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#62242 - 02/11/06 03:53 PM electrical engineer to electrician  
Mike82  Offline
Junior Member
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 2
Ellicott City, MD USA
I am an electrical engineer working for a large defense contractor. While the money is good and the job is cushy, it is true that money isn't everything, and the job does not offer much satisfaction- sitting behind a computer and updating documentation is not my thing. I know that I need to do something much more hands on.

I've always enjoyed electrical work and so I've decided to apply for an apprenticeship through the local union. I realize that I may take a pay cut for a little while, but in the end it may be worth it in job satisfaction.

My question is, have any of you ever switched from engineering or another professional occupation to the electrical trade? After finishing your apprenticeship training, did you feel that the switch was worth it? Just wanted to hear about some of your experiences!

Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades

#62243 - 02/11/06 04:03 PM Re: electrical engineer to electrician  
mahlere  Offline
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 507
New Jersey
nah, most of us look to switch this field to anything else ;-)

truthfully, a lot will have to do with your current situation:

married? family? age?

if you are young and single it's alot different than if you are trying to support a wife and two kids on an apprentice's wage.

I know this doesn't really answer your questions, but good luck.

#62244 - 02/11/06 04:07 PM Re: electrical engineer to electrician  
Mike82  Offline
Junior Member
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 2
Ellicott City, MD USA
Well I'm 23 years old and currently single. Although the area I live in is high cost of living. I realize that a few years down the road the I'll be earning the same if not more than I do now as an engineer.

I was thinking that combining practical experience of being an electrician with being an engineer, it might help me if I ever want to go into management or have a contracting business. I'd kind of like to focus on the industrial side of the trade- PLCs, motor control, automation, etc.

#62245 - 02/11/06 04:23 PM Re: electrical engineer to electrician  
Roger  Offline
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 1,716
Scott Thompson who is a moderator here wears both hats as well as Al hildenbrand who is a respected member. I know there are more and I'm sure you will get some input from some of them.

I wish I could have done both too, but who knows, I'm not that old yet,(51). [Linked Image]


#62246 - 02/11/06 04:31 PM Re: electrical engineer to electrician  
Celtic  Offline
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 361
That's funny Mike...I'm thinking of going the OTHER way - electrician to engineer....LOL.

As you get older, the trade does take it's toll on a body...but as you are still young, making a transition now could be a good (and prfitable) thing. If and when your body decides it doesn't want to be "abused" anymore - back to the desk you go with the EE hat.

~~ CELTIC ~~
...-= NJ =-...

#62247 - 02/11/06 04:58 PM Re: electrical engineer to electrician  
Tiger  Offline
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 706
Crystal Lake, IL USA
Check out past threads on body damage Mike. If you want to play football with your grandchildren, stick with the desk job.


#62248 - 02/11/06 05:12 PM Re: electrical engineer to electrician  
Tom H  Offline
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 74
Milford, Ct, USA
I have an ASEET [Associate Science Electrical Engineering Technology] and 1/2 towards a bachelors. Never looked back.

#62249 - 02/11/06 05:16 PM Re: electrical engineer to electrician  
LoneGunman  Offline
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 141
Electricians are making more than EE's? I find that hard to believe unless you are talking EC's or prevailing wage jobs.

#62250 - 02/11/06 06:16 PM Re: electrical engineer to electrician  
renosteinke  Offline
Cat Servant
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Blue Collar Country
BTDT...three years toward an engineering degree. What matters is what is important to you.

I spent living, working, studying with engineers. At the end of it all, I realised it just wasn't the place for me....

Now, at the end of the day, I can point to something I've actually done- and not just some paper fantasy. No "same old- same old" every day either....every job is a new adventure.

Nor could I see myself as just another chairborne commando, working for "Engulf & Devour."

My only "caution" is to not think of an apprenticeship as a "step backward." Your current title may have 'electrical' in it, but has precious little to do with electrical work, or electrical contracting. You wouldn't ask a "mechanical engineer" to fix your car, would you? You'll be entering a whole new trade, and have an awful lot to learn; while your prior training may help in some areas, that's only a beginning.

#62251 - 02/11/06 06:50 PM Re: electrical engineer to electrician  
WFO  Offline
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 202
Cat Spring, TX
Best advice I evr got when I was 20 years old.

You're going to spend the next 40 plus years of your life earning a living. You might as well do something you enjoy.

Money ain't everything.

What you might like is getting with a utility in their Technical Services department. Get to use what you know and do a little "hands on" at the same time. That's what I'm doing and I rarely have to force myself to get up in the morning (unless it's hops/barley related and that's another story [Linked Image])

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