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Old 02-12-2016, 03:38 PM   #21
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I may be in the minority here, but I don't know and haven't met many people with technical degrees that also have trades licenses.
I'm a registered Master Electrician and have a PE license. I've kept up the Master license because I think it gives me better credibility in the work I do, some of which is 70E training for electricians.
IMO the best thing about doing the engineering aspect of our trade is that the physical demands are typically much less. I can work all day from a computer chair, doing Power Systems analysis projects. I enjoy the work so much that I don't ever see myself stopping for retirement.
If I were you I'd pursue the degree, but that all depends on your situation. Going to college after a full day of work, and doing that for years to complete the degree requirements, would be a huge commitment.
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Old 02-12-2016, 08:50 PM   #22
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Having a degree isn't necessarily an advantage when hiring in the trades. The person potentially hiring you as a journeyman certainly isn't hoping you'll make it a stepping stone to something better. They may think that a person with a degree isn't going to stick around for long. The person hiring you may think a person with a degree will be a pain in the ass because you think you're special and know more than everyone else. The person hiring you may think you'll sooner or later be a threat to their job.

You make it sound like getting a degree is like cashing in a coupon for a free Big Mac. You have a break on the money, that's huge, of course. You don't have a break on the time and effort.

A four year degree is what, about 135 credits? Each credit will take about 30 hours of your time between the classroom and the homework. That comes out to about 4000 hours of work, about 2 years of working full time.

(This is why being a full time college student is so popular, it's two years of work spread out over four years, with your parents and a bank paying the bill, with proximity to college age girls and beer.)

If you take some BS pay-your-fee-get-your-C program you'll spend less time but you'll also learn less and have a degree that's worth less and employers know that. If you take electrical engineering those estimates are low and that's if you have what it takes to learn the calculus and beyond.

That's time and effort you could have put into something else. If you waste it you'll never get it back. If you're just a whelp that's OK, most people don't set the world on fire between the ages of 18 and 22, still drying out behind the ears. If you're older, I'd get busy living.
This is good advice, but I think in many of the higher paying jobs it's better to know more than to know less. For instance, a lot of the lead maintenance positions I see at airports and whatnot - they seem like they all want you to be technically savvy and to know electrical and either HVAC or Plumbing to boot.

My style of learning is pretty whimsical too and I'm a bit of a day dreamer. For me I need to kind of bounce around in life a bit. I think it pays off for some people to have a diverse background.
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Old 02-12-2016, 08:53 PM   #23
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This is good advice, but I think in many of the higher paying jobs it's better to know more than to know less. For instance, a lot of the lead maintenance positions I see at airports and whatnot - they seem like they all want you to be technically savvy and to know electrical and either HVAC or Plumbing to boot.

My style of learning is pretty whimsical too and I'm a bit of a day dreamer. For me I need to kind of bounce around in life a bit. I think it pays off for some people to have a diverse background.
I think you underestimate how much work an engineering degree is.
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Old 02-12-2016, 10:40 PM   #24
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This is good advice, but I think in many of the higher paying jobs it's better to know more than to know less. For instance, a lot of the lead maintenance positions I see at airports and whatnot - they seem like they all want you to be technically savvy and to know electrical and either HVAC or Plumbing to boot.

My style of learning is pretty whimsical too and I'm a bit of a day dreamer. For me I need to kind of bounce around in life a bit. I think it pays off for some people to have a diverse background.
Good point.

An industrial service electrician needs to be about half electrician and about half millwright.

I'd say that about 1/3 of my service work involves trades other than electrical.

It may or may not pay any better, but it'll pretty much guarantee that you'll be the last to be laid off.

And even if you're laid off, you'll be first on the hiring list if you can bring service accounts to the new company.

A college degree very likely won't do that.
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Old 02-13-2016, 09:51 AM   #25
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I think you underestimate how much work an engineering degree is.
Who said Engineering?

God no, no I know that ship has sailed.
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Old 02-13-2016, 10:02 AM   #26
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Good point.

An industrial service electrician needs to be about half electrician and about half millwright.

I'd say that about 1/3 of my service work involves trades other than electrical.

It may or may not pay any better, but it'll pretty much guarantee that you'll be the last to be laid off.

And even if you're laid off, you'll be first on the hiring list if you can bring service accounts to the new company.

A college degree very likely won't do that.
Yeah, millwright is something I've been debating with myself whether to get into for awhile or not. Kinda torn between that or plumbing or HVAC or something. Just good professional development and being able to solve a bunch of different problems and bring a bunch of consulting skills to whoever you're working for.

I don't think the degree necessarily will make you another $50,000 a year. I just think, again, it makes you more marketable. If you're working in an airport or something how does it NOT help you to be able to communicate and consult the people in IT, or Engineering, or, hell, even finance or what have you.

Everything you can learn is a branch to another person, at some point, somewhere.
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Old 02-13-2016, 11:48 AM   #27
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You need to first take a personal inventory of yourself. That could include career counselling. From there, you try to anticipate your value to the marketplace upon graduation. There's no sense investing in education if you can't find work.

Speaking for myself, I couldn't handle being stuck in an engineering office all day. I need to be out and about. I could handle doing inspections for an engineering firm.

I spent considerable time in the sales end of this business and enjoyed it. Many of those positions require a degree. One thing to keep in mind - many jobs require a degree. I think it's ridiculous but people with degrees like to hire people with degrees. Even mundane, dead end jobs require degrees. It doesn't even matter what degree you have; you simply need a degree in something.
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Old 02-13-2016, 01:34 PM   #28
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Yes, for sure engineering is out of the question. I'm just not the personality type that would be good for an office and constant interaction with coworkers. As long as people are somewhat professional in their interactions with me I'm just content to be left alone.

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I spent considerable time in the sales end of this business and enjoyed it. Many of those positions require a degree. One thing to keep in mind - many jobs require a degree. I think it's ridiculous but people with degrees like to hire people with degrees. Even mundane, dead end jobs require degrees. It doesn't even matter what degree you have; you simply need a degree in something.
Haha, I know it's hilarious. All the lowest level clerical jobs these days require degrees. Telemarketing jobs require degrees. It's really amazing that something that has nothing to do with the job description is an absolute cutoff point. Tell me how that's any different (in principle of course) than a caste system.
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Old 02-13-2016, 01:44 PM   #29
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Who said Engineering?

God no, no I know that ship has sailed.
Well you mentioned electronics, but that's not a field I would get a degree in.

If you really want to learn about electronics look into norton's theorem, superposition theorem, thevenin theorem, etc and see if you want to do that stuff for 2 hours a day, every day. Those are the super low level ways to redraw circuits and is what higher level things in electronics are based on.

That and high level math.
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Old 02-13-2016, 01:46 PM   #30
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I have a BS in Finance and have been an EC for 21 years. The college experience helped with a few things like accounting. Most of what I learned in college was either wrong or outdated by the time I graduated. My time would have been better spent learning what I really needed and skipping the fluff. The biggest advantage to having a college degree is that you're not very impressed by college degrees.
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Old 02-13-2016, 05:07 PM   #31
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I have a master electrical license and a Doctorate from the school of hard knocks. It's taken a while to get. I still take some classes once in a while. I learned a lot though.
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