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Thread: Thinking about becoming an electrician, any electricians out there?

  1. #1
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    Thumbs down Thinking about becoming an electrician, any electricians out there?

    Iím in my mid 40s, and Iíve been working as an auto technician for the last 15 years. Iím pretty burned out on the auto industry as a whole, and Iíve been thinking about starting over as an electrician. If youíre an electrician, what are your thoughts on someone my age starting as an apprentice? Any advice, encouragement would be appreciated. Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammer_Man View Post
    Iím in my mid 40s, and Iíve been working as an auto technician for the last 15 years. Iím pretty burned out on the auto industry as a whole, and Iíve been thinking about starting over as an electrician. If youíre an electrician, what are your thoughts on someone my age starting as an apprentice? Any advice, encouragement would be appreciated. Thanks!
    Not a licensed electrician, but Iíve worked closely with them as an industry SME my whole career. Despite what some here will say, I recommend finding a strong union and joining. One big thing to be aware of- if you start your apprenticeship from scratch, it is 5 years start to finish. The pay is low in the beginning, but it increases each year. Another major point- if there isnít a strong union presence in your immediate area, you wonít have much local work. This means you travel to where the jobs are, or you will be on unemployment, as I understand it. Some one with more experience can weigh in.
    As for your age, donít let that be a deterrent. I know a guy who left his stable but soul crushing desk job in his 40ís, and 10 years later, is loving his job. The pension and health benefits are good, and in my local area (Las Vegas) the journeyman rate is over $50/hr, and there is plenty of local work. In New Mexico, where I came from, the rate was about $32/hr, and union presence here is weak. Do your homework about your local area. Definitely go to the local IBEW hall and start meeting people. References, hard work, and having a good network of fellow tradesmen really make your career in this industry. Not sure what your family, mortgage, etc status are, but if you are single, and/or can be away for long periods of time, you can really make a great wage at a fairly low cost of living. Guys I know did the RV/5 th wheel gig and had a great time. Also, a young foreman I knew in New Mexico was taking a 3 year project in the Bay Area @$75/hr, but paying New Mexico taxes. PM me questions and I can ask my electrician friends to share experiences.

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    There are many disciplines within the electrical field itself. Do some research into them and see what is strong in your area.
    Or if you’re single and don’t mind moving around from job to job, the world is your oyster.


    Residential electrical- Anything from new homes to crawling in attics stuffed with fiberglass insulation.

    Commercial electrical- Anything from new building construction to old buildings with the same insulation haha.

    Industrial electrical- Power plants, factories etc..

    Powerline/ Distribution- Utility Powerline/ Substation construction/ maintenance.

    Energy Industry- Solar, Wind power, Thermal, Oilfield, building Plants/ refineries etc..


    They’re all good as electricians will always be in demand.


    Think of your long term goals, being at your age, it’s definitely okay to start fresh, try and find something where you don’t have to dig ditches or be bent over a lot.

    As far as unions go, being from Texas, I personally think they’re communist organizations (just poking fun here) not my cup of tea but they can be great for others.

    I’m in the Automation sector within the Oil & Gas industry, specifically, more PLC (programmable logic controller) programming these days, but I also know how to wire up a pump panel and I carry a hot stick/ hot gloves and line fuses in my truck if need be. I program Oil & Gas storage, gathering and processing facilities.

    I started out in college with a two year trade degree and I am slowly working on my Electrical Engineering bachelors, but that is irrelevant as I know many people who have started out as apprentices who can kick my ass all day long.

    I absolutely love it. There is so much to learn every day and much like being a mechanic, it is a critical and essential skill.
    Last edited by SilverBullet432; 08-09-22 at 21:14.

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    Consider HVAC
    Gettin' down innagrass.
    Let's Go Brandon!

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    I went to trade school to be an electrician 30 years ago, the school gave my half the hours I needed for my license.
    The problem I had was getting the remaining hours in the working world.

    I grew up in a rural area in different times and most electricians wanted to pay me under the table which made it impossible to count the hours for my license.

    Eventually I got into the high demand It industry and abandoned the electrician dream.

    I'd recommend staying away from residential, most jobs are crawl spaces, attics, dealing with old wiring etc.

    Commercial is usually cleaner, you have more space to work, but the unions dominated that space where I lived.

    Someone else suggested HVAC which isn't a bad idea.

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    Not an Electrician but as an Architect I am on job sites with them all the time. Almost entirely commercial though.

    I love being an Architect, but if I had to do it all over again, I really think I would have rather become an Electrician. It seems to be really interesting work and for the most part it's not as dirty as Plumbing which is also highly compensated. At this point, I get paid more than an Electrician so changing careers doesn't make sense.

    Also consider if your state has Electrician's Unions or not. I hate unions but their members do get paid more.

    EDIT: People did mention HVAC which is good too, but Elevator Repair should also be a consideration, very good pay.
    Last edited by Alex V; 08-10-22 at 08:25.
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    Not an electrician, but retired as a union pipe insulator/asbestos worker.

    Sorry but I doubt any construction unions are taking on apprentices aged to their mid 40's. They might organize a non union electrician of that age just to get him or his shop under their membership.
    Your training would put you up close to 50 years old. You'd end up having to sign on with a residential non union contractor, starting pay would be low and the work would be dirty and hot (attics and crawlspaces) you'd essentially get every menial shit job they had.
    You'd have to pass the state or local tests to be licensed and you'd have to have training for that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ryr8828 View Post
    Not an electrician, but retired as a union pipe insulator/asbestos worker.

    Sorry but I doubt any construction unions are taking on apprentices aged to their mid 40's. They might organize a non union electrician of that age just to get him or his shop under their membership.
    Your training would put you up close to 50 years old. You'd end up having to sign on with a residential non union contractor, starting pay would be low and the work would be dirty and hot (attics and crawlspaces) you'd essentially get every menial shit job they had.
    You'd have to pass the state or local tests to be licensed and you'd have to have training for that.
    My old neighbor is an electrician and that's pretty much what it boiled down to when I was talking to him about switching.
    He made really good money but did have to travel to job sites all over.
    When the BS covid thing hit he was one of the few that showed up for work and made an obscene amount of money for a couple years.
    He got $100 a day bonus just for going to work and doing an 8 hr shift but worked 12 - 14 hrs during the week and 10 hrs on Saturday.
    Anything over 8 is overtime and Saturday was double time.

    From talking with him all the trades on the job sites were like that, large jobs with skeleton crews and still being held to the deadline.

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    I was furloughed from my job as an auto tech (11 years) during Covid. I was worried that being in my mid 40's that I would not find a good fit in a trade. I'm currently studying business management via the V.A.'s voc rehab program. I've always been interested in business, so it seemed like a decent gamble.

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