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Old 04-30-2009, 08:13 AM   #1
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Career Research Questions

Hi, for school I need to do a career research project, and I chose an electrician. For part of the project I need to interview an electrician, and not knowing any it would be helpful if someone would be willing to answer my questions. I tried to keep them from being very personal, but it's kinda hard to get 15 of them.
If you can answer them please send an email to me at with the answers, if you want you can answer them in the thread. If there's a question you don't want to answer that's fine

1) What is your job title?
2) What do you do at your job?
3) Do you work for a contracting company, self employed, etc?
4) What are your hours?
5) What is the starting pay for your job?
6) How does the pay increase for your job?
7) Are there chances to advance in this career?
8) What are you’re working hours?
9) Are you happy with those hours?
10) Is your job stressful?
11) What is your favorite part about the job?
12) What do you dislike the most about the job?
13) Are there any high school courses that would help with this job?
14) Are electricians in demand in your area?
15) Would you recommend this career to anyone?


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Old 04-30-2009, 08:21 PM   #2
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I've been an electrician for about 19 years now, mostly commercial/industrial, but a few houses now and again.

1) I'm a project foreman/ service technician.

2) I do all types of electrical work. Bending conduit, installing electrical wiring (all the way from little itty-bitty control wire up to 35,000 volt wire that's about 2" in diameter). I design and install industrial control panels, switchgear (cabinets that are about 8' tall, and can weigh several thousand pounds and carry several thousand amps of current), transformers, motors, light fixtures, traffic signals, industrial process equipment, distribution panels, and troubleshoot and repair all of this stuff when it doesn't do what its supposed to.

3) I work for a contractor. We have anywhere from about 40 to over 100 people working, depending on how many jobs we have going.

4) I usually work from 7AM to 3:30PM, but sometimes all night, like traffic signals.

5) A first year apprentice makes about $12/hour around here.

6) An apprentice can expect about a $1/hour raise each 6 months. After 4 years, the pay rate is about $20, and the apprentice is now a journeyman. A foreman with a lot of widely varied experience will make about $30-35/hour. The company I work for, and several others, pay their foremen a bonus each year. (No, it's not millions of dollars, but it's pretty healthy!).

7) There's always the possibility of advancement in the electrical field. The more things you know how to do, the more valuable you are. New equipment is constantly being introduced, most of it takes special knowledge to install and maintain. It's never ending.

8) Same as #4.

9) 7 to 3:30 has got to be one of the best shifts there is. It's not too early, and you still have time in the evening to relax, etc. I could do without the all-nighters, I'm 52, and it takes me a bit longer to recover than it used to. Looking back on my entire career, I can't complain at all.

10) Generally, my job isn't all that stressful, but when I arrive at an industrial plant where equipment isn't running, and a lot of people are waiting on me to get it to work, the stress factor can be rather high! When I'm running conduit on the ground and the concrete is being poured right behind me, it's REALLY stressful.

11) My favorite part of my job is the sense of satisfaction of accomplishing something. I can look around at the end of each day and say 'that wasn't installed when I got here', or 'this machine runs because I hooked it up', or even 'this machine runs now because I fixed it'. I take pride in my work. My work looks nice. There's a lot of satisfaction in that.

12) There are really only about 3 things I don't like about my job. I don't like to be rushed. Most of the stuff I do, someone is pushing me to get it done quicker. A lot of my work is designed be electrical engineers. About 20% of these people are exceptionally intelligent, and easy to work with. The other 80% are nothing more than educated idiots with huge egos and very small brains. These people can turn the simplest job into a living nightmare. About 95% of the inspectors I work with are great. Knowledgeable and reasonable. The other get the idea! (Sorry for the rant!)

13) My advice to a high school student would be to take a lot of math. Usually, you need to pass at least one semester of algebra to get into an apprenticeship program, and you use geometry a lot. Any type of shop class will be valuable as well.

14) There is a very high demand for electricians around here. Even with the recession and all, I am still buried with more work than I can handle, though I know a lot of people that are laid off, or working reduced hours. Not for much longer though!

15) If you're mechanically inclined, and are willing to actually work, and not goof off, being an electrician is an excellent career choice. It can be a bit rough at times, but well worth it. The pay is pretty good, there's no homework, and most of the people you work with are good. There are more people my age getting out of the trade than young ones getting in, that means higher pay and better conditions for those willing to stick it out. Would I recommend it? My oldest son (25) is an electrician. He works for the same company I do. He loves his job.



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Old 05-01-2009, 11:07 PM   #3
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i would add that your commute to the job site is important. electricians tend to work at varied locations but all within the same city. there is a lot of value here.

with a standard brick & mortar job, you need to be able to ride your bike - that is the prefered distance. not too close, but not too far. you save much by not needing a car (or you have one but use it sparingly so it lasts forever).

i commute to such a brick & mortar job. costs are high for my car due to commute 45 minutes one way every day. think about that, expand it over 30 years - use your fancy math skills to calculate how much your life will suck if you have to commute.

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Old 05-03-2009, 11:53 AM   #4
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Thanks you guys really helped me, I really didn't expect to get that much info
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