What's interesting is that most homeowner's don't have an electrician. The ones that do are owners that have had something go wrong with their house. You need to make sure that you have a great electrician on your list before something goes wrong electrically within your home. You don't want to be experiencing a major problem, and not have time to find a good one, and instead just call the first one you see in the phonebook that has a license. When looking for an electrician, you need to make sure he possess the following things.
Electricians are required to attend continuing education classes. This is because they are required to stay current on electrical codes, which can change often. New standards arise, and the house must be up to those standards.
An electrician should also have a permit. They're almost always required, especially if you're replacing an entire electrical equipment system, or, doing a large amount of rewiring in a home. See: 10 Wiring Problems Solved.
More importantly, the electrician needs to be licensed. The state actually requires it. You must check to see that the license is current as well. There's no use in an expired license. If you deal with an unlicensed contractor, you could experience many potential tragic situations, such as overloaded circuits, poor wiring connections, improper grounding and broken safety elements on an electrical panel; along with many, many other potentially horrible situations. Make sure that they also have workers compensation, as this coverage is important, too. Read: Find an Electrician - Angie's List.
Find out what they specialize in. Electricians are usually experienced in a specific area. You don't want someone who isn't fully trained in what you need doing that type of work. Also make sure that they have a warranty. This means that they'll stand behind their work in case something goes wrong the minute they walk out. Here are some signs that your home might need immediate electrical help:
-Mild shocks coming from an appliance
-Light switches or receptacles that randomly turn on and off
-Outlets emitting a burning odor or sparks
For further reading, see: Hiring an Electrician - BBB Educational Consumer Tips.