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Hi all. I have just gotten laid off from my printing job. I have over 20 years experience in the printing industry and that industry has been declining for decades.

For a long time now I have been considering the electrician field. I have the opportunity to get training either through IBEW/JATC or ABC as both are local.

My concern is, however, that at my age and with a herniated disk in my lower back and neck, the physicality of starting as a cub in this job will be too much for me. I am fine as far as the disks in my back and neck go but if I were to overdo it, I would have a problem. I did not have surgery for these but rather healed them through chiropracty.

Is there a type of electrician work that is a little kinder to the back than others?

Thank you so much for your input!
 

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changing out equipment, fixing this and that. could work at like a Keebler factory, they make cheese its and cookies. lots of control work. factories like older men who are slow, not quick and wanting to get things done very fast.
you get into other stuff too like fixing doors, just maintenance.
 

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thanks!

Thanks a lot for your reply.

Sounds like it would not be as high paying as other electrician type jobs. My other interest is automotive electrical systems, which I've already taken a couple of courses in. That's sounding better actually.

Too many cookies will put on the paunch LOL:laughing:

Thanks a lot!
 

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This career is very hard on the back and about every other part of the body. I do industrial construction, we are constantly climbing into hard to reach positions and lots of ladder work. Wire pulls and just setting up a wire pull is hard on the body. It is nice if you can get Lulls and forklifts to help but there are plenty of times that you must use brute strength. I would not recommend this to someone with a bad back. On my last job I was walking on concrete floors 10 hours a day, I averaged 5 miles. I bought new Carolina boots every six months and still developed heel spurs. I am sure the commercial and residential folks out there can tell you plenty of horror stories.
 

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Thanks a lot for your reply.

Sounds like it would not be as high paying as other electrician type jobs. My other interest is automotive electrical systems, which I've already taken a couple of courses in. That's sounding better actually.

Too many cookies will put on the paunch LOL:laughing:

Thanks a lot!
I think the automotive industry is falling faster then the printing industry, might not be the best pick. Also to my understanding they are not paid all that great.

This career is very hard on the back and about every other part of the body. I do industrial construction, we are constantly climbing into hard to reach positions and lots of ladder work. Wire pulls and just setting up a wire pull is hard on the body. It is nice if you can get Lulls and forklifts to help but there are plenty of times that you must use brute strength. I would not recommend this to someone with a bad back. On my last job I was walking on concrete floors 10 hours a day, I averaged 5 miles. I bought new Carolina boots every six months and still developed heel spurs. I am sure the commercial and residential folks out there can tell you plenty of horror stories.
I agree, its pretty taxing on the body, and starting within arms reach of most peoples retirement age is going to be tough. No one wants to invest training money on a short term employee. And generally in Unions the guy lowest on the totem pole is the guy doing the most labor.

Not saying you can't make it in electrical, but it will be uphill the whole way.
 

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Hi all. I have just gotten laid off from my printing job. I have over 20 years experience in the printing industry and that industry has been declining for decades.

For a long time now I have been considering the electrician field. I have the opportunity to get training either through IBEW/JATC or ABC as both are local.

My concern is, however, that at my age and with a herniated disk in my lower back and neck, the physicality of starting as a cub in this job will be too much for me. I am fine as far as the disks in my back and neck go but if I were to overdo it, I would have a problem. I did not have surgery for these but rather healed them through chiropracty.

Is there a type of electrician work that is a little kinder to the back than others?

Thank you so much for your input!
Learn Programmable Logic Controllers AKA PLCs. How to program and troubleshoot them. You will be sitting on call most of the time while getting paid, "fire watch".:thumbsup:
 

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Thanks again y'all

Learn Programmable Logic Controllers AKA PLCs. How to program and troubleshoot them. You will be sitting on call most of the time while getting paid, "fire watch".:thumbsup:
I was looking at some job openings for just this....and doesn't sound strenuous.

Just found out the deadline for applying at the JATC is 10 days from now, so I'm gonna go down there and try to get in with that.

I should say that I am pretty physically fit and my pressman job was pretty rigorous as all the other pressmen had helpers and I did not. I did the helper job as well as the pressman job. The helper part is a lot more physical and you're standing all day and climbing all over a press the size of a Mack truck.

My back is not really unhealthy, I can lift up to 50lbs no problem, above that and I have to be careful how I move around.

The program I'm interested in at the JATC is 'inside wireman' apprentice. Does that sound as physical as other types of apprenticeships?

I'm not anywhere near retirement. I understand the longer you're in this field and the more you use your brain, the less physical your job is? So I'd be working as long as I can get out of bed. Y'all might be near retirement because your industry is healthy and you have pensions and so forth, but the rest of us will be working the rest of our lives what with having to retrain at a later age. I would hope age discrimination is not a factor. I have always had the highest productivity amongst my peers.

PLCs...now what 'electrician' umbrella does that fall under? sorry for all the questions! This is GREAT feedback though and extremely valuable.

Love the JibJab video! That's exactly where my job went, all the printing is being done in China now, and you know they're not taking the environmental care that printing companies here in the US are forced to take. They're probably using precious woods to print romance novels...I better not get started.
 

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I was looking at some job openings for just this....and doesn't sound strenuous.
The program I'm interested in at the JATC is 'inside wireman' apprentice. Does that sound as physical as other types of apprenticeships?


Inside wireman is what the IBEW calls a "electrician". Outside wireman is a "lineman". You need to be able to physical labor. You may be outside in a trench, on top of a smoke stack, crawling through a conveyor, or many of other thousands of places. Yes it is very physical, we use brains and brawn.
 

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I'm not anywhere near retirement. I understand the longer you're in this field and the more you use your brain, the less physical your job is?.
Troubleshooting industrial electronics and control circuits as a inhouse Electrician you will be taxing you're brain not you're body.

PLCs...now what 'electrician' umbrella does that fall under? sorry for all the questions! This is GREAT feedback though and extremely valuable.
Maintenance Industrial Electronics Electrician.You may troubleshoot process controls such as "Instrumentation", "Motion Control" for machines with servos and encoders, and Motor/VFD circuits. And all types of specialized equipment depending on where you work. This work requires some schooling as just Hands on won't cut it. You will get paid even when you're sitting because if you're "sitting doing nothing" everything must be running smooth.
 

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I agree with p_logix, I had a microdiscectamy several years ago and get on jest fine but I would not want to start out in this trade in this condition. That being said, a good programer is worth his and my weight in platnum. I have worked with about a dozen over the years and have learned to really appretiate the 'good ones'. The other thing I would consider is that (in my experiance) no license is required for this position, saving you the years of lower than whale s*** slave labor that is an apprenticship. Best of luck in your decision.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
More Industrial Maintenance Electrician questions please

Ok all this industrial maintenance stuff is sounding real good. Plus I have seen several openings in this area for jobs like that so I know the work is here.

I have a couple more questions for those who are experienced in this particular niche.

1) I'm having trouble finding any info on apprenticeships in this niche. Do they exist? And how do I find out if Maryland requires a license for this? If they don't require a license, then there wouldn't be apprenticships available right? So how do I get into the industry?

2) Does the pay go as high as other types of electrician work? Seems like it should go higher if it requires more education and specialized aptitude?

And a comment, my father in law is a retired Scientific Systems Programmer from NASA. Wonder if NASA has these types of jobs (I will ask him soon but if anyone knows, please answer) - Goddard is not terribly far from here. Just thinking out loud here. Also, FIL could help me with any programming as I did ask him about that and that is like the simplest stuff to him, so I have an advantage there.

So I am going to take the accelerated learning ABC program which is all the schooling that apprentices would get in 4 years crammed into four months of schooling everyday.

Then looking around this site, it sounds like this niche is something that once the basic schooling is out of the way, training could actually be done online right? I see that several forum members are working on stuff like that.

I hope these questions don't sound dumb, I am researching as much as I can and wading through all the crap and scams is tough to find actual legit info. So you all are really helping with providing some direction.

I appreciate the help so much. And I'm getting kind of excited about all of this! I have a silly dream of building nanobots LOL - and there are actually companies in this area (biotech) developing that kind of stuff.

Still, would be funny to go back to my old company and fix their fracking presses when they break down LOL.
 

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Ok all this industrial maintenance stuff is sounding real good. Plus I have seen several openings in this area for jobs like that so I know the work is here.

I have a couple more questions for those who are experienced in this particular niche.

1) I'm having trouble finding any info on apprenticeships in this niche. Do they exist? And how do I find out if Maryland requires a license for this? If they don't require a license, then there wouldn't be apprenticships available right? So how do I get into the industry?

2) Does the pay go as high as other types of electrician work? Seems like it should go higher if it requires more education and specialized aptitude?

And a comment, my father in law is a retired Scientific Systems Analyst from NASA. Wonder if NASA has these types of jobs (I will ask him soon but if anyone knows, please answer) - Goddard is not terribly far from here. Just thinking out loud here. Also, FIL could help me with any programming as I did ask him about that and that is like the simplest stuff to him, so I have an advantage there.

So I am going to take the accelerated learning ABC program which is all the schooling that apprentices would get in 4 years crammed into four months of schooling everyday.

Then looking around this site, it sounds like this niche is something that once the basic schooling is out of the way, training could actually be done online right? I see that several forum members are working on stuff like that.

I hope these questions don't sound dumb, I am researching as much as I can and wading through all the crap and scams is tough to find actual legit info. So you all are really helping with providing some direction.

I appreciate the help so much. And I'm getting kind of excited about all of this! I have a silly dream of building nanobots LOL - and there are actually companies in this area (biotech) developing that kind of stuff.

Still, would be funny to go back to my old company and fix their fracking presses when they break down LOL.
1. In my area we a I.B.E.W maintenance electrical Local. Some of the guys I know went to a 2 year trade school then walked right in to our local as a journeyman, as our company was looking for people with strong motor control, PLC and electronics knowledge. We all have a journeyman cards but a CA state journeyman certification is not required because our employer is not a Licensed C10 Electrical contractor.

2. The pay is pretty good and there is a lot of overtime available because most machines go down on weekends for cleaning. Thats when we PM the machines such take megger readings, change faulty instruments, upgrade equipment. We have guaranteed overtime on our new 5 year contract we just signed and full benefits, 401 K and I.B.E.W. pension.

Then looking around this site, it sounds like this niche is something that once the basic schooling is out of the way, training could actually be done online right? I see that several forum members are working on stuff like that.
Online schooling.:no:

After schooling is done and you have the fundamentals, DC and AC theory, basic digital electronics. And you have the ability to troubleshoot a control circuit using a schematic, you should be able to pick up the rest on the job. Most Employers send their employees for training on there specialized equipment. Not everyplace you go has Kuka Robots, Laser systems, vision systems, ink jet coders etc..

Some of the I.B.E.W Electrical maintenance jobs in my area are Aerospace, the brewing industry, and so forth. Some of the pharmaceutical jobs pay good as well.
 
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