Homeowner electrical exam

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Old 07-25-03, 08:58 AM
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Homeowner electrical exam

In my county, in order to pull an electrical permit, you must be an electrician licensed in the county or have passed a homeowners electrical exam. No matter your knowledge, licensure or experience elsewhere.
The exam is 2 hours, based on the NEC, and no books.
Has anyone taken this type of exam, and have a suggested scope of studying, or is it just a free for all. It is hard to believe that a closed book exam could include a whole lot of detail from the codebook. I am pretty good with the NEC in my hand, but off the top of my head?
Passing (or not) the exam will help me determine whether a small electrical project will warrant a permit or not.
 
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Old 07-25-03, 01:35 PM
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Great idea your municipality has!
I was down in Kansas City MO area a year ago, and out in the country there are no rules to follow, there are minimal folks to enforce code on Residential proprties. Lots of shady wiring down there I must say.
gj
 
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Old 07-25-03, 02:47 PM
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I can see the exam as a good idea but I have to wonder myself how you can have one based on the NEC and manage to pass it without the book in hand. There are other areas doing this too but most of the ones I have seen base the exam on basic electrical knowledge not on the NEC. Mostly from the safety aspect not on the actual code when the exam is passed the person is given the permit and then must wire according to the NEC and local bylaws. Having to pass an exam on the NEC without being allowed to use it would be hard for an experienced electrician little lone a man just trying to fix his home up. There are other places where a homeowner must talk to the inspection department to prove basic knowledge then if they do they can have a permit.
On the other side of the coin there is an increasing number of places that won't allow anyone not a licenced electrician to pull a permit. This one I heave to think is totally unreasonable.
The harder it is to get a permit the more chance of people doing it without one and without inspection this to me only increases the dangers, the man that can't pass an exam and hasn't the resources to hire it done will tend to do it anyway and if no permit is pulled then no inspection and there the danger lies.
 
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Old 07-25-03, 04:27 PM
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In practice, the county I live in, have electricians only sitting on the board of electrical examiners. They even make it tough for electricians to become licensed in the county, and I believe they want to protect work availability for the local electricians (themselves) from anyone, even the homeowner working on their own home.
 
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Old 07-26-03, 05:42 AM
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Ron

Based on what I've read from your posts, it will come down to one of two things:

1. You will easily pass with flying colors.

2. The test is so extremely unfair that noone would pass.
 
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Old 07-26-03, 09:52 PM
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Talk to the inspectors or the person administering the test. I just passed a similar test in my county for a service change. I talked to the inspector (who also grades the test) and he was willing to explain what would be covered and the types of questions asked. He stated that he would also answer any questions durring the test if needed.
 
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Old 08-01-03, 07:28 AM
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scott e.,
Sounds like you live in a very nice liberal town.

I have just taken the exam. Although I think I passed, it is obvious that the exam is not for a regular homeowner that wants to install an extra circuit for "whatever".

The only gimme, was that is was a true/false exam allowing at least a 50-50 chance at the right answer.
For half of the questions, they took obscure references from the code book, and tweaked them a bit, so if they sounded familiar, and if you didn't remember the EXACT reference, you might as well just take the 50-50 chance.
For example, there was a question regarding AC Cable. If the homeowner didn't remember specifics from Article 333-3 and 333-4 from the 1999 NEC, you might as well say a prayer.

I am only whining about this, because I thought it was a good idea at one time to have this type of exam, to ensure that there is some basic knowledge required before letting someone loose. Knowing that many jurisdictions don't have this exam, and some don't have electrical inspections at all, makes me think that there are some powers that be, over-exercising control.

PS: There was one non-true/false question. I had to draw each wire, component and connection for three light switches to control one lamp.

All this with no books allowed.
 
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Old 08-01-03, 07:50 AM
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Personally I think they are carrying the idea to an extreme in your area. It blows my mind when they do things like this driving normally honest people to do things underground so to speak and then they wonder why there are more elctrical fires. Because the poor guy couldn't call for an inspection if he had no permit.
This however is an old practise from what I understand dating back for many years on ways to stop certain individuals from doing something that the powers that be think is counterproductive to their own needs. I believe I read once where tests were mandatory in select areas just to have the right to vote. To bad humans never learn unfair practises only cause more problems in the long run.
 
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