The electrical field is a wonderful trade to go into when you want to build a successful and rewarding career. However, the industry is broad, and you need to do some research to decide which job path is right for you. Knowing the difference between an electrician vs wireman is helpful for defining which career path best meets your unique needs.
Although lineman and wireman are both types of electricians, they focus on connecting interior units to outside power sources while electricians work with closed circuits and do not deal with the power from the outside.
Any of these career options can be a good choice, so it is important to understand the subtle differences to make the best choice for you.
Electrician VS Wireman VS Lineman Differences
Electricians, wiremen and linemen all deal with complicated electrical circuits. They can all be technically considered electricians, but their job duties differ slightly depending upon which career path they follow.
Electricians usually work indoors. They may be responsible for interpreting blueprints or designing electrical systems that power entire buildings. Electricians can also resolve wiring problems and maintain systems to keep buildings running smoothly, but they only work with closed systems. As an electrician, you should never be responsible for powering an electrical system from an outside source.
As a wireman, you’ll work both indoors and outdoors. Wiremen are responsible for connecting indoor units to outside power sources, so they connect smaller systems to the power grid as a whole. An inside wireman is a person who maintains the electrical system in a single building by ensuring it stays connected to the power grid.
Linemen, on the other hand, work on power lines that deliver electricity to commercial businesses and residential buildings. If you’ve seen people working on downed power lines after a storm, you’ve seen linemen at work. Not only do they repair and replace power lines, but they also install new ones as necessary.
What Is the Difference Between Electrician and Wireman?
Electricians and wiremen are similar in that they both work on indoor electrical systems. Electricians work on creating and maintaining systems, and they may also work on equipment within a company building.
Wiremen, however, deal with electrical units that already exist. They do not construct electrical units, but they connect residential and commercial systems to outdoor power lines.
Inside Wireman VS Construction Electrician
Inside wiremen have similar duties to those of an electrician. An inside wireman works inside a single facility and maintains all of the electrical systems within the building. This may include maintaining the lighting, energy and HVAC systems by ensuring they all stay connected to the power grid. However, remember that the term wireman means that you will still connect to outside power sources. You are not responsible for analyzing blueprints or creating elaborate electrical systems yourself but rather for connecting two existing systems together.
A construction electrician designs electrical systems for new buildings. You can work as an independent contractor for a construction company. Not on will you need to plan and design an electrical system, but you’ll also be responsible for maintaining and repairing it throughout the construction process. Construction electricians can work on both commercial and residential buildings.
Residential Electrician VS Inside Wireman
A residential electrician and an inside wireman are different because one services houses and the other works for companies. Residential electricians can work independently or for service companies that install, maintain and repair electrical systems. They often have to work odd hours to respond to emergencies that happen outside of traditional business hours. However, residential electricians service many clients and have the opportunity to work on different projects pertaining to electrical systems.
Inside wiremen often work in factories or other large facilities. They may be employed by a company or an individual building manager. Inside wiremen work with all of the electrical systems within a specific building to ensure that the building operates smoothly. An in-house electrician has similar duties but does not work with outside power sources.
Is Being a Lineman Harder Than An Electrician?
Any job within the electrical trade comes with many risks. Electrical systems pose a high risk for accidents, so you must be confident in what you are doing if you want to be a successful electrician or wireman. Being a lineman is no different. You still work with power lines, so extreme caution is necessary.
Most linemen work outside in hazardous weather conditions. This puts them at an increased risk for accidents. Being a lineman comes with greater physical requirements and puts more of a strain on your body, so it is often much harder than working as an electrician, where you can often work indoors maintaining electrical systems for homes. However, working as a lineman sometimes pays more than working as a standard electrician because of the hazard involved in the job.
You also need to think about your work/life balance if you are trying to choose between being a lineman or an electrician. If you choose to become a residential electrician, you may have to go on call frequently to respond to electrical emergencies from your clients. However, you can often balance your professional and personal life.
Working as a lineman can be much more complicated because you will be called for help every time there is a powerful storm. In some cases, you must travel long distances to help restore power in another state after it has experienced a devastating storm or hurricane. This can make being a lineman hard if you have a family.
What Are the Job Duties of an Electrician VS Wireman?
In general, both linemen and electricians are responsible for maintaining electrical systems. When you understand the difference between the terms electrician vs wireworker, you realize that each job title has subtle differences in duties and responsibilities.
Whether you work as a commercial or a residential electrician, you will be responsible for troubleshooting various electrical systems. You must also ensure that every electrical system you work on complies with federal standards for safety. You can install units as necessary and draft blueprints for electrical and wiring equipment. Finally, you may be responsible for supervising apprentices as an experienced electrician.
Wiremen work with electrical elements that connect to outside power sources. Their duties include:
- Installing and inspecting new system in a building
- Working on transformers, generators and motors
- Installing and repairing wiring
- Installing light fixtures
What Are the Nomenclature Differences in Electricians and Wiremen?
You may be confused by the fact that electricians, wiremen and linemen are all classified as electricians. The simple reality is that each of these types of electricians works on various aspects of the electrical grid. Electricians is the broad term for people who work with any type of wiring, and it is the most common term for the tradespeople who work on residential power systems. Wiremen tend to focus on the wiring aspect of electrical systems, while linemen work primarily on power lines.
Indoor VS Outdoor Electricians and Wiremen
While you need to understand that some types of electricians and wiremen work primarily indoors or outdoors in a literal sense, you should also know that the term inside electrician sometimes refers to people who work within a single building and maintain all of the electrical systems within it. The term outdoor electrician often refers to independent contractors who work with a wide variety of clients.
Large companies that own the buildings they operate in often prefer to hire inside electricians instead of contracting out repair work. Having electricians on staff allows them to resolve problems quickly so that work can continue as usual. They do not need to contact a company for repairs when equipment malfunctions or an electrical system in the building does not work properly. As an inside electrician, you will have the opportunity to work on many different types of electrical systems. You must have extensive knowledge of various types of electoral systems to work in this capacity, but it is a rewarding career path that is stable in other words many opportunities for growth.
As an outside electrician, you will respond to calls from your client. You must repair emergency issues, but you will also be responsible for routine maintenance. You must travel to each of your clients on a regular basis to examine and troubleshoot electrical systems and ensure they are working properly. Because you can have a wide client base with this career option, you will never get bored with the projects you are working on. This is also a great option if you are interested in starting your own company as a licensed electrician whether you prefer to work as a standard electrician or a wireman.
Is It Better To Become an Electrician, Wireman or Lineman?
None of these career paths are better than the others overall. The one that is best suited for your lifestyle is the one that best meets your needs. You can build a successful career whether you choose to become a standard electrician, wireman or lineman.
On average, any type of electrician stands to make a salary of roughly $50,000 per year. The pay range varies widely from state to state. Many electrician jobs offer overtime hours, so you have the potential to make much more depending on how often you are willing to work. Working overtime may affect your work/life balance, but in many cases, you can create of a work schedule that allows you to earn decent money while spending plenty of time with your family.
Wiremen often have more traditional working hours than standard electricians. Because they work within specific buildings, they do not have quite as many emergencies as electricians do. You may have to respond to a problem with a generator or a transponder occasionally outside of business hours, but in general, wiremen have excellent work/life balances. However, this means that wiremen have fewer opportunities for overtime work and may make less money overall than standard electricians.
Linemen have the most dangerous jobs. Because they work directly with power lines, there is a high risk of being electrocuted. You must be extremely cautious to be a lineman, and because the job is so dangerous, you may often receive hazard pay. This may cause you to earn more money annually than standard electricians. However, you will have to work a lot of overtime hours whenever there is bad weather. If there is a storm in your community that knocks out power lines, you must respond quickly to restore power to residents. You may also be required to travel frequently to nearby states that have reasonably experienced natural disasters. When this happens, you will not have a good work/life balance. In general, however, you will work standard business hours as a lineman and only get called out for overtime work after a massive storm.
As a lineman, the era you live in may also play a big role in how much you have to work. For example, if you work in the southeast where hurricanes are frequent, you may have to work long hours restoring power. If you live in the midwest where tornadoes are common, you may spend a lot of time fixing power lines after a devastating storm, but if you work in the southwest, you may not work many overtime hours.
There is no one right choice when you are trying to decide if you should make a career out of being an electrician, wireman or lineman. The best choice for you depends entirely on your career goals and the type of lifestyle you want to lead.
If you choose to enter the electrical field when it is time to start a career, you have several job paths to choose from. Becoming a residential electrician is not necessarily better than becoming a wireman or a lineman. Each of these job titles comes with certain responsibilities that make them better suited for different individuals. Understanding the difference between an electrician vs wireworker is important for deciding what career path you want to pursue.