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<p>I'm tired of being self-employed. I really enjoy some of what I do, but am struggling to support myself and kids since becoming single 4 years ago and don't have benefits.</p>
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<p>While looking at the offerings at the local community college, I started thinking about a trade. (I was thinking about nursing but have some reservations about it.) My dad actually suggested electrician and I'm feeling some real interest. I worked in my dad's machine shop when I was younger--as a service manager but did learn to rebuild outboard powerheads. I enjoy doing work that is nontraditional and don't want to be in an office all day. I do have a BA in History.</p>
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<p>I would love to hear from electricians or their partners: what type of specific work do you do? do you get benefits? what do you like about it? not like about it? do you work FT year round or have to find a job every few months? are there many women? could I make over 40K a year? job outlook? what are the hours like?  would you suggest it as a career? any feedback would be appreciated!</p>
 

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<p>I do not work in that particular area but in we are alway begging for good electrician and plumber.   (We are in the construction business)  Honestly, even in this economy, a tradesperson that is willing to work is in great demand. </p>
 

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For some reason, I couldn't finish my post last night.  To answer your questions - The electrians where I live have remained busy.  They work either independently (alone) or have small-ish crews. They do all sorts of electrical work, from household repairs to big commercial jobs.  I think they have remained busy because they are flexible.  (same goes for the plumbers I know)  I would speculate they do earn over $40,0000. The small business owners I know provide health insurance for their employees but I don't know how much they contribute towards the cost.  I know someone in Philly whose partner is a union electrian and he has been unemployed for months. <br>
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<p>My DP is an electrician and has been for over 10 years.  I'm not sure what goes on with the day to day details but I will tell you what I can from what I know and have seen first-hand.</p>
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<p>As far as specific work, it changes depending on the job and I think it varies with the company.  DP's company mostly does large projects like vacation houses and grocery stores but other companies in the area do smaller projects and house-calls.  Some companies do in-house lighting design and other are solely wiring and installation.  Most companies around here are full time, though in recent years the building industry has been hard-hit and some companies have scaled back, laid-off workers, or closed up shop. Short-term job outlook is shaky right now but as it was pointed out above, it is a trade that will always be in-demand.  To expand your options and long-term job outlook, keep in mind that alternative energies are and will be in huge demand.  DP just got certified in solar-design and installation which we are hoping will become more in-demand as the years roll on.  I don't know of any women electricians but that does not mean there aren't any!  </p>
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<p>You can make great money and it really depends on the company and area you work in.  DP makes about 60-80K/year but he is also a manager at his company and has been there for a long time.  They used to have great bonuses, vacation/sick leave etc but that was all cut in the last year b/c of the recession.  His employer does offer health insurance and a 401K match but again this really varies with the company.  The hours are normal, 8-4:30 m-f, but they have done some overnight jobs when they worked in the schools as to not interfere with school days and kids.</p>
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<p>Something to strongly consider:  If DP had to do it all over he would not choose this career.  It is extremely physically hard on the body.  He is 30-something and feels like his body is falling apart b/c of work.  Due to repetitive motion, he developed severe carpal-tunnel in one wrist which required surgery and a long-drawn out workman's comp case.  His back and knees are bad and he coughs a lot since he spends a lot of time in moldy crawl spaces/dusty environments.  My dad was also in the construction/building industry and I saw the same kind of physical decline so I am very aware of what this type of work does to the human body.  I asked DP and he said instead of becoming an electrician, he would go into electrical engineering or straight lighting-design (is actually considering this now).  </p>
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<p>I'm not sure what state you live in but check into whether you live in a right-to-work state or not.  This will determine if you will be in a union or not and everyone has different opinions about that.  We are in a state and area where there are no unions and most guys around here I have spoken with would not join a union or move to somewhere where they would have to.</p>
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<p>I hope that helps a bit and good luck to whatever you decide to do! :)</p>
 

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<p>I'm not an electrician, but I used to work at the electrical workers' union hall (as an English teacher to Spanish speakers). Here's some information about the union training programs for electricians: <a href="http://www.njatc.org/training/apprenticeship/index.aspx" target="_blank">http://www.njatc.org/training/apprenticeship/index.aspx</a>. Union apprentices generally work at an apprentice rate while they are taking classes, and then graduate to the journeyman level and work for the full rate. I would expect these jobs to have excellent benefits. There were not a lot of women apprentices at the place I worked, however. I only had one woman student, and she definitely found the work to be physically demanding, but I'm not sure what kind of work she was doing.</p>
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<p>I know there are a number of organizations for women in the trades, but I'm not sure what might be near you locally. I bet that would be a good place to look for some feedback, though.</p>
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