TVA electricians, Tennessee, 1942
|Activity sectors||Construction, Maintenance, Electrical grid|
An electrician is a tradesman specializing in electrical wiring of buildings, stationary machines and related equipment. Electricians may be employed in the installation of new electrical components or the maintenance and repair of existing electrical infrastructure. Electricians may also specialize in wiring ships, airplanes and other mobile platforms.
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In the United States, electricians are sometimes referred to as an electrical wire men as opposed to Electrical linemen, who work on electric utility company distribution systems at higher voltages. Electrical contracting is divided into four areas: commercial, residential, light industrial, and industrial wiring. Service electricians have considerable skills troubleshooting wiring problems, wiring, and making repairs. Construction electricians focus on the actual wiring of buildings and may have few skills troubleshooting wiring problems. Other specialty areas are marine electricians, research electricians and hospital electricians. "Electrician" is also used as the name of a role in stagecraft, where electricians are tasked primarily with hanging, focusing, and operating stage lighting. In this context, the Master Electrician is the show's chief electrician. Although theater electricians routinely perform electrical work on stage lighting instruments and equipment, they are not part of the electrical trade and have a different set of skills and qualifications from the electricians that work on building wiring.
"Electrician" and "electrical contractor" are related terms. An electrician is an individual tradesperson; an electrical contractor is a business that employs electricians to design, install, and maintain electrical systems.
Training and regulation of trade 
Many jurisdictions have regulatory restrictions concerning electrical work for safety reasons due to the many hazards of working with electricity. Such requirements maybe testing, registration and/or licensing. Licensing requirements vary between jurisdictions.
An electrician's license entitles the holder to carry out all types of electrical installation work in Australia without supervision. However, to contract, or offer to contract, to carry out electrical installation work, a licensed electrician must also be registered as an electrical contractor. Under Australian law, electrical work that involves fixed wiring is strictly regulated and must almost always be performed by a licensed electrician and/or electrical contractor. A local electrician can handle a range of work including air conditioning, data, and structured cabling systems, home automation & theatre, LAN, WAN and VPN data solutions, light fittings and installation, phone points, power points, safety inspections and reports, safety switches, smoke alarm installation, inspection and certification and testing and tagging of electrical appliances.
Electrical licensing in Australia is regulated by the individual states. In Western Australia the Department of Commerce tracks licensee's and allows the public to search for individually named/licensed Electricians.
Currently in Victoria the apprenticeship last for four years, during three of those years the apprentice attends trade school in either a block release of one week each month or one day each week. At the end of the apprenticeship the apprentice is required to pass three examinations, one of which is theory based with the other two practically based. Upon successful completion of these exams, providing all other components of the apprenticeship are satisfactory, the apprentice is granted an A Class licence on application to Energy Safe Victoria (ESV).
An A Class electrician may perform work unsupervised but is unable to work for profit or gain without having the further qualifications necessary to become a Registered Electrical Contractor (REC) or being in the employment of a person holding REC status. However, some exemptions do exist.
In most cases a certificate of electrical safety must be submitted to the relevant body after any electrical works are performed.
Safety equipment used and worn by electricians in Australia (including insulated rubber gloves and mats) needs to be tested regularly to ensure it is still protecting the worker. Because of the high risk involved in this trade, this testing needs performed regularly and regulations vary according to state. Industry best practice is the Queensland Electrical Safety Act 2002, and requires six-monthly testing.
Training of electricians follows an apprenticeship model, taking four or five years to progress to fully qualified journeyman level. Typical apprenticeship programs consists of 80-90% hands-on work under the supervision of journeymen and 10-20% classroom training. Training and licensing of electricians is regulated by each province, however professional licenses are valid throughout Canada under Agreement of Internal Trade. An endorsement under the Red Seal Program provides additional competency assurance to industry standards. In order for individuals to become a licensed electricians, they need to have 6000 hours of practical, on the job training. They also need to attend school for 4 years and pass a provincial exam. This training enables them to become journeyman electricians. Furthermore, an individual can go a step beyond that and become a “FSR”, or field safety representative. This credential gives the ability to become a licensed electrical contractor and to pull permits. The various levels of field safety representatives are A,B and C. The only difference between each class is that they are able to do increasingly higher voltage and current work.
United Kingdom 
Electrical trade organisations such as the JIB (joint industry board) define and regulate KSA (Knowledge, Skill, Attitude) requirements, such as City and guilds 2330 Levels 2 and 3, City and Guilds National Vocational Qualification Level 2 and 3, h. There are no specific regulations or rules on who may operate or refer to themselves as an 'Electrician' in the UK.
General standards (and protections) are set within a variety of Regulations such as BS7671 - Electrical Installations, Building Regulations which require work to be designed, installed and maintained according to those standards or better. Specific standards such as for BS EN 62305 - Lightning Protection, etc., must be complied with but do not necessarily require qualification but rather verification of competence. Most commonly the Test & Inspection of an installation and subsequent signing of documents to confirm suitability and safety may only be carried out by a qualified person, the most common qualification being BS2391 - Test & Inspection of Electrical Installations.
United States 
The United States does not offer nationwide licensing and electrical licenses are issued by individual states. There are variations in licensing requirements, however they all recognize three basic categories: master, journeyman and apprentice trainee, and all follow the National Electric Code.
Master level electricians supervise journeyman level electricians and can obtain their own permits.
Journeyman level electricians are allowed to work unsupervised under the direction of master electricians. They can not obtain permits themselves and may only work under permits issued to a master electrician.
Apprentices may not work without direct supervision.
Before electricians are allowed to work without supervision, they are usually required to serve an apprenticeship lasting from 3 to 5 years under the general supervision of a Master Electrician and usually the direct supervision of a Journeyman Electrician. Schooling in electrical theory and electrical building codes are required to complete the apprenticeship program. Many apprenticeship programs provide a salary to the apprentice during training. A Journeyman electrician is a classification of licensing granted to those who have met the experience requirements for on the job training (usually 4080 to 6120 hrs) and classroom hours (about 144 hrs.); they may also have a two year relevant degree and another two to three years of apprenticeship training and have passed a licensing exam.}.
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Interstate reciprocity participation and conditions vary between states.
California reciprocates with Arizona, Nevada, and Utah on condition that license is in good standing and has been held for five years leading to application.
Nevada reciprocates with Arizona, California, and Utah. Maine reciprocates with New Hampshire and Vermont in master level; while reciprocating with New Hampshire, North Dakota, Idaho, Oregon, Vermont, and Wyoming at the journeyman level. 
Electricians use a range of hand and power tools and instruments.
Some of the more common tools are:
- Pipe and tube bender
- voltage indicators
- Lineman's pliers: Heavy-duty pliers for general use in cutting, bending, crimping and pulling wire.
- Diagonal pliers (also known as side cutters or Dikes): Pliers consisting of cutting blades for use on smaller gauge wires, but sometimes also used as a gripping tool for removal of nails and staples.
- Needle-nose pliers: Pliers with a long, tapered gripping nose of various size, with or without cutters, generally smaller and for finer work (including very small tools used in electronics wiring).
- Wire strippers: Plier-like tool available in many sizes and designs featuring special blades to cut and strip wire insulation while leaving the conductor wire intact and without nicks. Some wire strippers include cable strippers among their multiple functions, for removing the outer cable jacket.
- Cable cutters: Highly leveraged pliers for cutting larger cable.
- Rotosplit: A brand-name tool designed to assist in breaking the spiral jacket of metallic-jacketed cable (MC cable).
- Multimeter: An instrument for electrical measurement with multiple functions. It is available as analog or digital display. Common features include: voltage, resistance, and current. Some models offer additional functions.
- Step-bit: A metal-cutting drill bit with stepped-diameter cutting edges to enable convenient drilling holes in pre-set increments in stamped/rolled metal up to about 1.6mm(1/16 inch) thick.; for example, to create custom knock-outs in a breaker panel or junction box.
- Cord, rope or fish tape. Used to manipulate cables and wires through cavities. The fishing tool is pushed, dropped, or shot into the installed raceway, stud-bay or joist-bay of a finished wall or in a floor or ceiling. Then the wire or cable is attached and pulled back.
- Crimping tools: Used to apply terminals or splices. These may be hand or hydraulic powered. Some hand tools have ratchets to insure proper pressure. Hydraulic units achieve cold welding, even for aluminum "locomotive" [many fine strands] cable.
- Insulation resistance tester: Commonly referred to as a Megger. Insulation testers apply several hundred to several thousand volts to cables and equipment to determine the insulation resistance value.
- Knockout punch: For punching holes into sheet metal to run wires or conduit.
- Other general-use tools with applications in electric power wiring include screwdrivers, hammers, reciprocating saws, drywall saws, metal punches, flashlights, chisels, adjustable slip-joint pliers and drills.
- Test light
- Ground fault indicator tester
In addition to the workplace hazards generally faced by industrial workers, electricians are also particularly exposed to injury by electricity. An electrician may experience electric shock due to direct contact with energized circuit conductors or due to stray voltage caused by faults in a system. An electric arc exposes eyes and skin to hazardous amounts of heat and light. Faulty switchgear may cause an arc flash incident with a resultant blast. Electricians are trained to work safely and take many measures to minimize the danger of injury. Lockout and tagout procedures are used to make sure that circuits are proven to be de-energized before work is done. Limits of approach to energized equipment protect against arc flash exposure; specially designed flash-resistant clothing provides additional protection; grounding (earthing) clamps and chains are used on line conductors to provide a visible assurance that a conductor is de-energized. Personal protective equipment provides electrical insulation as well as protection from mechanical impact; gloves have insulating rubber liners, and work boots and hard hats are specially rated to provide protection from shock. If a system cannot be de-energized, insulated tools and special live-line training are used; even high-voltage transmission lines can be repaired while energized, when necessary.
Electrical workers, which includes electricians, accounted for 34% of total electrocutions of construction trades workers in the United States between 1992–2003.
Working conditions 
Working conditions for electricians vary by specialization. Generally an electrician's work is physically demanding such as climbing ladders and lifting tools and supplies. Occasionally an electrician must work in a cramped space or on scaffolding, and may frequently be bending, squatting or kneeling, to make connections in awkward locations. Construction electricians may spend much of their days in outdoor or semi-outdoor noisy and dirty worksites. Industrial electricians may be exposed to the heat, dust, and noise of an industrial plant. Power systems electricians may be called to work in all kinds of adverse weather to make emergency repairs.
Trade organizations 
Some electricians are union members and work under their union's policies.
lectricians can choose to be represented by the Electrical Trade Union (ETU). Electrical Contractors can be represented by Master Electricians Australia or the National Electrical & Communications Association.
North America 
Some electricians are union members. Some examples of electricians' unions are: International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; Canadian Union of Public Employees ; International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine, and Furniture Workers; International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers; United Auto Workers; and the United Steelworkers.[not in citation given]
Many merit shop training and apprenticeship programs also exist, including those offered by such as trade associations as Associated Builders and Contractors, National Electrical Contractors Association , and Independent Electrical Contractors. These organizations provide comprehensive training, in accordance with U.S. Department of Labor regulations.
In the U.K., electricians are represented by several unions including Unite the Union
In the Rep. of Ireland there are two self-regulation/self certification bodies RECI Register of Electrical Contractors of Ireland and ECSSA.
See also 
- Lineman (occupation)
- Gaffer (term used in film and television)
- Electrician (theater)
- International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
- List of electricians, notable individuals who have worked as electricians
- Roger Jones (2004). Electrician. Trotman Publishing. ISBN 0-85660-997-8.
- Tester, Ross (2008-06-05). "DIY Electrical Work: Are Aussies DUMBER than Kiwis?". Silicon Chip Online. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
- "DIY Electrical". Fallon Services. 2010-10-24. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
- http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/jobs/trades/index.shtml Government of Canada
- <Red Seal Program http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/workplaceskills/trades_apprenticeship/red_seal/index.shtml
- Hering, Bob. "Differences Between a Journeyman & a Master Electrician". Houston Chronicle. Demand Media. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
- http://www.cslb.ca.gov/applicants/Reciprocity/ReciprocityRequirements.asp CSLB CA
- http://www.nvcontractorsboard.com/reciprocity.html State of NV
- http://www.maine.gov/pfr/professionallicensing/professions/electricians/pdf/elecreciprocity.pdf State of ME
- John Cadick et al, Electrical Safety Handbook Third Edition, Mc Graw Hill 2005, ISBN 0-07-145772-0
- http://www.elcosh.org/en/document/557/d000539/why-are-so-many-construction-workers-being-electrocuted%253F.html Michael McCann, Why Are So Many Construction Workers Being Electrocuted?, retrieved 2010 July 27
- "Mexican Electrical Workers finally win recognition and settlement". Candian Union of Public Employees. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
- "Electrical workers: stronger together". Canadian Union of Public Employees. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
- "Electricians". Electricians. US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2006-08-04. Retrieved 2007-06-30.
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