Different types of electricians explained

If you own a home, you’ve probably had to hire an electrician at some point to install new lighting or to repair your power lines after a bad storm.

Electricians are licensed and skilled craftsmen responsible for the installation, maintenance and repair of electrical systems and devices. But did you know there are several different types of licensed electricians with varying degrees of expertise and specialization?

Electrician types explained:

Residential electricians install, maintain and upgrade electrical equipment in apartments and houses. They may also install outdoor landscape lighting.

Training combines formal classroom instruction with an apprenticeship which usually involves at least four years of work under the supervision of experienced electricians. A residential electrician must pass rigorous state testing at the end of the apprenticeship program.

Commercial electricians work on construction sites, in commercial buildings and on mechanical electrical systems. Most commercial electricians perform some installation work, which may involve water heaters, commercial security systems and electronic key systems.

They also complete system upgrades and troubleshoot systems to isolate problems caused by faulty wiring. Before licensing, a potential commercial electrician must work under a master electrician. Standards are stringent because commercial electric work can affect public safety.

Journeymen electricians work with mechanical connections, lighting installation, power supplies, security systems and communications in both residences and commercial buildings. A journeyman electrician may also work on overhead lines.

Many of these electricians work in construction, though some work for utility companies or manufacturing plants. Upon completion of an apprenticeship program, an electrician may take the Journeyman’s Electrical Exam. After passing the exam, the electrician receives certification as a journeyman electrician and may work on any type of electrical system unsupervised. The journeyman may also train apprentices working toward certification.

Master electricians are highly skilled electricians who generally work in a supervisory role or own contracting businesses. Many states require seven years of experience as an electrician or a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering for certification as a master electrician.

In addition to knowledge about installation, repair and maintenance of electrical systems, a master electrician must possess managerial skills. Master electricians typically supervise a staff of laborers, apprentices and journeyman electricians on residential and commercial jobs.

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Since the days of Thomas Edison, the practical applications of electricity have become exponentially more complex. Becoming an electrician requires extensive training and continuing education to keep up with technology that changes constantly.

Comments

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I am an electrician with licenses in three states and 25 years experience and the description above is possibly the most misleading description I have ever heard. There are two licences for electricians in most states, a Master's and a journeyman's The exams for both are based on the National Electrical Code (although some states do have amendments to this code. While it is true that some electricians specialize in commercial,industrial, residential etc.... they take the same type of exams to get their licenses. A journeyman's license is generally looked at in the trade as a working license, Where a Master's License is generally considered to be a business or contractor's license. A journeyman can generally work on his own with no supervision but cannot own a business in which he hires other electricians to work under him. With a Master's license you can enter into your own business and hire as many electrician's as you need to work for you. There is a ratio that any master owning a business has to adhere to though and that is you cannot have more apprentices working for you than licensed electricians (masters or journeymen). This holds true on any jobs on which you are working. A master electrician who owns his own business can employ as many other masters or journeyman as he chooses.

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