Contractor Talk - Professional Construction and Remodeling Forum banner

Finding an apprentice/helper position

4081 Views 25 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  dielectricunion
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.
1 - 7 of 26 Posts
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.
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.
jb4211 said:
Obviously, people do things without penis all the time.
Ain't that the truth!
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.
I have often said learn from an old guy...wanna learn alot find one who is semi retired but likes to keep up with code no matter how freekin stupid it is sometimes. We have to torque and mark everything

I'm one of them guys that makes a neat panel or J-box.....I mark my runs (commercial and res) Takes very little time and often it makes it faster when a crew is doing the work or you have to pass inspection

Getting into the trade isn't too hard. as someone else said go to the ELECTRICAL supply house ( NOT Blowes or Home cheapo) if nothing else ask them who is doing a volume business as they will often go thru people and might have an opening. DoL is another good place to look.

The biggest thing is be honest with your skills, Its hard to fake it into this trade. I honestly can run wire or bend tube better then alot of guys (all my life in building trades) but there is still terminology and stuff i don't know and have to ask about. Would i call myself a journeyman NO.... The guy who teaches me dosnt even call himself a journeyman even tho his dad started a large co and thats all they knew was sparking for 50 years
I'd say I'm pretty consistent with being honest about my skills. I know guys who talk themselves up to clients, potential bosses and even other contractors/tradesman. That's never a good policy when your work leaves room for improvement. Nothing worse than bragging about yourself before delivering a very mediocre service.
Yeah, it would definitely be kind of a bummer to do lackey work only for a straight year; especially working for a company that does, say, mostly new construction cookie cutter stuff.
1 - 7 of 26 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.