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What’s the Difference between An Electrical Contractor and An Electrician?

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computer board with laserWhen you have an electrical problem or power need, it is important to understand whom you should call for maintenance or in an emergency situation. Many people don’t know the difference between an electrician and an electrical contractor because the terms themselves are very vague. Here are the differences between the two so that you will feel educated next time you need electrical work done in your home or office.

An electrician refers to the individual worker who will come to your home when an electrical issue arises. These individuals are able to install electrical equipment into a facility. They are also able to repair any malfunctioning or broken electrical appliances and fixtures. They are knowledgeable in using a variety of tools necessary to work with electrical fixtures and wiring. They use blueprints frequently so as to understand how wiring is set up behind walls and throughout a building. They need to be able to ensure that wiring is set up properly and safely so that the electrical wiring cannot potentially become a hazard. To become a licensed electrician, individuals need to pass a very rigorous licensure exam. This requires a strong background in mathematics and logic. The exam is difficult because electricians need to have a very analytical mindset and must be able to make important decisions extremely quickly, and often under pressure. In addition, electricians must have a deep understanding and knowledge of how electricity works as well as electrical circuits. An electrician learns a lot of this information from an apprenticeship, which is where most electricians begin their work. They learn skills from an experienced, licensed electrician who is willing to take them along with them as they do their work. This opportunity gives future electricians real-life, hands on experience on the job every day. Usually an apprenticeship will last about 4 years before an electrician will feel comfortable enough to work independently, on his or her own.

An electrician is different than an electrical contractor. An electrical contractor is meant for a businessperson involved with electricity needs or an electrical firm or company. Electrical contractors employ individual electricians to work for their organization, even if it is an individual businessperson who oversees other electricians. An electrical contractor usually specializes in a specific type of electrical work and often works on larger projects with many aspects and details involved. This includes outdoor lines for electricity, indoor electricity for buildings, or integrated building systems, which deals with fiber optics, telecommunication, or other data services.

While you may not need to know the difference between an electrician and an electrical contractor when you need help choosing the right air conditioner filter, you will need to know when you have an electrical emergency or maintenance need. Being able to understand the difference between an electrician and an electrical contractor will help you search for the right person for a job. If you have a problem in your home, you would likely call an electrician, while if you are in the process of building a new office, you would hire an electrical contractor to take care of the whole electricity project in the building. Knowing the difference will ensure you sound like an educated consumer and get the service you need!

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