Becoming a licensed electrician in South Carolina involves a series of steps, including establishing eligibility, completing an application, passing an examination, and meeting bond and insurance requirements. This guide provides a detailed walkthrough of each step, along with information on reciprocity with other states, specific locations and counties in South Carolina, license bond requirements, and insurance needs for electricians in the state.

Step 1: Establish Eligibility

Experience

The first step towards becoming a licensed electrician in South Carolina is to gain the necessary experience. The state requires at least one year of experience under a builder, electrician, or general contractor. This experience must be recent, within the past five years, and must be verifiable.

The person who supervised your work during this period will need to sign an affidavit confirming your experience. This affidavit will be mailed to the employer or supervisor you have listed on your application. It’s important to keep a copy of any application and attachments filed with the office for your records.

Step 2: Application Process

Completing the Application

The application process involves filling out the Residential Specialty Electrical License Application. This form asks for a variety of information, including your personal details, work experience, and any criminal history.

You must answer all the questions either “Yes” or “No”. If any question is answered “Yes” and no information is attached, the application will be returned. Similarly, if any question is left unanswered, the application will be returned. A state criminal history or S.L.E.D report is needed for any “Yes” answer to a criminal offense.

Required Documents

Along with the completed application, you must also submit:

  • A $135 application processing fee, made payable to SCRBC.
  • A copy of your driver’s license, state-issued ID, passport, or military ID.
  • A copy of your Social Security card.
  • A completed and notarized Verification of Lawful Presence Form.
  • Copies of W2’s and/or 1099’s from your employer who will be filling out your affidavit of experience.
  • Certifications, transcripts, resumes, and any other supporting documentation of work experience in the trade applied for.
  • If you answer “Yes” to any question(s) pertaining to a conviction, you must remit an official Statewide Background Check from the state where the incident occurred in a sealed envelope from the state agency along with your written explanation.

Step 3: Examination

Preparing for the Exam

Once your application has been approved, you will be eligible to take the electrician licensing examination. The examinations are administered using computer-based testing technology. Examination candidates will be tested at a testing site that is administered by PSI.

It’s important to prepare thoroughly for this exam, as it will test your knowledge of electrical systems, safety protocols, and South Carolina’s electrical code. There are various resources available to help you prepare, including study guides, practice tests, and preparatory courses.

Taking the Exam

Your legal name is required on applications to ensure no delays when scheduling to take the exam with PSI. Applications must be submitted in complete order before an eligibility letter for examination can be approved for scheduling.

The processing steps for the examination are as follows:

  • Applications meeting all requirements and payment of fees are received.
  • Applications are reviewed for accuracy and completeness.
  • Applications that are incomplete and/or have credit discrepancies will be sent a deficiency letter.
  • Applicants will receive an Exam Eligibility letter with information to contact PSI.
  • The applicant will schedule his/her exam and make payment with PSI.

Step 4: License Fee and Bond Requirement

License Fee

After passing the exam, you must submit your test results, license fee (certified check or money order), and surety bond (original copy signed with the power of attorney if the work will exceed $5,000) to the office.

The license fee is $220 if the license is issued on or between July 1, odd-numbered year to June 30, even-numbered year, and $110 if the license is issued on or between July 1, even-numbered year to June 30, odd-numbered year.

Bond Requirement

The surety bond must be the original document signed by the applicant, in the amount of $10,000, with the power of attorney attached and the individual’s name listed as principal. Handwritten bonds will not be accepted. You can access the fillable bond form here.

Step 5: License Renewal

Licenses expire on June 30th every odd-numbered year. The renewal process will require a fee, which varies depending on when the license is issued. It’s important to keep track of this date and begin the renewal process well in advance to avoid any lapse in licensure.

Electrician License Reciprocity

South Carolina has reciprocity agreements with several states, which can make the process of obtaining your electrician license in South Carolina easier if you’re already licensed in one of these states. The states that South Carolina has reciprocity agreements with are Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania (Reading only), Tennessee, Texas, and Utah. Additionally, South Carolina has reciprocity with the Municipal Association of SC (MASC) for Master Electrical, Master Plumbing, and Master Mechanical/HVAC licenses, provided the exam was passed after certain dates.

To apply for a license by reciprocity, you must have passed a technical exam in your state that is recognized by South Carolina. You must also be in good standing with your state’s licensing board. If you meet these requirements, you will need to pass the South Carolina Business Management and Law for Commercial Contractors exam and provide verification of your out-of-state license.

Please note that South Carolina only waives the technical portion of the exam for those applying through reciprocity. All applicants must pass the South Carolina Business Management and Law exam. For more information on the reciprocity process, you can refer to the South Carolina Reciprocity/Waiver Agreements document.

License Bond Requirements in South Carolina

In South Carolina, electricians are required to post a contractor license bond as part of their licensing process. This bond serves as a financial guarantee that the electrician will comply with all state regulations and codes in their work. The bond amount required varies depending on the monetary limitation per contract of the electrician’s license.

For general contractors, the net worth and surety bond requirements are as follows:

  • Group 1 ($50,000 limit per job): $10,000 net worth requirement, $20,000 surety bond requirement
  • Group 2 ($200,000 limit per job): $40,000 net worth requirement, $80,000 surety bond requirement
  • Group 3 ($500,000 limit per job): $100,000 net worth requirement, $200,000 surety bond requirement
  • Group 4 ($1,500,000 limit per job): $175,000 net worth requirement, $350,000 surety bond requirement
  • Group 5 (Unlimited limit per job): $250,000 net worth requirement, $500,000 surety bond requirement

For mechanical contractors, the net worth and surety bond requirements are as follows:

  • Group 1 ($17,500 limit per job): $3,500 net worth requirement, $7,000 surety bond requirement
  • Group 2 ($50,000 limit per job): $10,000 net worth requirement, $20,000 surety bond requirement
  • Group 3 ($100,000 limit per job): $20,000 net worth requirement, $40,000 surety bond requirement
  • Group 4 ($200,000 limit per job): $40,000 net worth requirement, $80,000 surety bond requirement
  • Group 5 (Unlimited limit per job): $200,000 net worth requirement, $400,000 surety bond requirement

Insurance Needs for Electricians in South Carolina

In South Carolina, it’s strongly recommended that electricians obtain General Liability Insurance at a minimum to protect their business and their customers. This policy offers protection from any covered claim for injuries or damages to third-party persons or property as a result of your work. It also includes legal fees to defend your business from any covered claim.

While General Liability Insurance for Electricians is not mandatory in most states, some states do require a license, and one of the requirements is to have General Liability Insurance. Even in states or municipalities where it’s required, the minimum requirement can be quite low. For example, in Washington, the minimum requirement is only $250,000. However, it’s generally recommended to have at least $1 Million in coverage due to the potential high cost of claims.

In addition to General Liability Insurance, electricians should also consider Workers’ Compensation Insurance, which covers your employees from injury or illness caused by their employment. Other types of insurance that may be beneficial include Commercial Auto Insurance, Inland Marine Insurance (which covers tools and equipment from loss or theft), and Umbrella Insurance Coverage (which covers you for catastrophic losses that exceed the underlying policy limits).

Remember, each electrician’s insurance needs may vary based on the specifics of their business, so it’s important to work with a knowledgeable insurance agent to ensure you have the right coverage for your needs.

Conclusion

Becoming a licensed electrician in South Carolina involves several steps, each of which requires careful attention to detail. From gaining the necessary experience to passing the licensing exam, each step is crucial in your journey to becoming a licensed electrician.

For more information, please visit the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. Always consult with a professional or the relevant state department for the most accurate and up-to-date information.