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Old 07-27-2011, 12:09 PM   #1
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Default Hello from a 34yr old looking to start a new career in Tampa

Greetings one and all,

After working a desk job in offices for the past 14 years, I've decided to finally and seriously try to pursue a trade and do something interesting with my life. Electrical work has always been something I've been very interested in and by far my favorite type of DIY projects on my on home and the homes of friends and relatives looking for help.

My first question for you all is what is the best way to break in, learn and get started? I've been looking at the www.tampajatc.org website and thought that might be a good route to try at first.

Also, how is the demand for electricians in today's economy? Are there any particular aspects of the field (lineman, inside/outside, residential, etc...) that are doing better than others, or that you would recommend staying away from?

And finally... I'm not too old to just be starting out am I?
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Old 07-27-2011, 12:58 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Thurgrim View Post
Greetings one and all,

After working a desk job in offices for the past 14 years, I've decided to finally and seriously try to pursue a trade and do something interesting with my life. Electrical work has always been something I've been very interested in and by far my favorite type of DIY projects on my on home and the homes of friends and relatives looking for help.

My first question for you all is what is the best way to break in, learn and get started? I've been looking at the www.tampajatc.org website and thought that might be a good route to try at first.

Also, how is the demand for electricians in today's economy? Are there any particular aspects of the field (lineman, inside/outside, residential, etc...) that are doing better than others, or that you would recommend staying away from?


And finally... I'm not too old to just be starting out am I?

It is never to late to start something new.

That apprentice program looks good.


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Old 07-27-2011, 03:13 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Thurgrim View Post
Greetings one and all,


And finally... I'm not too old to just be starting out am I?
I hope not! Im 37 and moving from business to electrical. I enrolled in a local college and am taking electrical engineering technician - power. I am in my first year having done 2 semesters in school and am now at a coop placement. I go back for 1 semester, then coop and then one last semester. My program is more lined up to work in transmission or generation but there are plenty of other programs available as well.

Breaking in is tough, especially when all your resume says is "business' thats why I went the school route. Finally I feel that I am on my way, I will graduate with the education and some work experience. Right now I do a lot of repairs to safety light curtains used in automotive mfgring, some PLC work, setup of wireless switches, long range systems, and wiring switches for wood chippers of all things. Its a huge very welcome change from what I did before.

Be warned the schooling is the easy part, trying to work part time, pay a mortgage, keep a wife and 2 kids happy, cars on the road is where it gets tough. That said my only regret is that I didnt do it sooner. good luck!

PS you get to buy all those cool tools you never could justify before now that you are a "professional" HA! Wiha, Wera, Knipex, Ideal and Klein
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Old 07-28-2011, 06:36 PM   #4
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Thanks for the welcome, Harry!

It sounds like I'm in the same situation as you, Dave. Wife, 2 kids, and a mortgage. Prior to now I couldn't afford to do this, but my wife just landed a really good job, which will afford me to take the opportunity to try something new.

So how is the demand and work situation right now? Some of the things I've been reading recently lead me to believe that within the next 10 years, as the Baby Boomers retire, there will be a high demand for skilled tradesman while all of the college grads are struggling to find jobs because that seems to be the route pushed on everyone now. That and the fact that you can't outsource your electricians!
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Old 07-29-2011, 12:55 AM   #5
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Office work can make a person weak and fat, but electrical work wears-and-tears your joints. Realize that work, even electrical work, is NOT exercise, so if you can exercise and work in the trades, you'll be a superhuman guy into your 40s, 50s, and beyond.

As long as you stay out of the way of dangerous chemicals and such.

I'm 37 and I'm a first year apprentice. Wife and kid too, but no mortgage. The more money you make, the more money you spend, so it's not a bad choice, accepting less pay for a greater challenge. Simplifies your life too. And electrical is one of the few things that can be a threat to the public, so it's good to be able to spot an unsafe condition, or if you're in the market to buy a home, what home was done by professionals, and one that was done by a do-it-yourselfer.
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Old 07-29-2011, 12:59 AM   #6
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My wife wants to move to Sarasota in the worst way. We own a little place down there I've never laid eyes on. She's been there with the kids a million times. I have no interest in starting over. "Don't forget to write", I tell her.
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Old 07-29-2011, 04:53 PM   #7
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There isn't much work in Tampa right now. The average contractor pays like crap. I don't know of any union jobs around there. If you go with a small contractor your pay will be worse and you will probably learn alot of bad habits. The union pay would be better and you'll learn correctly but you won't be doing much work.

I would go to one of the larger contractors. They'll pay for your school and work will be more steady. Look for an IEC contractor and your pay rate will be more or less guaranteed after your apprenticeship. Apprenticeships don't exist with the smaller companies and you'll be competing with illegal Mexicans, drunks, and felons.
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Old 07-29-2011, 05:00 PM   #8
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That and the fact that you can't outsource your electricians!
You don't have to outsource, there are plenty of non-English speaking, illiterate Mexicans, who were drywallers yesterday, and electricians today.
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Old 07-29-2011, 05:14 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by CFL
There isn't much work in Tampa right now. The average contractor pays like crap. I don't know of any union jobs around there. If you go with a small contractor your pay will be worse and you will probably learn alot of bad habits. The union pay would be better and you'll learn correctly but you won't be doing much work.

I would go to one of the larger contractors. They'll pay for your school and work will be more steady. Look for an IEC contractor and your pay rate will be more or less guaranteed after your apprenticeship. Apprenticeships don't exist with the smaller companies and you'll be competing with illegal Mexicans, drunks, and felons.
Your painting a picture with a awful big brush,I work for a smaller company. No drunks, illegal, or drunks here, we also do pretty fine work. Working for small companies has it's benefits like not getting stuck doing the same thing over and over while the suck holes are doing all the gravy work. Also there is less people to take care of in a small company.
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Old 07-29-2011, 05:39 PM   #10
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Your painting a picture with a awful big brush,I work for a smaller company. No drunks, illegal, or drunks here, we also do pretty fine work. Working for small companies has it's benefits like not getting stuck doing the same thing over and over while the suck holes are doing all the gravy work. Also there is less people to take care of in a small company.
Yeah, I know. The best companies, with the best talent, probably are small ones. And there are plenty of large companies with crackhead employees. But in the OP's area I would recommend going with a large established company for apprenticeship. Then he'll be able to distinguish the good from the bad. Too many people start at a crappy company and waste years being a helper, not an apprentice. Not only that, but he'll have access to better tools, get help to purchase tools, get benefits, and basically walk away in a better position then when he walked in.
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Old 07-29-2011, 08:19 PM   #11
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I started my apprenticeship at 38 years old, another guy in the class was 42.
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Old 08-10-2011, 12:24 AM   #12
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I just started my apprenticeship and I'm 41. I have a wife, 2 young girls, and a mortgage but you only live once right? I've worked for big companies and made good $ but not even close to as happy as i am now.
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Old 08-10-2011, 12:35 AM   #13
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I just started my apprenticeship and I'm 41. I have a wife, 2 young girls, and a mortgage but you only live once right? I've worked for big companies and made good $ but not even close to as happy as i am now.
Thats great Congratulations it is good to be happy in life.


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Old 08-10-2011, 10:11 AM   #14
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Thanks for all of the encouragement, and congratulations on your apprenticeship Nepalm. I can't wait to get started!
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Old 08-12-2011, 06:15 PM   #15
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People want it cheap, well hate to say it but do you want quality too? Every time I go over some poser illegal not tax paying crap work. I enjoy charging double to the cheap ass person who hired them in the first place to save a buck.
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Old 08-12-2011, 06:21 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Dave L

I hope not! Im 37 and moving from business to electrical. I enrolled in a local college and am taking electrical engineering technician - power. I am in my first year having done 2 semesters in school and am now at a coop placement. I go back for 1 semester, then coop and then one last semester. My program is more lined up to work in transmission or generation but there are plenty of other programs available as well.

Breaking in is tough, especially when all your resume says is "business' thats why I went the school route. Finally I feel that I am on my way, I will graduate with the education and some work experience. Right now I do a lot of repairs to safety light curtains used in automotive mfgring, some PLC work, setup of wireless switches, long range systems, and wiring switches for wood chippers of all things. Its a huge very welcome change from what I did before.

Be warned the schooling is the easy part, trying to work part time, pay a mortgage, keep a wife and 2 kids happy, cars on the road is where it gets tough. That said my only regret is that I didnt do it sooner. good luck!

PS you get to buy all those cool tools you never could justify before now that you are a "professional" HA! Wiha, Wera, Knipex, Ideal and Klein
Congrats never to late to learn something new I've been a electrician for over 18 years and I'm still learning something new all the time.
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