How to Become an Electrician in North Carolina

Electricians in NC can make over $50K per year. And with advancements in building and solar technology, the demand for skilled electrical workers is growing.

Training and Education

Online or hybrid programs that teach you the foundational knowledge are a great way to start.

Local Trade Schools

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Get information on Electrician programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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    Forsyth Technical Community College

    The Electrical Systems Technology Certificate at Forsyth Tech can be completed in 1-2 semesters on a part-time basis with day classes. Students gain expertise in installing, maintaining, and troubleshooting electrical systems across residential, commercial, and industrial environments. The curriculum covers circuit design, wiring techniques, motor control, programmable logic controllers, and emphasizes electrical safety, preparing graduates for careers in the electrical industry.

    The Electrical Systems Technology Diploma at Forsyth Tech can be completed in one year through day classes. This program prepares students to design, install, maintain, troubleshoot, and automate complex electrical systems. Emphasizing safety and efficiency, graduates are equipped to meet the growing demand for skilled professionals in this dynamic field, offering rewarding career opportunities in residential, commercial, and industrial sectors.

    • Winston-Salem


    Isothermal Community College
    The Electrical Systems Technology program at Isothermal Community College provides comprehensive training in installing and maintaining electrical systems across residential, commercial, and industrial settings. Through hands-on coursework covering AC/DC theory, wiring practices, motor controls, and the National Electrical Code, students develop the skills needed for careers as electricians or maintenance technicians. Graduates can pursue various certifications and apprenticeships, preparing them for roles in industries such as HVAC, industrial maintenance, and electrical contracting.

    • Spindale


    McDowell Technical Community College
    The Electrical Systems Technology program at MTCC offers an Associate Degree, Diploma, and Certificates aimed at training students in installing and maintaining electrical systems across residential, commercial, and industrial settings. Emphasizing hands-on coursework in AC/DC theory, wiring practices, digital electronics, and more, graduates are prepared for careers as electrical system specialists, apprentices, or on-the-job trainees in various industries.

    • Marion


    Miller-Motte College
    Miller-Motte's Electrical program offers a thorough preparation for entry-level roles in residential and commercial electrical fields. Combining classroom instruction with hands-on training, the program can be completed in just 10 months, with rolling enrollment available. Graduates are equipped to troubleshoot, service, and repair electrical systems to National Center for Construction Education & Research (NCCER) standards, enhancing employability with industry-recognized credentials upon completion.

    • Cary, Fayetteville, Jacksonville, Raleigh, Wilmington


What Are The Main Benefits?

You will acquire a broad range of electrical competencies, from applying the National Electrical Code and sizing electrical components such as boxes, conductors, fuses, and circuit breakers, to mastering practical wiring skills like using tools effectively, properly splicing wires, securely attaching electrical boxes to building frames, fishing cables through existing walls, and installing overhead service entrances.

Depending on the program, a free tool kit might be included.

How Long Does It Take?

The duration of the average course is between 7 to 12 months.

What Are the Costs?

The price ranges between $2,500 and $4,500 depending on the school.

What Do You Study?

You might study topics such as the following:

Foundational Concepts and Safety

  • Introduction: Electrical Occupations
  • Safety Overview
  • Electrical Safety Practices
  • Jobsite Safety Guidelines
  • Soft Skills Development (optional)

Electrical Theory and Principles

  • Atomic Structure Basics
  • Electrical Quantities and Ohm’s Law
  • Understanding Static Electricity
  • Fundamentals of Magnetism
  • Principles of Resistors
  • Measuring Instruments and Their Uses

Basic Circuits

  • Series Circuits Explained
  • Parallel Circuits Overview
  • Combination Circuits Introduction

Components and Devices

  • Batteries and Other Electrical Sources
  • Magnetic Induction Fundamentals
  • Capacitors in Electrical Systems
  • Inductance in AC Circuits
  • Surge, Spike, and Lightning Protection
  • Understanding Harmonics in Electrical Systems

Advanced Circuits and Systems

  • Circuit Protection Methods
  • Basics of Branch Circuitry
  • Requirements for Branch Circuits
  • GFCI and AFCI Protection
  • Exploring Three-Phase Circuits
  • Transformers: Single-Phase and Three-Phase
  • Generators: DC and Three-Phase
  • Motors: Three-Phase Alternators and Motors
  • Single-Phase Motors in Applications

Wiring and Installation

  • Basics of Residential Electricity
  • Techniques for Industrial Wiring
  • Commercial Wiring Practices
  • Residential Wiring Insights
  • Connecting Appliances Safely

Building Materials and Tools

  • Types and Uses of Test Instruments
  • Operational Principles of Electrical Systems
  • Essential Hand and Power Tools
  • Materials: Conductors and Cables
  • Enclosures and Cabinets for Safety
  • Terminal Devices in Electrical Systems
  • Services and Feeders in Residential Settings
  • Grounding and Bonding Techniques
  • Managing Feeders and Separate Buildings
  • Interpreting Construction Drawings
  • Outlets and Devices: Requirements and Placement

Specialized Electrical Courses

  • Introduction to Electrical Drafting
  • Procedures for Electrical Testing & Maintenance
  • Motor Controls: Fundamentals and Applications
  • Electrical Machines Overview
  • Distribution Systems in Practice
  • Estimating and Planning Electrical Projects

Salary Range

Electrician pay for different areas of the state is as follows:

AreaHourlyAnnual
Asheville$24.73$51,430.00
Burlington$23.75$49,400.00
Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia$26.32$54,750.00
Durham-Chapel Hill$28.63$59,560.00
Fayetteville$26.08$54,240.00
Goldsboro$23.75$49,400.00
Greensboro-High Point$25.75$53,550.00
Greenville$24.58$51,130.00
Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton$24.73$51,450.00
Jacksonville$25.63$53,310.00
Mountain NC$25.00$52,000.00
New Bern$25.51$53,070.00
Northeast Coastal NC$26.60$55,330.00
Piedmont NC$24.61$51,190.00
Raleigh$26.13$54,360.00
Rocky Mount$23.97$49,860.00
Southeast Coastal NC$25.61$53,260.00
Wilmington$25.28$52,580.00
Winston-Salem$25.13$52,270.00
Occupation: Occupation: Electricians (SOC Code472111)
source: data.bls.gov

NC Requirements

To become an electrician in North Carolina, you must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or equivalent, pass a drug test, and hold a valid driver’s license before applying to take the exam necessary to apply for a license, as per the North Carolina State Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors (NSBEEC) Examination Application Checklist.

The North Carolina State Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors requires every electrician to have 2 to 5 years of on-the-job experience, encompassing primary and secondary experience.

Primary experience involves direct work with electrical wiring and equipment as per the State Electrical Code, while secondary experience includes related work or training. Most prospective electricians fulfill these requirements through an apprenticeship program approved by the Board, as listed on ApprenticeNC

Licensing & Certification

Here are the steps to obtain a licensing and certification as an electrician in North Carolina:

  1. Complete the prerequisite training for your desired license level.
  2. Fill out the Examination Application Checklist, apply for the exam, and prepare using the exam preparation FAQ from the North Carolina State Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors (NSBEEC).
  3. After passing the exam, complete the New License Application and submit it to the NSBEEC.

Becoming a Limited License Electrician

A Limited Licensed Electrician (L) in North Carolina is a suitable path for newcomers to the electrical contracting business or those focused on smaller projects.

As a Limited License Electrician, you can handle electrical work on projects up to $60,000, with equipment/installations rated at no more than 600 volts.

The license fee is $100 annually.

Eligibility requires at least 2 years (3,000 hours) of on-the-job experience, including 2,000 hours of primary experience working with electrical systems and wiring in residential or commercial settings, as per the State Electrical Code.

Becoming an Intermediate License Electrician

As an Intermediate Licensed Electrician (I) in North Carolina, you can work on projects up to $150,000 involving more complex electrical wiring systems and following the National Fire Alarm Code. The license costs $150 annually. You need at least 4 years (5,750 hours) of on-the-job experience, with 5,000 hours being primary experience. This license is suited for specialized areas, such as electrical installations of fire systems and other niches. The State Electrical Code specifies guidelines for applicants seeking Intermediate licenses.

Becoming an Unlimited License Electrician

If you become an Unlimited Licensed Electrician in North Carolina, you can take on projects of any value without restrictions.

The license costs $200 annually.

Eligibility requires at least 5 years (9000 hours) of on-the-job experience, including 8000 hours of primary experience in electrical contracting, working with electrical machines, alarm systems, and data communication systems.

This license allows you to handle large-scale electrical projects, including industrial applications and complex electrical engineering technologies, with further application areas specified by the State Electrical Code.

Becoming a Special Restricted Licensed Electrician

To become a Special Restricted Licensed Electrician in North Carolina, you can specialize in one of seven restricted classifications, each allowing limited phases of electrical contracting work.

All require at least 3000 hours of experience, with 2000 hours being primary experience and general licensing requirements such as being at least 18, having a GED, a valid driver’s license, and passing a background check.

The classifications, as well as their specific training requirements, if they apply, are as follows as specified by the NCBEEC:

  • Special Restricted Single Family Dwelling
  • Special Restricted Fire Alarm/Low Voltage (FALV)
  • Special Restricted Elevator (SP-EL)
    • Must be primarily engaged in or regularly employed by a lawful elevator business.
  • Special Restricted Plumbing and Heating (SP-PH)
    • Must be primarily engaged in or regularly employed by a plumbing, heating, or AC business in the state.
  • Special Restricted Ground Water Pump (SP-WP)
    • Must be primarily engaged in or regularly employed by a lawful groundwater pump business in the state.
  • Special Restricted Electric Sign (SP-ES)
    • Must be primarily engaged in or regularly employed by a lawful electric sign business in the state.
  • Special Restricted Swimming Pool (SP-SP)
    • Must be primarily engaged in or regularly employed by a lawful swimming pool business in the state.

Upgrades & Renewals

To upgrade your electrical license in North Carolina, you must apply to the NSBEEC.

Completing continuing education credits is required, with 8 hours of coursework needed for Limited, Intermediate, Unlimited, and SP Single Family Dwelling license renewal and 4 hours as necessary for other SP licenses.

If you plan to start or add a business, corporation, or LLC to your upgraded license, you must register your business with the NC Secretary of State.

All licenses issued by the North Carolina State Board Examiners of Electrical Contractors expire one year after issuance. Renewal notices are automatically sent 60 days before the license expiration date.

Renewals also require continuing education, with 8 hours necessary for Limited, Intermediate, Unlimited, and SP Single Family home licenses and 4 hours for other licenses.

State Reciprocity

The North Carolina State Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors has reciprocity agreements with several states:

Alabama:

  • A North Carolina Unlimited Electrician’s License translates to an Unlimited License.

Louisiana:

  • A North Carolina Unlimited Electrician’s License translates to an Unlimited License.

Tennessee:

  • A North Carolina Unlimited Electrician’s License translates to a CE Electrical Contractor License.

Ohio:

  •  A North Carolina Unlimited Electrician’s License translates to an Unlimited License.

Florida:

  • A North Carolina Unlimited License translates to an Unlimited Electrical Contractor License.

Mississippi:

  • A North Carolina Unlimited License translates to an Unlimited License.
  • A North Carolina SP-Fire Alarm/Low Voltage License translates into an Alarms Systems License.

Virginia:

  • A North Carolina Unlimited License can translate into a Class A or B License.

Georgia:

  • A North Carolina Unlimited License translates to an Unlimited License.
  • A North Carolina SP-Fire Alarm/Low Voltage License translates into a Low Voltage-Unrestricted License.

South Carolina:

  • A North Carolina Unlimited License can translate into an EL1, EL2, EL3, EL4, or EL5 License.
  • A North Carolina Intermediate License can translate into an EL1, EL2, or EL3 License.
  • A North Carolina Limited License can translate into an EL1 or EL2 License.
  • A North Carolina SP-Single Family Dwelling License translates into a Resident Special Electrical Contractor License.

West Virginia:

  • A North Carolina Unlimited License translates to an Unlimited License.

Texas:

  • A North Carolina Unlimited License translates to a Master Electrician License.

North Carolina Electrician Unions

How Do You Join a Union?

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers logo

Both experienced and licensed electricians and trainees in the field can join electrician’s unions to secure fair wages, quality training, and employee benefits and rights.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) is the biggest electrician’s union and one of the oldest electrical unions in the world, serving a community of over 800,000 electricians since its founding in 1891.

IBEW has multiple locations across North Carolina, including:

  • IBEW Local Union 553 — Durham, NC
  • IBEW Local Union 379 — Charlotte, NC
  • IBEW Local Union 238 — Asheville, NC
  • IBEW Local Union 342 — Greensboro, NC
  • IBEW Local Union 495 — Wilmington, NC & Castle Hayne, NC
  • IBEW Local Union 379 — Hickory, NC

In addition to providing job security and competitive wages to unionized electricians, IBEW offers apprenticeship programs to training electricians, granting them membership to the union upon earning their license.

To join an IBEW apprenticeship or training program, in addition to meeting general age and citizenship requirements specified in State electrician licensing guidelines, you must have documentation proving the completion of a high school diploma, a GED, or a 2-year associate degree or higher, as well as the completion of high school algebra or above with a passing grade.

In addition to documentation, the application process involves an Apprenticeship Aptitude Test and an interview component with the local union office you are zoned for. Prospective apprentices who pass the interview process are then placed on an eligibility list and can be selected for apprenticeships based on score ratings for the next 2 years, after which they will need to re-apply.

For electricians who already have licensing and experience, joining a union involves contacting your local union and ensuring that they meet the zoning requirements and standard citizenship and educational requirements needed to acquire an electrician’s license in the state.

Search Electrician Programs

Get information on Electrician programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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