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Old 08-29-2012, 04:04 PM   #1
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Default New. Thinking about becoming an Electrician.

Hi. I'm Ryan from Kentucky. Lately I've been thinking about going to a local community college to study electrical technology. They offer certificate, diploma and degree programs. I don't know which one to take if I do decide to pursue a career in electrical technology.

I like solving problems and taking things apart so maybe this would be a good fit. Also, the bureau of labor statistics occupational outlook handbook says that electrician jobs are supposed to grow faster than average in the coming years - and in this economy that's pretty important.

I have a strong work history and good work ethic - but no experience in the field. I'd be thankful for any advice from electricians on the forum. Thanks.
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Old 08-30-2012, 08:28 AM   #2
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Hi. I'm Ryan from Kentucky. Lately I've been thinking about going to a local community college to study electrical technology. They offer certificate, diploma and degree programs. I don't know which one to take if I do decide to pursue a career in electrical technology.

I like solving problems and taking things apart so maybe this would be a good fit. Also, the bureau of labor statistics occupational outlook handbook says that electrician jobs are supposed to grow faster than average in the coming years - and in this economy that's pretty important.

I have a strong work history and good work ethic - but no experience in the field. I'd be thankful for any advice from electricians on the forum. Thanks.
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Old 08-30-2012, 05:47 PM   #3
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If you get a chance to get in the commercial/industrial side jump in!
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Old 08-30-2012, 08:32 PM   #4
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Welcome to the forum. Get a degree then think about becoming an electrician.
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Old 08-31-2012, 09:14 PM   #5
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Good choice go the community college route rather than the extremely expensive for profit private tech school. I went the community college route . The college provided the classroom portion for the apprenticeship program so I have certificates and apprenticeship papers. Could have gone for the degree but I did not want to .
Find if your community college offers a apprenticeship program with local contractors . Apprenticeship is the best way to learn a trade . It tells a employer that you have worked at the trade but make sure it is BUREAU OF APPRENTICESHIP TRAINING CERTIFIED.
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Old 09-02-2012, 09:42 PM   #6
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I would check and see if your community college courses would count towards the schooling you would need to be an apprentice. If it does, I would consider going that route. With the economy in many parts of the US, it may be hard to find a job as a starter with no construction experience.
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Old 09-11-2012, 11:29 AM   #7
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Thanks. A lot of good advice here.
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Old 09-11-2012, 05:06 PM   #8
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Get the degree. It's what I did, and it gave me a ton of theory and motor control knowledge that I wouldn't of acquired if I had done night school. I also had courses on transformers, estimating, and got my OSHA 30 hr card out of it, so I would say it is well worth it. The estimating course was a huge help, and gave the family business a step up on getting a couple really good jobs that made us more competitive than using the per opening method that most of the other contractors in the area used. The degree may also give you more opportunities later on in your career to get out of the field and stop beating the crap out of your body. Don't listen to people that say that electrical work is clean and easy. It is dirty, and will destroy your body over time, but hey, that's what the trades are. I am 24 and already have carpal tunnel in my right wrist, so try to position yourself to get out of the field as you age and get into the office, as an estimator, project manager, business owner, etc.

Another thing to remember, is that as an apprentice you are going to catch a ton of ****, and have to do a bunch of crap work, but it is worth it. You just have to remember that the guys giving you all the crap had to put up with it when they were apprentices, and are just passing on the tradition. When you get the piece of paper from the state saying you are a licensed electrician in good standing, the sense of accomplishment is huge, and it opens up a lot of doors for you.
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Old 09-11-2012, 05:16 PM   #9
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switch to top 40. blue grass music is great but it don't pay the bills.
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Old 09-11-2012, 05:36 PM   #10
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Check you your area for IBEW Apprenticeshp program and see if they are hiring. It's really hard to beat the IBEW apprenticeship program.

Other option is check your area for private electrical contractor shops that are participating in state certified apprenticeship programs.

Also check your state electrical apprenticeship programs to find out what schools in your area have electrical training programs/classes that can be used for State electrical certification.

Don't waste your time with schools that are not supported by your local state electrical certification programs.
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Old 09-11-2012, 11:44 PM   #11
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Check you your area for IBEW Apprenticeshp program and see if they are hiring. It's really hard to beat the IBEW apprenticeship program.

Other option is check your area for private electrical contractor shops that are participating in state certified apprenticeship programs.

Also check your state electrical apprenticeship programs to find out what schools in your area have electrical training programs/classes that can be used for State electrical certification.

Don't waste your time with schools that are not supported by your local state electrical certification programs.
Yes.

Get indentured... as long as you've made up your mind that it's the path for you. Then focus on getting that journeyman card.

I mean, think about it: pay for schooling you might not use or go to work and get paid really well to learn a trade (IBEW only surefire way to have schooling paid for but independent shops can sometimes help you get your card sooner.)

Try to talk to people in your area, ask them what they did. And don't ever be deterred by anyone who seems rude, because you'll meet some of those as you gather information.

Good luck.
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Old 09-12-2012, 05:07 AM   #12
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find your local "Habitat for Humanity" help them wire and frame a couple dozen of thier houses see how you like it. if you go to Jc for electrical take construction management, business courses also.
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Old 09-12-2012, 06:15 AM   #13
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In my opinion the most important thing about being an electrician is the code. It's not how fast you can bend some pipe or pull some nm. It's the reason behind the work. And frankly, you will not get a good understanding of the code anytime soon if you don't go to a school. I graduated with a AAS in "Electrician" in December, and I couldn't tell you how many times I've been told to do something that wasn't up to code.

I've been hired in both Residential and Commercial jobs based on the fact that I went to school. You will get way more out of a two year program than if you were to spend the time working for someone.
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Old 09-12-2012, 08:52 AM   #14
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I think you just said school is better than experience. I'd say you need both. Most journeyman I know would take issue with your statement.

I doubt anyone needs to know the code before they decide to become an electrician, but if that's your opinion, cool.
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Old 09-12-2012, 03:26 PM   #15
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find your local "Habitat for Humanity" help them wire and frame a couple dozen of thier houses see how you like it. if you go to Jc for electrical take construction management, business courses also.
I've been on several HFH sites and I've never seen an EC allowing "helpers", a.k.a. unlicensed, unindentured. They normally come in by themselves during the weekdays, while the volunteers do the weekend work.
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Old 09-12-2012, 03:41 PM   #16
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I've been on several HFH sites and I've never seen an EC allowing "helpers", a.k.a. unlicensed, unindentured. They normally come in by themselves during the weekdays, while the volunteers do the weekend work.
in the past they have allowed this maybe their liability is change they don't do it anymore
I worked several of thier jobs volunteering wiring houses
the volunteers were supervised of course. this was 20 years ago.
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Last edited by Lep; 09-12-2012 at 03:44 PM.
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Old 09-12-2012, 08:42 PM   #17
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The nearest IBEW is about an hour and a half away, but there is a IEC that does apprenticeships. May check them out. Anyway, I think I'm gonna go for it. Got a friend in Alabama that's been an electrician for 6 years and I've been talking to him.

I'd hate to spend 2 years to get the Associate's degree but like someone else said on this post, I don't want to be killing myself when I'm 55. Thanks again for all the thoughtful advice.

Last edited by bluegrass; 09-12-2012 at 08:46 PM.
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Old 09-27-2012, 05:20 AM   #18
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I think you just said school is better than experience. I'd say you need both. Most journeyman I know would take issue with your statement.

I doubt anyone needs to know the code before they decide to become an electrician, but if that's your opinion, cool.
What I meant was the two years it would take to go through school would be more beneficial than just jumping into the trade and digging trenches / sweeping floors for a year.
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