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#54998 - 08/12/05 09:24 PM getting started?
StevenW Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/12/05
Posts: 2
Loc: Phila
I'm interested in joining the electrician field however I'm not sure how to get my foot in the door.

I was thinking of taking an electrician course at one of those trade schools like you see on TV ( for an example), but I don't know if something like this would actually be useful in the real world.

Any information that could help would be appreciated.

Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades

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#54999 - 08/12/05 10:20 PM Re: getting started?
u2slow Offline

Registered: 09/18/03
Posts: 198
Loc: Salt Spring, BC, Canada
Math 12 and Physics 12 were selling points for me. I also had some experience as a construction labourer and working at a autowrecking yard. No prior electrical training.

I was hired and indentured from my 1st day on the job.

IMO, the clincher for this trade is mechanical aptitude. If you can demonstrate/prove this through jobs/hobbies/etc. you really improve your chances.

Also look for "Pre-Apprenticesip" programs... sometimes called "Entry-level Trades programs". Employers usually prefer people who have taken these. However, these programs (at least around here) are expensive and take 10 months to complete.

#55000 - 08/13/05 02:05 PM Re: getting started?
Electric Eagle Offline

Registered: 04/20/02
Posts: 928
Loc: Alpharetta, GA
You can't beat on the job training. Just get a job working for an electrician.

[Edited to correct my goof - changed can to can't]

[This message has been edited by Electric Eagle (edited 08-14-2005).]

#55001 - 08/13/05 04:11 PM Re: getting started?
growler Offline

Registered: 04/22/05
Posts: 66
Loc: Marietta, Ga. 30060
The Electric Eagle is right go with on the job training to start with. It will let you see if yor are going to like the work or not. If you decide that you don't like there is no use spending a lot of money on training and if you do like it the training will be easier to understand and retain with some real world experiece under your belt.As far as getting in the door, call the first add that says no experience needed ( your qualified ) or call some of the companies in your area and explain your situation to them ( always a demand for green help ). Good Luck and work safe.

#55002 - 08/13/05 04:56 PM Re: getting started?
HotLine1 Offline


Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 6792
Loc: Brick, NJ USA
Among the things that I do, I teach entry level; usually guys who are thinking about electric as a job choice. Yes, some are also homeowners.

A few think that "Basic Wiring" (ET101) will make them capable of wiring a house, or more.

I teach at a County Vo-Tech; (Adult Ed part time, 1 or 2 nights a week. You should check with the local county/city Vo_tech Schools in your area to see if they have an Electrical Trades Course available. AND get a entry level job with a local EC to see if it's what you thought it was.

"ON THE JOB", and experience is a great teacher. "Private" Trade Schools around here are $$$$$$$$$.

My first night class explains the facts of the trade; what it entails, working conditions, etc.

The tuition at Vo-Tech is $110 to $125 a semester (13 nights) and the course is about 14 semesters if you only go 1 night a week. Most guys do 2 nights; some do 4 nights.

If you need any other info; my e-mail is in my profile at this site.


#55003 - 08/14/05 12:04 AM Re: getting started?
DougW Offline

Registered: 06/08/03
Posts: 1083
Loc: North Chicago, IL
Originally posted by Electric Eagle:
You can't beat on the job training. Just get a job working for an electrician.

Fixed it for you

While I agree that the courses are great for the theory (Thompson/Education Direct grad myself), to get a real education you've got to get out in the field.

Try to get a gig with a local spark. Starting at the bottom (helper) gives you a better understanding than lots of books and no hands-on.

(Trust me, the "practical lessons" most mail order places send you will achieve technical proficiency, but with no outside reference & feedback, you'll be lost when you hit the street.)

Good luck.

#55004 - 08/14/05 08:32 AM Re: getting started?
renosteinke Offline
Cat Servant

Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 5305
Loc: Blue Collar Country
I suppose most any course- even the matchbook sover one- has value. One does need to learn "the alphabet" before they can read,after all.
But, just as knowing the "ABC's" doen not make you Shakespere, 'doing a course' doesn't make you an electrician.

Keep in mind that large parts of the trade have nothing to do with electricity. Or theory. Or code.
You'll spend a lot of time 'on the dumb end of a shovel." You'll bens lots of pipe. Climb lots of ladders. Crawl lots of attics. Drill holes in everything from boxes to concrete walls. There's a reason it's called "Work."

You'll need to learn how jobs are run, about different types of construction. You'll have to learn a little about HVAC, alarms, CATV, and how the phone company does things.

I guess what I'm aying is that it takes as much time, effort, and smarts to become a "journeyman" as it does to be an engineer or doctor. There really are no short-cuts, and only part can be learned in a classroom.

By far the best route is through an apprenticeship program. Consider other (related) jobs and courses as preperation for the apprenticeship program.

And when you become a journeyman- the learning really begins!

#55005 - 08/16/05 05:11 AM Re: getting started?
StevenW Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/12/05
Posts: 2
Loc: Phila

#55006 - 08/17/05 03:18 PM Re: getting started?
foestauf Offline

Registered: 08/01/05
Posts: 51
Loc: Florida
Show up first day at the shop with your tools on:-) Thats always good for a laugh.

Saw two new guys, brand new belts/tools and new shoes... Standing infront of the wharehouse ready to go LOL.

I just so wanted to be like "So ya gonna wire the wharehouse?" heheh. But I didn't say anything, we all gotta start sometime in life... just I didn't have my tools on until I got to the job site:-)

Now I purposly rust like my 5/16th driver and other non moving tools so it looks like I've been doing it for 20 years:-) hehe.

Screw the school and bleh bleh bleh. Goto work for a company as a helper, get into a FEAT or ACT program. They are OJT+Classroom schools, and most the times the company will sponsor them.


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