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Student Pursuing Highest Electrician Credential

“The instructors really and truly want to see you succeed,” says Jacob Anderson, a student in the Electrical Systems Technology program at Edgecombe Community College.

Jacob Anderson, a student in the Electrical Systems Technology program at Edgecombe Community College, has set a high mark for himself.

He is studying toward an unlimited license, the highest credential for electricians and one that has become uncommon.

According to Doug Parrish, department chair of Industrial and Technical Trades at ECC, “There are only approximately 300 unlimited electricians in the state of North Carolina, and that number is shrinking. Licensed electricians are retiring, and no one is taking their place.”

Anderson has long aspired to be a credentialed electrician.

“I’ve been working in the electrical field since I was 17. I’m the third generation,” he explains. His father and grandfather were electricians.

He dropped out of high school because, he says, he “wasn’t learning anything that benefited what I wanted to do in life.” He then enrolled in the College and Career Readiness program at ECC to earn his high school credential.

His grandfather had taken an electrical hands-on course at ECC in the 1960s and encouraged Anderson to do likewise. He contacted Parrish, inquiring about the program and stressing that he wanted hands-on training.

Parrish assured him that hands-on experience was a priority, and Anderson enrolled in the Electrical Systems Technology program.

“I’m glad I took the chance to come to ECC, because I’ve learned a lot,” Anderson says. “The instructors really and truly want to see you succeed. Here you get the knowledge you need and the hands-on skills to learn how to use it. Mr. Parrish has helped me work toward my goals every step of the way.”

Anderson takes on small jobs now, while he is in school. He expects to graduate in May 2023.

In Edgecombe County, licensed electricians can earn upwards of $100 an hour. “It’s an excellent field with the potential to make a good living,” Anderson says.

According to Parrish, an electrician can attain three licensed designations in North Carolina: limited, intermediate, and unlimited.

A limited electrician is allowed to work on a single project up to $60,000 in value and under 600 volts or fewer. Intermediate licensing enables an electrician to work on projects valued at up to $150,000. An electrician with an unlimited license can work on any project.

“A lot of responsibility comes with an unlimited license,” Parrish says. “It’s very difficult to get.”

To qualify for an unlimited license, electricians must accrue 4,000 hours of on-the-job training and be bonded for more than the value of the project being bid on. Parrish adds that electricians can earn excellent wages without this license.

Edgecombe Community College offers a one-year diploma program and four certificate-level credentials in Electrical Systems Technology.

To learn more about Electrical Systems Technology at ECC, please contact Parrish at (252) 618-6658 or

Since tuition and fees are free this fall for all qualifying students through the Edgecombe Pledge scholarship program, now is the best time to enroll. Fall classes begin August 18.