Palmettos and beaches define one of the South’s greatest tourism states. And where there is tourism, there is construction and electrical work to be done. South Carolina employs nearly 10,000 electricians.
What does it take to earn a South Carolina electrical license? Use this guide to learn licensing requirements and how to get started in the electrical industry.
Journeyman and master electricians are encouraged to gain certification from the Municipal Association of South Carolina, but no license is required to do electrical work. To bid on commercial projects costing more than $5,000, a South Carolina electrician must have a Mechanical Contractor’s license from the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation.
Journeyman certification shows that an electrician is qualified to do most electrical work under the supervision of a master electrician. Journeyman electricians in South Carolina earn an average of $23.57 per hour.
Master certification shows that an electrician has complete command of the electrical trade. Master electricians can repair, install, and alter all kinds of electrical fixtures, appliances, and apparatus. Master electricians in South Carolina earn an average of $29.70 per hour.
Residential certificates are available for both journeyman and master electricians. These certificates qualify an electrician to do electrical work in one, two, and three-family dwellings. A residential journeyman or master electrician can only perform residential work.
A Mechanical Contractor’s license allows an electrician to do any electrical work and bid on commercial projects costing more than $5,000. On average, electricians at this level earn $61,764 per year.
There are two ways to gain the required experience to become a journeyman electrician: you can either work two years (4,000 hours) as an apprentice under a master/journeyman electrician, or you can earn an associate’s degree from a technical college and work one year (2,000 hours) under a master/journeyman electrician.
Apprenticeships are abundant in South Carolina. At an apprenticeship, you will learn about wiring and installation of basic electrical equipment in commercial, residential, and industrial settings. Union apprenticeships offer competitive pay and benefits compared to non-union apprenticeships. You can find union apprenticeships through the Carolinas Electrical Training Institute or the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Chapter 776.
Technical colleges stand out to employers on resumes and teach students with the latest technology in the industry. The top technical colleges for electricians in South Carolina are Greenville Technical College, Midlands Technical College, Orangeburg Calhoun Technical College, and Northeastern Technical College.
Paying for college can be tough. All prospective students should contact their schools about financial aid.
With your schooling and apprenticeship complete, you can apply to take the Municipal Association of South Carolina’s journeyman electrician exam. Fill out this application and pay the $25 application fee. There is a $100 fee to take the exam. The journeyman electrician exam for South Carolina is based on the 2014 National Electric Code, an important study material that can be referenced during the exam.
To become a master electrician, you need four years of experience in the electrical industry. You also need to be a journeyman electrician. Fill out this application and send it to the Municipal Association of South Carolina with your work experience documented. You will need to pay a $25 application fee and a $100 exam fee. During your exam, you may reference the 2014 National Electric Code, the 2012 National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, and the American Electrician’s Handbook.
To be licensed by the state as a Mechanical Contractor, you will need two years of experience over the past five years, a financial balance sheet, a passing grade on a trade exam, and a passing grade on a business/law exam. This exam bulletin can help you register and study for your exams.
Unions keep electricians safe and connected with their community. Most apprenticeships are only available through union affiliation. For example, the Carolinas Electrical Training Institute connects entry-level electricians with union-sponsored internship programs throughout the state.
Unions are useful to journeyman and master electricians as well. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers strives to make sure all electricians have fair working conditions, adequate wages, medical benefits, and collective lobbying power to combat corruption in the field.
After earning your license, there are many ways to find your first electrical job. The career advisors from your alma mater’s electrical trades department can help you connect with local electrical contractors. You also can contact your union about local job postings. Your South Carolina electrical license or certifications will help you stand out to potential employers.
Job interviews for electricians are typically technical and direct. Your interviewer will want to know about past work experience, the extent of your training, and your overall work ethic. They also may ask if you currently have general liability insurance.
Insurance is not required for your South Carolina Electrical License. That said, general liability and workers’ compensation insurance can protect your profession and business.
No trade is without the risk of danger. All electricians should be cautious when working with live wires. Personal protective equipment is a must-have for electricians.
The electrical trade industry is on the rise. The industry is projected to grow by almost 10% by 2026. In that time, South Carolina is expected to become a hotspot for electricians of all levels. Tourism and commercial growth ensure new electrical jobs in Charleston, Columbia, and Myrtle Beach.
As the industry trends towards renewable power and alternative energy sources, it is imperative to stay up-to-date on new technology.You are encouraged to attend trade shows to learn about the latest business practices.
Journeyman and master electrician certificates are only valid in South Carolina. A Mechanical Contractor’s license for electricians has reciprocity in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Mississippi, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.
If you need to register a name change, change of address, or apply for a duplicate license, visit the South Carolina Contractor’s Licensing Board.
Journeyman electrician certificates must be renewed every year. A renewal form will be sent to you by mail 60 days before your license expires.
Master electrician certificates must be renewed every two years. A renewal form will be sent to you by mail 60 days before your license expires.
A Mechanical Contractor’s license must be renewed every other year. Renewal costs $135, and you can renew your license anytime by using this portal.
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