[apologies in advance - work computr is acting up, so post will be in several phases]
Salewit - welcome to the site.
While the education and experience are great, the IBEW wasn't really an option for me - call it a conflict of opinions. (Not anti-union at all - I've been in different unions since I was 17. Just not IBEW) And if your local is saying that they have no openings in their Apprenticeship training, your area must be hard up for work.
As nesparky already mentioned, most communities do have a four year experience (provable by paystubs or affadavit) requirement. Check with your AHJ, however, as many have an "or comparable / or equivalent" clause.
Our town does - the Ordinance allows holders of DD-214's with residential electrician training to challenge the test. (due to the navy base being close, and the CBU (seaBees) presence). It also allows IBEW cardholders to challenge, to ge their own tickets.
I was allowed to challenge with several years of helper/apprentice work, (even p/t), and a diploma from a correspondence school. It all comes down to how you can read the National (and City) Electrical Codes... and some common sense.
If your AHJ allows an equivalant, check out www.educationdirect.com
. It's a decent program, and it's good background on theory. There are others out there also.
Of course, I must state for the record, that NO BOOK LEARNIN' CAN BEAT HANDS ON EXPERIENCE. Not that I'm against education, but explaining
how to perform a back-to-back bend and actually doing
it are two different animals. Getting a job (part or full time) as a helper / apprentice is the way to get your foot in.
[This message has been edited by DougW (edited 01-10-2004).]