Industrial Electrician vs Commercial Electrician: What’s the Difference?

When your business needs the services of a professional electrician, you might be asked, “Do you need an industrial electrician or a commercial electrician?”

This question might be confusing. But, yes, the term “electrician” has distinct specializations in the profession. So which one do you need? Let’s find out.

Types of electricians

There are three primary specializations for electricians.

  • Commercial electricians are commissioned to work on a wide range of electrical systems. Retail stores, offices, restaurants, hospitals, schools, and other similar enterprises hire them. Commercial electricians need to know how to use a three-phase wiring and cable system.
  • Industrial electricians are hired by businesses that have large-scale facilities. For example, factories, mines, manufacturing plants, chemical plants, etc. They are concerned with wiring and power supplies for energy-hungry machines that probably run 24/7. Many industrial electricians need to know how to use a three-phase electrical system as well.
  • Residential electricians are focused on homes and apartments. They can repair common electrical problems and make sure systems are set in place before, during, and after houses are constructed. They are concerned with wiring and power supplies that residents usually have.

As you can see, electricians need to take into account things like different energy needs, load demands, and equipment. They use a different electrical technique or system accordingly.

Let’s talk more about the electricians who deal with businesses.

electrical tools

What’s the difference between an industrial electrician and a commercial electrician?

The main difference between these two types of electricians is the scale of projects they undertake, and the type of environments in which they work.

Industrial electricians deal with complex machines and facilities of various industries. They work with a wide range of electrical systems, from high-voltage machines to micro-current motors. Industrial electricians usually develop a higher and broader level of expertise as professionals. This is due to the nature of their training and work. They are frequently exposed to new technologies and must always remain abreast of the latest trends in their industry.

Commercial electricians work with a broad range of clients that serve the public. They also work on a variety of systems. These can include lighting systems, security systems, air conditioning systems, and heating systems.

Generally, industrial electricians are proficient in troubleshooting. Commercial electricians can install a variety of electrical systems. Both types need to be adept at maintaining the electrical systems of their clients. But while industrial electricians may need to deal with several electrical systems all working together, commercial electricians only work on a single electrical system at a time, like a single office space.

Do industrial electricians work like commercial electricians in any way?

Both types of electricians need to pass through rigorous training. They must have at least four years of training. This includes classroom instructions and on-the-job experience. Many usually go through an apprenticeship. But others enroll in community colleges that offer certificate programs or associate’s degrees. They must pass an exam to get a license. Both types of electricians need to be at least at the journeyman level before they can work on projects.

When hiring an electrician, you have to take into account the type of business you’re running. Not all electricians can work on all projects. It pays to know the difference between their specializations to find the one that suits the job.

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