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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys,

Browse the forum a lot, great information on here.

I'm interested in getting into electric controls (relays, industrial systems, pushbuttons, etc.) I've been working as a commercial electrician helper for a few months now, and I was considering applying to my local apprenticeship program come September, but have been told by a controls technician that becoming a licensed Journeyman would not be a necessary step.

Is this true or am I being fed garbage? I understand that becoming a Journeyman would certainly help competitively, but it's a four year commitment. In the mean time I'll definitely get the electrical experience for another two or so years, but wasn't sure if I should bother applying to an apprenticeship program.

I appreciate any input, thanks a lot.
 

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Not sure about the rules where you are, but as far as I know, here you are supposed to be an electrician to do that stuff.

I would go for the apprenticeship either way. You say it's a 4 year commitment, but I assume you are planning on working for the next 4 years anyway, so why not make it count toward the apprenticeship. I know where I am controls work hours counted toward my apprenticeship.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Not sure about the rules where you are, but as far as I know, here you are supposed to be an electrician to do that stuff.

I would go for the apprenticeship either way. You say it's a 4 year commitment, but I assume you are planning on working for the next 4 years anyway, so why not make it count toward the apprenticeship. I know where I am controls work hours counted toward my apprenticeship.

Interesting, I always thought your hours had to be in construction in order to complete an apprenticeship. Thanks for the response brother.
 

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Interesting, I always thought your hours had to be in construction in order to complete an apprenticeship. Thanks for the response brother.
When I did my apprenticeship I got a bunch of hours knocked off for a B.Tech. that I did, and then a few for other previous experience, and the most of the remainder (~2.5yrs) was done with controls and PLC stuff. Of my entire apprenticeship, very little was done running cable or pipe.

I'm in Ontario, so rules may be different. Also, with the new OCOT tax-grab, the rules may different here now too.
 

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When I did my apprenticeship I got a bunch of hours knocked off for a B.Tech. that I did, and then a few for other previous experience, and the most of the remainder (~2.5yrs) was done with controls and PLC stuff. Of my entire apprenticeship, very little was done running cable or pipe.

I'm in Ontario, so rules may be different. Also, with the new OCOT tax-grab, the rules may different here now too.
I attended a pre-apprenticeship program for 1 year. Hopefully there's a way to knock off an apprenticeship year for that. But yeah a lot of employers for apprenticeship programs around here are contractors, 90% of which are commercial. While I don't dislike commercial, I prefer industrial/maintenance.
 

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I do a lot of controls, PLC and instrumentation wiring. In fact, its a large percentage of my work. After doing so much of it, I highly recommend going forward and getting your license.

We tie into a lot of 600 volt MCC buckets with our controls.....do lots of line voltage wiring for motor starters.....install and wire many VFD's.....do a fair amount of line voltage work around all types of HVAC equipment......wire up lots of line voltage control and safety systems for boilers and run miles and miles of conduit for all this wiring.

All that work is in the realm of a licensed electrician so why not be licensed? :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I do a lot of controls, PLC and instrumentation wiring. In fact, its a large percentage of my work. After doing so much of it, I highly recommend going forward and getting your license.

We tie into a lot of 600 volt MCC buckets with our controls.....do lots of line voltage wiring for motor starters.....install and wire many VFD's.....do a fair amount of line voltage work around all types of HVAC equipment......wire up lots of line voltage control and safety systems for boilers and run miles and miles of conduit for all this wiring.

All that work is in the realm of a licensed electrician so why not be licensed? :thumbsup:

Ah, PLC's, what a crazy concept those things are.

But I definitely see what you mean. Do you work in the oilfields per chance? One of my buddies works up in the ND as an electrician and was telling me about ridiculous lengths of conduit he had to run.
 

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Walter White
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I am an industrial electrician. I work with controls and automation daily. Definitely get your license or engineering degree. 90% of licensed industrial electricians I know are technologists as well.

Good Luck!
 
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I am an industrial electrician. I work with controls and automation daily. Definitely get your license or engineering degree. 90% of licensed industrial electricians I know are technologists as well.

Good Luck!

How does one go about becoming a technologist? Do you need to be licensed AND have a degree? Sounds like my kind of work!
 

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How does one go about becoming a technologist? Do you need to be licensed AND have a degree? Sounds like my kind of work!
Well, the main way I know of to be a technologist is to get a 4 year engineering technology degree from an ABET accredited college.

Since you can work as an engineer without a degree, even though its rare, the same applies to technologists. Technologists are a step below engineers.

I would go ahead and get my license if I were you. Personally, I want to do controls work so I am an apprentice getting my electrical license while getting a 4 year degree, my day to day work involves a lot of troubleshooting, PLCs, VFDs, temperature controllers, PID loops, etc.
 

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I look at it this way. If you invest the time to get your license, and you end up not needing it, what have you lost? 2 additional years? You still get experience during that time, so it's not that much of a loss. On the other hand if you go another route (don't know what that would be really) and get into control work without your J-man license, at some point in your future career you will run up against a blockage of some sort related to you not having it. For example, we have technicians that do field work on controls all the time, they are guys with EE degrees. Sometimes with the work they need to do, someone on the job needs to be licensed and they are not. So we have to go hire a J-man somewhere, from a contractor customer usually, but sometimes even a temp agency. If even one guy on our staff had his license, that guy would have great job security.
 
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IBEW L.U. 1852
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Ah, PLC's, what a crazy concept those things are.

But I definitely see what you mean. Do you work in the oilfields per chance? One of my buddies works up in the ND as an electrician and was telling me about ridiculous lengths of conduit he had to run.
At one time I did work in the oil patch I Alberta but that's a few years behind me now. That is where I learned 90% of my PLC and automation skills. Did lots of high voltage work there as well.....in the 4160 V to 25 KV range....in the switchyards for Enbridge tank farms, pumping stations and such.

Now I have a medium sized electrical contracting business and do primarily commercial and industrial work. Mostly HVAC controls, PLC's, Fire Alarm systems, Structured Wiring and Building Automation and Security. Lots of low voltage work.:thumbsup:
 

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Sometimes with the work they need to do, someone on the job needs to be licensed and they are not. So we have to go hire a J-man somewhere, from a contractor customer usually, but sometimes even a temp agency. If even one guy on our staff had his license, that guy would have great job security.

Excellent advice for the OP.

I was that guy for quite a few years JRaef. I had the electrical engineering technologist degree and JM electrician license as both construction electrician and industrial electrician. I was still working with the company after everyone else was laid off.
I was with that particular company so damn long that I bought it. :laughing:
 

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Walter White
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A degree and apprenticeship are two entirely different things, if you like to work with your hands, brains and constantly be challenged then apprenticeship is good for you, if you get a degree you will be more in the engineering field so I would imagine a lot more paper work and meetings, or you could become a programmer if you have the mindset. However to get an apprenticeship for industrial electrician taking electromechanical will help your odds greatly.

BTW... I started in construction worked three years switched to industrial and gained my certificate of qualification. Everyone who is successful in the trade got there from hard work and experience. My construction experience is what has set my skills apart from a lot of electricians I come across in industrial.

Good luck!!!
 
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Discussion Starter #16
Well, the main way I know of to be a technologist is to get a 4 year engineering technology degree from an ABET accredited college.

Since you can work as an engineer without a degree, even though its rare, the same applies to technologists. Technologists are a step below engineers.

I would go ahead and get my license if I were you. Personally, I want to do controls work so I am an apprentice getting my electrical license while getting a 4 year degree, my day to day work involves a lot of troubleshooting, PLCs, VFDs, temperature controllers, PID loops, etc.

I thought Engineering Technology was a 2 year degree? Either way, you've got a lot on your plate man, I envy guys like you lol.

I look at it this way. If you invest the time to get your license, and you end up not needing it, what have you lost? 2 additional years? You still get experience during that time, so it's not that much of a loss. On the other hand if you go another route (don't know what that would be really) and get into control work without your J-man license, at some point in your future career you will run up against a blockage of some sort related to you not having it. For example, we have technicians that do field work on controls all the time, they are guys with EE degrees. Sometimes with the work they need to do, someone on the job needs to be licensed and they are not. So we have to go hire a J-man somewhere, from a contractor customer usually, but sometimes even a temp agency. If even one guy on our staff had his license, that guy would have great job security.
That's a similar mindset as myself. I like to think "why not, it can't hurt." Worst case I walk out of it with experience. Sounds like a lot of education and skills you need to learn, but I'm only 20, so I've got plenty of time.

At one time I did work in the oil patch I Alberta but that's a few years behind me now. That is where I learned 90% of my PLC and automation skills. Did lots of high voltage work there as well.....in the 4160 V to 25 KV range....in the switchyards for Enbridge tank farms, pumping stations and such.

Now I have a medium sized electrical contracting business and do primarily commercial and industrial work. Mostly HVAC controls, PLC's, Fire Alarm systems, Structured Wiring and Building Automation and Security. Lots of low voltage work.:thumbsup:
Damn, you've got quite the resume brother! You sound like you're living my career dream right now. But yeah, low voltage is where it's at.

A degree and apprenticeship are two entirely different things, if you like to work with your hands, brains and constantly be challenged then apprenticeship is good for you, if you get a degree you will be more in the engineering field so I would imagine a lot more paper work and meetings, or you could become a programmer if you have the mindset. However to get an apprenticeship for industrial electrician taking electromechanical will help your odds greatly.

BTW... I started in construction worked three years switched to industrial and gained my certificate of qualification. Everyone who is successful in the trade got there from hard work and experience. My construction experience is what has set my skills apart from a lot of electricians I come across in industrial.

Good luck!!!
Very nice to hear it worked out for you brother, hope it works for me too. I'm commercial construction right now, but it's probably not something that will interest me forever. Will definitely work at least 3 years though for dat der experience.

On a side note, I guess it could be totally within the realm of possibility to obtain a license AND degree. That alone is 8-10 years of school I'd be looking at minimum though. Can't believe I'm saying this, but I can't wait til I'm 30 lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)

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Walter White
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Haha I just turned thirty u got time on your side!!!
 

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Don't be afraid to change companies to keep things challenging!!
 

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Don't be afraid to change companies to keep things challenging!!

Been at my company a couple months and not a big fan. They tend to cut corners and I'm getting paid pretty sloppy. Problem is I want to try and stay at a job for at least a year or two, because I've never had a job that's lasted over 6 months (only had two others; one layoff and one quit). But you're right, first chance I have I may jump ship.
 
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