Electrical Contractor: The Training Required for the Job
Electrical contractors comprise a section of the industry and their work essentially revolves around providing new electrical installations, power, light and communications to the domestic as well as the commercial and industrial sector. Electrical contractor can be an individual or a firm and they provide all the services related to installing new wiring systems to maintenance of pre existing systems. They differ from electricians in only one respect; electricians can be hired by the contractors and their licenses differ. In the United States the electrical contracting industry has an estimated value of $ 130 billion annually. They have over 70,000 electrical contractors and they provide employment for over 750,000 electrical workers.
Electrical contractors are classified according to the kind of service they provide; based on which there are three types:
1. Outside or line contractors – They are responsible for high voltage power transmissions and distribution lines. Line contractors ensure that the power generated at a power plant is securely carried through a series of high voltage lines before it is used to power any facility.
2. Inside electrical contractors – They are responsible for providing electricity to any structure within a property’s boundary line. This includes outdoor lighting and substations. They serve as the prime contractors who are responsible for all installations, maintenance and designs of all cables and electrical. They work for the commercial, institutional and residential sectors.
3. Integrated Building Systems (IBS) contractors – They are responsible for low voltage installations like back up power, wireless network, climate control, telecommunications, fiber optics, security systems and efficient lighting.
Now the major part of their training equals the ones of the electricians. However, their main focus remains on original installations rather than repairing systems. According to the data provided by the government it employs a major part of the population and there may be a hike in the employment opportunities by a major 12% by the year 2018. Therefore, if this is a field that interests you and you may want to opt for it in the long run as a stable career, then here are a few details which may help you take the final decision:
This field does not strictly require college level education. The main requirement is high school education, which is more than enough for you to move into this field even as an apprentice. However, certain organizations may demand a formal college education while hiring, depending on the position of the available job. Therefore, it is better to get post high school training from a technical institute or even to complete community college, just to keep all options open.
If electrical contractor is the field you have elected for yourself, then apprenticeship is a compulsory step. You will have to finish your high school or community college or technical institute and then apply for apprenticeship. The process for applying happens through unions. The unions place you with senior electricians and you also receive payment for the training process. Now, the training involves both theory classes and also practical work which comes from on the job training. According to the regulations of most states the time required to move on to become a journeyman is about four years. Which means only after four years of apprenticeship, the individual can become a journeyman.
The license required by the electrical contractor varies from that of the usual repair electrician, essentially because it reflects the difference between the two jobs. You may require additional training and experience along with your apprenticeship to become an electrical contractor. This additional experience and knowledge reflects the shift of the job focus. There may even be a requirement to fulfill a certain number of hours at both commercial and residential areas to apply for the license of an electrical contractor.
Business ventures sound like the most lucrative and successful prospect, but that is only if you can get it right. Being an electrical contractor and having a business are two very different things. Business is completely different ball game; therefore, if you want to establish your own firm you will have to learn the tricks of the trade. You can never guarantee that you will make profit, because of which you need to have knowledge of how business functions, apart from your regular contractor experience, in order to make it a successful project. Business is a risk which requires immense capital but if you can succeed then your finances will only moving in the upward direction.
Electrical contractors provide the world with invaluable services which guarantees communication and connectivity. Their importance cannot be undermined at all. Therefore, if this is the career option you have elected for yourself then you are definitely on the right track. With the growing rate of employment of this industry, job prospects will never fail to meet your expectations.