Bruce Kemp, President
Electricians are a skilled trade who benefit strongly from an apprentice program and continuing education. The best tool is always knowledge, but basic tools include hand tools such as drivers, wrenches, and strippers/cutters plus power tools such as hammer drills and cable pullers. Don’t forget a vehicle! Meters and test equipment are essential plus ladders, diggers, bucket trucks, and related.
Training and apprenticeship experience is as essential as a can do attitude! All Electricians should complete an apprenticeship and test for at least Journeyman. This is generally done through on-the-job training. I happen to be an Engineer as well, so I have a college degree.
The building trades will never be outsourced to India and there is always room and opportunity for a hard worker. I prefer Electrical because it is more technically challenging and dangerous which means fewer competitors can do it well.
Trade school followed by an apprentice program is essential to be truly good at it. You do get paid pretty well during the apprenticeship. Following with continuing ed programs shows commitment to the trade, the Boss will know you are a real keeper.
Generally the apprentice program is 4 years followed by prep and Journeyman’s test. Continuing ed can include the Master’s program, or development in Solar, estimating, motor controls, and much more.
The special skills I look for are the ability to listen and learn. I can’t share my knowledge with someone who already knows everything—and vice versa!. This is a hazardous trade, check the ego at the door.
The first day was fantastic! I’m going to wire this building and get paid for it! How cool is that—of course, I didn’t exactly know how. . .
Typical day starts at the office at 7AM when everyone marshals at the office. We pick up necessary material, load up and move out quickly. We get to the site by no later than 8AM, grab our tools and hit it. Florida is hot so if we are in the dirt we get extra breaks. Other times we work straight through to the end at 3:30-4:30 and head directly for home.
“Everybody hates their Electrician.” I’ve found that many guys in the trade have an attitude and are not very diligent. That gives us a great opportunity because our customers are loyal—but often my competitors customers are not.
Ask yourself—Do I want to be a real Electrician? Are you going to hit the books and commit yourself to the trade? Or do you want to coast along and only make the extra money when times are good? If you make a commitment to the trade, you’ll have a great career. Otherwise you’re just labor.
I like the variety. Every day we can be in a different building and learn new things. Very challenging and exciting.