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Licensing Guides

South Carolina Electrical License: How to Become an Electrician in South Carolina

category-iconElectrical, SC

Table of Contents
  1. License and Certification Requirements for Electricians in South Carolina

  2. Steps to Get Electrician Certification in South Carolina

  3. Types of Electrical Licensure in South Carolina

  4. Benefits of Becoming a Certified Electrician in South Carolina

  5. How Much Does It Cost for Electrician Certification in South Carolina?

  6. How Long Does It Take to Get an Electrician Certification in South Carolina?

  7. South Carolina Electrician Training Programs and Schools

  8. South Carolina Electrician Certification Exam Details

  9. Who Issues Electrician Licenses in South Carolina?

  10. Does My South Carolina Electrical License Work in Any Other State?

Being an electrician isn’t just a job, it’s a solid career path. Electricians 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 and Certification Requirements for Electricians in South Carolina

Is a state license required to be an electrician in South Carolina? Yes.

South Carolina has specific laws pertaining to electrician licensing and regulation. The Municipal Association of South Carolina issues voluntary journeyman and master electrician certifications. These certifications are essential if you plan to obtain an electrical contractor license. 

The South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation issues electrical contractor licenses. The State of South Carolina offers two different license types for electrical contractors: mechanical and residential.

Steps to Get Electrician Certification in South Carolina

  1. Gain the necessary experience.

  2. Become a journeyman electrician.

  3. Earn master electrician certification.

  4. Become an independent electrical contractor

GAIN THE NECESSARY EXPERIENCE: In order to earn journeyman certification in the state of South Carolina, you must have two years (4,000 hours) of work experience under the supervision of a certified journeyman electrician or master electrician. Otherwise, you must complete a two-year associate degree program through a technical school and obtain one year (2,000 hours) of work experience under the supervision of a certified journeyman electrician or master electrician. 

You can obtain the necessary hours of experience through an apprenticeship program. Union apprenticeships are available through local chapters of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the Electrical Training Alliance. Apprenticeship information is also available through the Carolinas Electrical Training Institute. Non-union apprenticeships, such as those through Watson Electrical, are also available.

BECOME A JOURNEYMAN ELECTRICIAN: The Municipal Association of South Carolina is responsible for certifying journeyman electricians. After meeting the necessary work experience requirements, you can fill out an application to take the journeyman exam. After passing the exam, you must renew your journeyman certification every year.

EARN MASTER ELECTRICIAN CERTIFICATION: The Municipal Association of South Carolina is also responsible for certifying master electricians. After working as a certified journeyman electrician for four years, you can fill out an application and take the master electrician exam. After passing the exam, you must renew your master electrician certification every two years.

BECOME AN ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR: South Carolina offers two types of electrical contractor licenses: mechanical and residential. Mechanical electrical contractors work on commercial properties while residential electrical contractors work on residential properties.

In order to obtain a mechanical license, you must pass a technical exam, a business and law exam, and submit the appropriate application. Depending on the value of the jobs you will bid on, you may have to submit a financial statement. Mechanical contractors also need to maintain surety bonds. Some cities and counties have other contractor licensing requirements, so be sure to check with your local municipal association or licensing board for more information. Mechanical licenses require renewal every two years.

Residential contractors can work on residential homes or apartment buildings that are three stories or less with no more than 16 total units. Some cities and counties have additional contractor licensing requirements, so be sure to check with your local municipal association or licensing board for more information. Residential licenses require renewal every two years.

Types of Electrical Licensure in South Carolina

South Carolina offers several types of electrician certifications and licenses.  

Journeyman Electrician Certification: Specifies 4,000 hours of electrical trade work experience, or 2,000 hours of electrical trade work experience plus a two-year associate degree from a qualified trade school.

Master Electrician Certification: Requires four years of experience as a certified journeyman electrician. A master electrician can work on electrical systems and has knowledge of regulations and the National Electrical Code (NEC).

Mechanical Electrical Contractor: Licensure requires passing a technical exam, a business and law exam, and demonstrating two years of related work experience within the past five years. A mechanical electrical contractor works on commercial properties.

Residential Electrical Contractor License: Licensure requires passing a technical exam, a business and law exam, and demonstrating one year of related work experience.

Benefits of Becoming a Certified Electrician in South Carolina

The U.S. Department of Labor expects a 19% increase in the number of available South Carolina electrician jobs through 2022. The average electrician in South Carolina earns $24.18 per hour, or $50,294.40 per year.

There are many benefits from pursuing South Carolina electrician certification and licensing:

  • Most importantly, you need a license to work as an electrical contractor in the state of South Carolina, or a certification to perform electrical work as a journeyman or master electrician. 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 electrical contractors 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 Certification in South Carolina?

Yearly tuition at many South Carolina technical schools costs between $5,000 and $6,000 per year for in-state students, plus the costs of books and other study materials. There are also exam fees and licensing fees. These fees vary depending on the license or certification.  

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How Long Does It Take to Get an Electrician Certification in South Carolina?

It takes two years or 4,000 hours of electrical trade work experience to qualify for journeyman certification. After working as a journeyman for four years, you are eligible to become a certified master electrician. Becoming a licensed electrical contractor takes additional time.  

South Carolina Electrician Training Programs and Schools

South Carolina is home to several community colleges, trade schools, and technical and vocational schools offering the training you need to become an electrical professional in South Carolina. Training is available all over the state, including cities such as Columbia, Charleston, and Greenville.

Training at technical or trade schools typically includes:

  • Electrical Theory

  • National Electric Code (NEC)

  • First Aid/Safety/OSHA

  • Blueprint Reading

  • AC/DC Currents

  • Motors and Transformers

  • Welding

  • Electrical Basics and Tools

  • Electrical Panels

  • Conduit Work

  • Grounding and Wiring

  • Wiring Protection Devices

  • Electrical Boxes, Receptacles and Switches

  • Wiring a Residence

  • Installing Lighting, Ceiling Fans, and Appliances

  • Commercial Wiring & Installation

  • Project Layout and Planning

  • Thinwall Conduit Raceway Systems

  • Rigid Conduit Raceway Systems

  • Motor Control Center Installation

  • Installing, Splicing and Terminating Wires and Cables

  • Testing and Troubleshooting Feeders, Motors, and Branch Circuits

  • Installing Instrumentation and Process Control Systems

  • Safety Awareness

Some South Carolina electrical schools include:

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 will 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 skills. They also have to have 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.

South Carolina Electrician Certification Exam Details

You can schedule your journeyman certification exam online through Prov. There is a $100 exam fee for all applicants. Candidate information bulletins are available to help applicants prepare for testing. The open-book test features 70 questions and you have three hours to pass the test. You may use the National Electrical Code (NEC) and the American Electricians’ Handbook. 

Exam topics include:

  • Communication Systems

  • Equipment for General Use

  • General Electrical Theory & Principles

  • Motors & Controls

  • Plan Reading

  • Special Conditions

  • Special Equipment

  • Special Occupancies

  • Wiring & Protection

  • Wiring Methods & Materials

Prov also administers the South Carolina master electrician exam. There is a $100 exam fee for all applicants. The open-book test features 100 questions and you have four hours to pass the test. You may use the National Electrical Code (NEC), the American Electricians’ Handbook, the National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code Handbook, and the OSHA 29 Handbook. 

Exam topics include:

  • Equipment for General Use

  • General Electrical Knowledge

  • Motors & Controls

  • Plan Reading

  • Special Conditions

  • Special Equipment

  • Special Occupancies

  • Wiring & Protection

  • Wiring Methods & Materials

  • Low Voltage Communication Systems

In order to receive either a residential or mechanical electrical contractor license, you must pass a technical exam and a business and law exam. PSI administers both exams and provides Candidate Information Bulletins

The technical electrician exam contains 80 questions, and you have five hours to score at least 70%. Exam topics are similar to those on the journeyman and master electrician exams. PSI’s website includes a list of acceptable reference materials.

The business and law exam contains 50 questions, and you have 125 minutes to score at least 70%. During the exam, you may reference the “Business Management and Law for Commercial Contractors Reference Book,” as well as the “NASCLA Contractors Guide to Business, Law and Project Management – South Carolina Commercial Contractors.” 

Exam topics include:

  • Business Management

  • Estimating and Bidding

  • Contracts and Agreements

  • Project Management

  • Insurance and Bonding

  • Safety Recordkeeping and Reporting

  • Labor Laws and Employment Regulations

  • Financial Management

  • Tax Laws

  • Liens

  • Environmental Laws and Regulations

Who Issues Electrician Licenses in South Carolina?

The Municipal Association of South Carolina issues journeyman and master electrician certifications. The South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation issues licenses for electrical contractors.

Does My South Carolina Electrical License Work in Any Other State?

Yes! South Carolina maintains reciprocity agreements with Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and the city of Reading, Pennsylvania.

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.

Electrician Resources

You can stay up to date on all electrician industry news in several ways: