Electricians are skilled tradespeople who have certification, training, safety training, experience and professional ability. Electricians work in the power and construction industries, and they may specifically specialize in areas of the field like installation, repair, maintenance, design, engineering, vehicle and industrial-scale electric work. Different types of electricians work in a vast array of professional functions where power needs are required. It is a fast-growing field across the nation as the job growth for electricians is expected to increase by 10% by 2028.
Indoor or Outdoor
The different types of electricians include many categories and specialties. To start with, there are two main types into which most electricians are in.
- Linemen (Outside Electricians) – Line electrical workers work outdoors installing and working on electric transmission systems and distribution systems. They work with very high voltages. Linemen make sure the electrical power from power plants goes to substations and, literally, down the line. These experts are equipped to work on high-voltage lines and components which means working with industrial, commercial and residential facilities and energy needs.
- Wiremen (Interior Electricians) – Wiremen are electricians who work inside homes, buildings and structures. They are generally working on electric jobs with lower voltages. Wiremen install, mount, repair and upkeep electrical systems within a structure for safe, reliable energy. This work can be in residential, commercial or industrial settings. Other power systems, for example, solar power systems, can also be part of what an electrician handles.
Certification Levels for an Electrician
There are three levels of accreditation for electric workers – these are apprentice, journeyman and master.
The initial step to becoming an electrician is entering and working through an apprenticeship program. Going into an apprenticeship typically requires a high school diploma. An apprentice goes through classroom studies for hundreds of hours before joining an experienced electrician in a company, commercial group or some type of apprentice partnership. After 3-6 years of work under a licensed electrician, then you can become an apprentice electrician.
Once an electrician is through with an apprenticeship, there is a test to become a journeyman electrician. At this point, you become licensed and a license can come from a local, state or federal body. Earning this certification allows an electrician to work independently, without supervision. A journeyman can then train new apprentices.
A master electrician is the highest licensed level. The requirement for a master varies by state. Most states have a minimum of about 4,000 hours of work as a journeyman to take an exam, then become a master electrician.
Master electricians work on complex projects, especially industrial or commercial projects. Master electricians may train journeyman electricians on these levels and scopes of projects.
Types of Electricians by Specialization
There are many fields or specializations of electricians. Each requires different experiences, knowledge and skill. Many require specific certifications. Some of these specializations are described here:
An industrial electrician is expert in installing, maintaining and repairing electric devices within industrial facilities such as a nuclear power plant, processing plants, manufacturing facilities and mines.
These kinds of electricians deal with complex systems and large, complicated machinery. Some technicians concentrate on safety and security and lights systems.
An industrial electrician will report to maintenance managers or center managers. In most cases, you are required to have years of apprenticeship job training prior to working in this field.
A residential electrician is responsible for work in residential settings such as houses, condos and apartments. These pros are knowledgeable about installing, maintaining, upgrading and fixing electrical systems for residential purposes.
As a residential electrical expert, other responsibilities may include working on home security systems, air conditioning and HVAC systems, household appliances and more systems related to or part of an electric system.
Like commercial electricians, jobs in the specialty often are working for a contractor or having your own business.
Work training integrates apprentice work with classroom education, under the supervision of a journeyman or master electrician. A residential electrician must pass state testing after going through the apprenticeship.
A commercial electrician knows about electrical systems for operation in offices, workplaces and commercial buildings.
A commercial electric expert may work on planning and designing power systems in the construction of new buildings. This requires experience and knowledge of local codes, regulations and public safety.
This electrical specialty can attract an expert who wants more challenging projects and different work. An electrician who wants to start their own business may go into commercial work.
Maintenance electricians are an essential part of residential, industrial and commercial electrical work. This specialty works on repair, maintenance, testing, troubleshooting, diagnostic and upgrade work on electrical equipment.
A maintenance electrician goes through an apprenticeship and on-the-job training experience before becoming licensed.
An auto electrician is an expert pro on electrical systems in cars and vehicles. These systems are necessary to safety and the overall functioning of vehicles these days. Along with being an electrical expert, this requires knowing vehicle diagnostics and a great deal more experience and education.
Safety and Conditions
All electricians must know and take safety precautions on every job. There is always a risk to injury while working with electricity and electrical components. Electricians receive safety training throughout their careers. Electricians are trained about important precautions such as:
- Using the correct tools
- Using personal protective gear
- Limits of approach
- Lockout and tagout procedures
Electricians’ work conditions can vary and be an added danger. The work is often physically demanding along with being mentally trying because of the need to pay attention to detail every second. The work often includes lifting items, using tools, climbing ladders, kneeling, bending, reaching and difficult weather conditions.
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