I am in my first year of a two year electrician program at a tech school. I was wondering what kind of a job outlook there is for me? I'm not exactly young, I will be 30 when I graduate. I live in Minnesota, but I don't really see any ads in the paper or on the internet of people hiring in this state. I was also wondering how much employers look for secondary schooling for people they hire. Our teachers always tell us there are all kinds of electrician jobs out there, but I have been getting a little nervous lately.
I personally got into the electrical field, 'cause I figured, no matter what, people are going to need electricians. The electrical field is very broad as well, there are so many different areas you can get into. I have experience in residential, commercial, industrial and service work, including low voltage stuff like fire detection, security, cat 5, fiber optics and electronics and control work (sorry, it sounds like a resume). I also attended a 4 year apprenticeship school throught the Independent Electrical Contractors (the non-union equivalent). Let me tell you it was the deciding factor for me landing my current job! The boss said he really likes an electrician with schooling, and the schooling has paid off in the field as well. I've heard from many experienced electricians two things: 1. they wished they had the schooling that is available today when they apprenticed. 2. they prefer a well rounded electrician. But I think the biggest factor in your decision is do you really enjoy working with electrical stuff? When you read these discussion forums and read the interests of the contributors in their profiles, you see a very high percentage that list electrical as a hobby as well as a career. Personally I tried something totally different when I got out of electronics (avionics) before I became an electrician, I found I really missed the variety and working with both my hands and my head! Can't beat it!
Oh, by the way, I forgot to mention that I started my apprenticeship at 39 years of age. I am now 45 and doing fine. I find if I just take good care of myself I should last. However, I don't think I'll go back to Industrial work and wrestle with bending 4" GRC anytime soon! Again, if you enjoy the field you'll find something that will work for you.
Schooling is good, but nothing like hands on experience. Here in AZ it slowed after Sept 11th, the same elswhere I'm sure, but there are still some construction jobs out there. The hard to find jobs are "Elec Maint" such as a manufacturing co, city, school districts, power companies, etc. Usually have to have many years in or know someone to get in when ther is an opening. I have my own one man shop I started 3 years ago, after about 25 years in the trade, and I like it much better. Hope this does'nt discourage you. Good Luck,
The Golden Rule - "The man with the gold makes the rule"
Don't rely on your teacher's encouragement, but on the other hand, don't fault them for it. I taught electrical professionally for 10 years and part of the job is to encourage. For the last six months work has been painfully slow, but I think we are all anticipating an economic turn-around starting about now. Proper technical eduction is great...just be sure to temper it with experience (callouses, blisters, cuts & burns, and tired feet....I just turned 52). Take everything you learn from one job and apply it the next. Good luck...Burns M.
Have been in the trade a little shy of 20 years. I tried a few things before going to in the "family trade". I figured that it had to have something going for it since 4 generations before me led a pretty good life as electricians. I am very glad that I did. If you like it stick with it! If someone really wants to work they can find work as an electrician if they are properly trained. Make sure you become well rounded and remember that the more you think you know the less you realize you really do know. (my personal opinion) There is always something to learn. Stick with the school I worked the first 4 years in the trade without schooling and thought I was a journeyman. When I went I finally realized how little I really knew.
Looee, Was in same position as you a few years ago. Making big bucks at what I was doing, couldn't really afford a career change at my age, always played homeowner/electrician. Left the trade I was in, read newspapers daily, grabbed the phonebook and called/visited all the listings I found. Always asked if union or not first. When I found a somewhat interested response or not right now, those were the places I harassed the the most, guess what, persistence and us older guys seem to make quite an impression. As with most jobs of today, attitude, punctuality, non stop eagerness sure can pay off. The worst thing is to be idle at anytime, the show of work ethic will show through in the persistence to get the job in the first place.