Low Voltage Electrician

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Low voltage electricians work in residential and commercial structures installing, upgrading, repairing, and maintaining low voltage electrical systems.

The low voltage electrician occupation existed since the early 20th century.

From servicing leadline telephone networks back then, they now have a fully mature profession dealing with low voltage systems.

In terms of licensing, low voltage electricians face countless state regulations.

However, their professional techniques, guidelines, and tools are regulated by the National Electrical Code (NEC).

So low voltage electricians with proper credentials can expect stable employment, high pay rates, and diverse tasks.

Low Voltage Electrical Job Settings

Low voltage electricians, a.k.a voice-data-video (VDV) electricians, install, repair, and maintain low voltage electrical systems, including:

  • Landline telephones
  • CCTV (closed-circuit television) systems
  • Broadband internet
  • Home entertainment systems
  • LAN and WAN
  • Security and fire alarms
  • Telephone systems
  • Fiber optic networks
  • Cable and digital television

According to NEC, low voltage systems include those that run from 0 to 49 volts.

As you can see from the list above, low voltage electrical systems are common in all places where there is electricity.

  • Public services settings
  • Residential settings
  • Industrial settings
  • Offices and businesses
  • Ships, airplanes, trains, buses, and automobiles
  • Hospitals and schools

Duties and Skill Requirements

When working with low voltage systems, electricians handle the following common duties:

  • Dressing and terminating distribution frames
  • Trimming out security devices
  • Testing and adjusting connections to diagnose problems
  • Working with low voltage cables, conduits, and circuits
  • Analyzing schematics, blueprints, and drawings of low voltage electronic systems
  • Roughing in new installations
  • Pulling and terminating wiring cables, such as Cat 5E or 6
  • Installing and wiring alarm panels
  • WAP and card access system installations
  • Working with coaxial cables, category-rated cables, and fiber optics
  • Installing alarm systems that include pull stations, strobes, horns, detectors, and exit signs
  • Installing j-hooks and ladder racks
  • Working with DC battery systems
  • Programming video surveillance equipment

Training and License Requirements

License and training requirements can vary by jurisdiction (local and state levels).

The National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) has a comprehensive directory of licensing requirements by state for low voltage electricians.

This directory is briefly summarized below.

Low voltage electricians can obtain a license in three common ways:

  • Low voltage electrical work can be included in the residential electrician category by the licensing jurisdictions.

In this case, you will have to follow the residential electrician licensing path.

It includes four to six years of an apprenticeship followed by the journeyman licensure exam.

Then, two to four years as a journeyman plus an examination to become a master electrician.

If you want to start a business, you may have to pass an exam to obtain a contractor’s license.

  • Some jurisdictions have a separate licensing category for low voltage electricians.

Here, low voltage electricians have their own licensing requirements.

The standard apprentice-journeyman-master levels are recognized, with each level having its licensing process.

  • Some jurisdictions can license low voltage electricians according to their individual roles.

It means that each specialty will have a different licensing process (e.g., security and fire alarm systems installers).

Compared to other paths, the length of the licensing process can be completed within a few months.

Low voltage electricians may not be regulated in some jurisdictions, while they may have to meet additional requirements in others.

To find out how your locality regulates the licensing process, check with your regulatory agency or local union chapter.

Professional Certification for Low Voltage Electricians

In some jurisdictions, licensing is considered a certification.

For areas that have education requirements for licensure, technical schools may offer certification programs that meet the requirements for a state license.

Another type of certification available is professional specialty certification.

This type of certification allows you to distinguish yourself by showing expertise in a special trade area.

These nationally recognized credentials may be required or optional to your qualifications.

National organizations usually offer certifications for low voltage electricians in specific categories.

Here are some of the options available from the national organizations:

  • Electronics Technicians Association (ETA)
    • Residential Electronics Systems Integrator
    • Electronic Security Networking Technician
    • Fiber Optics Technician
    • Data Cabling Installer
    • Certified Alarm Security Technician
    • Fiber Optics Installer
  • Elite Continuing Education University (CEU)
    • Alarm Level 1
    • Video Surveillance Systems and Closed Circuit Television
    • AEIT (Advanced Electronic Intrusion Technician)
    • Burglar/Fire Alarm Systems Agent (BASA/FASA)
  • National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies
    • Audio Systems
    • Video Security Systems
    • Fire Alarm Systems
  • Fiber Optic Association (FOA) Certification

Third-party companies also provide preparatory courses for these certification exams, such as:

  • National Training Center
  • Marcraft
  • Fire Alarm Certification

Salaries and Major Employers

Below, you’ll find the salary offers that a properly credentialed low voltage electrician gets as of July 2016:

  • Communications Technician with IES in Irvine, California – $37,440
  • Low Voltage Technician with Outsource in San Jose, California – $62,400
  • Low Voltage Electrician with Urban Alarm in Washington DC – $47,923
  • Low Voltage Technician with South Bay Communications in San Jose, California – $31,200 to $62,400
  • Low Voltage Service Technician in Atlanta, Georgia: $45,760 to $62,400

Meanwhile, the major employers in the metropolitan job markets are as follows:

  • San Francisco
    • Outsource
    • Mobile Tech Inc.
    • Amazon
    • MGA Employee Services Inc.
    • IES Communications
  • Philadelphia
    • L-3 Communications
    • Siemens
    • Automated Digital Homes
    • Armstrong Group of Companies
    • VC Corp.
  • Atlanta
    • American Systems
    • Atlantic Workforce
    • Cana Communications
    • TEKSystems
    • Videojet Technologies
  • Chicago
    • Pangea Real Estate
    • MAC Property Management.
    • Prime Communications
    • Spencer Technologies
    • Toshiba
  • Dallas-Fort Worth
    • Facility Solutions Group
    • Archon Inc.
    • Prime Communications Inc.
    • City of Fort Worth
    • National Switchgear

Licensing Requirements By State

Below is a summary of the state licensing requirements for different types of low voltage electricians from NECA.

In states with no low voltage electrician license, you may have to either…

  • Obtain a residential or another type of license
  • Meet local-level requirements


  • Locksmiths
  • General low voltage systems


  • Fire and security alarms
  • Communications systems


  • Fire alarms
  • Communication systems


  • Security alarm systems


  • Security alarm systems
  • General low voltage systems


  • No specific low voltage electrician state license


  • General low voltage systems, specifically related to security systems


  • No specific low voltage electrician state license


  • Security alarm systems
  • General low voltage systems
  • Fire and security alarm systems


  • General low voltage systems


  • No specific low voltage electrician state license


  • No specific low voltage electrician state license


  • Fire and security alarm systems


  • No specific low voltage electrician state license


  • No specific low voltage electrician state license


  • No specific low voltage electrician state license


  • Fire and security alarm systems


  • CCTV security systems
  • Fire alarm systems
  • Security alarm systems.


  • General low energy electronics
  • Fire alarm systems
  • Low voltage landscape lighting


  • No specific low voltage electrician state license


  • Security alarm systems
  • Fire alarm systems


  • Fire and security alarm systems


  • Low voltage technology systems


  • No specific low voltage electrician state license


  • Fire and security alarm systems


  • All types of alarm systems (security and fire)


  • Fire alarm systems


  • Photovoltaic systems
  • Fire alarm systems
  • General low voltage systems

New Hampshire

  • No specific low voltage electrician state license

New Jersey

  • Fire alarm systems
  • Security alarm systems

New Mexico

  • Fire and security systems
  • Telephone systems

New York

  • Fire alarm systems
  • Security alarm systems

North Carolina

  • General low voltage systems

North Dakota

  • No specific low voltage electrician state license


  • No specific low voltage electrician state license


  • Fire alarm systems
  • Security alarm systems
  • Alarm company systems


  • General low voltage systems


  • No specific low voltage electrician state license

Rhode Island

  • General telecommunication systems
  • General alarm systems

South Carolina

  • Security alarm systems
  • Security and fire alarm systems

South Dakota

  • No specific low voltage electrician state license


  • General low voltage systems, including:
    • Fire alarm systems
    • Security systems
    • Intercom systems
    • Sound systems
    • Telephone line systems and telecommunications cables


  • Security alarm systems
  • Fire alarm systems


  • Security alarm systems


  • Commercial fire alarm systems
  • Residential fire alarm systems


  • No specific low voltage electrician state license


  • Telecommunication systems

West Virginia

  • Fire and security alarm systems


  • No specific low voltage electrician state license


  • General low voltage systems

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