Industrial Vs. Commercial Electrician: Key Differences  

March 27, 2024

Industrial Vs. Commercial Electrician: Key Differences  

commercial electrician hanging up some lights


Five Key Differences Quick Summary 

While the titles commercial electrician and industrial electrician sound similar, the jobs and requisite training vary in several significant ways. A quick look at the professions shows differences. 

  • The workplace and work environment is a critical difference between the types of electricians. 
  • The range of voltage each works with is significantly different. 
  • Each kind of electrician will have different specialised training. 
  • Industrial and commercial electricians’ jobs have a different degree of danger. 
  • There is a moderate difference in the rate of pay for each type of electrician. 

Electricians are always in high demand, yet it is common to confuse the types of electricians. However, there is a distinction between commercial and industrial electricians. When you need assistance in a hospital or retail establishment, a commercial electrician can do the job. However, an industrial electrician can take care of you if you need electrical solutions in a mine or manufacturing facility. 

Commercial Electricians 

Commercial electricians work in a number of environments and maintain the power supply for medical facilities, retail establishments, restaurants, offices, and many more businesses in the commercial sector. While tasks will change based on the specific location, the typical duties of a commercial electrician include, 

  •  Analyse, troubleshoot, and repair problems in faulty equipment, systems, wiring, and electrical components at various locations 
  • Ensure compliance with all state, local, and national guidelines when wiring commercial buildings and electrical systems. 
  • Install electrical components and wiring in buildings 
  • Installing electrical equipment such as transformers, load control devices, regulators, and other similar equipment 
  • Read and interpret blueprints, technical drawings, schematics, and job orders. 
  • Test electrical systems to assess their proper functioning 
  • Train and delegate tasks to apprentices when appropriate 

Educational Requirements for a Commercial Electrician 

  • Commercial electricians will have a high school diploma or GED 

but are not required to have college degrees. Although some will earn an electrical engineering technology degree. 

  • Completing an electrician program at a trade school or technical institute is a must. 
  • An apprenticeship program offers excellent hands-on opportunities, typically lasting four to five years. These are through registered organisations and include structured training. 
  • Once education requirements are met, the next step is to apply for an electrician’s license and pass the licensing exam. 

Earning Potential of Commercial Electricians 

While precise pay rates will vary depending on location and job specifics, an average salary is between $70,000 and $90,000 annually. However, some entry-level positions start at $50,000 per year, and the high end of the scale can sometimes reach around $100,000 per year. 


Industrial Electrician  

Industrial electricians work in industrial facilities, mining sites, and manufacturing settings. Their work involves large capacity equipment with higher voltage than other electricians experience. The job also has an enhanced level of danger as the chance of falling from significant heights or being electrocuted is higher in the facilities where industrial electricians work. 

Even though specific duties will vary, the most common tasks of an industrial electrician in Perth include, 

  • Cleaning circuit boards and contacts 
  • Grounding electrical systems 
  • Installing, servicing, and repair of equipment such as motors, industrial communications systems, generators, and high-voltage systems 
  • Maintaining motors and replacing wiring when necessary 
  • Performing inspections and tests to determine if system components need to be upgraded or replaced 

Educational Requirements for Industrial Electricians 

  • A high school diploma or GED is necessary to begin  
  • In most cases, a college degree is not required. Still, some industrial electricians opt to get electrical engineering degrees such as Bachelor of Science degree, Diploma of Electrical Engineering, or Certificate II in Electrotechnology. 
  • Strong mathematic skills and a mastery of industrial tools and equipment should be attained. 
  • Completing an electrician program at a technical institute or trade school 
  • Participating in an apprenticeship program for four to five years, including structured training from a registered organisation, provides excellent learning opportunities. 
  • Applying for the exam to receive an Electrician’s License and passing the exam 

Earning Potential for an Industrial Electrician 

Exact salary amounts will depend on a number of factors, but the typical pay for an industrial electrician is between $80,000 and $94,000 annually. Highly experienced workers can earn around $113,000 a year. 


What is the Difference Between a Commercial or Industrial Electrician and an Electrical Contractor? 

When comparing electricians and electrician contractors, the difference is straightforward. The main difference is that an industrial or commercial electrician is a fully licensed individual but cannot invoice customers or work for themselves. However, an industrial or commercial electrician contractor has more extensive training than an electrician and can work for themselves as well as employ others.  

Working with the correct electrician is vital to ensure the job is completed correctly. Specific types of electricians have unique skill sets, just as other professions have specialisations. Your cardiologist studied just as much as your neurologist, but they are not interchangeable. 

At PRF Electric, we have experienced, certified electricians available to meet your various needs. If you are unsure about the type of electrical assistance you need, please contact us. We are happy to answer your questions and get you the right Perth electrician for your job.

Commercial Electrical Advice