Commercial electricians generally work on the installation, repair and maintenance of electrical equipment and wiring in medium to large scale buildings, such as factories, schools, hospitals and so on, as well as on building projects. A non-commercial electrician tends to work on smaller projects, like household work.
All electricians are required to be licensed before they can carry out any electrical installations. Homeowners may legally do electrical installations in their own home, but this is not recommended on safety grounds. Badly installed electrical wiring or equipment can be a deadly hazard.
The type of work commercial electricians carry out can vary quite a lot. Depending on how many years of experience they have, they may be involved in the planning of large-scale electrical installations, including drawing up diagrams of electrical systems. Newly qualified electricians will usually be employed to interpret plans drawn up by a more qualified electrician, and installing the systems that the plans define.
During his or her training, an electrician will be taught how to understand and prepare circuit diagrams. There will be an element of physics involved in the training so that the electrician can calculate the electrical loads and know what type of cables, switches and panels to install.
An electrician will learn how to use various devices for testing equipment and current, such as ohmmeters and other test meters. The commercial electrician will use the devices to ensure that everything is working correctly, or to track down faults. Once faults have been traced, he or she will have the skills to repair the faults and get the equipment working again.
Can anybody become a commercial electrician?
People wanting to become commercial electricians will have to be accepted on to a recognised training course, and most such courses will only accept candidates who have the ability to understand the concepts. Colourblind people may not be accepted, since color-coding of wiring is critical. In addition, the nature of the work can be physically demanding, so people in poor health or with serious disabilities may not be accepted.
Trainee electricians normally undergo a mixture of classroom and on-the-job training. Many aspiring electricians undertake courses in electrical training before applying for electrical apprenticeships. Such courses are offered by vocational educational institutions, and some courses can be accessed online.
Electricians may be employed directly by a business, such as a manufacturing plant, that needs them on site, or they may be employed by electrical contractors with a roving brief, responding to the needs of individuals or other businesses. There is normally an interview process before a job is offered, so a prospective candidates will need to have good interpersonal skills as well as electrical know-how.
Because so many industries rely on electrical equipment to function properly, there is a strong demand for qualified commercial electricians.