Low-voltage electrical work involves the installation, repair or maintenance of wiring or electrical equipment that uses 70 volts of electricity or less. Typically, low-voltage electrical work involves fire alarms or landscape lighting. In Texas, landscapers working with outdoor, low-voltage lighting do not require a license. To install or work with fire alarms, a fire alarm technician license or superintendent license is necessary.

Technician License

The fire alarm technician license in Texas allows the license holder to sell, install, certify, service and monitor fire alarms in commercial and residential properties. To qualify for the license, a candidate must pass a criminal background check and take tests on Texas’ rules and regulations regarding fire alarms and low-voltage electricity. The candidate must also complete an application, available from the Texas State Fire Marshal’s office, and pay a fee of $120 (as of May 2011).

Residential Superintendent License

A residential superintendent fire alarm license holder in Texas can sell, plan, install, certify, service and monitor alarm systems only in one- and two-family residential buildings. A criminal background check is required. Candidates must take the two examinations required for the technician license and a third test on more advanced topics that deal with residential alarms. All applicants must complete an application form and pay a fee of $120 (as of May 2011).

Planning Superintendent License

With a planning superintendent fire alarm license in Texas, a license holder can perform all of the tasks of a fire alarm technician and plan fire alarm systems in both residential and commercial buildings. The planning superintendent credential involves a criminal background check and a test on Texas laws regarding fire alarms. Candidates must be certified in fire alarm technology by the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies, or NICET. The certification involves passing a series of four tests. Prospective planning superintendents must complete an application and pay a fee of $120 (as of May 2011).

Test Description

All examinations for low-voltage fire alarm licensing in Texas are multiple-choice and taken using a computer. The exams for the technician and residential planning licenses are taken at Thomson Prometric testing centers in Texas. Candidates must receive a minimum score of 70 percent to pass the examinations. For the NICET examinations, prospective fire alarm superintendents must take the exam at Pearson Vue testing centers. Minimum scores for the latter tests vary according to level.