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Hello all,

I'm not sure if this is the appropriate sub to post this but here we go.

I am a recent college grad with a degree in electrical engineering. I landed a job straight out of college without breaking a sweat. I currently work for a power design firm in Chicago where I sit in an office all day and perform calculations. I am constantly bored.

During school, I spent two summers interning is a power coop. My favorite time spent there was when I would go out with the lineman on an emergency and get to watch them work. The time seemed to fly by whenever I was out in the field.

During this internship, I spent a couple months in the field surveying. Despite being a fair skinned kid walking corn fields in 100 degree heat, I really enjoyed it.

This is why I am considering making the switch to an electrician/lineman. Have any of you heard of someone doing this before? Does a degree in electrical engineering at all help my possible electrician/lineman career? How do the salaries of an electrical engineer and a electrician/lineman compare? Are there power engineering jobs that would have me out in the field a lot?

Thanks for taking the time to read all that!
 

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I have my Bachelor of Technology in Electronics Engineering Tech, so not quite Electrical Engineering, but probably somewhat similar. I went almost straight into apprenticeship to be an electrician after schoole, mostly because I didn't want to be at a bench or office all day, and I didn't want to work in the city, so my options were pretty much just to become an electrician.

The electrical theory helped through tradeschool a lot, and really helped in control system troubleshooting. A lot of the electrician work I did was control stuff, so that was quite beneficial.

For the last 3.5 yrs I've been at a job that sees me partly at the desk in front of the chimp-station, and partly in the shop or in the field. I don't see a lot of typical "electrician" stuff since we do a lot of mining/construction/hydraulic equipment, so a lot of 24vdc stuff.

All that to say: the jobs are out there, just keep an eye out, and don't be afraid to apply for jobs that you don't technically have qualifications or experience that they ask for. You never know, you may get an interview and get to express what you want in a job, and it may be what they are looking for, just never knew it.

As far as wages go, I dunno, it's hard to say. I am making a bit less than I would if I were slamming in boxes and running cable in new build houses, which can pay pretty good around here sometimes, but I would be bored doing that. I get paid a bit less, but my job satisfaction is way higher. I guess look around, compare offers, and decide for yourself if the wage is worth the job and what you want to do.
 

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Not really unheard of. EE's aren't the glorified job it may have once been. I work as a field tech for a manufacturer. When I first got my degree, I went to work for a consulting company. I found out I was just a budget constraint guy, and not an engineer like I was thinking I would be. Just follow your own path. I don't think someone should be an "engineer" straight out the gate. You need the field experience, and need to learn real world mechanics. I would say go for it. It will make you a better engineer when you are ready to step back into it.
 

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I have no idea what this means. Could you clarify?
Big John is one of the members here on the site. He is quite knowledgable in many aspects of the trade.

The reference to the "combo-square" was a bit of an inside joke from another thread. Nothing aimed at you.

Pete
 

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Hello all,

I'm not sure if this is the appropriate sub to post this but here we go.

I am a recent college grad with a degree in electrical engineering. I landed a job straight out of college without breaking a sweat. I currently work for a power design firm in Chicago where I sit in an office all day and perform calculations. I am constantly bored.

During school, I spent two summers interning is a power coop. My favorite time spent there was when I would go out with the lineman on an emergency and get to watch them work. The time seemed to fly by whenever I was out in the field.

During this internship, I spent a couple months in the field surveying. Despite being a fair skinned kid walking corn fields in 100 degree heat, I really enjoyed it.

This is why I am considering making the switch to an electrician/lineman. Have any of you heard of someone doing this before? Does a degree in electrical engineering at all help my possible electrician/lineman career? How do the salaries of an electrical engineer and a electrician/lineman compare? Are there power engineering jobs that would have me out in the field a lot?

Thanks for taking the time to read all that!
You might enjoy power system testing, most techs in that industry have EE degrees. Prit is the big guy in your area, know the owners well.

http://www.pritserviceinc.com
 

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Donuts > Fried Eggs
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I've worked for an engineering department for almost two years now. Almost all the guys are EEs, but there is a high attrition rate. We do power distribution testing and repair. The vast majority of it is hands-on field work.

Speaking from experience, it's really hit-or-miss whether the average EE will work well in this job. If you were a hands-on, repair-everything, get really dirty type of guy before you went for your EE, then going into one of the trades might suite you.

What we see is guys who have never turned a screwdriver in their life, and they show up wanting a job because they think field engineering is going to be a good fit for what they learned in school. It isn't. My understanding is that very few EE programs get into power distribution, many of them are in solid-state electronics. This is not applicable and doesn't transfer readily into most of the work electricians or lineman do.

The joke Ultra made about the combination square was because we had a fresh EE who took my combination square apart and didn't have the mechanical aptitude to reassemble it. Unfortunately, he didn't last because regardless of how good he was in school, he couldn't perform in the field.
 

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I would advise you to apply with a company like Ge. Or Siemens. You would not believe the amount of brains needed to build their equipment at power plants and maintain it.
These jobs are both hands on and technical. And I would imagine pay way more than a grunt electrician.
 

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From my stand point. Most EE's could use more hands on. Most of the jobs I do now are engineered by myself and other field electricians. Could be my area but the quality has definitely gone down as far as I'm concerned. I say you do it. You'll learn a ton and see the world from both sides.

Sent from my SM-G900V using electriciantalk.com mobile app
 

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I would consider myself very lucky to work for one of the big electrical manufacturers. I am studying and working towards my electrical engineering technologist diploma as well as a registered construction maintenance electrical apprentice. The technical term for it would be field service representative. I have got to get my hands filthy; commissioning, installing, testing, and maintaining a wack of power distribution equipment (transformers, power circuit breakers, power cables, pf correction units, trip units etc.) It is pretty well all hands on but there is a lot of documentation that goes along with it as well. As far as pay I can't help too much since I don't know the exact hourly rate of everyone. For sure the theory you learn and the advanced stuff you get from the engineering courses comes out and will help you in the field work in ways you might not even expect. I love the field work!
 
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