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Is there room for upward mobility as an electrician?

My name is Brandon, I am a Hispanic male looking to get into becoming an Electrician. I am attending a trade program for electrical school and before I dive head first into this trade I just had a couple questions regarding the field. #electrician #electrical-engineering

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Doug’s Answer

One of the wealthiest friends I have is an electrician. He had the advantage of great training plus the connection to the union provides him with benefits including a pension. He is married to someone with a good business mind and together they started an electrical company. He also built and leveraged relationship with contractors to be their go to electric provider to expand the business. I mention this because the relationships are key to success in any business.
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Benny’s Answer

Yes, if you ask or survey around a tech company you will find the a lot of Software Engineer didn't study or graduated from computer-science as a major. you'll find all kinds of majors like Philosophy, Arts, History, etc. Probably the best advice I got while in high school was "don't study what you already know (computers) and pick a science major. Electrical engineering was my major with focus on Electronics.

Electricity is the source or "nucleus" (you could say) of computers science or any tech related career. By knowing the trade and being an electrician you'll will have the fundamental knowledge to pivot to any career that involves electronics, think those Nvidia graphics cards or the chips inside an iPhone, all individuals whom design/build/troubleshoot/QA engineers (quality assurance) have an Electrician background as is the nucleus of it all, as I mentioned.

I like the mindset of asking for pivots as shows you're a looking for future grow, I was the same way.. :)
Cheers!
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Julie’s Answer

Everyone needs and will need an electrician. And there are so many jobs out there looking for skilled workers in the trades, that these jobs are paying very well. There is always upward mobility in the trades provided you have the motivation to work hard. Getting your licensure to become an electrician is a very good job path to go down. From there, you can work for electrical contractors, the union, or start your own business. As a wife of a construction guy who has his own business and does everything from electrical work, to carpentry, to roofing, I've seen just how valuable trade skills are. My husband is turning down jobs because he has so much work he has no time.
The pay for an electrician just starting out is around $15-$25/hr depending on where you are. From there, the more experience you get, your hourly rate can go as high as $45-65/hr depending where you are.
It's a great career path and there will never be a shortage of jobs because not many people are going into the trades.
Good luck.
Thank you comment icon Thank you Julie for your insight it was most helpful! Does your husband find construction work difficult? I know after a couple of years in construction there must be many posture and body issues. Brandon
Thank you comment icon He tells me when he first started working at age 15, it was very difficult. Manual labor, working outside in the sun all day is hard. But now, almost 30 years later, he's incredibly strong, very resilient, and knowledgeable in tons of different aspects of all things construction. As far as body aches and pains, he will have the usual back pain or knee pain every now and again, but I think that just comes with old(er) age. I think he has less issues than most because he is in such great shape due to manual labor and construction. Also, he has always been incredibly careful on all of his job sites throughout all the years he's been working so I'm sure that has alleviated any major body issues! :) Julie Bateman
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Todd’s Answer

Brandon - I began my career as an appliance repair person, then a refrigeration mechanic, then a construction electrician, then an electrical contractor, then a professionally registered electrical engineer, and now once again as an electrical contractor. Over the course of 37 years, I obtained master electrician licenses in two states, professional electrical engineer licenses in five states, became a senior member of IEEE, and an Electrical Subject Matter Expert for the Texas Dept of Licensing and Regulation. I would say that there's great upward mobility as an electrician. I've been self-employed for most of my career and traveled all over the country doing projects in exciting and interesting places and structures.

It's very plausible to begin with an electrical trade school and build upon it. Two aspects will be critical for you. (1) Work for someone that is willing to mentor you. Many places take their 1st year apprentices, hand them a shovel, and have them work behind a trencher. Four years later you will have learned nothing and cannot pass you journeyman's test. Finding an employer willing to train, mentor, and challenge you will be huge. (2) Never stop learning. Even after 37 years of this, many days I'll still run into something and say "Well, I've never seen that before" and learn something new.

Todd recommends the following next steps:

Join IEEE. As a student, membership is very inexpensive and going to the meetings will expose you to professionals with many decades of experience and those connections may be invaluable some day.
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