While most of us have a basic understanding of what an electrician does, things can seem a bit confusing when it comes to the specialized field. The truth is that there are tons of different types of electricians out there.
Some specialize in residential work, while others focus on commercial construction, industrial areas, and more. If you are interested in learning more about the different types of electricians, check out the information below.
We've investigated the range of duties electricians handle, the education required, salary expectations, and more...
There are many different ways to break down the different types of electricians, so let's start by dividing titles based on education.
There are a few different ways for electricians to enter the field. One option is to decide to pursue an associate's degree in electrical technology. These programs are offered at trade and technical institutions across the country and usually take about two years to complete.
However, there are other recreational options. Keep in mind that electricians do not need any kind of formal education to begin working in the field, but they do need some guidance. Individuals who are looking for a more direct entry into the trade should look for apprenticeship programs.
These four-year job training programs allow individuals to start working immediately as an electrician's assistant. As an apprentice, individuals will enjoy working under the supervision of an experienced professional in the field. They will gain the hands-on experience needed to advance their careers.
Upon completion of the apprenticeship program, individuals will be eligible to take an exam to become a Journeyman Electrician. This title means the individual is licensed and able to work unsupervised.
Master Electricians are individuals who have earned the highest electrical certification. These individuals, including women, are qualified to work on more complex projects and can supervise skilled electricians.
While requirements vary from state to state, Master Electricians are typically required to complete approximately 4,000 hours as a Journeyman Electrician and pass a licensing exam.
There are four areas of specialization to choose from when pursuing a career as an electrician. These titles include exterior operator, interior operator, installation technician and residential operator.
Outside linemen work outdoors on the transmission of power lines. They are responsible for ensuring that power lines are working properly and that electricity is properly distributed from generating facilities to end users.
These electrical contractors work in industrial, commercial and residential markets. High voltage linemen can work on high voltage lines hundreds of feet above the ground. This is one of the more physical areas in which an electrician can work.
Outside linemen must undergo extensive safety training, including ongoing training in climbing schools and performing high-angle rescues in case a co-worker is injured on the job.
These electricians are primarily responsible for field electrical wiring and distribution. This means they are responsible for connecting the customer's electrical equipment to the power source.
These contractors often help install conduit, lighting fixtures and electrical outlets. They may be called upon to inspect and maintain motors and equipment, or to install alarm systems or electrical control panels. They may also be expected to inspect, maintain and repair existing systems within a given facility.
Installation technicians work with in-house wiring technicians to install low-voltage cable networks for video, voice or data outlets. Although most of their work is performed indoors, they must often work in less than ideal conditions. For example, they may need to report to buildings that have not yet installed air conditioning or heating systems.
Similar to an inside operator, a residential operator is responsible for connecting a customer's electrical equipment to a power source. The similarities between the two titles mainly end there, as these electricians work to maintain the electrical systems in the home or perform other types of residential installations.
Residential wiring operators must keep up with technological advances in the residential market. They may be required to install computer networks, energy management systems, security systems, fire alarm systems, and electrical distribution systems for lights and outlets throughout the home.
Licensed electricians may also choose certain areas of specialization. They may decide to focus on residential, commercial, industrial, or maintenance work. You can find descriptions of some popular areas of specialization below.
Residential electricians are a fairly popular position in this field. These individuals are typically responsible for maintaining, troubleshooting and upgrading electrical systems within the home. This includes lighting, heating and cooling systems. Residential electricians will work in many residential settings, including houses, apartments, condos, and more. They can work independently or for an electrical contractor.
Commercial electricians perform similar duties to residential electricians, but work in commercial buildings. Depending on the number of people who frequent the workplace, commercial electricians must always keep public safety in mind. Commercial electricians may also be required to install office appropriate security systems, electronic systems, and heating and cooling systems.
You can find an industrial electrician working on large projects across industrial facilities such as factories, manufacturing facilities, and power plants. Industrial electricians work with the large mechanical and computer systems used to facilitate industrial processes. The electrical work required in these buildings will exceed that required in a commercial or residential setting.
Maintenance electricians must install, maintain and monitor electrical systems operating in plants and factories. They are responsible for performing routine inspections to check current equipment. Equipment in substandard operating conditions must be repaired or scheduled for replacement promptly.
Installation electricians install electrical systems in new buildings. This includes setting up all electrical equipment and wiring for lighting, heating and cooling, and security systems. They may divide their time between residential, commercial and industrial projects.
Construction electricians also perform electrical work in new buildings. These contractors must perform basic wiring and maintain extensive knowledge of building codes, safety procedures and similar topics.
Automotive electricians specialize in the installation and maintenance of many electrical systems in motor vehicles. These electricians may also rely on computer-based repair tools to complete a project. Workers must have a thorough understanding of vehicle diagnostics, performance electronics, powertrains and other aspects of motor vehicles.
Marine electricians are one of the rare specialties in the electrical industry and may be trained at a specialized trade or nautical school. Marine electricians typically work on jobs involving watercraft, such as small boats, ships, yachts and other marine equipment.
Highway system electricians, also known as highway electrical system electricians, are responsible for installing, maintaining, repairing and upgrading the electrical infrastructure used on roads, such as street lights, signs and traffic management systems. These individuals hold certifications and licenses that enable them to use the electronic equipment of the road system needed to maintain a safe and sustainable transportation system.
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