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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

I would really like to get some thoughts/opinions on what to do with my electrical career. My long term goal is to become a master electrician and open my own electrical company. Here's my situation...

About 5 years ago I became an electrical apprentice. I worked for a company for about a year before the recession hit and was forced to look for other work. I could have stuck it out but I was only working for 2-3 hours a day if I was lucky and the lack of hours didn't cover my bills. I ran into an old friend and got "suckered" into the low-voltage/Home automation industry and worked in that industry until this past summer (2013). After realizing that I had wasted so many years I decided to go back into the electrical field.

I got hired at a different electrical company and was asked where my blue book was and if I was ever registered as an apprentice before. I didn't even know about these two things and after calling the electrical company I worked with before (5 years ago), they said they didn't do any of that and that the union they were part of took care of all of that. After calling around, the only record I have of my past electrical experience is my record of employment which states that I have 800 hours logged. The new company i'm with says they cannot honor those hours and I have to start all over and register as a new apprentice.

Because of my experience in low-voltage and data from the home automation industry my current electrical company has me working with their data department. For the last 3 months i've been working with data lines and fiber optics. I've spoken to some of their journeymen and they say this is all they do. There is very little electrical work and it is mostly a data company!

I am getting concerned that my goal of becoming a master electrician and owning my own company is getting farther and farther away. I'm not a young man and I have a family I need to take care of and goals that I want to accomplish. Should I go look for work elsewhere? I keep hearing about unions, the IBEW and CLAC, i've done some research online but for every 5 articles I find on PRO-IBEW, there's 5 against it and the same goes for CLAC. I'm hungry to learn, and am willing to work the hours to learn the trade but it just seems like there's so many different ways to go about it.

If anyone has any thoughts/comments and/or suggestions please feel free to share them.

Thank you!
 

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Talk to the owner/boss of the company and explain what you want out of your apprenticeship. If he/she cannot or will not work with you to achieve your goals, go elsewhere.

It's pretty simple stuff. We set goals and timelines and figure out how to achieve them.

Totally my personal opinion but your crazy to pass up becoming a "master" data/low voltage/home automation guy. I think that's going to be a hot job in the next decade.
 

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Hi everyone,

I would really like to get some thoughts/opinions on what to do with my electrical career. My long term goal is to become a master electrician and open my own electrical company. Here's my situation...

About 5 years ago I became an electrical apprentice. I worked for a company for about a year before the recession hit and was forced to look for other work. I could have stuck it out but I was only working for 2-3 hours a day if I was lucky and the lack of hours didn't cover my bills. I ran into an old friend and got "suckered" into the low-voltage/Home automation industry and worked in that industry until this past summer (2013). After realizing that I had wasted so many years I decided to go back into the electrical field.

I got hired at a different electrical company and was asked where my blue book was and if I was ever registered as an apprentice before. I didn't even know about these two things and after calling the electrical company I worked with before (5 years ago), they said they didn't do any of that and that the union they were part of took care of all of that. After calling around, the only record I have of my past electrical experience is my record of employment which states that I have 800 hours logged. The new company i'm with says they cannot honor those hours and I have to start all over and register as a new apprentice.

Because of my experience in low-voltage and data from the home automation industry my current electrical company has me working with their data department. For the last 3 months i've been working with data lines and fiber optics. I've spoken to some of their journeymen and they say this is all they do. There is very little electrical work and it is mostly a data company!

I am getting concerned that my goal of becoming a master electrician and owning my own company is getting farther and farther away. I'm not a young man and I have a family I need to take care of and goals that I want to accomplish. Should I go look for work elsewhere? I keep hearing about unions, the IBEW and CLAC, i've done some research online but for every 5 articles I find on PRO-IBEW, there's 5 against it and the same goes for CLAC. I'm hungry to learn, and am willing to work the hours to learn the trade but it just seems like there's so many different ways to go about it.

If anyone has any thoughts/comments and/or suggestions please feel free to share them.

Thank you!
Welcome to the forum..:thumbsup:


So you want to be an electrician eh!:laughing:

Yup it's not an easy task,but I'm one and also had to go through hell and high water to become one too.

First find an electrical contractor that is doing electrical work such as commercial and residential wiring,you have a firm grip of the tel-data part of this trade so you want to move on and make sure all of your hours count,so it's your job to find out what you need from your state/province,this time make sure you've got all the information you've got to have to take your Journeymen electricians exam then work on getting your master license so you can start your own gig.

From this day till you sit for your master electrician exam , "WORK YOUR BUTT OFF",you can still do it ,but,you've got to do it all yourself,don't give up!,,ever,you must do the time and you must make sure it is properly recorded by you,not others,yes it will be hard ,but,the pay off will be you WILL be an Electrical Contractor within the next 8 years or so,maybe even sooner if you take all the right steps now,DON'T GIVE UP!

Wake up every day and MAKE yourself the best electrician.

"NOW!, DROP AND GIVE ME FIFTY!".......:eek::laughing:
 

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I'm not into data/low voltage/home automation guys.

I think they are like painters, lots of folks need them but is there any money in the job. Are the regulated or can anyone do it?

Now, back to being an Electrician and then a Master Electrician. I've been one of those since 1975.

You don't say where you are from but I just had a discussion with a fellow from Saskatchewan who took an American course and was peeved he couldn't write and obtain or get 1000 hours put toward his apprenticeship.

Every province has a system to obtain what you would like to do. You will not be able to beat the system. In the above example I put "Saskatchewan Electrical Apprentice in a search engine.

I pointed him to the results which stated the requirements he needed to accomplish his goals, part of which was 1800 hrs. a year for 4 years with 2 months schooling each year at two different locations.

So do the above... put your province in front. Find out what you need to do. Then do it.

For sure get out of the data stuff. I don't think hours in that count yet towards obtaining an Electrical Licence.

Edit: Frunk does have a point so if Canada feels data stuff belongs to us they will incorporate courses in it. Things change all the time.
 

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Nothing good is easy , and you'll have to do you're time to get to where you want to go kid. One bright point i might add is, by the time you get to be a fully qualified electrician, there may be fewer of you, so those fewer of you may prosper better

good luck
~CS~
 

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First, you have a job with a company that is willing to registrar you as an apprentice. Go for it.
There are lots of guys looking to get that even far.
Once you are in the system, and get your 1st level, you will find it a lot easier to move to other companies. If you are not getting the experience you want with this company you are free to move on. You are not tied to any company for the duration of the apprenticeship.
You can always ask the apprenticeship branch, about the time you worked before. Worst case, they say no, best case you get the 800.


There are pros and cons for both sides of the union/non-union debate.
I have been on both sides. If you want to work on large projects, then you pretty well have to be union, although there are some non union shops which could do sizable jobs. There are better benefits, pension, health care. But you have to put up with the BS from the hard core members.

Non union, may or may not have benefits, and probably a more personable work atmosphere. You will gain more experience on running a small shop ( which is your goal) then working union.

The ideal would be to find a small union shop, that does the small to medium size projects.

My own biased opinion of CLAC, is screw them. They are the scum of the working world, right along with Right to Work legislation. The only mandate they have is to lower the workers rights and wages. (rant over)

Anyways, good luck
 
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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the all comments/suggestions!

I spoke to a few journeymen electricians in my area and some feel that with my previous experience (800 hours with my previous electrical company - in the residential market, pulling wire, installing recepticales, switches, etc) 1that I should be ok going into school this spring/summer. Some of them suggested (Much like Wcord in this thread) that I stick it out until I am a second year and then start looking at other options.

I'm beginning to feel that will be my best option at this point. I should be heading to class for my 1st year in spring/summer of 2014. Thanks again and if anyone knows of any good electrical companies in Edmonton Alberta, drop me a line anytime!

Thanks again!
 

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If you want to make it in this field get your certifications and kiss all the ass that's above you no matter how rediculous they are.
 

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I'm not into data/low voltage/home automation guys.
hink hours in that count yet towards obtaining an Electrical Licence.

Edit: Frunk does have a point so if Canada feels data stuff belongs to us they will incorporate courses in it. Things change all the time.
I don't know if what I was told is true, but, many years ago when instrumentation first started, no trade wanted it under their jurisdiction. Eventually IA (plumbers) took it under their wing.
Now that instrumentation is mostly electrical, we as electricians want it, but too late.
Anything electrical should be ours. As long as there are wires connected to it, in any manner, it should be our work.
So, data, phone, alarms power , you name it, we do it.
We spend the effort to learn and do these different things, and then do them better than the so called technicians.
If we give away some aspect of the trade, you can bet your last dollar, we won't get it back, and then we will have less dollars in our pocket.
 

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800 hours is nothing in the grand scheme of things. If your company will register you from scratch for an electrical apprenticeship, take it.
 

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wcord said:
I don't know if what I was told is true, but, many years ago when instrumentation first started, no trade wanted it under their jurisdiction. Eventually IA (plumbers) took it under their wing. Now that instrumentation is mostly electrical, we as electricians want it.
Instrumentation is its own red seal trade now
 

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Thanks for the all comments/suggestions!

I spoke to a few journeymen electricians in my area and some feel that with my previous experience (800 hours with my previous electrical company - in the residential market, pulling wire, installing recepticales, switches, etc) 1that I should be ok going into school this spring/summer. Some of them suggested (Much like Wcord in this thread) that I stick it out until I am a second year and then start looking at other options.

I'm beginning to feel that will be my best option at this point. I should be heading to class for my 1st year in spring/summer of 2014. Thanks again and if anyone knows of any good electrical companies in Edmonton Alberta, drop me a line anytime!

Thanks again!
Just start submitting resumes. You have an edge over the majority of the other first years on the market.

You need to be indentured in order to register for school, and if you would probably need to apply very soon in order to get in the spring. You are realistically looking at September 2014 unless you challenge the test.
 

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800 hours is nothing in the grand scheme of things. If your company will register you from scratch for an electrical apprenticeship, take it.
Agreed. I had about 1000 hours in the trade without getting indentured a few years back, and upon leaving the army last month after 3 years I finally decided that I had to stop expecting credit for those hours, start from scratch and get working. Don't regret it one bit, even starting from the bottom. Previous expereience helps immensely as well in landing a new apprenticeship and keeping the job as well.

You'll do fine in Edmonton, I had the easiest time finding a job off of kijiji.
 

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Edit: Frunk does have a point so if Canada feels data stuff belongs to us they will incorporate courses in it. Things change all the time.
In trade school, they taught us quite a bit about structured wiring and PLC programming. It's sort of "technician" area.. but I think it's a great career area for a skilled electrician to be in.

Many guys who do that type of work can't do electrical.. and they're useless. They don't understand how electrical works, and can't do what they need to make their installations top notch.

The work is electrician in scope.. and the future I think will be bright for someone who can take the niche market to full advantage. I think new school electrician will just be expected to be current on technology and be "nerds" who can pull wires, make splices and connect equipment.
 

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Hi everyone,

I would really like to get some thoughts/opinions on what to do with my electrical career. My long term goal is to become a master electrician and open my own electrical company. Here's my situation...

About 5 years ago I became an electrical apprentice. I worked for a company for about a year before the recession hit and was forced to look for other work. I could have stuck it out but I was only working for 2-3 hours a day if I was lucky and the lack of hours didn't cover my bills. I ran into an old friend and got "suckered" into the low-voltage/Home automation industry and worked in that industry until this past summer (2013). After realizing that I had wasted so many years I decided to go back into the electrical field.

I got hired at a different electrical company and was asked where my blue book was and if I was ever registered as an apprentice before. I didn't even know about these two things and after calling the electrical company I worked with before (5 years ago), they said they didn't do any of that and that the union they were part of took care of all of that. After calling around, the only record I have of my past electrical experience is my record of employment which states that I have 800 hours logged. The new company i'm with says they cannot honor those hours and I have to start all over and register as a new apprentice.

Because of my experience in low-voltage and data from the home automation industry my current electrical company has me working with their data department. For the last 3 months i've been working with data lines and fiber optics. I've spoken to some of their journeymen and they say this is all they do. There is very little electrical work and it is mostly a data company!

I am getting concerned that my goal of becoming a master electrician and owning my own company is getting farther and farther away. I'm not a young man and I have a family I need to take care of and goals that I want to accomplish. Should I go look for work elsewhere? I keep hearing about unions, the IBEW and CLAC, i've done some research online but for every 5 articles I find on PRO-IBEW, there's 5 against it and the same goes for CLAC. I'm hungry to learn, and am willing to work the hours to learn the trade but it just seems like there's so many different ways to go about it.

If anyone has any thoughts/comments and/or suggestions please feel free to share them.

Thank you!
Sorry but YOU are the one who needs to take control of this. Here is what I am picking up from your post: First, you put in 800 hours without even knowing what a blue book was. Second, you got a job expecting to do electrical work with a contractor who rarely does electrical work. Do you ever ask questions?

I am being harsh here but you need to become more aware. You can't just fly around in the wind expecting to land in the right spot. If you want to become a Master and open a business then you have to become fully engaged. This is an industry that is governed by a multitude of rules and regulations. If you do not become proactive in learning those rules and regulations you will never become what you want to become.
 

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Hello everyone,

Hope you're all having a good day.

I am new to the forum and joined because I read the helpful advice from everyone and thought maybe you could help me out. Well, I want to become an electrician. I am pre apprentice. I have researched and called the local unions etc also the Joint Apprentiship Council here in Toronto. They offer the 'once a year' apprentice intake but even after joining your not guaranteed a job and they also want you to take some of their courses which means coughing up cheddar that I need to live.

Now I have some questions for you guys.

1. did you start with a lucky break from an employer who was looking for a newbie?
2. did you go to the Apprentice program in College i.e Humber college Electrician: Industrial Apprenticeship? I have met individuals who did the program and nothing came out of it i.e. they still had trouble getting hired.
3. How do I get my foot in the door when employers are looking for 2 period + experience?

I am finding it difficult even becoming "signed" as an apprentice because I don't have past experience. I understand basic theory, I am a hard worker, who is willing to put in the hours, blood sweat and tears and want to succeed. The only issue I have is finding that employer who will give me a break and take me under his wing.

Anyone know of a company hiring newbies in the GTA?
Any suggestions are welcome.

Thank you in advance.
 

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1. Yes

2. I started right from scratch in 2009, and again after a stint in the army two months ago. No prior experience or pre-app before my first electrical job.

3. You sell yourself. I went on kijiji and aggressively replied to ads. I went to medium/larges companies and asked to speak with the person repsonsible for hiring. I find most future employers want to put a face to the resume. Do some research as to basic tools you might need, buy them, and be ready and willing to work immediately.

Oh, and living in Alberta during a huge labor shortage helps too. :laughing:
 

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1. Yes

2. I started right from scratch in 2009, and again after a stint in the army two months ago. No prior experience or pre-app before my first electrical job.

3. You sell yourself. I went on kijiji and aggressively replied to ads. I went to medium/larges companies and asked to speak with the person repsonsible for hiring. I find most future employers want to put a face to the resume. Do some research as to basic tools you might need, buy them, and be ready and willing to work immediately.

Oh, and living in Alberta during a huge labor shortage helps too. :laughing:
Hey Thanks for the reply. So, I guess I need to use that approach. I have been looking at tools as well. Do you have any recommendations?

Thanks again, very helpful.:thumbup:
 
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