An electrical contractor is a person or company that is hired to install, design, or maintain communication and electrical systems for commercial, residential, or industrial use.
An electrician can work independently as an electrician contractor or he can be on the staff of an electrical contracting company. Licensure is required by most states and the tests and credentials are different for electricians and contractors.
Familiarize yourself and find out your State license requirements before you proceed.
A college degree is not a requirement, but a long period of qualified training is necessary that combines on the job training in the form of an apprenticeship and classroom study. Basic training takes about five years to complete. After that, there are areas of specialization for further training and certifications.
Electrician contractors work in a variety of environments. Inside electrician contractors are responsible for designing, installing, and maintaining electrical systems inside buildings and structures. Outside electrical contractors work with power distribution lines, power plants, and substations. Integrated building systems or voice/data/video electrician contractors work with low voltage systems such as back-up power, telecommunications, security systems, climate controls, wireless networks, and fiber optics.
Because electrician contractors must also manage the business side of the company whether they work solo or have many employees, additional training is beneficial. Skills such as strategic planning, project finance, and business management must be learned.
Classes or even degrees in fields such as construction management, business, or engineering could be beneficial to the growth of a successful new electrical contracting company.
It is important to know however, that a college degree alone is not enough to qualify for this profession. You have to have electrician license. several years of hands-on training must be completed as an apprentice. The apprentice works under a skilled electrician and learns the trade as he actually performs on the job skills. An apprentice usually begins with a limited skill set and does only minor jobs at first, but as his knowledge grows, so do his responsibilities.
Apprenticeship training is a formal undertaking, done through a qualified employer and overseen by governing bodies. This ensures all students learn the necessary skills and safety procedures to work in their profession. By learning through an approved apprenticeship, it also ensures the student is eligible to sit for the licensing exam.
During the five years of training to become an electrician contractor, students must also take required classes that may or may not transfer to college credits depending upon the school. These classes instruct on theory, calculations, code requirements, and proper use of tools. Combined with the on the job training, students will learn how to read blueprints, design systems, and install all manner of cables and electrical systems.
Electrician contractor jobs are a good choice when job security and salary are important considerations. Homes, buildings, and industry always need electrical work, even during times of a down economy. Electrician contractors perform important jobs in the community and keep vital services in operation so everyone can live better and more productive lives. For that reason, this career also has a high degree of job satisfaction. Job satisfaction, job diversity, high pay, good benefits, and job security are all great reasons to pursue a career as an electrical contractor.