How to Become an Electrician in North Carolina, NC

Check Electrician Schools in North Carolina, NC

As in most states, you will need to have a valid license before performing any electrical work in North Carolina. Contracting without a license in North Carolina is illegal, so make sure you are properly licensed before proceeding.

There are 10 different classifications of electrical contracting licenses, with each license having a specific scope and limitation of work allowed. For this reason, make sure you properly choose the classification that applies to the work you wish to perform.

The Limited (L), Intermediate (I), and Unlimited (U) classifications allow you to perform residential, commercial and industrial work.

The Residential dwelling (SP-SFD) license allows for electrical contracting projects related to single-family detached residential dwellings.

Additionally, there are six (6) special restricted electrical contracting classifications which permit only a limited phase of electrical contracting work:

  • Fire Alarm/Low Voltage (SP-FA/LV),
  • Elevator (SP-EL)
  • Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning (SP-PH)
  • Groundwater pump (SP-WP)
  • Electric Sign (SP-ES)
  • Swimming Pool (SP-SP)

The scope for each of the aforementioned classifications can be found here.

North Carolina State Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors

The electrical licensing procedure is administered and overlooked by the North Carolina State Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors. Its mission is, among other things, to protect the life, health and property of the public through examination of applicants, education of licensees and discipline of individuals to promote quality electrical contracting.

The Board reviews applications, administers examinations, certifies qualified individuals, issues licenses, and regulates persons engaging in electrical contracting within the State.

The Board can be contacted as follows:

Board of Examiners of Electrical Contactors
P.O. Box 18727
Raleigh, NC 27619
(919) 733-9042 Fax: (919) 733-6105
www.ncbeec.org
Email: information@ncbeec.org

The Board can also be contacted directly via its website using this form.

North Carolina Electrician License Requirements

In order to acquire a license in one of the existing classifications, you will have to undergo qualifying examinations. To take an examination you must:

  • be at least 18 years of age;
  • submit the required duly filed application as defined here
  • submit with the application written statements from at least two persons attesting to your good character

Additionally, there are extra requirements depending on the classification as follows:

Limited classification: You must have at least four years of experience, of which at least two years shall be primary experience.

Intermediate classification: You must have at least six years of experience, of which at least four years shall be primary experience.

Unlimited classification: You must have at least seven years of experience, of which at least five years shall be primary experience. Additionally, you must submit with the application written statements from at least two persons, who are knowledgeable of your electrical experience, attesting to your ability to supervise and direct all electrical wiring or electrical installation work done by an electrical contracting business in the unlimited classification.

Single family detached residential dwelling (SP-SFD) classification: You must have at least four years of experience, of which at least two years shall be primary experience.

Special restricted fire alarm/low voltage (SP-FA/LV) classification: You must have at least three years of experience, of which at least two years shall be primary experience. For this classification, you may also receive creditable experience for service that you have gained in the low voltage field.

Special restricted elevator (SP-EL) classification: You must have at least four years of experience, of which at least two and one-half years shall be primary experience. For this classification you may also receive creditable experience for service you have gained in the elevator field. Additionally, you must include on the application information verifying that you are primarily engaged in, or are regularly employed by and will be the listed qualified individual for a firm that is primarily engaged in, a lawful elevator business in this State.

Special restricted plumbing and heating (SP-PH) classification: You must have at least three years of experience, of which at least two years shall be primary experience. For this classification you may also receive creditable experience for service that you have gained in the plumbing, heating or air conditioning field. Additionally, you must include on the application information verifying that you are primarily engaged in, or are regularly employed by and will be the listed qualified individual for a firm that is primarily engaged in, a lawful plumbing, heating or air conditioning business in this State.

Special restricted ground water pump (SP-WP) classification: You must have at least two years of experience, of which at least one year shall be primary experience. For this classification you may also receive creditable experience for service that you have gained in the ground water pump field. Additionally, you must include on the application information verifying that you are primarily engaged in, or are regularly employed by and will be the listed qualified individual for a firm that is primarily engaged in, a lawful ground water pump business in this State.

Special restricted electric sign (SP-ES) classification: You must have at least two years of experience, of which at least one year shall be primary experience. For this classification you may also receive creditable experience that you have gained in the electric sign field. Additionally, you must include on the application information verifying that you are primarily engaged in, or are regularly employed by and will be the listed qualified individual for a firm that is primarily engaged in, a lawful electric sign business in this State.

Special restricted swimming pool (SP-SP) classification: You must have at least two years of experience, of which at least one year shall be primary experience. For this classification may you also receive creditable experience for service that you have gained in the swimming pool field. Additionally, you must include on the application information verifying that the applicant you are primarily engaged in, or are regularly employed by and will be the listed qualified individual for a firm that is primarily engaged in, a lawful swimming pool business in this State.

For the above, primary experience means working experience that you have acquired while engaging directly in the installation of electrical wiring and equipment governed by the National Electrical Code or work activities directly related to it.

Secondary experience means working experience that you have acquired while engaging in work or training that is related to the installation of electrical wiring and equipment governed by the National Electrical Code.

You may find more details on how experience is calculated here.

For all the classifications, the balance of experience may be primary, secondary or both.
After you successfully pass the qualifying examination, you will have to

  1. submit a completed application for the license classification desired
  2. submit the appropriate annual license fee
  3. provide the name, signature and social security number of at least one person to serve as the listed qualified individual for your license.

Applications may be obtained by calling the office (919) 733-9042 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

In order to activate a license in the Intermediate or Unlimited classification, you will also have to provide a statement of bonding ability. Bonding Ability forms are available for download as follows:

  • Intermediate must show bond ability in excess of $40,000.00
  • Unlimited must show bond ability in excess of $110,000.00

Finally, don’t forget to check Electrician Jobs in North Carolina.

North Carolina Electrical License Exams

You will have to pass the electrical contracting examination in order to acquire the respective electrician license.The contents of the exams include the Electrical Contractors Licensing Law (General Statutes Chapter 87, Article 4 and Title 21, North Carolina Administrative Code Chapter 18B), National Electrical Code, NASCLA Contractors Guide to Business, Law and Project Management-North Carolina Electrical Edition, and the National Fire Alarm Code (NFPA72).

Each classification has its own number of questions and time to complete the test:

- The Limited, Intermediate and Unlimited Examinations comprise 100 multiple-choice questions and you will have a maximum time of six hours to complete the examination.

- Single Family Detached Residential Dwelling (SP-SFD), Plumbing and Heating (SP-PH), Electric Sign (SP-ES), Elevator (SP-EL), and Groundwater Pump (SP-WP) comprise 40 multiple-choice questions and you will have a maximum time of 3 hours to complete the examination.

- Fire Alarm/Low Voltage (SP-FA/LV), comprises 50 multiple-choice questions and you will have a maximum of 3 hours to complete the examination.

- Swimming Pool Bonding (SP-SP), comprises 25 multiple-choice questions and you will have a maximum of 1 hour to complete the examination.

You will have to get a score of at least 75% in order to pass.

During the test you will be provided with a copy of the current National Electrical Code (NEC) and you will be able to refer to any part it. However, the examination questions based on the Electrical Contractors Licensing Law are designed as closed book questions. Questions affiliated with the NASCLA Contractors Guide to Business, Law and Project Management-North Carolina Electrical Edition are designed as closed book questions. Lastly, questions in connection with the National Fire Alarm Code are also designed as closed book questions.

The Board has assigned to PSI Services LLC to administer and score the computer based examinations. There are 7 available testing centers located in the following cities:

  • Asheville
  • Charlotte
  • Fayetteville
  • Greenville
  • Raleigh
  • Wilmington
  • Winston-Salem

You will able to schedule your own examination date at one of the locations that suits you. If for any reason you fail to take the qualifying exam during the predetermined period, or miss your scheduled exam session, you will forfeit the fee and you will have to reapply to the Board’s office for any future examination.

After being approved for examination by the Board you may make reservations for your computer based examination by contacting PSI Services LLC. You may find their contact information here.

During the exam, you will have to provide two forms of identification, one of which must include a government issued photograph such as your drivers license. Code books, calculators and anything else that might be required will be provided to you at the site.

The application and examination fee for all classifications is $90.00.

As mentioned above, you will need a minimum grade of 75 in order to pass. If you fail an exam, you will have to wait before being eligible to take another regular examination in the same classification. The waiting period is based on the score you achieved on the failed examination, as follows:

Grade – Period
74-65: 3 months
64 and below: 6 months

In case you fail an examination in the same classification three times, you will then have to complete a minimum of 16 hours of classroom education on the electrical code provided by a board-approved continuing education sponsor before retaking the examination.

You may find the electrical contractors examination candidate information bulletin here.

North Carolina Electrical License Renewal

All licenses issued by the Board expire 1 year after being issued.

You will automatically receive a renewal notice, sent approximately 60 days prior to the license expiration date. Provided that you have supplied an email address, you will be sent an email notice at 60 days, 30 days and 10 days. In a different case, a paper renewal will be mailed to you. In case you have not received a notice/application 30 days prior to your license expiration date, you should notify the Board at (919) 733-9042.

Note that an administrative fee of $25.00 shall be imposed on all renewals received after the expiration date. Applications filed with the Board by mail shall be considered filed on the date such mail is postmarked.

Continuing Education & License Renewal
Telephone: (919) 733-9042 ext. 204
Fax: (800) 691-8399

Please check the continuing education requirements for renewing your license in the following section.

North Carolina Electrician Continuing Education

For each annual license period, you will have to complete continuing education in order to renew the license on which you are listed, for the next annual license period.

You will have to demonstrate that a minimum of one-half the continuing education hours for each annual license period were obtained by in-person classroom or seminar attendance. If you are currently listed on an active license, you may view your continuing education credits here.

Approved courses must be offered for no fewer than the minimum number of contact hours required for the license classification. You will be granted the respective credit only after completing an entire course.

In particular, if you possess one of the Unlimited, Intermediate, Limited & SP-SFD classifications , you are required to complete 8 hours per year. For the special restricted classifications, you will need to complete 4 hours per year.

If you manage to complete more than the required number of hours of continuing education in any one license period, you will be able to carry forward the extra hours, which will be treated as earned in the following one or two additional license periods.

The Board does not approve specific courses. It approves sponsors and instructors of continuing education courses which can be found here.

For more information on continuing education contact:

Continuing Education & Examinations Manager
Telephone: (919) 733-9042 ext. 203
Fax: (800) 691-8399

North Carolina Electrical License Reciprocity Agreements

Current North Carolina offers reciprocal agreements with the following states:

  • Alabama
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Ohio
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia

In order to apply for license with one of the reciprocal licensing states, you should call the licensing board for the appropriate application packet. Reciprocity application packets are available for download or by calling the Board’s office at (919) 733-9042.

Reciprocal Licensing & License Maintenance
Telephone: (919) 733-9042 ext. 209
Fax: (800) 691-8399

Finally, don’t forget to check Electrician Jobs in North Carolina.

The above apply for the following largest cities (among others):
CharlotteRaleighGreensboroWinston-SalemDurham
FayettevilleCary TownWilmingtonMerrimackGreenville
AshevilleGastoniaConcordJacksonvilleChapel Hill
Rocky MountBurlingtonWilsonHuntersvilleHickory
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