How to Become a Licensed Electrician in North Carolina: License Requirements and Guide

Becoming an electrician in any part of the world is not a day’s job. It is a process that requires consistent effort and commitment.

To make your dream of becoming an electrician in North Carolina a reality, you would have to go through these steps:

Step 1: Acquire the technical training as well as experience required to become a journeyman electrician. 

Step 2: Sit for the examination required to earn your journeyman electrician license. 

Step 3: Go a step further by earning an independent electrical contractor license. 

How to Get a Licensed Electrician in North Carolina?

Step 1 – Gain technical training and experience to become a journeyman electrician

The licensing for electricians in North Carolina is done at the city/county level, with each licensing authority setting the journeyman licensing requirements for the electrical trainees and apprentices that work in their jurisdiction:

Raleigh – Here, the requirement is a minimum of 2 years (4,000 hours) of documented on-the-job experience. This on-the-job experience shall need to be done under the supervision of a licensed journeyman or master electrician. An alternative would be a minimum of 36-semester hours in an electrical technical program from a school already accredited by the City of Raleigh’s Electrical Examination Board.

Charlotte/Mecklenburg County – Here, the requirement is a minimum of 4 years (8,000 hours) of documented on-the-job experience under the supervision of a licensed journeyman or master electrician.

Greensboro – Here, the requirement is a minimum of 4 years (8,000 hours) of documented on-the-job experience. The same as the above jurisdictions, in Greensboro, the on-the-job experience shall be obtained under the supervision of a licensed journeyman or any master electrician.

Technical School

By going through technical school, you could earn an Associate of Applied Science in Electrical Systems Technology or a similar degree after two years, or a diploma or certificate in even a shorter period. 

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Below are some of the topics that would be covered:

  1. AC/DC Circuits
  2. Blueprints
  3. Electrical Theory
  4. Electrical Construction Calculations
  5. Commercial and Residential Wiring
  6. National Electrical Code
  7. Electrical Motor Controls and Transformers
  8. Industrial Safety/First Aid/OSHA

Vocational programs are basically designed to prepare you for the outside world and work towards landing a job and advancing at it. Graduates of technical programs are more than ready to become entry-level trainees or apprentices that would help out with the layout, installation, and maintenance of electrical systems relating to:

  1. Data communication systems
  2. Electrical installation as well as maintenance (residential, commercial, and industrial)
  3. Electrical machines and equipment
  4. Alarm and fire systems 

Typically, you will become a strong candidate after getting the degree or diploma from the electrical trade school. To get an entry-level job or apprenticeship opportunity to start your career and complete the required experience to get a journeyman license set by your local government, you could:

  1. Work towards landing a job that could be available through your school
  2. Get in touch with local non-union trade groups to look for apprenticeship opportunities for you
  3. Get in touch with local electrical contracting companies directly and get yourself an entry-level job

Who knows, you might find yourself employed in one of the top electrical contracting companies in the state

Apprenticeship Programs

You could either enroll in a Union apprenticeship program or a non-unionized one. You can find union apprenticeship programs in North Carolina through:

  1. Carolinas Electrical Training Institute JATC in Charlotte
  2. Asheville JATC
  3. Raleigh Durham Electrical JATC in Research Triangle Park

These union apprenticeship programs provide education in-house and make it easy for you to find employment with electrical contractors that also belong to the union.

There are several similarities between the union and non-union apprenticeship programs.

However, non-union apprenticeships are developed through trade associations, unlike union apprenticeships formed through trade unions. Those who belong to non-unionized apprenticeship programs can also secure jobs with non-union electrical contractors.

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This apprenticeship program is a great way to continue your education if you already obtained a degree from a technical college. If not, you can still get thorough training with a non-union program, including education as well as employment opportunities. 

In North Carolina, you can find non-union apprenticeship opportunities through Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc offices in:

  1. ABC-Carolinas Office – Triangle Office (Apex)
  2. ABC Carolinas Office – Lowcountry Office (Charlotte)
  3. ABC Carolinas Office (Charlotte)
  4. ABC-affiliated Carolinas Electrical Contractors Association (Charlotte)

Step 2 – Sit for the examination to become a licensed journeyman electrician 

Once you’re done with your apprenticeship, you can work towards getting an electrical journeyman license. In North Carolina, there is no state-wide license for journeyman electricians, so each city and county has differing requirements for non-contracting electricians. 

Below are some of the cities/counties and their requirements:

Charlotte/Mecklenburg County

In Mecklenburg County, before you can get this license, you have to meet the following requirements: 

  • You must be employed by any licensed electrical contractor
  • You must possess a minimum of 4 years of experience working with an electrical contractor            

Once you meet the requirements, you can sit for the examination to earn your journeyman electrician license. 

Raleigh

Below are the requirements to get a journeyman electrician license in Raleigh: 

  • You have to be of satisfactory character
  • You must have acquired two years of experience as an electrician OR 36 credits in an electrical program at a college or university
  • Your experience or education must have been verified. 
  • You must score at least a 75% on the journeyman electrician exam

Greensboro

To get a journeyman license in the City of Greensboro, you need to have acquired four years of experience and passed the journeyman electrician exam.

Step 3 – Consider Becoming a licensed independent electrical contractor 

You can decide to become an electrical contractor after your time working with an electrical contractor. 

Three types of contractor licenses exist in North Carolina: limited, intermediate, and unlimited. 

  • Limited contractors: This type of contractors can work on projects valued at $50,000 or less. They are prohibited from working with electrical systems that have more than 600 volts. They are also required to have four years of experience.
  • Intermediate contractors: This type of contractors can work on projects valued at $130,000 or less without voltage limitations. They, however, must possess six years of experience.
  • Unlimited contractors: This type of contractors are not limited by project value or voltage. They, however, cannot work unless they have five years of experience and present two written statements from two individuals that can vouch for their experience as electricians, including their ability to supervise electricians while they are doing electrical wiring.
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Once you meet these requirements, you can go ahead to take the examination. And as soon as you pass, you can apply for your license. 

Electrician License Renewal In North Carolina 

Journeyman Electrician License: This license has to be renewed every year. If you fail to renew your license in two years, you will be forced to retake the exam if you want to renew it.

Electrical Contractor License: This license has to be renewed every year. The renewal requires a renewal fee and proof that you participated in continuing education to update you on code changes. 

Electrician License Reciprocity in North Carolina 

North Carolina has electrical reciprocity agreements with the following states: South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, Virginia, and West Virginia. 

Conclusion

The state of North Carolina houses many tech companies like Facebook, Google, and Apple. As a result, local electricians continue to be in high demand to keep up with the electrical needs of the growing commercial buildings. Now would be the right time to pursue your electrical career.

References

  • ElectricianSchoolEdu.org How to Become an Electrician in North Carolina 
  • Housecall Pro North Carolina Electrician License: Everything You Need To Know 
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