North Carolina Electrical License: How to Become an Electrician in North Carolina
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Being an electrician isn’t just a job, it’s a solid career path. Electrical contractors enjoy a wide range of employment opportunities and earn a respectable income. There’s also job security—customers will always need skilled trade professionals to install and service electrical systems in their homes and businesses. The process of becoming an electrician takes time, but you get paid while you learn and gain experience!
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License Requirements for Electricians in North Carolina
Is a state license required to be an electrician in North Carolina? Yes.
Electrical work performed in the state of North Carolina requires a license. The North Carolina State Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors (NCBEEC) issues electrical contractor licenses. However, local municipalities are responsible for issuing lower-level electrician licenses, such as journeyman licenses.
Steps to Get Electrician Certification in North Carolina
Gain necessary work experience and classroom training.
Earn a journeyman electrician license, or its equivalent, through your local jurisdiction
Become a licensed electrical contractor
GAIN NECESSARY EXPERIENCE: In North Carolina, individual municipalities issue journeyman electrician licenses, therefore experience requirements vary.
Raleigh, for example, requires a minimum of two years of experience under the supervision of a licensed master electrician or journeyman electrician. Otherwise, potential Raleigh licensees must complete 36 semester hours at an electrical school accredited by the City of Raleigh Electrical Examination Board.
The city of Greensboro, on the other hand, requires a minimum of four years of primary experience under the supervision of a licensed master electrician or journeyman electrician.
Apprenticeship programs offer another way to gain the required experience. North Carolina offers several union-based apprenticeship programs through Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committees (JATCs) and the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc (ABC).
Union apprenticeships are also available through the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA). Cities that offer apprenticeship programs include Raleigh, Asheville, Charlotte, and more.
EARN A JOURNEYMAN ELECTRICIAN LICENSE: In North Carolina, local municipalities issue journeyman electrician licenses, so check with your local licensing board for specific details. Even though journeyman licenses are not regulated at a statewide level, most North Carolina counties have similar general statutes when it comes to licensing requirements.
For example, in Mecklenburg County, which is home to Charlotte, the Code Enforcement Department issues journeyman licenses. Potential licensees must work for a licensed electrical contractor and have four years of experience under the supervision of an electrical contractor. After passing the journeyman license exam, you will need to renew your journeyman license each. Additionally, many jurisdictions require continuing education for license renewal.
BECOME AN ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR: Having your electrical contractor's license and owning an electrical contracting business can increase your lifetime earnings potential.
After gaining the necessary work experience, you will become eligible to apply for your electrical contracting license via the North Carolina State Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors (BEEC).
Intermediate or unlimited electrical contractor applicants will need to submit an insurance bond to the BEEC before performing any work. Licensing fees are $95 for limited electrical contractors, $140 for intermediate electrical contractors, and $190 for unlimited electrical contractors. North Carolina requires annual license renewal and continuing education.
Types of Electrical Licensure in North Carolina
In North Carolina, local municipalities issue journeyman electrician licenses, while the North Carolina State Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors issues electrical contractor licenses.
North Carolina offers three types of electrical contracting license classifications:
Limited License: Requires four years of experience and licensees can only work on projects under 600 volts or $50,000.
Intermediate License: Requires six years of experience and has no voltage limitations. The licensee can work on electrical contracting projects under $130,000.
Unlimited License, or Unlimited Classification: Requires five years of experience, along with two electrician experience vouchers. Unlimited electrical contractors do not have project value or voltage limitations.
Benefits of Becoming a Certified Electrician in North Carolina
The North Carolina Department of Commerce expects a 15.8% increase in the number of available electrician jobs through 2024. The average licensed electrician in North Carolina earns $21.11 per hour, or $43,908.80 per year.
There are many benefits you’ll see from pursuing a North Carolina electrician license:
Most importantly, North Carolina requires a license to legally perform electrical work. Properly trained electricians throughout the United States are well-versed in fire prevention measures, as well as electrical distribution systems.
A trade license is proof of your experience and skill.
Only certified electricians can: operate a business and advertise services, obtain commercial insurance, pull building permits, pass inspections, and bid on public and government projects.
A license protects your company and customers.
Licensure gives you a competitive advantage in the job market.
It also increases your earning potential.
How Much Does It Cost for Electrician Licensing in North Carolina?
Tuition at most North Carolina community colleges and technical schools costs about $2,700 per year, plus the cost of books and other study materials, as well as exam and licensure fees. Potential electricians must also be prepared to pay exam fees and licensure fees. Electrical contractor license fees range from $94 to $190, depending on the license classification.
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How Long Does It Take to Get an Electrician License in North Carolina?
The training requirements for obtaining a journeyman electrician license in the state of North Carolina vary, depending on the local municipality. Generally speaking, you can earn a journeyman license in about four years. Becoming a licensed electrical contractor takes more time and experience, depending on the electrical contractor classification. An unlimited electrical contractor, for example, requires at least five years of licensed electrical trade experience.
North Carolina Electrician Training Programs and Schools
North Carolina is home to several community colleges, trade schools, and technical and vocational schools that provide the necessary training to become an electrical professional in North Carolina. You can find training opportunities all over the state, including bigger cities like Charlotte, as well as smaller communities.
Training at most electrical trade schools, vocational schools or community colleges includes:
National Fire Alarm Code (NFAC)
National Electrical Code (NEC)
Electrical Construction Calculations
Commercial and Residential Wiring
Electrical Motor Controls and Transformers
Industrial Safety/First Aid/OSHA
Data Communication Systems
Alarm and Fire Systems
Electrical Installation and Maintenance (residential, commercial, and industrial)
Electrical Machines and Equipment
Some North Carolina electric schools include:
Durham Technical Community College in Durham offers a construction electrician certificate program, as well as an associate degree program in electrical systems technology.
Randolph Community College in Asheboro offers both a certificate program and an associate degree program in electrical systems technology.
Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte offers a certificate program in electrical systems technology and an associate degree program in electrical engineering technology.
Program Prerequisites: Program prerequisites vary. Most programs, however, require you to be 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, a valid driver’s license, and pass an aptitude test.
On-the-Job Experience: While on the job, you'll gain an understanding of electrical standards, as well as math and scientific principles. Electricians need keen eyesight and good hand-eye coordination, as well as proper time management and project management skills. They also need good customer service skills, be able to work independently, have good physical endurance, and use logical problem-solving techniques. Electricians also learn how to read blueprints, circuit diagrams, and other technical documents.
North Carolina Electrician Licensing Exam Details
Local municipalities in North Carolina issue journeyman electrician license exams or any similar qualifying examinations. Therefore, the testing process varies by jurisdiction.
In Mecklenburg County, the North Carolina Association of Electrical Contractors administers exams. After submitting an application, you must wait for approval before scheduling the exam and paying the $40 exam fee. The exam is open book, though applicants may not use a cell phone or other communication device during the exam. The testing center will provide code books, calculators, scrap paper, and other materials. You must earn at least 70% to pass.
Those taking the electrical contractor exam for any licensure classification must pay a $90 exam fee. The exams contain 100 questions and you get six hours to complete the test. An examination information handbook is available for study purposes, which includes aspects of the North Carolina Administrative Code (NCAC).
The exam covers the following topics:
Bonding and Grounding
Wiring Methods and Terminations
Boxes and Fittings
Service Entrance and Equipment
Motors and Control Wiring
Special Occupancies and Hazardous Locations
Appliances, Equipment, and Lighting
Laws, Rules, Basic Business Practices
Who Issues Electrician Licenses in North Carolina?
In North Carolina, local municipalities issue journeyman electrician licenses, while the North Carolina State Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors (BEEC) issues electrical contractor licenses.
Does My North Carolina Electrical License Work in Any Other State?
Yes! North Carolina has reciprocity agreements with several states, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.
National Electrician Certifications
While optional, national certifications can help you demonstrate your proficiency in certain aspects of the electrical trade to potential employers and clients, which often translates into more job opportunities and higher pay.
These include the Independent Electrical Contractors Certified Professional Electrician (CPE) distinction, certification through the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), among dozens of additional electrician certifications available.
You can stay up to date on all electrician industry news in several ways: