What types of electricians are there?

An electrician working on an underfloor heating system.

A career as an electrician can be very fulfilling. From installing electrical equipment to maintaining precise instruments, these skilled tradespeople are responsible for a wide range of jobs. But what types of electricians exist and what are their insurance needs?

In this guide, we explore the typical roles and responsibilities of an electrician. We then look at the different types of electricians, and what each specialises in. Finally, we provide answers to commonly asked questions relating to the electrical trade. This includes what insurance electricians need.

What do electricians do?

As the name suggests, electricians work with electricity. However, specific responsibilities depend on how qualified and experienced they are. The specific type of electrician they are also plays a role. We explore these specialities later in this blog.

However, there are many tasks all qualified electricians know how to complete. This includes fitting and maintaining common electrical installations, for example. With this in mind, common tasks these tradespeople have to do on a regular basis include:

  • Reading building plans and blueprints. This is to learn where wiring, fuse boxes and other electrical components are located.
  • Deciding on the safest and most efficient ways to install wiring through a building.
  • Installing electrical equipment. This may include smart devices, entertainment systems, telecommunication equipment, security systems and more.
  • Maintaining, repairing and replacing electrical equipment and infrastructure. For example, faulty wires and fuses.
  • General customer troubleshooting. For example, answering questions and queries clients might have relating to electronics.

Different types of electricians

There are many major specialist fields that electricians can work in. Below we take a detailed look at some of the most common types of different electrical roles:

- Domestic electrician
This is the most common type of electrician. As the name suggests, they work on electrical jobs for homes and small businesses. On a day-to-day basis, their job includes fitting and fixing electrical equipment.

To work as a domestic electrician, you must receive professional training. This can include an apprenticeship, for example. You can also complete a Level 3 Diploma or National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) in Electrical Installation/Maintenance.

- Installation electrician
This role involves many of the same tasks carried out by domestic electricians but on a larger scale. These electricians are responsible for large infrastructure-based installations. This includes installing structure cabling, fire alarm systems and security systems. These experts usually work in commercial properties, rather than domestic settings.

- Construction electrician
Construction electricians work exclusively on installations during the construction of a new building. They install a building’s electrical infrastructure while the building is partially built. Being successful in this role requires good relations with other tradespeople. For example, they are expected to work alongside builders, plumbers, architects and other electricians, all working on one project.

- Maintenance electrician
These electricians work with specific, often custom-built, electrical systems and equipment. This could include maintaining power grid equipment or bespoke factory machinery. Their primary job is to ensure the equipment they are responsible for is running effectively, safely and efficiently.

- Instrumentation electrician
This role involves working with devices used in industrial and commercial processing. Instrumentation electricians test, calibrate, install and maintain this sophisticated equipment. This could include working with large heating/refrigeration systems or environmental control systems. Instrumentation electricians will typically work closely with electrical engineers and innovators.

- Highway electrical systems electrician
These specialists work with all electrical systems used on our road network. This includes the installation and maintenance of street/traffic lights and motorway gantries.

How much do electricians make?

As with any trade, the amount you can make in this industry depends on a number of factors. This includes how experienced you are and what qualifications you hold. As a rule of thumb, however, newly qualified electricians can expect to earn around £20,000 per year.

According to recent Office for National Statistics (ONS) data, the average domestic electrician’s salary in the UK is £32,805 per year. This is compared to a general average annual income of £28,080. However, highly experienced and specialist electricians have the potential to earn more.

Of course, there are no limits to the earning potential of self-employed electricians, many of whom can earn much higher incomes than the average listed above. That being said, it’s important to remember that in order to win work, self-employed electricians will need to price their jobs competitively. Pricing will need to be set in line with the area they are working in, the quality of service provided and any specialist services they can offer. With this in mind, it pays to gain as much experience as possible before setting up your own business.

What insurance do electricians need?

There are many potential risks involved with working with electricity. These risks can impact you, your employees and your clients. For this reason, having the right insurance policies in place is very important.

All self-employed electricians should be covered by public liability insurance. This will protect you against claims involving injury or property loss/damage caused by your work.

If you employ staff, you are also legally required to have employers’ liability insurance. These policies cover you if an employee sues you for a work-related illness or injury.

Here at Markel Direct, we provide tailored electrician and electrical contractors’ insurance. This allows you to create a combined policy that best suits your needs. Combined policies can include public liability, employers’ liability, professional indemnity insurance and more.

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