What Does an Electrical Contractor Do?

Electrical contractor testing a panel

Electricity is one of those things that too often gets taken for granted. Most people walk into their homes or their places of work, switch on the light, and proceed about their day.

What they probably didn’t realize at that moment, though, is that the energy system responsible for providing that light in their home or office requires a highly complicated procedure of installation and proper upkeep.

Beneath layers of drywall lie hundreds of wires working overtime to provide the power needed. Yet, even more notable is that each wire involves a complicated installation process and a specially licensed expert.

If you’ve ever been interested in a job as an electrical contractor — the person in charge of making sure all those hundreds of wires are installed and function properly —then you’ve come to the right place.

Read on for more information on what the job entails and the process of becoming one.

What is an Electrical Contractor?

Simply put, an electrical contractor is the business representative of a firm that conducts highly specialized construction work in the electrical category.

An electrical contractor might represent their firm or a larger business organization, but either way, the work goes beyond simply attending to the systems at hand. Importantly, their work will also entail designing, installing, and maintaining energy systems within a structure or group of facilities.

A lot of responsibility rests on the contractors' shoulders, as it is their job to ensure the effective and safe functioning of any energy and electrical system. They are expected to be fully knowledgeable about all safety requirements, construction codes, and technological updates about electrical wiring.

In today’s green market, making sure that construction is handled environmentally friendly tends to be a top priority for many contractors and construction firms. Electrical contracting work is no different, and more often than not, it also involves making sure all electrical systems are as environmentally friendly as possible.

Without electrical contractors, most communities would genuinely be left in the dark.

What’s the Difference Between an Electrical Contractor and an Electrician?

While someone from outside the industry might not think that the work of an electrical contractor differs significantly from that of an electrician, the fact is that they are distinct for fundamental reasons.

Electricians, like contractors, are thoroughly trained and properly licensed to conduct electrical work. They can install, repair and perform safety checks on all the working parts of an energy system.

A key difference, however, lies in whom they work for.

As discussed above, electrical contractors are typically associated with business owners or management-level employees. Electricians, on the other hand, almost always work for themselves.

Though they tend to work as individuals, that does not indicate that electricians are in any way unsupervised in their training. Electricians usually undergo intense apprenticeships, on top of trade school programs, before setting off their own.

Somewhere in their licensing process, whether in their apprenticeship or in their time as a journeyman, electricians must choose what type of electrical expert they’d like to be.

Since such contractors are expected to oversee and manage all systems' installation, repair, and function within any given structure, their knowledge must be all-encompassing.

To ensure that a contractor is prepared for the full scope of work, they must undergo a highly involved general exam and licensing procedure. Many contractors study for a significant amount of time to be fully prepared for the licensing exam with the help of prep classes and other test resources.

If a contractor wishes to take their career one step further and pursue a project manager position, further coursework and preparation are required.

The role of an electrical project manager is similar to that of an electrical contractor, with the added duties of project planning, budget oversight, and resource distribution. They are the go-to person should a client have a question or concern, so they must know the business and the science inside and out.

The Bottom Line:

A career as an electrical contractor can be exciting, lucrative, and fulfilling. It offers lots of opportunities for hands-on labor while also building on careful management and people skills.

A contractor position of this sort is ideal for workers who want to embark on a long-term career with lots of growth potential while still maintaining their construction roots.

The licensing and exam process is the only thing between an interested energy enthusiast and the invigorating career of their dreams.

Checking out the exam prep resources offered by Contractor Training Center is a significant first step for any newly interested or existing electrical contractor.

Reach out today or take a look at our step-by-step guide to becoming an electrical contractor!

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