I am considering moving out to the states (not sure which state yet) sometime within the next couple of years. I am just wondering what i would have to do to be able to work here. I was apprentice trained for 5 years and have taken courses such as inspection and testing, fire alarms, e.m. lighting. I also hold a technicians certificate along with 15yrs experiance. i am employed at present as a foreman on contracts up to the value of $450,000 approx (commercial work). Are there any conversion courses or exams i need to take to be able to trade?
Also what kind of pay is the average. i realise that different states urban/rural reflect upon this.
First of all, you're likely to get a warmer reception in our neighbor to the north- Canada. There you would have the advantage of still being part of the "family," as well as an opportunity to learn a code, and practices, quite similar to ours.
The major union here, for electricians, is the IBEW, or "Int'l Brotherhood of Electrical Workers." There is a very good chance that they have some sort of arrangement with your trade union- might as well ask!
Our job certifications are not national; the 'rules' for getting your Journeymans' Card vary from place to place. Chances are, simply providing documentation as to your work experience will get you into the test.
Mike Holt ( www.mikeholt.com ) has a selection of superb books that outline our practices, and a Masters' test that is far more thorough than any you'll ever really have to take. For someone in your position, his series "Understanding the NEC" is a good place to start.
#72494 - 12/02/0605:12 AMRe: uk spark considering moving over
We keep Union / Non Union discussions out of the forum here on the forum, schuby19. There's too much potential for "flame wars". (Just part of the format that's been successful for us here on ECN) There are many Union and many Non-Union shops here in the States. Each has its pros and its cons. As far as that part of the discussion is concerned, I'm afraid we'll have to leave it at that.
With a good basis in theory, you should be able to do fine here. Although mechanically, we do things MUCH differently here than in the UK, the electrons, for some reason, seem to act the same on both sides of the pond
#72496 - 12/02/0601:44 PMRe: uk spark considering moving over
Without getting into the good/bad thing there are lots of right to work states (south and west) where you can start at whatever level you can perform at. You won't make as much money as an hourly employee (compared to the rigid union places) but guys do well if they produce and owning a business is as good as your business skill will allow.
It is also warmer here
Right now things are slow or fixin' to get slow in residential, depending on your local "sold and unbuilt" and the default rates on those contracts. Commercial is still going at a pretty good clip. Commercial does demand a bigger skill set but you might be able to find a guy who will let you learn on the job if you pick up things fast and give him a good day for the dollars.
#72497 - 12/02/0607:23 PMRe: uk spark considering moving over
I don't think you'll find any simple "conversion" courses as such. Although the electrons follow the same laws of physics everywhere, American practice has much which is different from the way things are done in the U.K. For example:
* Different cable sizes, derating factors, and so on.
* Different standard circuit arrangements and diversity rules.
* A multitude of supply systems for different purposes: 120/240V 3-wire, 120/208 wye, 277/480 wye, 240 delta, plus a few other "oddball" systems, all in contrast to the U.K. where it's pretty much either 240V single-phase or 240/415V 3-phase.
* Very different grounding (earthing) arrangements in some circumstances, even though the basic service generally resembles our PME/TN-C-S to some extent.
That's just a few things to start thinking about. As I'm sure everyone else will also tell you, the rules for licensing also vary considerably from one state to another.
#72498 - 12/02/0607:43 PMRe: uk spark considering moving over
Buy a Time/Life book or one of the other do it yourself basic electrical book to get your head going the right way, then keep the NEC handbook handy, look at the pictures and read the commetaries when you have time on your hands. The handbook is probnably the best NEC primer. Next would be Soares to firm up your grounding/bonding skills.
#72500 - 12/02/0610:23 PMRe: uk spark considering moving over
You might want to consider moving to a industrial part of the US. Or close to a military base. I did my apprenticeship in Ga, and always stayed busy. All kinds of good commercial work on post and plenty of shutdowns at textile and fiberglass plants etc.. during the lean months.