How to get an Electrical Licence in Queensland

Electrical Licence in Queensland

How to get an Electrical Licence in Queensland

Here is an example of someone’s own experiences, with a username “MigrantOz”

I’ve written this post so that all you sparkys waiting to come over to Oz are aware of what you may have to do to become fully licensed so that you can get work as an electrician.

I did an electrical apprenticeship in the early 80s and have only ever worked as an electrician of one form or another (mostly industrial).

Soon after arriving in Australia I got work as a Trades Assistant with a local contracting firm. They told me that I needed both an Electrical Mechanics Licence and an Electrical Fitters licence before they could employ me as an Electrician. I was told the same by a sawmills that wanted to employ me as an Industrial electrician but couldn’t because they required me to have both too.

When I applied for recognition for the purposes of migration the only likely choice I could make was Electrician Special Class (which I chose because I have mainly industrial experience) or General Electrician (which is more for Domestic/Commercial electricians skilled in installation work).

However when you actually get to Australia you are required to gain an ARTC but there isn’t an ARTC for an Electrician Special Class or for a General Electrician. You are either an Electrical Mechanic or an Electrical Fitter.

I believe there are other ARTC professions such as Linesman but for the most part the trades are Mechanics or Fitters.

I was assessed as being an Electrical Fitter by the TRA. I am not sure but I believe it would have been easier if I had been assessed as an Electrical Mechanic.

There are 3 main Electrical Licences in Queensland,
1 – Electrical Mechanic,
2 – Electrical Fitter,
3 – Electrical Contractor.

Although most people regard TRA recognition as the major hurdle (which it probably is) it is actually the quickest. The licence process is very drawn out, tedious and expensive. Don’t let this put you off though, I’m just telling it how it is. Well this is how it has been for me in Queensland since arriving last April.

May 2005 – Attend at TRA office to show original trade certificates and pay the fee which I believe was $100. The TRA office is in Brisbane so I have pay the travelling costs to get there. I have heard that they have recently moved to Melbourne so I wonder if I would be required to fly down there just to present my trade certificates.

Early July 2005 – Wait approximately 3 weeks until my Australian Recognised Trade Certificate (ARTC) turns up.

Fill in a licence application form for overseas applicants. Oh another fee of $50. Also before I could post it off I had to have a current CPR course certificate, cost of this course was 100. Plus of course the time involved in locating a course and then the wait time until I could take it. So now I can send the application off.

Late July 2005 – About 3 weeks later an Electrical Workers Permit to work under supervision arrives along with information about the Colleges I can attend to take the assessment I need to take and pass in order to be awarded with an Electrical Fitters licence. Only problem is the information about the Colleges doesn’t arrive so I have to phone up to find out where I have to go. Armed with this information I phone the nearest designated College and they invite me to pay the $499 dollars for the assessment.

August 2005 – Once I have gone and paid the fee I then have to phone the College back whereupon they invite me in to the College for an interview. At the interview they want to see my proof of payment for the assessment course, Electrical Workers Training Permit to work under supervision, ARTC, etc. They give me a work book lashed together from the Electrical Mechanics Licence Assessment course – Its a question and answers book, mostly about the Wiring Rules and Code of Practice document. The questions and answers didn’t actually match up half the time and some of the pages aren’t in numerical order.

I am told to work through the book and then contact the College once I am ready to take the assessment. So over the next 3 months I work through the book. It took me so long as I was working hard every week during this time and found it quite hard to sit down and study for any longer than an hour in the evenings.

Early November 2005 – When I phoned up the College they arranged a day the following week for me to go in. I did the assessment on my own, it took all day and consisted of a 3 hour written exam in the morning followed by a practical in the afternoon.

The written exam was NOT multi-choice and was about Wiring Rules and Codes of Practice. In the practical I had to Isolate a machine Carry out some basic tests (Earth continuity, insulation, polarity) and then put the machine back in service. I also had to wire up a DOL starter including running lamp, trip lamp through overload. The practical wasn’t at all difficult really, some of the written questions were a little tricky. At the end of the day I am told I have passed my assessment and now need to wait until the College have sent the paperwork to the electrical licensing authority.

I wait until the beginning of the next week and phone to ask the College if they have forwarded the paperwork which they confirm. I then send off my Licence application with the appropriate forms. Luckily I don’t have to pay another fee as it’s less than 6 months since I sent in my application for a Permit to work under supervision. Around 3 weeks later my Electrical Fitters Licence turns up in the post in the form of a Credit Card size card.

Early December 2005 – Now I have to go through the same procedure for the
lectrical Mechanics licence. I pay the fee for the Electrical Mechanics licence which is $850 – this game is getting really expensive as that’s way more than I take home in a week.

Once I pay the fee I phone up the College to go in for another interview so that they can give me my new work book. I phoned up in the first week in December and the guy I speak to says that it’s their last day and that they can’t see me until January 24th at the earliest. So even though they have taken $850 from me I can’t start studying yet for nearly 2 months. A couple of weeks ago I managed to get in for an interview and to collect my new work book. It’s over 350 A4 sized pages of mostly questions and answers with some instructional text. I don’t actually attend college for any instruction, its all self taught from the book. That $850 pays for the text book which is very home made and a one day assessment.

Anyway at the moment I am on page 30 of the text book and I’m trying to get in about 10 hours study a week.

I’ve been in Australia 10 months and am still unable to get employment as an Electrician. I need those licences; one down one to get. Maybe two to get if I go for the contractors licence too. On the up side there is plenty of electrical work and you can get work as a Trades Assistant quite easily.
Good luck.




  • Whilst applying for the licences, you can get work as an electrical employee, as said above.
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I am over in Australia as a perminent resident, also an industrial Electrician with 10yrs service under the belt. From South Africa you hear how Australia needs Artisans and Electricians are in the skills in demand list, but yet it is so difficult to get back into the field doing what you love and know best. From South Africa I had TRA assessment done and was classed as an electrician special class and since the assessment the classifications have changed. I only found out after landing in Australia that I needed to have the assessment done again for them to issue me an ARTC and since forwarding all my info again I am 5 months down the line and still waiting for TRA outcome. Evertime I call there has been some sort of delay in processing.

For all this trouble waiting and going through all this, it makes one feel worthless as an artisan to think that you have to vertually do a trade test all over again and work with restrictions or as a trade assistent.

Do I really want to go through all this? I don’t know anymore?

I am an Australian Who has worked and qualified in England.
I have spent a month trying to get my C&Gs recognized.
Friends of mine from the UK have said this is the most difficult thing they have ever done….and I am starting to believe. I am applying for T/A work also but for how long?

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