How To Get a Low Voltage Certification in 7 Steps
Updated June 24, 2022
Aspiring electricians can choose from many educational pathways and certification programs. One type of certification is a low voltage certification or license, which helps train professionals for a career as a low voltage electrician. Learning more about this certification, including the requirements and potential benefits, could help you determine if it's something you want to pursue. In this article, we explain what a low voltage certification is, why it's important and how you can earn your low voltage certification.
Read more: How To Become a Low Voltage Electrician
What is a low voltage certification?
Electricians can earn a low voltage certification to show they have trained to maintain, repair and install low voltage systems. The term low voltage relates to the strength of the electricity. Low voltage systems include:
Home alarm systems
Phone and internet cables
Doorbell and intercom connections
Fire alarm networks
Sound and audio systems
Professionals can earn a low voltage certificate to show their expertise in these systems. Some states may require a separate license, which comes from the state, while others accept external certification programs from accredited schools or training programs.
Benefits of having a low voltage certification?
Electricians or aspiring electricians may choose to earn a low voltage certification for one or more of the following benefits:
Meet state requirements: In some locations, electricians who want to work with low voltage systems must have a certificate or license. Earning this certificate could help you meet the career requirements in your state.
Qualify for more positions: If the certification is optional in your location, it could still help you qualify for more positions. For example, some private contractors may only hire certified low voltage electricians.
Increase job security: Many buildings and contractors hire low voltage electricians to install and repair their electrical systems. Becoming a certified electrician could lead to increased job security.
How to get a low voltage certification
If you are interested in earning a low voltage certification, consider following these steps:
1. Complete education
To pursue your low voltage certification, you can first earn a high school diploma or GED. This may be optional in some locations, but most training programs require candidates to first complete their high school education. In high school, you can take science and math courses, which may help you in your certification process. Some schools offer vocational classes where students can gain technical skills. If you are in high school, considering checking your school's programs and taking a course in electricity if possible.
2. Review your local requirements
The licensing and certification requirements can vary depending on your geographic location. Consider researching these requirements early in your career. This can help you plan your next steps, such as pursuing a training program or entering a trade school. Some common requirements include:
Age: Typically, applicants must be at least 18 years old to apply for their low voltage certification.
Professional experience: This limit can vary depending on the state, but most states require candidates to have experience working as an electrician. This can include working as an apprentice or attending trade school.
Exams: In most locations, low voltage electricians must complete an exam through their state's contracting department before earning their license or certification. The most common exam is the C-7 Low Voltage Systems Exam.
Application: After completing the necessary exams, professionals can complete an application for their license. You may need to include transcripts, exam scores and proof of work experience, though this can vary in each state.
3. Train as an electrician
The next step in earning your certification is training as an electrician. These requirements can vary in each location, but typically electricians must work first as an apprentice under the supervision of a master electrician. In many states, electricians can earn their low voltage license after completing their apprenticeship. Consider exploring the apprentice programs in your area to help you develop your technical skills.
4. Gain professional experience;
Depending on your location, you may want to consider pursuing additional professional experience within the field before applying for your certification. Some states require individuals to have three or more years of experience working with low voltage systems. This may include working as a journeyman or completing a trade school education.
Read more: Types of Electricians
5. Study and take the certification exam
After you meet the requirements in your state, you can begin studying for the C-7 Low Voltage System Exam. State contracting centers offer this exam, and the requirements and specifications can vary in each location. Typically, these exams test an individual's knowledge regarding low voltage systems, including the hardware, installation practice and safety protocols.
6. Apply for licensing
When you've passed the C-7 exam in your state and met all the requirements, you can complete your application through your state for your license. You may apply in person or online, depending on your state. Consider checking with your state's contracting or licensing board for more information. You may need to submit proof of your experience, exam scores and work history with your application form.
7. Consider additional certifications
You may choose to complete additional certifications or designations within the low voltage field, depending on your state. In some locations, low voltage electricians only need the C-7 license. Other states require specific certifications depending on the role. For example, you may need to complete a fire alarm or audio system certification to work with these specific low voltage systems. Consider exploring these designations if you're interested in working with a specific type of system. The certification programs can vary depending on type and location, but typically they involve a training session, exam and application.
Skills for a low voltage electrician
Low voltage electricians use a special skill set to help them perform their daily duties. Here are some of the common skills these professionals use:
Problem-solving skills: Low voltage electricians may troubleshoot, repair and update existing systems. They can use problem-solving skills to help them fix low voltage systems.
Communication: A low voltage electrical may use communication skills to collaborate with a team of professionals, including contractors, engineers and other electricians. For example, when building a new home, contractors and low voltage electricians may work together to create designs.
Attention to detail: When installing and repairing systems, low voltage electricians need to have strong detail orientation skills to ensure they follow and create accurate electrical plans.
Technical skills: Low voltage electricians use industry knowledge and technical skills to install safe, efficient low voltage systems.
Read more: Electrician Skills: Definition and Examples
Here are the answers to some common questions related to this career path:
How much does a low voltage electrician make?
The national average salary for low voltage technicians, who are electricians specialized in installing new systems, is $47,982 per year. Your salary can vary depending on your geographic location, area of focus, education, certification and professional experience.
Where do low voltage electricians work?
Low voltage electricians can work in a variety of settings, depending on their area of focus. Some common settings include:
Within these settings, low voltage electricians may work independently, for an electrical company or directly for an organization. For example, some train companies may hire low voltage electricians to service the train's electrical systems.
Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
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