Commercial vs Residential vs Industrial

Commercial vs Residential vs Industrial

If you’re all charged up to become an electrician, but are wondering about your options, look no further. Generally, there are three types of electricians and we’ve provided some details about the three below.

Commercial Electricians

A commercial electrician is the guy or gal that makes sure commercial buildings have the proper wiring. They are up on all the commercial electrical codes and are adept at installing wiring for specialized lighting and security systems. They work mainly on larger projects such as large retail stores, office buildings, apartment complexes and other properties that require larger electrical systems.

Residential Electricians

Residential electricians are the ones you call when your breaker box is acting funny at your house, or you need to make changes to your electrical circuits. Residential electricians are just as they sound, they wire homes and smaller buildings. They are also experienced in installing specialized wiring for lighting, alarm systems, home control panels and other items a homeowner might want.

Industrial Electricians

Factories, plants, and manufacturing operations often have complex electrical systems and equally complicated equipment to keep the business in operation. This calls for a specialized electrician to make sure everything is working properly. Industrial electricians are trained to know how to install, troubleshoot and repair not only the structural electrical systems of these operations but the machinery that runs in the businesses, as well.

Educational Requirements

All three paths require a person to have a high school diploma or GED to be admitted into a program. To become a journeyman electrician, a person is required to complete some classroom training as well as at least four years of an apprenticeship, which includes a large portion of on-the-job training. It is during this time that an aspiring electrician can decide which of the three areas is of the most interest. After completing all training and apprenticeships, the new journeyman electrician can start working, but many continue on to become master electricians because they want to be able to work on their own and manage a group of electricians if needed. Going from journeyman to master electrician requires several more years of both classroom and in-field training,

Pay Differences

According to, industrial electricians make the most of the three, coming in at an average hourly rate just under $25. Residential and Commercial electricians make slightly less per hour, both just under $22 an hour. It makes sense that the industrial electrician makes more because they are often required to learn about specialized wiring and machinery, an extra step a commercial or residential electrician might not have to take.

Choosing Between the Three

If you’re trying to decide which of the electrician fields you want to pursue, think about what you enjoy most. If you like working with machinery and factory equipment and want to learn more about how large electrical systems work such as in a power plant, then industrial is worth a look. If you’re one of those people who want to use circuitry to create new and innovative lighting and display projects, or you enjoy the feeling of working on a project from start to finish and moving on to the next gig, either residential or commercial electrical work may be ideal for you.

Whether you want to read blueprints and determine the best electrical system to be installed, create specialized lighting systems for living rooms or you like making sure the new grocery store has all the power it needs, you can’t go wrong in choosing to become an electrician. There will always be a demand for people to help keep the machines running and the lights on.

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