Commercial - Industrial Electricians
Also called an Inside Wireman. This Apprenticeship leads to a general Journeyman Electrician's license. It will take 4 or 5 years to complete the OJT and Technical Training required.
Each state that licenses this specialty will have slightly different requirements but generally it requires 8000 hours of OJT and significant Technical Training in a vast array of subjects. Some states (California for Example) mandate that each year of apprenticeship is done at a different contractor (union route, see this page for explanation) so as to vary the experiences of the Apprentice Electrician.
Inside Wireman Job Description
Since your area of expertise will be commercial and industrial buildings and equipment , you will receive a lot of Technical Training and experience on industrial lighting, conduits and raceways, power distribution and grounding systems, motors, motor starters and control systems for them, fire alarms, security systems and instrumentation and process control systems.
The last two are part of a vast area of work called Automation which involves computerization of industrial processes. It is controlled by special industrial computers called Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs). Experienced Inside Wiremen/Industrial Electricians are often responsible for installing, controlling and maintaining these systems. Specially trained Electricians can do the programming of these as well.
PLCs are so versatile they are being used everywhere, industrial, commercial, multifamily dwellings such as apartments . Just about anywhere something can be controlled by a program these devices can be used. Some of your technical training will be on PLCs and if in this specialty you will be working with them in your career.
Where You Will Work
As a Inside Wireman you could work almost anywhere, office buildings, commercial retail stores, light and heavy industrial site, hospitals and so on. It might be outside in all types of weather or inside in a nice cozy office building. You could also be working industrial manufacturing where noise, dust, moving processors such as conveyors or chain drives are a constant hazard.
You will be kneeling, standing, bending, crawling, climbing, pulling, reaching and working in tight spaces. The work could be part of the construction phase where tight work schedules are kept or you might work as the resident maintenance electrician where repair and upgrading of existing equipment is ongoing and shift work is a requirement.
The salary for an Inside Wireman/Industrial or Commercial Electrician is usually the highest in the industry or close to it. The reason for this is the type of skills required for certification makes this type of Electrician very valuable.