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What is a Master Electrician?
A "Master Electrician" must meet the following requirements:

Apprentice

  • Maintain a full-time position with an approved contractor who is registered with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry Apprenticeship Program.
  • Complete 144 hours of class time per year for 4 years in conjunction with full-time employment.
Journeyman Electrician
  • Complete the requisite classroom and on-the-job training.
  • Pass PA state exam.
Master Electrician
  • Continuous, active work in the electrical construction industry for at least 10 years.

What does and Electrician do?
Electricity is essential for light, power, air-conditioning, and refrigeration. Electrical contractors install, connect, test, and maintain electrical systems for a variety of purposes, including climate control, security, and communications. They also may install and maintain the electronic controls for machines in business and industry. Although most electrical contractors specialize in construction or maintenance, a growing number do both.

Electrical contractors work with blueprints when they install electrical systems in factories, office buildings, homes, and other structures. Blueprints indicate the locations of circuits, outlets, load centers, panel boards, and other equipment. Electrical contractors must follow the National Electric Code and comply with state and local building codes when they install these systems.

In factories and offices, they first place conduit (pipe or tubing) inside designated partitions, walls, or other concealed areas. They also fasten to the walls small metal or plastic boxes that will house electrical switches and outlets. They then pull insulated wires or cables through the conduit to complete circuits between these boxes. In lighter construction, such as residential, plastic-covered wire usually is used instead of conduit.

Regardless of the type of wire used, electrical contractors connect it to circuit breakers, transformers, or other components. They join the wires in boxes with various specially designed connectors. After they finish the wiring, they use testing equipment, such as ohmmeters, voltmeters, and oscilloscopes, to check the circuits for proper connections, ensuring electrical compatibility and safety of components.

Electrical contractors also may install low voltage wiring systems in addition to wiring a building's electrical system. Low voltage wiring involves voice, data, and video wiring systems, such as those for telephones, computers and related equipment, intercoms, and fire alarm and security systems. Electrical contractors also may install coaxial or fiber optic cable for computers and other telecommunications equipment and electronic controls for industrial equipment.

What is the National Electrical Code (NEC)?
The National Electrical Code (NEC), or NFPA 70, is a United States standard for the safe installation of electrical wiring and equipment. It is part of the National Fire Codes series published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). "National Electrical Code" and "NEC" are registered trademarks of the NFPA. While the NEC is not itself a U.S. law, NEC use is commonly mandated by state or local law, as well as in many jurisdictions outside of the United States. The NEC codifies the requirements for safe electrical installations into a single, standardized source. The "Authority Having Jurisdiction" inspects for compliance with these minimum standards, such as a professional from the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI).

Why hire a professional electrical contractor?
When it comes to electrical work, you should always hire a professional electrician. Due to the serious hazards involved with electricity, only licensed and insured electricians should handle your electrical needs. Just because your neighbor tells you how great of a handyman he is doesn't mean they should touch your home's wiring. Simply put, electrical work is very dangerous and it isn't worth the risk. Even the jobs that appear simple and easy still require the services of a professional electrical contractor.

You should also be aware that due to codes, you might not be allowed to perform electrical work yourself. There are so many little details that must be considered when wiring or establishing new electrical components and without the proper knowledge, licensing or training, you can easily overload a circuit and cause more damage.

If you need to hire an electrician, you must make certain that they are licensed and insured. Check with your local state's requirements and certifications and ensure that the electrician that you've contacted has met those requirements. The electric contractor should also get the proper permits for your project as well. By calling your state's department of labor you can find out what the requirements are that your electrician will need to meet.

How do I find a good electrical contractor?
Look for membership in a professional association, such as the Electrical Association of Philadelphia (EAP) or the Better Business Bureau. Membership in one or more of these groups means the electrician has met certain minimum professional standards for certification, experience, and continuing education.

Look for an electrician with a license to do work in the City of Philadelphia. Many municipalities have registration or licensing procedures for electricians, but this can mean nothing more than the person has paid a fee. The Philadelphia license requires that electricians have met education and experience standards and have passed a code examination granting approval for a journeyman electrician to secure an electrical permit.

Check for insurance. Ask to see an insurance certificate, which means the electrician has met the industry standard for insurance coverage.

Ask for references and check them out. Talk to family and friends who have hired an electrician recently. Ask about their experience. Would they hire the same electrician or company again?

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