Some guidance please

Merry Christmas
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Hello everyone.

I'm looking for some guidance. My grandfather was an IBEW electrician for many many years before retiring, he gave me the electrical bug and I'd really like to start working down the road to becoming a licensed electrician. In this area there's really no way to get electrical training besides joining a union (which I would like to avoid). I've been buzzing through the internet and grilling my grandfather trying to gather information and I've gathered quite a bit but I need some more formal education.

I suppose I have three distinct questions.

1. There is no state license where I live, only a local license through the town. Does that mean I would only be able to perform electrical work in the town proper? What about the county and other towns?

2. If I were to move out of state, would I have to start all over again in terms of licensing? Do they transfer?

3. My local community college doesn't offer an electrical program and I have no other avenues for formal training locally. What are your recommendations for training? Can I really get a decent education by reading books and watching videos?

Thanks in advance.

Chris Parker


Senior Member
Great NW
The absolute best way to learn a trade is to work directly under a Journeyman while you take classes at night from a live instructor.

To prep for a test or get up to speed on changes, grab Mike's books. For major testing get the DVD's too.

I started non-union. I went union after 9 years and it was the absolute best decision for me. Unions are merely groups of humans, warts and all. A little patience and tollerance and it's easy to take the good with the bad - like in everything. There was no comradery for me in the non union side. There really is in the union side. I was surprised to see that they worked hard and were real professional after all I had been told.

Just my .02
Good luck!


Thanks guys. I'm in Illinois.

I'm going to school for an electrical engineering degree, but I really would like to make sure I get a good hands on working knowledge of wiring methods and codes so I'm not one of "those" engineers that guys cuss at for not knowing what's really going on. I've done quite a bit of wiring around my house (with the guidance of my grandfather) and oversee installations at work all the time so I feel that I've got a fairly solid working knowledge. I work full time as a maintenance supervisor at night and go to school during the day so I really don't have the ability to work for an electrician but I'll see what I can figure out.

Thanks again.
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