What Does an Electrical Contractor Do?

An electrical contractor installs and repairs wiring systems. These contractors typically use power tools like saws, drills and industrial staple guns to create spaces in stud walls to run wires. They also use voltmeters and ohmmeters to test their work.

Unlike journeymen electricians, electrical contractors can handle the entire project planning process, including building permits and resource allocation. These contractors often have a significant network of contacts they can draw upon for business opportunities.
Job Duties

Electrical contractors handle the bigger picture of a construction project that includes planning, electrical design and major installations/upgrades. They must have critical thinking skills to evaluate challenges and find solutions. For example, if there is a power outage they must identify the source of the problem and create plans to safely intervene.

During the planning phase of a project, electrical contractors review the blueprints to locate all of the building’s wiring needs. They typically then meet with the general contractor or building owner to discuss any special electrical requirements that need to be taken into consideration for the project.

An effective electrical contractor must have good organisational skills to maintain their tools and work efficiently. They must also be able to communicate effectively with clients and other members of the team. Finally, electrical contractors must adhere to strict safety standards at all times when working on a construction site. Otherwise, they may be at risk of being seriously injured.
Education and Training Requirements

The educational requirements for electrical contractors vary by state. Some require a minimum of four years of experience and 240 hours of formal training. Others allow one year of experience to substitute for 80 hours of education. Some states offer contractor licensing courses through online or classroom study, and some offer exams to help candidates prepare.

National certifications are also available for electricians, allowing them to demonstrate their expertise in specific aspects of electrical work. These certifications can enhance job prospects or lead to higher pay.

Independent electrical contractors may need to manage their own business, including obtaining customers and managing records and finances. This can be challenging, especially for newer contractors who have not yet established a reputation for reliable work. They may also face health and safety risks, such as electrocution, back injuries, and musculoskeletal disorders. Keeping equipment organised and well-maintained can help minimise these hazards.
Working Conditions

Depending on the field, working conditions for electrical contractors can be challenging. They may work in confined spaces or on construction sites. It is also common for electrical contractors to be exposed to a wide range of hazards, including electrical shock and burns. They are also exposed to musculoskeletal disorders, back injuries, and automobile-related incidents.

To help prevent injuries, it is critical that electrical contractors follow all safety-related work practices and policies set forth by their employers. It is also essential that they use personal protective equipment rated for the amount of incident energy they will be exposed to when performing work on energized circuits or equipment. Ideally, it is safer to work on de-energized systems and equipment whenever possible. However, in some cases this is not feasible or introduces additional hazards, so other requirements must be followed such as following a permit to work procedure and using lockout/tagout procedures. The National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) has developed a standing policy on safety programs that includes basic safety principles and philosophies.
Job Outlook

There are a variety of benefits associated with being an independent electrical contractor. These include flexibility and professional growth opportunities. However, this career path requires a keen attention to detail and knowledge of the various types of electrical systems and devices.

The job outlook for an electrical contractor is bright, with the profession experiencing faster-than-average job growth compared to other trade occupations. This is due to a combination of factors, including the end of the recession and the continuing need for building construction.

The day-to-day tasks of an electrical contractor vary depending on their specialty and whether they are called in to service new or existing structures. Those who are brought in before the structure is built may be expected to identify the ideal system based on the client’s requirements, while those who are asked to inspect and repair already-installed systems will need to be aware of any upgrades or changes that might be needed.

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