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#49527 - 03/08/05 03:27 PM Getting a late start
newbie Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 1
Loc: Mississippi
Hello all,

I'm 28 and recently lost my job of six years in a shipping and receiving position. I have always wanted to go into electrical, and this seems to be fates way of telling me I need a career change. I'm doing my homework on the field and have an appointment this week with my local njatc to apply for an apprenticeship. My biggest question is concerning school. A local junior college offers a two year program and I can't really get any answers as to whether an apprenticeship (if I am accepted) or a program to get an associates degree will be more to my advantage. 30 is just around the corner and I don't want to jump off in the wrong direction. Working hard has never been an issue with me. I just want to be working hard in the place that will leave me the most prepared. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Richard

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#49528 - 03/08/05 06:39 PM Re: Getting a late start
Active 1 Offline
Member

Registered: 02/22/03
Posts: 684
Loc: Grayslake IL, USA
Not to knock school but a number of electricians never got started this way. I guess it depends on your background. Do you have a basic understanding of electricity? Are you mechanically inclined? It helps to have some kind of background in the above even if not as an electrician. You did not say what the coarse study was at the 2 year collage? Is it a trade school for electricians? That would be good in addition to a new electrician job. If it is more of a basic electricity coarse study with English, history, and other classes to get your associate degree I can’t say if it would get you far. It would be a lot of time, work, and money just to put “2007 - Associate Degree Local Collage, USA”. You would still be digging dirt and moving material when you start out.

I know of a lot of electricians that started in the late 20’s. I don’t see that many guys starting out of high school but I guess it depends where you are.

My advice is study a lot with books and at home training like Mike Holts. Call EC out of the phone book and say you want to start out. Tell them you want to get started and have no problem doing a lot of grunt work (digging, cleaning, material handling, delivery, cleaning, attic / crawl space work). Don’t worry about how much you make starting out. Prove yourself and you might get more.

Tom

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#49529 - 03/08/05 07:50 PM Re: Getting a late start
renosteinke Offline
Cat Servant
Member

Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 5305
Loc: Blue Collar Country
Many apprenticeship programs also get you college credit for your classes. In many cases, you can take theses classes even if you are not yet in the program as an apprentice. Your community college should be able to tell you.

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#49530 - 03/08/05 09:42 PM Re: Getting a late start
SiochTroum Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/08/05
Posts: 9
Loc: Wasilla, Alaska USA
Hey Richard! I started as an apprentice at 28- 7 years ago, I learned completly on the job with very little classroom time, good and bad way to learn. I've been working as a journeyman for 2 years. Here are somethings to be prepared for: 1.)Sometimes your journeyman will be younger than you, this is a problem for some guys. Dont't let your ego interfere with learning. I recently had an apprentice who was 40(used to work in the grocery bussiness)-all he did was argue with me about everything, he went to tech school and acted more like an engineer than a 1st. year apprentice, very annoying and dangerous, lesson know your place and listen. I had 2 Bachelor degrees when I sarted and I usually didnt even mention it as it was not relevant, it also comes of as "1-uping".
2.) everyone has something to teach even people you dont get along with. Keep your teeth together and pay attention. try to pick up anything that works discard what does not. Most important" No one knows it all, no one!!!
3.) Your first year will be rough. I spent mine in the shop most of the time, parts handling(great way to learn the part names, get ready theres a lot to learn just regarding names)), bending, cutting, threading GRC (rigid conduit), on job-sites I'd organize matieral do all the "go-for" work, heavy-lifting, treching by hand, caught a lot of sarcasm/practical jokes from the more expierienced guys(it's a faternity type thing dont let it get to you). Someguys are just *******s though, every profession has them.
4.)Your appreticeship is like boot-camp! Take care of your body stretch work out it pays-off in the long run trust me-I spent a whole year not working because I hurt my back- it sucked! Be safe and hyper-aware on the job theres a lot of careless- jackass'es who don't care if they hurt someone so keep your head.
5.) Try to be early everyday- If work starts at 7am i'd come in at 6:30am. Trust me it pays off when management has to lay someone off it's usualy not the guy/gal who shows up early everday ready to go!
6.) Try to anticpate what your journeyman/supervisor wants and make his/her job as effcient and safe has possible. try to do things right the first time, a good memory will serve you well. Keep your work area clean and don't stand around waiting for instructions something always needs to be done. Don't stand around and bullshit either, a very bad habit!
Education is always good-I would get into the apprenticeship first as you will be working during the day and attending classes at night, study on your own every chance you get. You can get an associates later on. remember your apprenticeship will be 4-5 years long so get started! I'm working on getting NICET cerifications plus whatever education I can get in my free time. I have 3 kids and when I started I had 2 it was tough to work long hours and study everynight but if you stick with it try to achive excellence it pays off!- Sorry fot the long reponse but your age caught my attention! same start age as me Well hope this advive is helpful-you found a great resource with this site as well-Later! and good luck!

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#49531 - 03/09/05 08:59 PM Re: Getting a late start
Lumpy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/09/05
Posts: 1
Loc: Cedar Rapids, Iowa, USA
Good evening, newbie/Richard and others:

Your situation sounds oddly similar to mine. When I was a kid, I wanted to be an electrician, but somehow I got sidetracked and am now working as an accountant at a life insurance company.

A big part of me wants to pursue my childhood ambition to become an electrician. I'm 29 and married with a home mortgage and a job that pays my bills but is very unsatisfying. Besides that, corporate America is turning me into someone that I don't want to be. I'm not sure I have the guts to start over, though.

One thing is for sure: I love electrical work. I have done just about everything an unlicensed person can legally do in a house, and I have loved every minute of it.

That's enough about me. Newbie/Richard, I hope you find what you're looking for.

Peace,
Lumpy

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