All electrical contractors are electricians, but they don’t play the same role. Some may specialize in a particular type of electrical service and others may do a mix. All work in this category, whether residential, commercial or industrial, is subject to various licensing and regulatory requirements. There are licensing boards for some types of electricians, but many of them must meet training and experience requirements before getting on the job.
For example, construction projects require the services of commercial electricians. On the other hand, the type of work typically required in the residential setting, such as wiring a home, is better left to a residential electrician. Industrial electrical works tend to be more complicated than commercial-based projects and should be handled by industrial electricians.
Understanding their Unique Roles
While most electrical contractors can undertake any project, regardless of the setting, specific guidelines govern each sub-category, whether it be residential, commercial or industrial. In addition to meeting the appropriate training and experience requirements, electricians must be licensed to perform the type of work they are hired to do.
Residential electricians specialize in smaller residential projects. They focus on a single home or multiple apartments that require basic electrical works, like wiring, fixtures, and repairs. These contractors are a good choice for those who don’t want to take on a large project. Unlike other types of electricians, the licence requirements for home electricians are basic and straightforward. Ideally, they work on projects with less electrical demands and setup.
Commercial electricians are the big-time guys. They specialize in larger-than-residential projects, which could include offices, shopping malls, airports, schools, warehouses, and even an entire community. A commercial electrician would be required to specialize in the commercial field, be equipped to handle commercial systems and work on more demanding projects. These electricians also have to be registered with a board and be licensed to work within the commercial sector. Their roles include electrical maintenance and repair, installation on construction sites, or large-scale power generating plants.
Industrial electricians are at the top of the pyramid. They are the workhorse electricians, handling a wide array of projects that include manufacturing, power generation and distribution, and infrastructure services, to name a few. They may do some of the same things as commercial electricians, but they do so on a more extensive level.
These are the best electricians to work on large-scale electrical projects because of their skillset and experience. They mostly operate in the industrial sector where manufacturing takes place. An example of this setting is a steel production factory or an auto assembly plant that uses complex electrical systems and large amounts of power.
Training and Roles of Each Electrician Type
Residential electricians are familiar with the electrical requirements and codes for repairs, maintenance, and installation within a home. They collaborate with homeowners, buyers and sellers. Commercial electricians are similar, but they must be knowledgeable in the areas of construction, building maintenance, and energy. Industrial electricians work on power generation and infrastructure services within a wide array of industrial areas. It includes power generation and distribution, manufacturing, and infrastructure.
Residential electricians must undergo an apprenticeship. Experiential training is another requirement. In this regard, residential work experience must range from 8 to 10,000 hours. Successful completion of the residential electrical test is also required. Some states may have additional requirements.
- Electrical home safety evaluations
- Repairing and testing electrical outlets, small appliances, and lighting fixtures
- Wire installation, repair, and maintenance including sorting and trimming cables
- Repairing and testing electrical circuits
- General upkeep and maintenance of household electrical systems
- Installing electrical service equipment
Obtaining a license as a commercial electrician takes a long time. The entire process could take six years. It takes four years to complete the basic apprenticeship program, which includes at least 8,000 hours of on-the-job training plus 500 hours of classroom training. There is also a licensing exam. And that's just the beginning. It takes additional coursework, exams, and certifications to be promoted from a journeyman electrician to a master electrician.
- Installing and maintaining electrical systems and wiring
- Overseeing electrical system design for construction commercial buildings and structures
- Interpreting and implementing electrical drawings
- Troubleshooting and repairing faulty electrical systems and wiring
- Inspecting electrical components and wiring, and ensuring they comply with national, state and local electrical codes and guidelines
- Supervising other electrical professionals and educating trainees
In the industrial electrician field, interested persons must have a GED or equivalent education. It doesn't stop there, though. A minimum of four years of apprenticeship is a must. After passing the Journeyman Exam, they practice under a master electrician. To become a master electrician, they must pass the Master Electrician Exam. This is one step to becoming a supervisor or foreman. Additional educational courses and industry certifications would be required as well.
- Overseeing programmable automated systems
- Troubleshooting industrial electrical problems
- Handling electrical wire replacement and motor lubrication
- Keeping circuit boards clean
- Installing, maintaining, and repairing heavy-duty equipment and industrial communications
- Installing and maintaining industrial lighting systems, pumps, and regulating components
- Servicing high-voltage systems, generating plants, and motors
- Providing electrical grounding
- Testing and inspecting electronic equipment
- Conducting installations, repairs, and maintenance of fixtures, cables, and conduits
- Understanding electrical blueprints, specifications, and codes
Who Earn the Most?
Residential electricians income per month sits at $3,831 on average, compared to $3,979 for commercial electricians. Industrial electricians make the most money in this field, earning $4,712 per month. These earnings differ based on skills, location, experience, portfolio, and other factors.
When it comes to finding the ideal electrician, there are various variables to consider. First and foremost, the type of contract will define which electrician should be hired. Construction projects, for example, need the services of a commercial electrician. Other elements that will indicate whether or not an electrician is suitable for the position include academic qualifications, certification, and experience.
In light of these considerations, personal research should be a priority. Request recommendations from friends, family, and neighbours, and learn about each electrician's work and credentials. This makes it simple to select someone who is a good fit for the job and budget.