What Is The Difference Between an Electrician and an Electrical Contractor?

Suppose you need someone to complete your electrical work, but you see terms like electrician and electrical contractor, and you don’t know which one to call. As stated by Home Care Contractors, an electrical contractor and electrician have vastly different roles, and they are easy to tell apart.

The National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) states that an electrical contractor can be a business or person specializing in construction work involving electrical system design, installation, and maintenance. An electrician is an individual who can physically come to your home to perform electrical work. But what are the other differences between an electrician and an electrical contractor?

What Is an Electrician’s Role?

An electrician is trained and licensed to work on electrical equipment and systems. Depending on the state, the licensing requirements can differ from those for an electrical contractor. However, an electrician can be self-employed or employed as an electrical contractor and fix things from pedestal fans to thermostats.

Additionally, an electrician can be an apprentice enrolled in a training program. Once they have completed the apprenticeship, the electrician can be classified as a journeyman. A master electrician completes the training and testing required of a journeyman but is also qualified to perform various medium-sized jobs. These may include fire safety, maintenance, wiring, installation of underground conduits, or troubleshooting.

It is critical to understand that although electricians have the necessary licenses, they should not carry out electrical jobs independently or charge clients. They might risk severe penalties, as electrical jobs are dangerous. In some states, certified electricians must renew their licenses every five years.

What Is an Electrical Contractor’s Role?

An electrical contractor can be an individual or a licensed business involved in the contracting business. An electrical contractor is also an electrician who has undergone more training and exams and has obtained an electrical contractor’s license.

Generally, an electrical contractor is in charge of an entire project and can:

  • Schedule the electrical work and begin construction
  • Ensure the safety of all the systems they work on
  • Provide support during the design phase like wood paneling on walls
  • Manage the project budget and keep it on target
  • Deliver a computer design plan
  • Determine the constructability and feasibility of designs

Electrical contractors differ from electricians because they have an additional license to hire qualified electricians to work on larger projects. However, they must complete four years of relevant work experience, become an apprentice, pass examinations and complete the necessary tasks. If they successfully do this, the electrical contractors will receive cards and certificates for their licenses. They will then be allowed to work on big projects and hire other electricians to work with them.

In addition to their training, electrical contractors must provide insurance coverage for all their workers. They should also have appropriate insurance to protect homeowners and business proprietors from liabilities. All the electrical projects completed by electrical contractors are submitted to the state’s Electrical Inspector, meaning that their works can be inspected on a regular basis to ensure that they comply with all safety regulations.

Because residential and commercial electrical projects vary in so many ways, all jobs must be performed to specific code requirements.

Why Should You Choose an Electrical Contractor?

It would be best to choose an electrical contractor as they have public liability insurance. This insurance will ensure that all homeowners or businesses are protected from claims involving personal injury or property damage.

The main reasons why you should choose an electrical contractor in favor of an electrician are:

  • Home insurance can be void and not cover any damages
  • A homeowner can be liable if the electrician is hurt or injured while working
  • Cash jobs may mean no receipt, thereby no warranty if something fails
  • Manufacturer product warranties can be void

When looking for a trustworthy and reliable electrical contractor, you should know how long they have been in business and if they have an electrical contractor’s license. Working with an unlicensed electrician could leave you hanging because insurance companies will have difficulty settling damages.

Final Words

If you need someone to do your electrical jobs, be sure to hire an electrical contractor or at least an electrician employed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor. By doing so, you will have a peaceful state of mind because the contractor guarantees a completed project at a high standard.

An experienced electrical contractor will ensure your warranties, home insurance, and property are safe. Electrical jobs are always risky and dangerous, so you need to make sure they are completely safe. Don’t underestimate the importance of a job well done when it comes to electricity.

Diego Martinez

Diego Martinez, with a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering from MIT, has been a leading figure in maintenance and facilities management for 16 years. He joined our editorial team in 2020, sharing his expertise in preventative maintenance, system optimization, and energy efficiency. Diego’s previous roles include engineering manager in manufacturing and consulting for facility management. He has provided practical advice and problem-solving strategies for maintenance issues. He is an enthusiastic cyclist and volunteers in community tech education programs.

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