Hi Omar......very cool, COD....Glen Ellyn...Roosevelt & Lambert Rd......I know the area very well! I live about 20 minutes due west from there.
1) Illinois is one of those states where we do not have state or county electrical licensing. All electrical licensing is by certain individual municipalities, cities or suburbs. I'm sure you have seen many local handymen businesses advertising as electrical work. However, the majority of the handymen who advertise as electrical work do not hold an electrical license and they are taking a huge risk in terms of insurance liability. Simply put, handymen may be able to wire a receptacle but they DO NOT know all of the facets into the National Electrical Code. If they did, they'd have an electrical license to prove it.
If any electrical work an advertised or business handyman installs and becomes faulty due to a fire and/or safety hazard and the insurance company finds out they are not a licensed electrician, the insurance company will most likely not pay out for a claim. Thus another reason why any individual performing electrical work for the general public needs to be insured and licensed. The licensing & insurance not only protects the consumer, but also protects the contractor/electrician.
2) You can attempt to sell any product that you develop. However, the majority of consumers are well aware of UL ratings. If a product is not UL rated, then your sales opportunity will most likely decrease since the product will not be labeled on any packaging as UL listed. It is not a requirement or a law that a product be UL listed. However, it is highly recommended. Within the electrical & electronics manufacturing industry, this is called "bragging rights" since a product has been UL listed. If you are only selling a service, then UL listing is not required. It is only required/recommended for manufacturing. I also own a manufacturing business for electrical control panels and I'm going thru the UL process on some of my control panels that my company manufactures.
3) If you are looking to install LED lighting as a business in such applications as kitchen under-cabinet lighting or bar lighting, etc., this is still considered as electrical work and you would be held liable if any problems arise. The COD course is NOT an electrical license, it is only a certificate that will provide the basics. Doubt that an insurance company will insure an electrical preparation certificate grad to engage in a service business versus a licensed electrician. Most electrical contractors hold a minimum of a $1M or $2M insurance policy.
4) I'm not familiar with the course content of the electrical certification program @ COD, but in order to obtain a local electrical contractors license, you're looking at a 4 to 8 hour exam which deals heavily into the National Electrical Code as well as many calculations. I taught electrical code at NIU and U of I in Naperville for 5 years and the electrical licensing exams are meant to be failed and not meant to be passed. In other words, an exam candidate must be very intimate with numerous electrical applications as well as understanding & applying the National Electrical Code. Needless to say, the exam is not easy and can be very difficult/intimidating if a candidate does not have the proper education and/or experience.
I have a few electrician employees who have completed a 52 week full time electrical program where they graduated. Yes, they know how to bend conduit and wire receptacles and wall switches, but they haven't got a clue as to sizing a circuit breaker for an electric motor or calculating conduit/box fill ratio's. As a former electrical instructor and electrical inspector, I ask them basic electrical code questions and often, they don't know the answer. This is due to the fast paced electrical instruction they received at their trade school.
The biggest problem I see with schools offering electrical maintenance and/or construction courses is that they do not spend the sufficient amount of time becoming intimate with the National Electrical Code (NEC) that is required to pass the licensing exam. I can teach anybody on some basic Ohm's or Watt's Law theory in a few hours on simple series and parallel circuits. However, understanding and how to apply the NEC takes much more than a few hours of study.
5) The COD course sounds like a very good course. Just keep in mind, that it will be a very fast paced learning program and without any electrical background, a candidate taking a license exam will still have a difficult time. The best success rate for passing the electrical licensing exam is both work related experience and education.
6) Next week, Just Answer is launching a new program where us experts will be allowed to engage in telephone and/or video conferencing with our JA customers along with replying to questions here. The program is not available until sometime next week. If you would like to have a telephone conversation later next week, I can fill you in on the requirements and answer any questions that you may have. This will save us both a lot of time.
7) If using cheap materials and/or faulty installation methods and an accident occurs on your behalf due to fire or safety hazards and you're not licensed, insured and legally protected as a corporation or an LLC, you will be facing a lawsuit by the building owner...... that's the worst that could happen!
I hope this helps shed some light and answer your questions. I'm sure you still have additional questions. Let me know if you would like to have a telephone conversation next week and I'll be more than happy to answer any other questions that you may have............Thanks...............Kevin!