Electrician Schools and Training in North Carolina
Beginning a new career can be tough, so, we've put together the post below to help you jump into a career as an electrician in North Carolina. If we haven't answered all your questions, please feel free to leave us a comment at the bottom of the page, or jump over to our "Contact Us" page and send us an email. Electricians are vitally important to our way of life, and we're glad to answer any questions you have about the career.
How To Become An Electrician In North Carolina
Most electricians in North Carolina enter the trade in one of two ways: they either attend one an electrician school or community college, or they find and apply for a position as an apprentice.
Both are excellent options, and can lead to a long and prosperous career. But which one is the right choice for you? Let's take a look.
North Carolina Electrician Schools
There are electrician training programs offered at many of the community colleges in North Carolina, and they do a great job of training students for work in the field. They tend to offer an affordable education, and all you need to apply is a high school diploma or a GED/high school equivalency degree.
There are also private vocational schools that offer more focused training for electricians. These tend to be a little bit more pricey.
Both community colleges and private trade schools teach the skills that electricians need to know, including how to:
- Work from blueprints and use drafting software;
- Plan the electrical layout of an entire residence or commercial building;
- Install electrical wiring in a way that meets safety codes;
- Work with high-voltage electrical cables;
- Utilize electrician-specific tools and gauges;
- Place conduit in appropriate locations;
- Check the work that other electricians have done, to make sure that electrical cables were installed in a safe way;
- Maintain a building's electrical wiring over the course of many years.
There are a few benefits of going to an electrician school. First, you'll be able to start whenever you want to, and when you graduate, you'll have sought-after job skills that should help you find work (depending on the local economy, of course!). Also, the laboratory environment that schools use to teach hands-on skills is very safe, and that's important for many people.
And, of course, there are the drawbacks: the biggest is that some schools are VERY pricey, and the credits you earn may not be transferable to other educational institutions (this is something you should ask about when you visit).
The other avenue that many electricians take is the apprenticeship route. Apprentices work side-by-side professional electricians on the job site, and "learn with their hands." Early in the program, they're given tasks that don't require much skill, and then as they figure out what they're doing, they're given tasks that require more and more skill.
It's a fantastic system, and by the time the program is over--usually about four to five years--the apprentice is fully trained, ready to take licensing exams, and even capable of teaching other apprentices.
The biggest advantage of these programs is that they're PAID. You earn money for every hour you work, and once a year you get a raise. That's a big "perk."
The disadvantages relate to the scarcity of apprenticeships, and the difficulty of attaining one. Because apprenticeships are a popular option, many people sign up for one. So you may have to wait anywhere from a couple of months to a year or two for your apprenticeship opportunity to arrive. The other problem is that not everyone is ready to be accepted: there are a round of interviews you need to pass, and an entrance exam that tests your understanding of algebra and basic electrical theory.
So, what's your next move? If you can find an apprenticeship, that's usually your best option. You can call the numbers we've listed below and see if they have any apprenticeship opportunities available. If you can't find any apprenticeship opportunities, consider school---or try to find an entry-level job as a helper, make connections, and see if you can get an apprenticeship through the connections you've made. It's always wise to learn about all the options available to you, so do your research, and once you find an option that you like, make it happen.
Your Future Electrician License
Right now, all you need to figure out is how to get your career started. However, after you get the ball rolling, you'll want to start accruing hours towards your electrician license. Licensed electricians make a higher annual salary than electricians without a license, and they receive better benefits and job security. Attaining a license should always be on your mind.
The North Carolina Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors has a list of electrician licenses, including:
- Limited (L) license;
- Intermediate (I) license; and
- Unlimited (U) licenses
which allow people to various tasks on residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. There is also a Residential Dwelling license (SP-SFD) that allows people to work on single-family houses.
Finally, there are six specialty licenses:
- Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning (SP-PH);
- Fire Alarm/Low Voltage (SP-FA/LV);
- Elevator (SP-EL);
- Electric Sign (SP-ES);
- Groundwater pump (SP-WP); and
- Swimming Pool (SP-SP).
You'll need to accrue a certain number of hours for each license, and you can do that by graduating from one of the electrician schools in North Carolina, getting a job, and recording your hours, or completing an apprentice program.
North Carolina Electrician Salary
We've gathered the following income estimates for the great state of North Carolina and copied them below:
|North Carolina||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Wage|
|All Occupations in NC||$20.81||$43,280|
Here are some interesting insights into the data:
- Of the trades we sampled, licensed electricians earn about the same annual income as plumbers and HVAC workers, but earned $6,620 more than carpenters and $14,590 more than construction workers.
- Of the trades sampled, plumbers, HVAC professionals, and electricians each made more than $40k per year, whereas carpenters and construction workers earned less. Plumbers, HVAC professionals, and electricians also earn just about $20 per hour, whereas carpenters earned a little over $16 an hour, and construction workers earned $12.48 per hour.
- Perhaps the most notable statistic is the comparison of electrician salaries with construction laborer salaries. Electricians earned $40,550 (or $19.50 per hour), whereas construction workers earned $25,960 (or $12.48 per hour). That's $14,590 more as an electrician, or an increase of 56.2%. It pays to pick the correct career!
Remember, the figures that we have listed above represent the mean (average) income---if you decide to enter the electrician trade, you could end up making more, and you could end up making less. Your income is determined by where you live, what area of electrical work you go into (some areas pay more than others), and how much effort you're willing to put into your career!
We've put together a list of electrician schools and community colleges that have electrical training programs. After that, we've listed all of the apprenticeship opportunities we could find in North Carolina.
Determine which of the programs are near you and which have openings, and then contact the ones that interest you. We wish you the best of luck!
Electrician Schools in North Carolina
Roanoke-Chowan Comm. College
109 Community College Road
Ahoskie, NC 27910
Stanly Comm. College
141 College Dr.
Randolph Comm. College
629 Industrial Park Ave.
Asheville-Buncombe Tech College
340 Victoria Rd.
Electrical Schools in Charlotte, NC
Central Piedmont Comm. College
1141 Elizabeth Avenue
Haywood Comm. College
185 Freelander Dr.
Gaston College — Dallas Campus
201 Highway U.S. 321 South
Electrical Schools in Durham, NC
Durham Technical Comm. College
1637 E. Lawson St.
College of the Albemarle — Edenton-Chowan Campus
800 North Oakum Street
2201 Hull Road
Pamlico Comm. College
5049 Highway 306 South
Richmond Comm. College
1042 West Hamlet Avenue
Hamlet, NC 28345
Catawba Valley Comm. College
2550 U.S. Highway 70 SE
Coastal Carolina Comm. College
444 Western Boulevard
Guilford Technical Comm. College
601 East Main Street
James Sprunt Comm. College
133 James Sprunt Drive
Robeson Comm. College
5160 Fayetteville Road
Lumberton, NC 28360
Tri-County Comm. College
Cherokee County Center of Applied Technology
2415 Airport Road
Marble, NC 28905
McDowell Technical Comm. College
54 College Drive
Marion, NC 28752
Center for Technology and Health Education
3509 Old Charlotte Highway
Monroe, NC 28110
Electrical Schools in Raleigh, NC
9101 Fayetteville Rd.
Piedmont Comm. College
1715 College Drive
Roxboro, NC 27573
Cleveland Comm. College
137 South Post Road
Shelby, NC 28152
Isothermal Comm. College — Rutherford Campus
286 I.C.C. Loop Road
Mitchell Comm. College — Statesville
500 West Broad Street
Beaufort County Comm. College
5337 US Hwy 264 East
Halifax Comm. College
100 College Drive
Weldon, NC 27890
Martin Comm. College — Williamston Campus
1161 Kehukee Park Road
Cape Fear Comm. College
411 North Front Street
Pitt Comm. College
1986 Pitt Tech Rd.
Union Apprenticeship Programs in North Carolina
JATC of Asheville and Local Union #238
45 Sardis Road
Asheville, NC 28806
JATC of Charlotte
1900 Cross Beam Drive
Charlotte, NC 28217
JATC of Greensboro
7802 Thorndike Road
Greensboro, NC 27409
JATC of The Carolinas
P.O. Box 820
Hampstead, NC 28443
JATC of Raleigh Durham
P.O. Box 13551
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709