How to Become a Licensed Electrician in South Carolina

South Carolina has seen one of the greatest influxes of residents over the last three years. Home to plenty of families, retirees, and young professionals, an electrician in the state is bound to have plenty of work to choose from. 

South Carolina does not have rigid licensing laws for journeyman or master electricians. Electricians are instead recommended to complete a specific certification program to gain reputability as they establish their careers. This article will dive into the recommended Mechanical Trades Certification Program in SC, as well as the licensing laws for electrical contractors in the state.

Do You Need an Electrician’s License in South Carolina?

South Carolina does not require an electrician’s license to work in the state. The state does recommend, however, that journeyman and master electricians complete the Mechanical Trades Certificate Program. 

Each city has the right to determine if they require this certification to work as an electrician within its city limits, so be sure to check with the municipality you hope to work in.

For those who plan to work on commercial jobs that exceed $5,000 in value, you will need a contracting license offered by the state’s Commercial Contractors Board. 

The Mechanical Trades Certification Program

Established in 1965 by the Municipal Association of South Carolina, the Mechanical Trades Certification Program is used to indicate an electrician’s skill level. This certificate is not issued by the state, but plenty of cities within SC recognize this reputable program. 

The Program includes an examination for journeyman electricians, residential journeyman electricians, master residential electricians, and master electricians. This exam is given through PSI, a nationally-recognized examination service that provides exams for electricians in many neighboring states.

  • Journeyman electricians are qualified to work in the field under a master electrician.
  • Residential journeyman electricians are qualified to work in 1-, 2-, or 3-family dwellings under a master electrician.
  • Master residential electricians are master electricians limited to working in 1-, 2-, or 3-family dwellings.
  • Master electricians are qualified to install, repair, alter, add to, or change any electrical wiring or apparatus.

Requirements

You must be a citizen or legal resident of the U.S. to apply.

For journeyman testing, you will need to prove at least 2 full-time years of experience in the field. If you’ve completed a 2-year post-secondary program, this can count towards one year of experience. 

For master electrician examinations, the electrician should already be a journeyman with at least 4 full-time years of experience. If you have 10+ years in the trade, the journeyman requirement may be waived.

If you are already a licensed SC mechanical contractor in the state, you may obtain a certificate through reciprocity by calling 803-933-1209.

Application Process

To apply for the Mechanical Trades Certification Program, you should first complete your application (page 10). This will include documentation from your current and previous employers verifying your work experience. You can find an example of this letter on page 5. Attach any other certifications or licenses you hold or have held from other areas.

Include a $35 application payment with your application. Be sure to list the last four digits of your Social Security number, sign, and date the form upon completion.

Make copies of your application to keep on hand. Mail your completed application to:

Municipal Association of South Carolina

1411 Gervais Street, PO Box 12109

Columbia, SC 29211

Applications are typically reviewed in 2-3 weeks. If accepted, you will receive an approval letter which will allow you to schedule your examination. 

Once you schedule your exam, you will receive further testing materials and information. If you fail the exam, you can retake the exam by sending the results letter and another $35 application fee to the Municipal Association. When you pass your exam you will receive your certificate.

South Carolina Electrical Contractor License

If you plan to bid and work on electrical jobs that are valued at over $5,000 in South Carolina you will need to apply for a Mechanical Contractor’s License under the South Carolina Contractor’s Licensing Board. 

Requirements

To apply to become an electrical (mechanical) contractor in SC, you’ll need to first pass the appropriate PSI or NASCLA exam. To take this exam you must have at least 2 years of valid work experience. 

Contractors must provide a financial statement or a surety bond to prove they have the coverage for the jobs they intend to cover. You can choose from 4 groups of coverage, listed on page 4 of the application. Your group’s amount should coincide or be less than your net worth or bond amount.

Application Process

The application comes with detailed instructions for completion and submission. Fees are prorated and listed on page 3. 

If you have already received your license and need to make a change to it, you must fill out a Revision Application form. 

Reciprocity

South Carolina has reciprocity agreements for various licenses with the states listed here. 

If you have a contractor’s license in good standing from a listed state and have taken the exam there, you can reach out to your state’s licensing board for an examination waiver or license verification form.

Renewing Your South Carolina Electrician’s License

The journeyman certificates from the Mechanical Trades Certification Program expire annually, while the master certificates are valid for two years. You will receive a renewal notification 2 months before your certificate’s expiration date. Journeyman certificate renewals cost $20, while master certificate renewals cost $50.

Mechanical Contractor Licenses expire on October 31st of every odd-numbered year. You can renew online and will need to submit your financial statement or a valid surety bond once again. If your license is expired for more than 90 days and you miss the renewal window, you will need to apply for reinstatement. 

Electrician Salaries in South Carolina

Electricians in South Carolina make an average of $48,600 per year, plus overtime. This is roughly 15% lower than the national average for electricians; however, do consider that South Carolina has a cost-of-living index that is 11.5% lower than the national average. 

Electricians with a decade of experience in the state can enjoy a slightly higher salary of around $56,500 per year.

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