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A master electrician typically oversees a staff of laborers, electrician apprentices and journeymen electricians on commercial, industrial and residential jobs. He normally schedules each phase of the job to meet predetermined deadlines and orders all necessary parts, components and materials. At each stage of completion, the master electrician often checks the crew’s work for quality and compliance with industry codes and standards.
If the project is new construction, the master electrician normally reviews the blueprints either with his crew or the general contractor before starting work. He generally examines each sketch and wiring diagram to ensure the correct specifications are in place. The next step he typically takes is to confirm all the electrical symbols and terms on the plans are clear and correct. This scrutiny prior to commencing the job can greatly reduce incidents of error once the project is underway.
The master electrician may approach remodels a bit differently than new projects. He still carefully reviews the plans, but his focus often includes reviewing the currently existing wiring and electrical systems as well. Once he determines what can be salvaged and what cannot, the master electrician can accurately compile his list of necessary materials. He is also normally expected to clearly communicate to his crew what is to be left intact to prevent mix-ups as the project proceeds.
In addition to supervising his staff, a master electrician is commonly required to be educated on the installation, maintenance, repair and safe removal of anything electrical. This generally includes controls, switches, outlets, circuits, systems and appliances. If peripheral non-electrical obstacles are involved, such as plumbing or underground public utility systems, he is typically expected to know how to work around them or whom to contact for assistance or approval.
Managerial skills are commonly required to achieve success as a master electrician. He is generally expected to negotiate the best pricing for materials, effectively project manpower requirements and communicate with other contractors to identify and resolve problems. Progress reports may be required on some commercial or industrial projects. His job frequently requires interactions with project managers or business owners if a job falls behind schedule or non-compliance issues arise that he cannot independently resolve.
To qualify to be a master electrician requires a high school diploma or equivalent along with training on local and regional codes and standards that apply to electrical construction and installation. Most jobs require at least journeyman level experience. In lieu of journeyman certification, some employers may accept a minimum of seven years successful experience in electrical maintenance or construction.