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hack of all trades
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone have suggestions on the best way to go about looking for a job in the electrical field? My experience is mostly a range of independent remodeling work, some time working for a total hack GC, and working for a small carpentry shop.

I have done a fair bit of residential electrical in Chicago (I know - this is totally frowned upon), and studied the NEC when I have free time.

Last year I moved to Bloomington IN. I looked into a community college here that offers electrical course programs but between paying tuition and taking time out of my schedule, I probably wont be able to afford to live.

The AHJ here for electrical licensing/permitting is Monroe county and they use NEC 2008 with Indiana amendments.

Anyway, I would really love to work toward a job as an electrician. I know as an apprentice, the pay will suck and it will most likely take a long while before I can legitimately call myself any kind of electrician.
 

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If you were applying for a job with one of the electricians I know, part of the answer would be to be prepared to demonstrate that you can handle the thinking part of the job - the (fairly straightforward) math for load calcs, understanding the mysteries of 3-phase, all the either/or parts of the code, all the decisions and choices, the constant focus on safety.

Troubleshooting a missing neutral takes some intelligence.

A friend of mine with a general contracting license and an electrical license washes guys out of the electrical part of the business and into the general building part, when they show that they either aren't smart enough, or don't have the patience for it.

If you want to be in the construction trades, and you're able to do it, it's a good choice. You can make a living and not beat the hell out of your body.

Good luck. I'm interested in the sparkies' responses.
 

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Try going by the electrical supply house and ask the counter guys if they know anyone looking for help, or if they would allow you to post something on their door stating you are looking for work.

Don't overstate what you think you know, but tell of your willingness to work hard and learn. If you're not afraid of a shovel, or to climb into an attic, it shouldn't be too difficult to land a job. Good luck!
 

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What's the law say about apprentices in Indiana? In California the rule is essentially that electrical work has to be done by the contractor or by someone in a real apprenticeship program, so there's a healthy demand for apprentices.

I'd sure emphasize that you're interested in being an apprentice, not just a helper, or you could find yourself carrying spools of cable around for the next 5 years. An apprenticeship program has dates and targets.

Good luck.
 

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hack of all trades
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
CarpenterSFO said:
What's the law say about apprentices in Indiana? In California the rule is essentially that electrical work has to be done by the contractor or by someone in a real apprenticeship program, so there's a healthy demand for apprentices. I'd sure emphasize that you're interested in being an apprentice, not just a helper, or you could find yourself carrying spools of cable around for the next 5 years. An apprenticeship program has dates and targets. Good luck.
Not sure exactly what the rules are with apprentices doing work. I know a few electricians in Chicago that I could have worked with if I hadn't relocated, but in Indiana I don't really know anyone.

I'm definitely looking forward to the possibility of working with someone who really knows the trade and does quality work. I realize that my knowledge of the electrical trade is a drop in the bucket and I expect to do boring grunt work for a while as well as a lot of studying.
 

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What's the law say about apprentices in Indiana? In California the rule is essentially that electrical work has to be done by the contractor or by someone in a real apprenticeship program, so there's a healthy demand for apprentices.

I'd sure emphasize that you're interested in being an apprentice, not just a helper, or you could find yourself carrying spools of cable around for the next 5 years. An apprenticeship program has dates and targets.

Good luck.
Texas Dept of Licensing and regulation states that an apprentice shall work under the direct supervision of a wireman, journeyman or master. No rule here for having to be in an approved apprenticeship.

Might have something to do with the weak union presence here.
 

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Capra Aegagrus
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Without actually having been there, I suspect you'd have a pretty tough time becoming a qualified electrician without at least a modicum of formal coursework. OJT is fine for swinging a hammer, but there's a heckuva lot more theory involved in the electrical field.
 

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Texas Dept of Licensing and regulation states that an apprentice shall work under the direct supervision of a wireman, journeyman or master. No rule here for having to be in an approved apprenticeship.

Might have something to do with the weak union presence here.
Or you can be a journeyman here, of course. When they passed the law, they had a test to certify existing journeymen. They all flunked the test and enforcement was delayed a few times, maybe for about 5 years.
 

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Without actually having been there, I suspect you'd have a pretty tough time becoming a qualified electrician without at least a modicum of formal coursework. OJT is fine for swinging a hammer, but there's a heckuva lot more theory involved in the electrical field.
It's my understanding that "officially" there is only one type of electrician. I'm referring to the official title. A licensed electrician needs to know how to install your light switch and provide power to a new shopping mall and everything in between.

Now I know people specialize, but the knowledge for the actual license requires that? Am I right?

I know a few actual electricians, but they're all college graduates with electrical engineering degrees. And they only do commercial/industrial. I actually don't know any residential licensed electricians. Not one.
 

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It's my understanding that "officially" there is only one type of electrician. I'm referring to the official title. A licensed electrician needs to know how to install your light switch and provide power to a new shopping mall and everything in between.

Now I know people specialize, but the knowledge for the actual license requires that? Am I right?

I know a few actual electricians, but they're all college graduates with electrical engineering degrees. And they only do commercial/industrial. I actually don't know any residential licensed electricians. Not one.
Who does residential electrical work in PA? Anyone?
 

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In Philly you need to be a licensed electrician to pull permits. And, you need permits for everything. Obviously, people do things without permits all the time. But, they are required.

Outside of the city, I don't think that is necessary. I say that because I know two guys operating electrical businesses in bucks county with no formal training. I know they know what they're doing. They've been in business for a long time. They both in their 50's. But no license, no college, no formal experience.
 

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hack of all trades
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
My moms uncles are union electricians and when I remodeled her bathroom last year, I had to redo the kitchen lighting circuit they had wired years before. I've been surprised at some of the stuff I've seen out of licensed professionals. This goes for all trades, of course.

Of course, this doesn't make me any more qualified to do anything. I know that some electrical contractors have integrated training programs that offer trade school courses. My understanding of 3 phase, transformers, and a lot of industrial stuff is very weak.

I was posting on electrician talk for a while but I was shunned, understandably, and accused of being a homeowner and DIY undercover.
 

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Capra Aegagrus
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Who does residential electrical work in PA? Anyone?
Actually, I do. There is no statewide licensing for electricians in PA, though some of the larger cities have their own licensing requirements.

With over 30 years of experience in electronics, the transition to working with pretty much the same theory but bigger wires wasn't a big deal for me. Damned if I'm going to go with a five year apprenticeship to be able to work in the big cities at this point in my life, though.
 

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It's my understanding that "officially" there is only one type of electrician. I'm referring to the official title. A licensed electrician needs to know how to install your light switch and provide power to a new shopping mall and everything in between.

Now I know people specialize, but the knowledge for the actual license requires that? Am I right?

I know a few actual electricians, but they're all college graduates with electrical engineering degrees. And they only do commercial/industrial. I actually don't know any residential licensed electricians. Not one.
We have several different electrical license's, and each require differing time in the trade, along with different testing material. The only license that is jobsite specific is the residential wireman. They are allowed to work under the indirect supervision of a master, and run jobs, but only on residential projects 2 story or less. If they are on a commercial job their RW license serves as their apprentice license.
 

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The electricians that I know are very anal about their work and extremely meticulous. Their panel boxes look extremely neat, everything labeled, very organized.

I've opened boxes that looked like they had a bowl of spaghetti inside.

They also don't hire anyone with experience. They prefer a great guy with a great work ethic that knows absolutely nothing about the electrical field but is willing to learn. Their philosophy is, they don't have time to break someone's bad habits. Better to train like a baby: crawl, walk then run.
 

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hack of all trades
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
jb4211 said:
The electricians that I know are very anal about their work and extremely meticulous. Their panel boxes look extremely neat, everything labeled, very organized. I've opened boxes that looked like they had a bowl of spaghetti inside. They also don't hire anyone with experience. They prefer a great guy with a great work ethic that knows absolutely nothing about the electrical field but is willing to learn. Their philosophy is, they don't have time to break someone's bad habits. Better to train like a baby: crawl, walk then run.
I love it when I open a panel and all the wires are bent at neat right angles, everything grouped and labeled. You can tell in a second looking at an electrical install if it's an anal installer and I really enjoy seeing neat meticulous work.

Makes a lot of sense to find someone you can train from scratch. Even newbies often have attachments to doing things a certain way, bad habits, and overconfidence that because they have some background they know the right way to do it.

Im a master of nothing in the construction world so I'm more than willing to drop my way of doing things in favor or more correct/effective ways.
 

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What's the law say about apprentices in Indiana? In California the rule is essentially that electrical work has to be done by the contractor or by someone in a real apprenticeship program, so there's a healthy demand for apprentices.

I'd sure emphasize that you're interested in being an apprentice, not just a helper, or you could find yourself carrying spools of cable around for the next 5 years. An apprenticeship program has dates and targets.

Good luck.
He can work under the supervision of a licensed electrician. The electrician signing for the permit is responsible for the work preformed.

Tom
 

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AFAIK, everything varies from state to state. Here, you can work as a helper with nothing at all, just a quick note.
 
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