There are two main areas of the electrical trade that new electricians can choose to enter: commercial and residential. Each area carries with it special skills and requirements. Which skills you choose to build will shape your path and your future (though don’t discount the possibility of toggling between each field).
First, the similarities. Each type of electrician relies on foundational skills of the trade, and have to use the basics of the job in order to perform their daily duties. Obviously an intimate knowledge of the electrical code is a must, as is being able to complete jobs within a given budget.
Commercial electricians install and maintain electrical systems in places of business. Office buildings, manufacturing plants, retail stores, energy production and chemical plants are among those systems. That has important distinctions like differences in wiring and the voltage. Commercial systems, of course, require more power, and require greater efficiency and equipment that lasts longer.
Residential electricians, quite simply, work in living spaces like homes and apartments. Residential systems are designed to provide increased protection from electrical shock, which means sheath insulation completely covering residential wiring. Systems in residences are meant to be accessed in a way convenient to electricians, but still be out of reach from those inhabiting the dwelling. Most of that wiring is run through conduits or ceiling rafters, which accomplishes both of those goals.
Those differences are important, and typically electricians specialize in one area or the other depending on their own interests and abilities. Making the decision on which of these specializations to pursue is a personal decision, one that lies within personal preferences. As you develop as an electrician you can decide which path is right for you. Or, perhaps, you will simply try them both at different points of your career.
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