15 Ways on How to Become a Commercial Electrician

Commercial electrician: If you’re technically adept and interested in providing a service that helps the modern world go round, consider becoming an electrician. Licensed, or master, electricians are highly trained technicians whose responsibilities include everything from replacing an electrical outlet to wiring a newly constructed house or building. This article provides information on the work of an electrician, the educational and training requirements for becoming an electrician, and how to get your license.

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Commercial electrician

Commercial electrician: BusinessHAB.com

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1. What is a commercial electrician?

A commercial electrician is a type of electrician who installs, repairs and updates electrical systems and other electrical components like transformers, receptacles, lighting and generators in commercial buildings. Some of these buildings include office parks, school buildings, hotels or resorts, retail stores, industrial facilities and other buildings used for commerce.

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2. Understand what the job entails.

Electricians work in a variety of settings, including homes, businesses, schools, hospitals – any type of facility that needs electricity to function. Electricians may find themselves working in extremes of heat and cold, indoors and out any time of year. Electricians may also perform electrical work on trains, airplanes, ships and vehicles. Electricians’ work includes the following:

  • Reading blueprints, or technical diagrams of a work site’s electrical wiring.
  • Connecting wires, circuit breakers, and outlets, and replacing or adding wires, circuit breakers, connections, and fuses.
  • Using specialized equipment, including oscilloscopes, ammeters, ohmmeters and voltmeters, to perform their work.
  • Working as part of a team in coordination with the construction project manager, homeowner, or building manager of a work site.
  • Knowing and following building codes and regulations to ensure buildings are wired safely.

Commercial electrician

3. Have an aptitude for electrical work.

Electricians are adept at diagnosing problems and using good judgement and the right techniques to solve them. Electricians have the following traits:

  • They are detail-oriented. Electricians know that glossing over details in a wiring project could at best result in non-functioning wiring, and at worst create a dangerous situation.
  • They have strong manual dexterity. Electricians work with small tools and parts that must be handled with care and precision. They often have to climb ladders or enter crawl spaces to perform their jobs.
  • They are flexible. Electricians are comfortable working at many different sites, under a variety of conditions. They are able to effectively communicate with managers and members of construction teams.

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4. Talk to electricians.

If you’re serious about becoming a licensed technician, contact electricians in your area and set up informational interviews.

  • Ask if you can shadow them or help out on a project to experience a day in the life of a technician.
  • Seek a master or licensed electrician willing to take you on as a longer-term helper. This will give you the opportunity to gain some knowledge and experience in the field.
  • Ask for recommendations on trade schools and certification programs in your area.

5. Obtain a high school diploma or General Equivalency Diploma (GED).

Most electrician trade schools and apprenticeship programs require this level of education.

Commercial electrician

6. Attend a trade school or vocational school.

The courses offered at trade and vocational schools provide important preparation for entering an electrician apprenticeship program.

  • You’ll learn about electrical theory, circuitry, mathematics, wiring, motor controls and other knowledge important to the trade.
  • Consider taking electrical engineering courses online as an alternative to taking them at a local college or university.
  • Some electrician programs include an apprenticeship program. You will have to complete an apprenticeship program in order to get certified, so a combined coursework/apprenticeship program might be a convenient option.

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7. Enter an electrician apprentice program.

Most states require at least two years, and in most cases up to four years, of apprenticeship with a master or licensed electrician before one can take the examination to become a licensed electrician. During an apprenticeship, one earns the title of journeyman electrician. Many apprenticeships combine hands-on experience with classroom instruction.

8. Some organizations that sponsor or provide apprentice programs through local chapters include:

  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
  • National Electrical Contractors Association
  • Independent Electrical Contractors Association
  • Associated Builders and Contractors

Commercial electrician

9. Study the National Electrical Code.

In order to get licensed to work as an electrician in most states, you will have to demonstrate knowledge of the National Electrical Code, which lays out laws, regulations and other information about safe practices.

  • After you receive your license, most states will require continued study of the National Electrical Code. You may have to attend seminars or classes addressing updates to the Code.

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10. Get a state license.

Most states require that you get a state license in order to practice as an electrician. The license is granted after taking an exam to demonstrate knowledge of the National Electrical Code and local electrical and building codes. In order to take the exam:

  • Candidates must show proof of working as an electrician and having completed an apprenticeship program. State requirements typically call for four to seven years’ experience in the trade prior to taking this test.
  • You must complete an examination application and submit appropriate fees before taking the exam.

11. Find a job.

Now that you have your state license, you are free to work as an electrical contractor in your state. Choose to work with a company of contractors or operate independently.

  • Job search websites have comprehensive job listings in the field of electrical work.
  • Go to job fairs to talk with companies hiring electricians.

Commercial electrician

12. Get certified.

Choose from a variety of specialized certifications to enhance your career. Certifications vary by state and will help you pursue work as an electrical administrator, a telecommunications contractor, or a specialist in an area like instrumentation.

  • Conduct research to determine what certificates may be beneficial to your career as an electrician.
  • To obtain certification, you will have to demonstrate experience and proficiency in the area you choose by taking an examination.

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13. Job responsibilities

Due to differences in their work environments and areas of specialty, residential electricians and commercial electricians have differing job responsibilities. Here are some examples:

14. Working with different voltages:

One way that residential electricians and commercial electricians vary in their job responsibilities is the size of the voltage systems they install, repair or maintain. Residential electricians typically work with high voltage systems between 120 volts and 240 volts that supply homes with electrical power. In comparison, commercial electricians can work with extra high voltage systems that exceed 240 volts for large commercial buildings.

15. Working with different wiring systems:

 Commercial electricians work with larger wiring systems with tube conduits that work well for large commercial spaces and power supplies. In contrast, residential electricians work with much smaller wiring systems with plastic sheathing, and these wiring systems fit into crawl spaces, out of view of homeowners.

Commercial electrician

16. Working with different quality systems:

Residential electricians and commercial electricians may have different policies to adhere to when it comes to providing safe, quality electrical services. For example, commercial electricians often need to establish backup power sources for important commercial buildings like hospitals, law enforcement facilities, medical laboratories and grocery stores.

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17. More tips

  • Check requirements in your state before seeking to become a licensed electrician. Some states might require a special license for different types of electrical work, such as industrial versus residential. Other states might have different educational or certification requirements.


Commercial electricians work on construction sites for commercial buildings like office parks or retail stores. They may also complete maintenance or repairs on electrical systems in actively used commercial buildings. In these situations, commercial electricians may need to complete work early in the morning or late at night to accommodate for business or retail hours.

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