If you are planning home improvements and you aren’t sure if you need an electrician, or an electrical contractor or the difference between the two, then let us help you figure it out. The term “electrician” is pretty broad and that can be the guy who rewires your recessed lighting to the guy who strings the powerlines outside. Let’s breakdown for you the different types of electricians and what their job entails.
Electrician or Electrical Contractor
Let’s start with the difference between an electrician and an electrical contractor. An electrical contractor is a company that works with electrical systems, and that can be residential, commercial or industrial. The electrician is the guy hired by the electrical contractor who does the actual work. Both have to be licensed by the state and carry insurance. Now when it comes to electricians that work for companies there are typically three different types:
- Apprentice: These are electricians at the beginning of their career, just starting out and learning on the job and in the classroom. They are supervised by qualified electricians and the apprentice period can last three to five years. They do earn a salary during this time but they are the lowest paid.
- Journeymen: These are more experienced electricians and they have a different type of license, they work with cable systems and wire new buildings.
- Project Supervisors: These electricians have the most experience and they oversee big projects. They make sure that the environment is safe, the job is done to industry standards and that project deadlines are met.
The Scope of Services they Provide
Electrical contractors all specialize in different types of work and if you’re looking to hire an electrician or electrical contractor then you need to make sure they are the right type. Here is a breakdown of the different types of work that they do.
- Outside Workers: These electricians are also called line workers and they work on the power lines that deliver electricity from your local power plant to your home.
- Inside Workers: These are the electricians that are responsible for the wiring inside of a structure. They are the residential electricians that work on your home, commercial electricians that work on office buildings and the electricians that wire institutions like hospitals or government buildings.
- Low Voltage Electricians: These types of electricians are more specialized and work with audio and video systems, wireless networks, lighting, and communication systems.
Most people deal with residential electricians, but regardless of the type of electricity that they work with they must still be licensed by the state. That ensures that any electrician you hire will have the credentials you need.