I have probably visited the ECN site well over 100 times in the past 8 months. I am not yet an Electrical Contractor yet. I am still eagerly studying the field. And my few comments that I have made have not been noteworthy at all, especially compared the knowledge that the members here display. I live in an area that has massive industrial business. Massive just massive. Which is the direction I plan to go. What advice would all of you admirable tradesmen give to a student of the science? Tim
Hi Tim, Give us some more info. What part of the field are you looking to enter. Engineering? Electrical contracting? What is it you have been studying and is this school or field experience. Elaborate a bit. Just trying to help you get the answers you are looking for. Paul
Electrical contracting for now. Later I want that engineering degree. And yes my studying is coming from class rooms for now. I have started by taking my first NEC class, fundamentals of electricity (DC), tools and safety, and fundamentals of electricity (AC). This semester I have enrolled in Motors and transformers, motor control, and electronics for electricians. After that I have to do industrial wiring, commercial wiring, programable logic controllers and NEC II.
As soon as you can, you should get work (even part-time) as a helper or apprentice, preferably with a contractor involved with a wide variety of projects.
While a good classroom education is important to understand the WHY of things, the hands-on part is needed to really understand the HOW. And if you aren't going to take well to the sometimes heavy physical end of things, the sooner you find out, the better.
I couldn't agree more with NJwirenut. He is right on the mark. Sounds like you are taking all the right kinds of classes. Having all that knowledge under your belt is of great benifit. As NJ said though, as soon as you can, try to start getting some field experience.
This is a very rewarding field. I love what I do and get a great deal of satisfaction. After 25 years I can still stand back and admire my work and what it means for the customer. If I can give you only one piece of advice it would be this. Construction in general is a dangerous occupation and the electric industry even more so. Always practice safe methods. I always teach my apprentices that you always work with electric like it's live.
Your in the right place on these boards. I think this is the best and brightest group of people on the internet in this field.
If industrial is your way to go, you'll need some specialized education which differs from what most electricians do. You'll need to know DC well as well as controls and PLC's.
Although I would never work for a union again, I think that you can't beat a union apprenticeship for some specialized trades and industrial maintenance electrician is one of those.
It costs you 5 years of your life but you'll know everything by the end and be making good money. Talk to the HR department's of the plants in your area and they will tell you what's available and point you in the right direction.
I don't know about everyone else,, but I didn't put all my eggs in one basket. I did some res. work, some commercial work, and a lot of maintence work. We would only do about 1-2 new houses a year, worked for several buildiers with small to medium remodel jobs. Worked for a bunch of plumbers and we would aire up all the boilers that the plumbers could do. Plus worked for several school, resteraunts, stores, etc. doing all sorts of maintence work. When one aspect of the work slowed down ( i.e. new house.) we would fall back on the commercial of maintence work. I never advertised and kept 5 guys and 4 trucks running every day. The only trouble is when a restaraunt's exhaust fan craps out at 3:00 pm on a Sunday, they want you NOW! Not 5 minutes from now but NOW!!. I also had to work almost every holiday, you name they day and I can tell you which place had a problem that I had to go to.