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Electrical Contractor Licensing in North Carolina

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Electrical Contractors in the State of North Carolina are required to obtain a license from the NC State Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors.  The Board protects the health and safety of the public in NC by requiring all Electrical Contractors to hold a license and meet various requirements.

The Board requires that all businesses choose at least one person within their company to act as a qualified individual.  This person is responsible for meeting the Board’s requirements, as well as taking and passing the exam on the business’ behalf.  They are responsible for monitoring and directing the day-to-day activities of the business.  Additionally, it is the responsibility of the qualified individual to attend continuing education courses before the contractor may renew their license.

Please visit the NC State Board of Examiners website for more information about qualified individuals, as well as specific reminders.

*Contactors may choose more than one person to serve as a qualified individual for their license. 

License Classifications for Electrical Contractors in North Carolina

The Board offers 10 different license classifications to Electrical Contractors:

  1. Limited License (L)
  2. Intermediate License (I)
  3. Unlimited License (U)
  4. Residential Dwelling License (SP-SFD)
  5. Fire Alarm/ Low Voltage License (SP-FA/LV)
  6. Elevator License (SP-EL)
  7. Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning License (SP-PH)
  8. Groundwater Pump License (SP-WP)
  9. Electric Sign License (SP-ES)
  10. Swimming Pool License (SP-SP)

Of these 10 classifications; Limited, Intermediate and Unlimited license classes are able to perform work on residential, commercial and industrial projects.  Residential Dwelling contractors are permitted to work on single-family homes and detached dwellings.

The final 6 license classifications are considered restricted licenses, and only permit contractors to work on limited phase electrical projects.

For more information about each license classifications and the limitations and scope of work they are allowed to perform, please visit the Special Restricted Licenses Section.

Process to Obtain an Electrical Contractor License in North Carolina

  1. Contractors must be at least 18 years of age and of good moral character.
  2. Contractors must meet the Board’s requirements for work experience. The minimum work experience requirement depends on the license classification the contractor is applying for.
  3. Contractors must submit an examination application to the Board to gain approval to take the exam.
  4. The qualified individual must take and pass the exam, administered by PSI.
  5. Contractors must meet the minimum bonding requirement, based on their license classification (Intermediate and Unlimited classes only).
  6. Contractors must submit a license application for their desired classification to the Board, along with all the required documents and fees.
  7. Qualified individuals are required to attend continuing education courses before the contractor’s license expires. The number of hours of continuing education required is based on the license classification.

Gaining Board Approval to Take the Electrical Contractor Exam

All qualified individuals must prove that they are eligible to sit for the Electrical Contractor Examination.  To gain Board approval the individual must:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Submit a statement from at least 2 responsible individuals who can verify that the contractor is of good moral character.
  • Submit statements from past/present employers proving that the contractor meets the minimum requirement for work experience. The Board breaks the work experience requirement down into primary and secondary experience.  Primary experience is defined as the working directly on the installation and wiring of electrical systems and equipment.  Secondary experience is defined as training related to electrical installations and wiring.  Please refer to the chart below to determine the work experience requirements for the various license classes:
License Class Number of Years of Required Work Experience Number of Year of Primary Experience Required
Unlimited 7 years 6 of the 7 years
Intermediate 6 years 4 of the 6 years
Limited 4 years 2 of the 4 years
Residential Dwelling 4 years 2 of the 4 years
Fire Alarm/Low Voltage 3 years 2 of the 3 years
Elevator 4 years 2.5 of the 4 years
Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning 3 years 2 of the 3 years
Groundwater Pump 2 years 1 of the 2 years
Electric Sign 2 years 1 of the 2 years
Swimming Pool 2 years 1 of the 2 years

For more information about the types of work experience that count toward the requirement, please visit the NC State Board of Examiners website.

*All Unlimited License applicants are also required to submit statements from at least 2 responsible individuals who can verify the contractor’s ability to supervise and direct electrical installations and wiring, as it relates to the Unlimited license class. 

Copies of the exam application, employer forms, and character statement forms are found inside the Candidate Information Bulletin. 

Exam applications are also available upon request, by calling:

800-392-6102

This bulletin also contains all the information needed to prepare for and appear for the exam, including scheduling information, lists of suggested references, study materials and sample test questions.

There is a $90 examination and application fee.  Make checks payable to, “State Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors.”  The Board also accepts money order and credit card payments.   

Mail the completed examination application along with all the required documents and fees to:

State Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors
3101 Industrial Drive, Suite 206
Raleigh, NC 27609-8727

It takes the Board approximately 5 to 10 business days to process exam applications.  If approved, the qualified individual will receive an approval notice.  They will then have 3 months to schedule and take the exam.

Direct all questions about applying to take the exam to the Board:

919-733-9042

The Examination Process

The Board holds a contract with PSI Services LLC to administer the exam.  Once the qualified individual has received an approval notice, authorizing them to take the exam, they must contact PSI to schedule their test.

Contact PSI one of the following ways to schedule a test:

  • Online – follow the link for new user registration
  • By Phone- call PSI and use their automated system 24 hours a day. Representative are standing by to assist callers during regular business hours:
    (800) 733-9267

Testing centers are located in the following cities in North Carolina:

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

On the day of the test, examinees should arrive at least 30 minutes for before their scheduled test to allow time for check-in.  They are also required to bring 2 forms of identification, including:

  1. A government issued photo id with the examinee’s signature; such as a driver’s license or passport
  2. Another form of identification with the examinee’s name and signature; such as a credit card or debit card.

Portions of the computer-based, multiple-choice exam are open-book.  The exam covers information related to the following topics:

  • Electrical Contractor Licensing Law
  • North Carolina Administrative Code
  • National Electric Code
  • NASCLA Contractors Guide to Business, Law & Project Management in NC
  • National Fire Alarm Code

For more information, visit Chapter 87-Article 4 or Title 21 NCAC 18B on the NC State Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors website.

The qualified individual must pass the exam with a minimum score of 75%.  Scores are issued same-day before the individual leaves the testing center.

If the qualified individual does not pass the exam on the first attempt, they must re-apply and pay the fee to re-take the test.

There is a 3 to 6 month waiting period in between exam re-takes, depending on the score the individual received.  If the qualified individual fails the exam 3 times, they must complete 16 hours of Board-approved education courses, related to electrical code before they may apply to take the exam again.

Once the qualified individual passes the exam, the contractor must submit their license application for their desired classification to the Board, along with the appropriate licensing fee.

For more information about the exam process, visit the Examinations page of the NC State Board of Examiners website.

OR

Call the Board office at:

919-733-9042 ext. 206

Staff members are available to answer questions Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 5pm.

Preparing and Submitting an Application

Download a copy of the license application

OR

Call the Board office to request an application Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 5pm, at:

919-733-9042

Be sure to read all instructions before completing the application.  Prior to submitting the application, contractors are required to do the following:

  • Check to see that the business name that they want to use is both unique and available. All contractors must operate their business using a distinctive name that is not in use by another contractor within the state.  For more information, please visit Section 402 on the NC State Board Examiners website.Check the Active License Database or call the Board Office to determine if a name is available.
  • On the application, contractors are required to provide the name and social security number of all qualified individuals they plan to use for their license.
  • If the contractor is applying for an Intermediate or Unlimited license they must submit a statement of bonding ability in order to activate their license. Intermediate applicants are required to show a bonding ability in excess of $50,000.  Unlimited applicants are required to show a bonding ability in excess of $130,000.

Contractors are required to submit their application along with the appropriate licensing fee.  Fee amounts are based on the classification the contractor is applying for.  Refer to the chart below to determine the appropriate fee amount:

License Class License Fee Amount
Unlimited $165
Intermediate $115
Limited $75
Residential Dwelling $75
All Other License Classes $75
 

Mail the completed license application along with all the required documents and fees to:

State Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors
3101 Industrial Drive, Suite 206
Raleigh, NC 27609-8727

It takes the Board approximately 5 to 10 business days to process applications once they are received.  If the contractor is approved, the Board will issue a license.

During the time that they are licensed, contractors are required to use the exact business name that appears on their license, on all ads, contract and promotional materials associated with their business.

Contractors are also required to report any changes or proposed changes to their license information to the Board immediately.  Please visit the Licensing page of the State Board of Examiner’s website for further information.

Direct all questions about the application to the Board by calling:

919-733-9042

How Long is a North Carolina Electrical Contractor License Valid?

All Electrical Contractor license classifications are good for a period of 1 year in North Carolina.  Licenses expire one year from the date that they were originally issued.

The Board issues reminders approximately 60 days before the license is set to expire.  If the contractor provided an email address on their application, they will receive an email reminder about renewal at the 60, 30 and 10 day mark prior to expiration.

*If the contractor does not receive a renewal reminder and renewal application in the mail before the 30 day mark, they should contact the Board. 

 

Renewal applications and fees must be postmarked or on file with the Board before the expiration date printed on the license to avoid penalties.

The cost to renew a license is the same as the initial licensing fee.

Prior to renewal, all qualified individuals are required to attend Board-approved continuing education courses.  The number of hours required depends on the contractor’s license classification:

  • Unlimited, Intermediate, Limited and Residential Dwelling Licensees- must attend 8 hours of continuing education courses
  • All other License Classes- must attend 4 hours of continuing education courses

Please visit the Continuing Education page of the NC State Examiner’s website for further information on existing credits and providers.

For more information about license renewal, please contact the Board at:

919-733-9042

Table of Fees

Fee What is it For? When is it Due?
$90 Examination and Application Fee Upon submitting the Exam Application
$75-$165 License Fee, depending on the chosen classification Upon submitting the license application
$75-$165 Renewal Fee, depending on the license classification Once a year, upon submitting the renewal application
   

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