Commercial Electrician – Qualifications & Skills
A commercial electrician works on construction sites, commercial buildings and mechanical electrical systems, including installing, planning, designing, diagramming, and maintenance. The electrician may also work from blueprints provided by builders. Most commercial electricians complete system upgrades and troubleshoot systems to isolate problems caused by faulty wiring. A commercial electrician works only on non-residential projects.
There are essentially two main types of a commercial electrician – Journeymen electrician and Master electrician. A Journeymen electrician works primarily with mechanical connections, lighting installation, power supplies, security systems, communications, and overhead lines. Many of these jobs are in new commercial construction, utility companies, and manufacturing facilities. On completion of the apprenticeship, the electrician is qualified to take the Journeyman’s Electrical Exam and receive certification as a journeyman electrician, with the ability to work unsupervised on any type of electrical project.
The Master Electrician is more highly-skilled and may work in a supervisory role or own his own electrical contracting business. The certification requirement in most states for a Master electrician is seven years of experience as a commercial electrician or a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. The Master electrician must possess managerial skills in addition to knowledge about installation, repair, and maintenance of electrical systems. A Master commercial electrician will typically supervise laborers, apprentices and journeyman electricians on commercial jobs.
A Master electrician, in the role of an electrical contractor, generates bids for new commercial jobs, hires electricians to design, install, and maintain electrical systems, and provides materials to electricians. He will communicate with architects, electrical and building engineers, and customers to plan and complete the finished product.
The tools of the trade of a commercial electrician range from the common screwdriver to high-tech devices. Other than a few standard hand tools (pliers and knives), electricians use power tools, test meters, pipe threaders and conduit benders. More specific tools and devices for use by the commercial electrician are electrical test meters and ohmmeters, for use to ensure the continuity of the wiring, ascertain compatibility and safety of the components. These tests may be conducted during the installation of a new electrical system to ensure it’s in proper working order, or to locate shorts and system breaks. The commercial electrician repairs or replaces faulty wiring and conduits when necessary.
A high school diploma or equivalent is required in order to pursue training as a commercial electrician. It is beneficial to high school students to study algebra because as an electrician they must know how to make load calculations for circuitry. Some schools allow earned credits to count toward a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering.
Training programs for an electrician offer important coursework in the principles of hydraulics and pneumatics. Learning to use programmable logic controllers and magnetic motor controls during their training teaches students to install circuits, 1ø and 3ø motors and alarm systems, and how to process measurements and the differences between single and 3-phase power systems. Training may also include learning how to work with natural gas delivery systems.
Commercial electrical work can affect public safety so there are stringent requirements involved in obtaining a professional license. Most states require a license if you do any non-residential electrical installation. Before licensing, a commercial electrician must earn an Associate’s degree, or serve an apprenticeship under a master electrician. Some colleges offer an apprenticeship associate’s degree program.
A commercial electrician must be able to see and identify color since electrical wiring is often color-coded. Physical requirements are the ability to lift up to fifty pounds to eye level, to stand, climb ladders and remain in cramped or uncomfortable positions (crouching, kneeling) for long periods.
All Current Electric holds a high standard for the qualifications of its electricians. When you choose an All Current Electric commercial electrician, you’re always covered if something goes wrong. You are guaranteed that the contractor is insured, licensed, and bonded for complete insurance coverage including workers’ compensation with no liability to you.
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