Faculty Spotlight: Justin Roper - Cleveland Community College, Shelby, NC

Faculty Spotlight: Justin Roper

Instructor Justin Roper poses inside his teaching lab.

Justin Roper is a Cleveland County native, born and raised in Boiling Springs. He attended Crest High School and graduated Cleveland Community College with a degree in broadcasting.

During his time as a broadcasting student, Roper worked as senior editor and producer at Cleveland Headline News. Soon, he realized that to further his career in broadcasting he would have to move to a bigger city with a larger market. Unwilling to move at that time, Roper began considering other careers. He looked for job opportunities in which he could earn a good living and stay in his community. He also thought about what he liked to do. After some consideration, he decided to go back to CCC and pursue an Associate in Applied Science in Electrical Systems Technology. Because he liked working with his hands and had observed his uncle building a successful career in the electrical industry, he decided this could be a good fit for him. A few years later, his former instructor encouraged him to apply for a teaching position at CCC. He did and is now the electrical systems instructor. This will be his third year teaching.

In June of this year, Roper took the North Carolina Electrical Licensing Exam. In North Carolina, you must be licensed to work as an electrician. Before you are eligible to sit for the exam, you must have about two years of work experience. “I had been preparing and studying for that test for almost a year,” Roper says. “At six hours long and 100 questions, it is one of the most difficult exams that you can take in a vocational setting.” Roper passed on his first attempt and is now a licensed electrician. He plans to open his own electrical business, which he will operate on weekends and during the summer months.

Roper says what he likes most about teaching is the “light bulb moment,” that moment when the student finally understands the material and everything clicks. He encourages anyone interested to pursue a career as an electrician, but they need to understand “it is a marathon, especially if they want to become a licensed electrician.” First, come to CCC and take classes to learn the basics, get your foot in the door and get the hands-on experience. If you’re willing to run the marathon, Roper says, “It is a worthwhile career and one that is highly in demand.”