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CHAT Suggestions on new career path: Trades vs manufacturing
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  1. #1

    Suggestions on new career path: Trades vs manufacturing

    Hey everyone,

    If some of you recall, I've been looking to do a midlife career change. Currently work in LE/Public Safety arena. After I vested in my pension, I went back to college in 2017. My goal was to just learn some computer programming. I was going for two certificates in the computer science field to go along with my worthless/no special skills degree I got a couple of decades ago. The Algebra was fine, got an A in the class and was ready for Computer Science. I didn't like it. Too complicated, too much sitting and typing out code. Looked into networking/IT security, but it appears to be similar to programming. Looks into help desk/IT support, but many of those jobs don't pay much.

    So I took a year off, saved money, and am now thinking that the trades are more my path. This year I started at the community college. I'm in a class where I'll get my OHSA 10 hr. certification and MSSC certification(s). These aren't anything huge, but they would at least show I'm at least book trainable if I start applying to trade or manufacturing related jobs down the road. I figure it will be a way into something.

    I'm trying to get some suggestions on jobs and career paths for those in the trades. Ideally I'd like something that isn't a completely filthy job. I don't mind physical activity, but I really don't want to be inhaling chemicals/vapors, covered in grim, etc. all day, every day. I already know there are certain jobs I wouldn't want, like working in sewers constantly, or having to constantly be in crawl spaces.

    Manufacturing maintenance jobs pay pretty well, around $29/hour starting. The downside to this is that I'd likely have to work evening or overnight hours, but likely get most of the weekends off. Right now I work about half the weekends, but usually work more due to over-time. I get to work day shift though, so I get to see family in the evening. The trades like HVAC, electrician, etc. usually are M-F, day shift jobs. Some folks work into the later part of the evenings and weekends. These jobs could be union and non-union. Some of the non-union HVAC companies pay well, eventually. The problem is that to start, the apprenticeships only pay in the mid teens. This would be a massive pay-cut for me, which would likely last a few years. The wife lost her good job and is still unemployed, so taking a huge pay cut at this stage is a no-go. This might be possible in a few years after she gets back to work and we bank a lot of savings.

    The IBEW electrical union apprenticeship pays well. Career fields being working for utility electrical, companies that do residential/commercial, etc.. Downside is that I've heard IBEW locals differ from region to region. You might be able to transfer, but you might have to travel constantly for work under "Book 2" as the local people who were hired on under that local get the "Book 1" jobs that are more local. My wife and I could possibly want to move in ten years or so, so job issues like that would be something to consider.

    Just seeing if anyone here works, or knows of people who work, in the trades and/or manufacturing fields. I'm considering electrical, but would also like to look into robotics (repair and PLC programming) as that is the top of the pay scale here in manufacturing. Ideally I'd like to be able to do a lot of electrical and mechanical repair work, with PLC knowledge.

  2. #2
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    I have no advice for you but just want to say in reading your essay you will have no problem finding work, a new career, and excelling at it. Well constructed and thought out (a plan).

    During the course of my work career I did two career changes (not job changes) and both times my wife and I thought out an clearly defined plan (like you have done). I always took a cut in pay but quickly found myself back in the money. Easy peasy with God's help. Good luck. I pray for your success.

    Up vote for HVAC.
    Thy will be done...

  3. #3
    Well, I have been hearing for the last couple of years that the trade industry is in dire need of more people. Don't know much about that industry but it can be lucrative. Above advice from gerkom about pay cut at first then you come into better pay is so true about career change. But of course you have to consider your situation. Also wish you the best of luck. This could be a great time for taking a chance on something new. I would go with what you like first - electrical/mechanical.

  4. #4
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    If you want to get into the trades, a little community college ain’t gonna do it for ya, cap’n.

    Here’s the rough breakdown:

    18 month wait to get into a trade school.
    24 months of trade school
    5 years apprenticing
    5 years journeyman
    THEN you are a master craftsman

    And until you make journeyman, there’s very little money.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee2 View Post
    Well, I have been hearing for the last couple of years that the trade industry is in dire need of more people. Don't know much about that industry but it can be lucrative. Above advice from gerkom about pay cut at first then you come into better pay is so true about career change. But of course you have to consider your situation. Also wish you the best of luck. This could be a great time for taking a chance on something new. I would go with what you like first - electrical/mechanical.

    My son wanted to take trade classes on being a electrician and passed that and could not find work locally and I was pushing him right after taking that class to take an advance course on electrical-mechanical so two years later he is now enrolled in the class and seems to like it and has found people with this skill are in high demand, People with this skill are retiring in droves and few have any interest in this kind of work.

    This is not for everyone so finding something that you know you can do and go for it.

  6. #6
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    Have done all of the above.

    I don't like being in a plant and working shifts...not real big on having a normal job.

    Millwright work is the most fun, at least as a troubleshooter. I kinda miss it even. Have been thinking about getting set up as a contractor, there are a coupla local places that directly fit my skillset.

    A/C work is kinda seasonal and crawling attics in the summer really sucks.

    Electrical is boring to me.


    A lot depends on having an inherent mechanical nature.

    Some people have it and some don't and never will.
    Proud Infidel...............and Cracker

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  7. #7
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    I always loved being hands-on. Then my career went sideways and I ended up doing software development. Pays very well, but I always felt cheated by not being able to get my hands dirty. OTOH, I’m 61 and look physically like I’m in my mid 40’s.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Olson View Post
    If you want to get into the trades, a little community college ain’t gonna do it for ya, cap’n.

    Here’s the rough breakdown:

    18 month wait to get into a trade school.
    24 months of trade school
    5 years apprenticing
    5 years journeyman
    THEN you are a master craftsman

    And until you make journeyman, there’s very little money.
    Welders in oil field make way better money way faster.
    The catch is that they need to have their own welding truck.
    The TRUCK makes much higher per hour than they do.
    Proud member Alt-Right group "Scientists For Trump". (Smart Americans know he's right.)
    A man should only take a wife whose Bible includes Genesis, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Colossians, Malachi, Isaiah, Ephesians, Corinthians, Hebrews, Timothy, Titus, Proverbs, Mark, Peter & Revelation. Ecclesiastes 7:28 (NIV) tells him the odds.

  9. #9
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    Have you researched non-destructive testing? NDT work sounds like it may suit you. Travel would be unavoidable. That is a deal-breaker for some people.
    "You are allowed to be disappointed but not surprised"

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Millwright View Post
    Have done all of the above.

    I don't like being in a plant and working shifts...not real big on having a normal job.

    Millwright work is the most fun, at least as a troubleshooter. I kinda miss it even. Have been thinking about getting set up as a contractor, there are a coupla local places that directly fit my skillset.

    A/C work is kinda seasonal and crawling attics in the summer really sucks.

    Electrical is boring to me.


    A lot depends on having an inherent mechanical nature.

    Some people have it and some don't and never will.


    I have been wanting to ask you about what it is you do and my son can use some ideas what he can get into. The school he is atending has a job fair days with all kinds of employers lined up and being told many of these people find out what classes he is taking they very quickly hand you a aplacation. I told him when they have the job fair to ask them if they have a business card and keep them for later use.

  11. #11
    you have the better part of the skills already - CNC machining & robotic assembly/warehousing - programming & troubleshooting with some mech skills >>> write your own ticket
    Illini Warrior

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Olson View Post
    If you want to get into the trades, a little community college ain’t gonna do it for ya, cap’n.

    Here’s the rough breakdown:

    18 month wait to get into a trade school.
    24 months of trade school
    5 years apprenticing
    5 years journeyman
    THEN you are a master craftsman

    And until you make journeyman, there’s very little money.
    The trade school path is somewhat overrated for many of the disciplines.

    Wanna learn A/C? Start as a helper at a smaller company, learn all you can (at work & bookwork)...then move up.

    Industrial maintenance? Same deal.

    If you have ability, progression is quick. if you don't...a lot less time and money spent trying to figure that out.
    Proud Infidel...............and Cracker

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  13. #13
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    My advice with 2 suggestions one hands on and one more project management.

    Commercial hvac or commercial refrigeration, Start in the maintenance repair area to learn and understand how the equipment actually works. Commercial refrigeration might be easier to get into as a lot of smaller or one person firms still do a lot of the fast food and restaurant repairs. Yes you will be on call for the weekends but that will be where the big bucks, overtime, is. For this you need to become the go to guy who knows his shit that can fix a problem and have coworkers come to for help. Don't be the guy who just swaps parts hoping that it fixes the problem

    Construction with the goal of being a contractor. A contractor needs to be somewhat hands on for all trades to insure the work done by the subs is being done properly. But they also need good management and task scheduling skills. Good people skills and selling skills also helps. Remember if anything goes wrong with the job its the contractor who gets blamed. And if all goes correctly, smoothly, and on time he gets the credit. To do this you'll need to learn the code book inside and out. A side to this option is learn to do home inspections. A home inspection pays $200 to $400 or more depending on the home and the area. Its a good side gig. But you need to hook up with real estate agents so that they will refer you to the buyers. Having good connections can yield you several jobs a day while the housing market is going well.

    Good luck

    tbd

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luddite View Post
    Have you researched non-destructive testing? NDT work sounds like it may suit you. Travel would be unavoidable. That is a deal-breaker for some people.
    It's also a field that is surprisingly hard to break into without VERY specific training or good connections.
    Proud member Alt-Right group "Scientists For Trump". (Smart Americans know he's right.)
    A man should only take a wife whose Bible includes Genesis, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Colossians, Malachi, Isaiah, Ephesians, Corinthians, Hebrews, Timothy, Titus, Proverbs, Mark, Peter & Revelation. Ecclesiastes 7:28 (NIV) tells him the odds.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Publius View Post
    I have been wanting to ask you about what it is you do and my son can use some ideas what he can get into. The school he is atending has a job fair days with all kinds of employers lined up and being told many of these people find out what classes he is taking they very quickly hand you a aplacation. I told him when they have the job fair to ask them if they have a business card and keep them for later use.
    I ride around with two German Shepherd and deal with A/Cs and generators. Mostly working for the telecom companies.

    How I got here is a long and twisted tale.


    Like I said, either you have a knack for solving mechanical problems....or not.
    Proud Infidel...............and Cracker

    Member: Nowski Brigade

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  16. #16
    I would suggest learning a trade over manufacturing.

    A trade is something you learn and will always have, where as manufacturing is willy nilly here today gone tomorrow.

    I don't know where Dennis is getting is info, and where that is, it may be true, but for here, it is incorrect.

    Trade classes are open, and will soon shut until the next semester. Then open again. Yes some of the trade classes are 2 years, but that doesn't mean no classes start for 2 years.

    My son signed up and started in a trade school, drafting, 2 year course. Had a job before he finished. Still working at it, is now the manager over the Verizon accounts, making 100,000+.

    Aaa just happen to think/remember Dennis may be talking about learning a trade through a Union. Taking that route he may be correct. Learning a trade through a school is not so.

    Some to many of the students who go to school to learn a trade, welding, electrical, drafting, have jobs before or soon after graduating.

    Even jobs in the medical field (non MD, or Nursing) around here have classes starting yearly, and have jobs waiting. Like respiratory therapy, x-rays, different scanners.

    Again I would recommend a trade, and a trade school over manufacturing. Check with your local College.
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  17. #17
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    If you go into the HVAC field you will have more "friends" than you ever believed that you could have if you live in the south

  18. #18
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    The 18 months was the wait to get in because of the demand. But if the demand has dropped (and it may well have), then my first line item is no longer valid. I know it was true in 2004.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by twobarkingdogs View Post
    My advice with 2 suggestions one hands on and one more project management.

    Commercial hvac or commercial refrigeration, Start in the maintenance repair area to learn and understand how the equipment actually works. Commercial refrigeration might be easier to get into as a lot of smaller or one person firms still do a lot of the fast food and restaurant repairs. Yes you will be on call for the weekends but that will be where the big bucks, overtime, is. For this you need to become the go to guy who knows his shit that can fix a problem and have coworkers come to for help. Don't be the guy who just swaps parts hoping that it fixes the problem

    Construction with the goal of being a contractor. A contractor needs to be somewhat hands on for all trades to insure the work done by the subs is being done properly. But they also need good management and task scheduling skills. Good people skills and selling skills also helps. Remember if anything goes wrong with the job its the contractor who gets blamed. And if all goes correctly, smoothly, and on time he gets the credit. To do this you'll need to learn the code book inside and out. A side to this option is learn to do home inspections. A home inspection pays $200 to $400 or more depending on the home and the area. Its a good side gig. But you need to hook up with real estate agents so that they will refer you to the buyers. Having good connections can yield you several jobs a day while the housing market is going well.

    Good luck

    tbd
    You bring up a good point -- he probably wants to look for something that might be more or less recession-proof, if there is any such thing. I know that construction goes through periodic down-turns, depending on how the economy is going. Most kinds of manufacturing probably do, too.

    Kathleen
    Behold, these are the mere edges of His ways, and how small a whisper we hear of Him.
    Job 26:14

    wickr ID freeholder45

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Olson View Post
    If you want to get into the trades, a little community college ain’t gonna do it for ya, cap’n.

    Here’s the rough breakdown:

    18 month wait to get into a trade school.
    24 months of trade school
    5 years apprenticing
    5 years journeyman
    THEN you are a master craftsman

    And until you make journeyman, there’s very little money.
    In Oklahoma and California you can work as a apprentice for two years, while taking a collage accredited homestudy course. That will give you 4 years experience and you can then take the test to be at least a sub contractor. Thats what I did, and had my license at 21.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Millwright View Post
    I ride around with two German Shepherd and deal with A/Cs and generators. Mostly working for the telecom companies.

    How I got here is a long and twisted tale.


    Like I said, either you have a knack for solving mechanical problems....or not.


    I hear ya and my self not afraid to tackle mechanical things even took printing back in high school many looked at that like you had to be a mechanical genius to run and operate the equipment . My son is taking courses at James Rumsey Technical Instiute here in West Virginia

  22. #22
    I have been an electrician for 34 years, a member of IBEW for over 10 years and an electrical contractor for 12 years. As Dennis points out, the process of becoming a journeyman is not a quick one. There are, however, some things that can be done to speed up the process.

    The best money will be as a Union Journeyman Inside Wireman. This is basically a commercial/industrial electrician. You will want to apply every time they are accepting applications. They use a point system to decide where you will be on the list of apprenticeship applicants. They fill openings based on that list. Your test scores will be a part of those points. You will also be given points for being a woman or a minority. Your experience will add points as will previous applications. You can go to the website of your nearest JATC and find out what their specific requirements are.

    It is usually easier to get into the residential electrician program as the journeyman wage is lower. The initial wage is not much lower than inside wireman and the rate progression is comparable. You can check with your local JATC to see if they will allow those apprenticeship hours to directly transfer to inside wireman putting you at the same wage period as in the residential program. For example, if you have finished all three periods in the residential program and are accepted into the inside wireman program, will you begin as a fourth period apprentice, at least in terms of wages?
    You can also check to see they will automatically allow you into the inside wireman apprenticeship.

    You will want to start applying for a job with a non-union electrical contractor while you are waiting on the union. The experience will gain you more points towards the waiting list. You can also talk with the union organizers to find out if there are contractors that are likely to become union contractors. If you are working for one of these companies when they join the union, you will be able to automatically join the apprenticeship.

  23. #23
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    Buy a boat & open a fishing charter business.....you get to wear two hats -- Boat Captain & diesel engine mechanic



  24. #24
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    Buy tools, if you want to get in the contractor side of the trades.

    Quality hand tools for a start...except for electricians. They just need a coffee cup, a beat up pair of Kleins (with a burnt spot in the blade ) and a screwdriver.

    There is a point where you have essentially bought a job. (Provided the knowledge to use them is there)
    Proud Infidel...............and Cracker

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  25. #25
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    Elitist.

  26. #26
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    If you know anything about machining, turning your computer programming into CNC machining/programming leads to many job offers. I have several companies that want me to do CNC machine set up and programming for them, and I am not applying or looking for (another) job.

    I had a hard time finding programmers at my last business and had to pay between $30/hr to $60/hr for them.

    The hard part is getting started. Many don't want to risk a new programmer crashing a $250,000 machine and ending any hopes of using it for several weeks as they pay $50K, or more to fix it.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Millwright View Post
    The trade school path is somewhat overrated for many of the disciplines.

    Wanna learn A/C? Start as a helper at a smaller company, learn all you can (at work & bookwork)...then move up.

    Industrial maintenance? Same deal.

    If you have ability, progression is quick. if you don't...a lot less time and money spent trying to figure that out.
    That's the way it would work in Texas. So much of what is required to start learning a trade depends on the state you reside in. Texas licenses electricians, but I know of no other construction trade that is licensed. Want to be a general contractor? Get an assumed name certificate, and start looking/bidding for jobs. You'll also have to acquire various insurances that the customer will require.

    I have a BIL that is a pipeline inspector. Lots of travel, but lots of compensation for the travel and $80k plus in wages. He also gets to write off a $60k travel trailer as job expense, as well as a diesel p/u, side x side wheeler, etc. He started as a welding inspector, NDT, and moved up with the company.

    My nephew used to do commercial refrigeration. (He runs the company now) His company had contracts with several supermarket chains, but the real money was in the chemical plants, servicing the water chillers that cool the plant works. He earned in the low 100's in the last few years of servicing. It can be hot, smelly, uncomfortable, working in the chemical plants, but they're the ones with the money.

    Unions and their apprenticeship programs don't do well in Texas, nor would I expect in any other "right to work" state.

    Good luck in your search.

  28. #28
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    Definitely trades. Manufacturing has it's ups and downs, but folks are always going to need plumbers, electricians, HVAC repair, etc.
    If at first you don't secede, try, try again!

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Millwright View Post
    Buy tools, if you want to get in the contractor side of the trades.

    Quality hand tools for a start...except for electricians. They just need a coffee cup, a beat up pair of Kleins (with a burnt spot in the blade ) and a screwdriver.

    There is a point where you have essentially bought a job. (Provided the knowledge to use them is there)
    No.No.No. That is the position of Electrical Inspector. Just add a electrical tester and an ink pen to write the Ok and Reject stickers. LOL

  30. #30

    I recommend a management position in leisure services.

    Howdy, Folks!





    ~~~~~~~~~~~~


    Only one shout-out for plumbers on this thread so far; everyone needs water and sewer!

    Oh, and gases as well - among other things, that oxygen running through the tubes in the hospitals has to come from somewhere...

    Electrical is good as well. Had a young friend apprentice to an electrician when he was 18 - he wanted something very portable that would make him good money so he could work on his artwork in his "spare time." Sharp kid, though now with a wife and daughter, don't know how much spare time he has...

    Good luck!


    Peace and Love,

    Donald Shimoda

  31. #31
    If you go into a trade move to East Tennessee. With any kind of work ethic at all you can find a job period. anybody who is halfway decent in trades is booked 6 months out right now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ravekid View Post
    Hey everyone,

    If some of you recall, I've been looking to do a midlife career change. Currently work in LE/Public Safety arena. After I vested in my pension, I went back to college in 2017. My goal was to just learn some computer programming. I was going for two certificates in the computer science field to go along with my worthless/no special skills degree I got a couple of decades ago. The Algebra was fine, got an A in the class and was ready for Computer Science. I didn't like it. Too complicated, too much sitting and typing out code. Looked into networking/IT security, but it appears to be similar to programming. Looks into help desk/IT support, but many of those jobs don't pay much.

    So I took a year off, saved money, and am now thinking that the trades are more my path. This year I started at the community college. I'm in a class where I'll get my OHSA 10 hr. certification and MSSC certification(s). These aren't anything huge, but they would at least show I'm at least book trainable if I start applying to trade or manufacturing related jobs down the road. I figure it will be a way into something.

    I'm trying to get some suggestions on jobs and career paths for those in the trades. Ideally I'd like something that isn't a completely filthy job. I don't mind physical activity, but I really don't want to be inhaling chemicals/vapors, covered in grim, etc. all day, every day. I already know there are certain jobs I wouldn't want, like working in sewers constantly, or having to constantly be in crawl spaces.

    Manufacturing maintenance jobs pay pretty well, around $29/hour starting. The downside to this is that I'd likely have to work evening or overnight hours, but likely get most of the weekends off. Right now I work about half the weekends, but usually work more due to over-time. I get to work day shift though, so I get to see family in the evening. The trades like HVAC, electrician, etc. usually are M-F, day shift jobs. Some folks work into the later part of the evenings and weekends. These jobs could be union and non-union. Some of the non-union HVAC companies pay well, eventually. The problem is that to start, the apprenticeships only pay in the mid teens. This would be a massive pay-cut for me, which would likely last a few years. The wife lost her good job and is still unemployed, so taking a huge pay cut at this stage is a no-go. This might be possible in a few years after she gets back to work and we bank a lot of savings.

    The IBEW electrical union apprenticeship pays well. Career fields being working for utility electrical, companies that do residential/commercial, etc.. Downside is that I've heard IBEW locals differ from region to region. You might be able to transfer, but you might have to travel constantly for work under "Book 2" as the local people who were hired on under that local get the "Book 1" jobs that are more local. My wife and I could possibly want to move in ten years or so, so job issues like that would be something to consider.

    Just seeing if anyone here works, or knows of people who work, in the trades and/or manufacturing fields. I'm considering electrical, but would also like to look into robotics (repair and PLC programming) as that is the top of the pay scale here in manufacturing. Ideally I'd like to be able to do a lot of electrical and mechanical repair work, with PLC knowledge.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donald Shimoda View Post
    Howdy, Folks!





    ~~~~~~~~~~~~


    Only one shout-out for plumbers on this thread so far; everyone needs water and sewer!

    Oh, and gases as well - among other things, that oxygen running through the tubes in the hospitals has to come from somewhere...

    Electrical is good as well. Had a young friend apprentice to an electrician when he was 18 - he wanted something very portable that would make him good money so he could work on his artwork in his "spare time." Sharp kid, though now with a wife and daughter, don't know how much spare time he has...

    Good luck!


    Peace and Love,

    Donald Shimoda
    Everyone does need water and sewer, however, it can be a messy, dirty job, and does involve crawling around in tight spaces (which could potentially also contain obnoxious critters). I felt bad for the plumbers who worked on this house after we moved here -- the crawl space is very tight, and only a skinny guy will fit. The first handyman who came out and got our water running had spent most of the day in someone's flooded cellar.

    My nephew has got certifications in welding and has had no trouble at all finding work.

    Kathleen
    Behold, these are the mere edges of His ways, and how small a whisper we hear of Him.
    Job 26:14

    wickr ID freeholder45

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Green Co. View Post
    That's the way it would work in Texas. So much of what is required to start learning a trade depends on the state you reside in. Texas licenses electricians, but I know of no other construction trade that is licensed. Want to be a general contractor? Get an assumed name certificate, and start looking/bidding for jobs. You'll also have to acquire various insurances that the customer will require.

    I have a BIL that is a pipeline inspector. Lots of travel, but lots of compensation for the travel and $80k plus in wages. He also gets to write off a $60k travel trailer as job expense, as well as a diesel p/u, side x side wheeler, etc. He started as a welding inspector, NDT, and moved up with the company.

    My nephew used to do commercial refrigeration. (He runs the company now) His company had contracts with several supermarket chains, but the real money was in the chemical plants, servicing the water chillers that cool the plant works. He earned in the low 100's in the last few years of servicing. It can be hot, smelly, uncomfortable, working in the chemical plants, but they're the ones with the money.

    Unions and their apprenticeship programs don't do well in Texas, nor would I expect in any other "right to work" state.

    Good luck in your search.
    Thief stole my line, but it's ok I forgive you LOL.

    Been mowing the lawn and while doing that, happen to think, that with replies about Union Trade Schools, and College Trade Schools, it might really depend on where you lived. And whether your state was a "right to work" state or not.

    In my part of the state there are no union trade schools. The only unions are in factories which pay about 1/3 less than non union. I'm thinking all (but have no way of knowing if actually ALL) contractor's of nearly any kind are non union.

    However, college trade schools are in the multiples.

    So point being, you will need to find out what your state is, and go from there.
    "Wise Men Still Seek Him"-bumper sticker

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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by West View Post
    In Oklahoma and California you can work as a apprentice for two years, while taking a collage accredited homestudy course. That will give you 4 years experience and you can then take the test to be at least a sub contractor. Thats what I did, and had my license at 21.
    I have been in the HVAC/stationary engineer field since 2002, and could have got my contractors license, but just never did it. Now my experience is out of date. Regret that.
    "...Cry 'Havoc' and let slip the cats of war..."
    Itís a real pisser when your belief system gets T-boned by reality.
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  35. #35
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    “That's the way it would work in Texas. So much of what is required to start learning a trade depends on the state you reside in. Texas licenses electricians, but I know of no other construction trade that is licensed. Want to be a general contractor? Get an assumed name certificate, and start looking/bidding for jobs. You'll also have to acquire various insurances that the customer will require.”

    In California you need four years experience within the last ten years to qualify, plus taking the tests. States vary, of course.
    "...Cry 'Havoc' and let slip the cats of war..."
    Itís a real pisser when your belief system gets T-boned by reality.
    Iím not afraid of dying...I just donít want to be there!
    ...sell your cloak, and buy a sword...Second Amendment 1.0

  36. #36
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
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    Northern California
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    I would recommend the trades. That kind of work does not move offshore. Depending on your mind set and interests you can do well in residential work. Part of your decision process will involve state licenses and certifications. My personal history was engineering degree into contracting firm and then into a manufacturing environment. Twice. Part of my issues was dealing with politics in management - something I am not adept at. Went for a handyman self-employed path and was doing better than okay. Got big enough that it was necessary to become licensed through the state and went for a general building contractor license. Thought at the time that the higher level multiple trade license would be better than a single trade. Not anymore.

    If I were to do it again, I would probably go for a plumbers license. There have been prior comments about doing dirty work and crawling, etc; I would say not necessarily so. As a contractor, you can decide what level of work you want to do. There are guys who only do plumbing during the build phase - everything clean, accessible and new. There are others who only do service plumbing in residences - faucet or valve/cartridge changes, toilet exchange, tightening drain connections, etc. The real biggie though is income. I am in California - heavily regulated and expensive to live - and that shows up in income too. I don't know of *any* plumbers who charge less than $100 per hour. Union shops are now charging in excess of $150 per man-hour portal to portal and getting away with it. Apply that to yourself. Figure when you get started you may only have a few hours per day. 2 hours per day at $100 per hour is $1000 per week - not too bad for starting out. Something to consider. Good luck in your efforts.

  37. #37
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    Ravekid, the best criminal minds were once on the other side of the fence...






    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Olson View Post
    I always loved being hands-on. Then my career went sideways and I ended up doing software development. Pays very well, but I always felt cheated by not being able to get my hands dirty. OTOH, Iím 61 and look physically like Iím in my mid 40ís.
    Ummmm...



    40 year old what???

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  38. #38
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    RK,

    My son studied at night while working for a waterproofing company to get a Occupational Health & Safety degree from Southern University.... He is now General Manager at the company.... Waterproofing has to be done on buildings for waterproofing fails over time and buildings have to be kept watertight or the building loses tenants....

    A friend of mine son graduated from high school two years ago and went to work for a plumbing company in Dallas and last year earned just over $60,000.... He works under a master plumber and now has his journeyman's plumbing license.... There will always be a need for plumbers especially to repair residential plumbing....

    Electrical work is cleaner, but does not pay as well as plumbing work....

    Owning your own company can pay more, but you will work long hours even just managing a company.... I have owned my own company for decades and worked lots of hours.... Still own my own company and work part time and drive from SE Okieland to Dallas to do project work for clients....

    Lots of opportunity out there, pick a occupation that you will enjoy and go do it....

    Texican....

  39. #39
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Profit of Doom View Post
    “That's the way it would work in Texas. So much of what is required to start learning a trade depends on the state you reside in. Texas licenses electricians, but I know of no other construction trade that is licensed. Want to be a general contractor? Get an assumed name certificate, and start looking/bidding for jobs. You'll also have to acquire various insurances that the customer will require.”

    In California you need four years experience within the last ten years to qualify, plus taking the tests. States vary, of course.
    Texas licenses,

    Plumbing

    A/C

    Electrical

    Water treatment

    Septic systems

    Med gas

    LP


    And others.
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  40. #40
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
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    MN
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    Here's a different one for you, crane operator. I have a neighbor that just became a crane operator instructor at a union trade school. Good pay, sounds like there is good demand, easier on the body than some of the trades. Downside in that it might be seasonal depending where you live, or you might have to travel to some jobs. The neighbor worked mostly road construction cranes, so it was seasonal, and here in MN sometimes he worked a couple hours away.

    It sound like the trade school he teaches at is pretty much funded by a big pipeline company.

    In a bigger city in a warmer climate I would think there would be steady work. Not sure how hard it is to break into.
    Was known as dairyfarmer but sold the cows.

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