North Carolina has been one of the top states to see inbound moves over the last 3 years. If you are one of the thousands who have moved there or plan to, you may be wondering how to become a licensed electrician in North Carolina. This article will cover state-wide licensing for electrical contractors as well as local municipality laws for licensing journeyman electricians in NC.
Do You Need an Electrical Contractor License in North Carolina?
North Carolina requires some form of licensure or certification to complete electrical work in the state. The NC State Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors issues the only state-wide electrical licenses for electrical contractors; however, each municipality offers its own license or certification for journeyman electricians. Apprentices are typically supervised by licensees in approved programs and may also register with their county.
Electrical Contractor Licenses in NC
Electrical contractors install, maintain, alter, or repair any electric work or equipment. You may apply for an electrical contractor license as an individual, LLC, partnership, or corporation.
Electrical contracting licenses can be Limited, Intermediate, or Unlimited.
- Limited licenses allow you to work on projects valued up to $60,000 and with less than 600 volts.
- Intermediate licenses allow for projects valued at up to $150,000.
- Unlimited licenses allow for any project, regardless of value.
There are also 7 special restricted classifications of electrical contracting licenses in NC:
- Residential Dwelling License
- Fire Alarm/Low-Voltage License
- Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning License
- Swimming Pool License
- Groundwater Pump License
- Electric Sign License
- Elevator License
Obtaining Your Electrical Contractor License in NC
To get your NC Electrical Contractor License, you’ll first need to apply for examination. The application for examination guidelines are as follows:
- Be 18 years or older
- Complete the application
- Have sufficient verifiable work experience:
- 2+ years for limited classifications
- 4+ years for intermediate classifications
- 5+ years of experience for unlimited classifications, including written statements from two people attesting to your ability to supervise and direct all electrical work
- 2+ years’ experience for all special restricted classification of electrical contractor licenses
- Pay the exam fee of $90 plus a $25 examination review fee, if applicable
More details on verifying your work experience can be found in the application packet.
Once you’ve been approved to take the exam and pass, you can apply for a new license. You will need to complete the application and:
- Pay a licensing fee, which ranges from $95-$190 depending on the classification
- Unlimited classifications: furnish a $150,001 bond
- Intermediate classifications: furnish a $60,001 bond or letter showing a line of credit
- Corporations: must be registered as a business with the NC Secretary of State
- Pass a background check
Your application will be reviewed within 7-10 days and, if approved, you will receive your NC Electrical Contractor License.
Renewing Your Electrical License
All electrical contractor licenses expire one year after issuance. You can renew your license through the online portal. Renewal applications are due one month before expiration.
Licensees must complete 8 hours of Continuing Education before renewal. You can search for a course through the NC Board class search site.
Renewal fees are as follows:
- Limited licenses: $95
- Intermediate licenses: $140
- Unlimited licenses: $190
- Special Restricted Classifications: $95
- Late renewals: $25
- Duplicate license: $15
NC Reciprocity for Electrical Contractors
NC offers reciprocity agreements for electrical contractors from the following states:
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
If you are licensed in these states, you may be able to bypass the written examination.
Journeyman Licenses in North Carolina
Journeyman electricians supervise the installation of associated electrical systems and work for licensed electrical contractors.
Journeyman electrical licenses are procured differently depending on the city or municipality. Typically, you will need to acquire sufficient job experience before applying to take an official journeyman electrician exam. If/when you pass this exam, you would apply and pay for your local journeyman license.
To dive into more detail, we’ve outlined the journeyman licensing procedure for the three largest cities in NC: Charlotte, Raleigh, and Greensboro.
Journeyman Licenses in Charlotte, NC
Since Charlotte is located in Mecklenburg County, they adhere to the county licensing laws for journeymen electricians.
- To be employed by a licensed electrical contractor
- 4+ years of experience working under a licensed electrical contractor
- To agree to inform the county of any address or phone number changed after the card is issued
- Paying a $40 exam fee
Your application must be completed, signed, and notarized. All documents must be the originals.
Once approved, you must take the exam on the third Thursday of January, April, July, or October. Exams are open book and you must score a 70 or higher to receive your Mecklenburg County Electrical Journeyman’s Card.
Journeyman Licenses in Raleigh, NC
Requirements for this license include:
- 2+ years of verifiable experience as an electrician OR 36+ hours in an electrical course or apprenticeship
- Paying a $35 exam fee
After completing the application, you will be contacted if approved to sit for the exam. Exams are held once a month on a Thursday in March, June, September, and December; although, this is subject to change, so always check the dates on the official website.
The exam is open book and you must score a 75% or higher to pass.
Journeyman Licenses in Greensboro, NC
The City of Greensboro’s Engineering and Inspections department oversees the testing process for Greensboro Electrical City Cards. Greensboro may also allow those with a city card from another NC jurisdiction to perform electrical work in the city.
To receive your Electrical City Card, you’ll first apply for examination. To apply, you’ll need:
- 8,000+ hours (or 4 years) of practical electrical experience, documented on the electrical company’s letterhead
- To pay a $50 exam fee
Greensboro’s exam is offered on the second Tuesday of every month in the morning. When you arrive at the exam, bring:
- Your picture ID
- Letters documenting your experience
- National Electrical Code (NEC) book
- Calculator and pencils
The exam is open book and you must score a 70 or higher to pass.