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Any advice on learning NEC?

3818 Views 14 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  MTW
Hey all I'm currently at an Electrical training school. Does anyone have any tips or advice for someone that is just getting into the NEC? More specifically things I should get familiar with to get licensed as an electrical contractor in NJ.
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What you are talking about is 2 very different things.

Having practical knowledge of the code is very important, and it's something you will learn as you work in the various parts of the trade. Keeping up in school and online (like this forum and others) will help you tremendously.

The test is a completely different animal. Nothing on the test will be used in the real world. In the 15 years that I was in the trade before the test and the 5+ years after I have never needed to know a single thing that was asked on the test. And I certainly didn't have a time limit to figure out a code issue in real life like you have when taking the test.

In order to pass the test you have to study for the test. This could be done on your own using study guides and questions from various sources like Mike Holt's, or it could be done using a study course. The study course will cost you money but it will give you the correct questions and your chance of passing will be much higher.

The test today is different. It used to be 1 point per question, so you would leave the harder calculation questions until the end. Now the test is on a computer and each question is weighted differently, so a calculation question can be 5 points while an easy question could be .25 points.
 

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Thanks HackWork. For some reason I thought that the NEC was more important for the test thank you for clearing that up for me. I have heard some things about taking study courses that are geared toward the test but i'm not to sure of what things to look out for before signing up for them. I am about a month into my six month course is there anything else that you would recommend to me to get me ready for taking the test?
 

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Thanks HackWork. For some reason I thought that the NEC was more important for the test thank you for clearing that up for me. I have heard some things about taking study courses that are geared toward the test but i'm not to sure of what things to look out for before signing up for them. I am about a month into my six month course is there anything else that you would recommend to me to get me ready for taking the test?
The test IS on the NEC (at least part of it). But it's not on practical knowledge. It's more of a gateway to keep people who can't study and think out.

You have a long time to go. 6 months before taking the test you can look into study courses. Depending on your area, I can recommend some that will get you to pass on your first try.

In the meantime, pay attention in school and on the job, and then come home and lookup things that you are interested in.

BTW, you have a LONG time to go before becoming a contractor. A contractor should be a master electrician, an expert... which means after finishing your apprenticeship you should work for many years as a journeyman before becoming a contractor yourself.
 

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In the meantime, pay attention in school and on the job, and then come home and lookup things that you are interested in..
^^
I think that's solid advice. For me, at least, the things in the NEC that stick with me are the things that I was interested in enough to puzzle on and look up.
 

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Learn the NEC layout, what chapters cover what
Learn where the key tables are such as grounding, wire sizes, and conduit fill, box fill. Then hit chapters on motors and transformers.

Concentrate on the sections that pertain to you and the work you are doing.

Why bother with swimming pools if you will never install the electric for one or gas stations or....... Then if you do a pool study that chapter.
 

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Work on learning more about what your doing at work.
Such as if you're running MC to boxes all day, start by reading the few pages about MC.
Then read about the required receptacle locations. And so on.
It's only a place to start.
You could buy other books on the topics your studying in class.

To become an EC you should understand the code, be at least proficient at some area of electrical work, understand contracting laws, business taxes, and all the regulations involved with running an EC business. Then you still should learn how to estimate, gain customers, keep customers happy, and keep the employees happy while making a profit.

From apprentice to a respectable and profitable small EC your looking at about 10 years of learning. It really doesn't stop there. More if you get into more complicated jobs or a bit less if you stick to basics like resi. You're really better off going to medical school for as much as you need to learn. At least if you finish medical school your about guaranteed a good income.
 

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Hey all I'm currently at an Electrical training school. Does anyone have any tips or advice for someone that is just getting into the NEC? More specifically things I should get familiar with to get licensed as an electrical contractor in NJ.
Few members did make few good points here and it will take time to get used to the NEC codes and study the NEC codes where you will be used it often.

for other area of NEC you can study it later once you get the main part thru.

I do not know how long it will take to get full EC license in NJ but Hackwork or others in that state will give you some info what it need to be done.

There is a multi tier ranking you have to " climb up " so you will start at Apperanice then Journeyperson then master or EC ( sometime called unlimited class ) so it will take time.
 

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The NEC would not be a fun book to read cover to cover. It could be absorbed better by studying the sections that apply to the work that you are currently doing. Any section that interests you should be studied also. If you have some special project upcoming, research the codes that are applicable.
It's a horrible book to read. I could only read a few pages at a time.
I may be the only person that started on page 1 and finished it. Once I finished, it made it much easier to find what you're looking for and eliminated some of the constant referrals to other sections like 250.

I use software called Chief Architect, I just finished the Reference Manual starting on page 1. Total was 1,410 pages, it took about 9 months.
 

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One thing I would encourage you to do is to not believe everything you hear when it comes to stuff like "It's required that we ......" It's amazing how many code myths and outright false information are out there. Always verify everything you hear by looking it up in the NEC. As an apprentice, the best and least confrontational way to do this is simply ask what code section it is so you can look it up and study it on your own. More often than not, you will find the "code" is fictional and your superiors will not be able to verify what they are "teaching" you.
 
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