Warning and Security System Technicians.

Licensed Electricians and Personnel:

master electrician may work either as an individual, a firm, or a corporation. A master electrician must maintain a regular place of business where the current license is displayed. The master electrician may employ journeymen and apprentices.

journeyman electrician is qualified by education and experience and works as an individual in performing electrical work. He/she is required to carry a license and display it upon request.

systems contractor may work as an individual, a firm, or a corporation. A systems contractor must maintain a regular place of business where the current license is plainly displayed. The systems contractor may employ systems technicians or apprentices to install, repair or maintain fire warning and security systems.

systems technician is qualified by education and experience and works as an individual with fire warning and security systems. He/she must also carry a license and display it upon request.

Choosing an Electrician or Systems Contractor

  • Check that he/she is licensed, the number of years licensed, and the licensee’s complaint history. You can check by their name, their business name, or their license number. A master or journeyman electrician’s license type and number must be shown on any sign, listing, or advertisement.
  • Ask to see a copy of the licensee’s liability insurance. Insurance is required by state law.
  • Get more than one bid for your job. Call several companies; get referrals from friends, family or neighbors; or contact a trade association for a list of member companies in your area.
  • Agree in writing to the scope and price of the work to be completed.
  • Ask to see the permit. This permit is your guarantee that the work will be inspected and that the professional is responsible for the work performed.


Stay safe

Take steps to protect yourself from accident and injury.

  • Have a licensed electrician install Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) outdoors, in bathrooms, kitchens, or in any location where electrical appliances or products might come in contact with water.
  • Unplug appliances before cleaning them. Never plug in or unplug an electric cord while your hands are wet. Keep appliances like radios, TVs, and hair dryers away from sinks and bathtubs.
  • Don’t overload outlets and extension cords.
  • Don’t yank the cord when unplugging appliances; grasp the plug firmly and pull.
  • Be sure the proper wattage light bulbs are used in light fixtures and lamps.
  • Examine electrical cords to make sure they aren’t frayed or damaged. Do not place electrical cords under rugs or carpets.
  • Make sure the batteries in your smoke detectors are working. Test smoke detectors regularly.
  • Repair any appliance that smokes, sparks or shocks you.
  • Teach children not to put things into electrical outlets. Protect your children from injury by using plastic outlet guards.

Need to file a complaint?

If you have a serious complaint against a licensed electrician or systems technician or contractor, call or write the Division’s Office of Investigations.

If you have additional questions, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by calling our Consumer Hotline at (617) 973-8787, or toll-free in MA at (888) 283-3757, Monday through Friday, from 9 am-4:30 pm. Follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer. The Baker-Polito Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation along with its five agencies work together to achieve two goals: to protect and empower consumers through advocacy and education, and to ensure a fair playing field for Massachusetts businesses. The Office also oversees the state’s Lemon Laws, data breach reporting, Home Improvement Contractor Programs and the state’s Do Not Call Registry.

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