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Old 01-30-2015, 10:59 AM   #1
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Default Looking to get started, have a thousand questions

Recently Iíve been very interested in the electrical field. My interests in the electrical field are working as a lineworker, transmission/distribution technician, or working with wind turbines or solar. Would like to work with a power company or a big construction company. Mostly just want to work outside.

I am looking to get some advice on what path I should get started in. Iíve tried to do a good amount of research into different career paths and getting started, but the more I learned, the more I actually got confused. Some of these questions may come off possibly ignorant or naive, and if they do I apologize, I am just trying to get some actual advice from actual electricians who understand the trade.

1. Iíve read you can get started at a vocational school or applying to a union. How do you decide which one to do? Is the Union selective in who they choose?

2. What if you donít get selected by the union? Should you then apply for the technical school?

3. If you get accepted into the union, I read that you work and then take classes that are given to you by the union. Is that how it works?

4. I wanted to get into alternative energy, now I saw programs at technical schools that offer specific programs that focus on alternative energy. But if you enter one of those programs (becoming a solar or wind technician), are you essentially screwing yourself at that point of becoming a licensed electrician?

5. With that being said, would it be better to become a licensed electrician first, and then can you attain certificates to work on wind turbines or solar panels?

6. And lastly, if eventually someday after I hopefully could prove myself and have enough knowledge and experience, what exactly is the criteria for advancement in the field? If you wanted to eventually try to get a supervisory position, other than being a Master electrician, do they want you to have any other credentials?

Sorry if this was a lot, I didnít mean to write a novel initially, but the questions kept popping in my head. Like I said, any help is greatly appreciated, even if its only answering one question. Thanks a bunch
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Old 01-30-2015, 11:09 AM   #2
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Welcome to ET!

I can't help you with your questions since I spent my whole career working for the TELCO. Other more qualified electricians will chime in with their opinion.
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Old 01-30-2015, 11:23 AM   #3
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#1 Enacra
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Looking to get started, have a thousand questions
Recently Iíve been very interested in the electrical field. My interests in the electrical field are working as a lineworker, transmission/distribution technician, or working with wind turbines or solar. Would like to work with a power company or a big construction company. Mostly just want to work outside.

I am looking to get some advice on what path I should get started in. Iíve tried to do a good amount of research into different career paths and getting started, but the more I learned, the more I actually got confused. Some of these questions may come off possibly ignorant or naive, and if they do I apologize, I am just trying to get some actual advice from actual electricians who understand the trade.

The only question that is stupid is the one you did not ask.

1. Iíve read you can get started at a vocational school or applying to a union. How do you decide which one to do? Is the Union selective in who they choose?

Yes the union is selective, however, it is the best choice to start out with.

2. What if you donít get selected by the union? Should you then apply for the technical school?
Yes and get a job as an apprentice as well.

3. If you get accepted into the union, I read that you work and then take classes that are given to you by the union. Is that how it works?

Yes

4. I wanted to get into alternative energy, now I saw programs at technical schools that offer specific programs that focus on alternative energy. But if you enter one of those programs (becoming a solar or wind technician), are you essentially screwing yourself at that point of becoming a licensed electrician?

This is just a small part of the electrical trade and you'll be doing the same thing each day and never learn all the other stuff we do.

5. With that being said, would it be better to become a licensed electrician first, and then can you attain certificates to work on wind turbines or solar panels?

Yes, get as much experience in all of the other parts of the electrical trade, and you'll worth a lot more than just a solar electrician.

6. And lastly, if eventually someday after I hopefully could prove myself and have enough knowledge and experience, what exactly is the criteria for advancement in the field? If you wanted to eventually try to get a supervisory position, other than being a Master electrician, do they want you to have any other credentials?

Yes, but first you must work in the field and learn all that you can in the 5-10 years it takes to become a master electrician.

Sorry if this was a lot, I didnít mean to write a novel initially, but the questions kept popping in my head. Like I said, any help is greatly appreciated, even if its only answering one question. Thanks a bunch

No problem

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Old 01-30-2015, 12:55 PM   #4
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Welcome!

When I started I had the choice of union or non union.

I chose the non union path for my own personal reasons.

So from a non union standpoint,

I went to trade school (BOCES) during high school and it was a great experience. We touched on everything from motor control, to solar panels. A bit of everything to help us all get a foot in the door to get a job as an apprentice.

We were able to compete in a 'skills USA' contest. I ended up winning best in my class, won best in the county, won best on the island, and placed 3rd in the state.

From there I was able to get a job right out of high school. Jumped around, did different things within the residential niche of this trade. Generators, storm damage repair, high end, section 8, solar, and a bunch of fun stuff.

I believe it's hard to find a good shop (at least where i am) and that was definitely a challenge. But there's always something out there if you have a passion for the trade.

Best of luck for you and if you have any questions feel free to ask!
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