building certifications / permits?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Mathematics!, May 15, 2012.

  1. Mathematics!

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 21, 2008
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    I am really good with building stuff.
    Thru the years I have fix/rebuilt most parts of a house from electrical , plumbing , and carpentry... etc

    I have read thru alot of the dewalt certifications , HVAC,plumbing,electrical , carpentry , even building contractors exam.

    I feel like I can pass alot of these exams with out a problem as well as alot of other practice exam books.

    My question
    Is if I wanted to do one of these building professions for a job.
    What are the steps to become a respected building professional?
    Of course I know I can pass the written tests but after that what do I do.

    I am assuming you have to work under somebody before you can work for or by yourself... as well as you must have to get some type of building insurance to cover your butt if for any chance something goes wrong.

    Question 2
    Is there particular places/schools that train you for this or is it mostly study your self pass the written exams and find somebody already a senior builder in your particular concentration that wouldn't mind taking you under his wing for a little while to gain experiences.
    (what happens if you cann't find somebody and you ACE'd your written exams) <- sorry for my ignorance but I am just unsure on how the training to careerer process works

    Question 3
    Curious say a person knew everything you could imagine about electricity/electronics... And passed all the electrians exams what determines if somebody works on houses , big buildings , or power lines/power company. Because in theory they all start off with relatively the same skill set and some work on house others go into power lines/lines man,...etc (what determines which one you can work on or for ? )

    Similar with plumbing,HVAC, gas , ...etc what defines a person from working directly for a gas or water company as opposed to just on house plumbing?
     
  2. GetDeviceInfo

    Senior Member

    Jun 7, 2009
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    It would appear that you are talking primarily about the building trades. Building permits are governed by your local municipality, and depending on the scale, require engineering stamps at some level.

    I think we've had this conversation before. The 'trades' are about apprenticeships, which is a combination of work experience and education. Don't ever get fooled into thinking that a cursory view of a trade exam represents the overall trade. The trades aren't about someone waltzing through, but rather dedication to perfection.

    Question 1 - typically time served and your abiltiy to write exams is balanced in yearly segments. You can't jump to the end and write the final. Although many trades allow you to challange the exams without actually attending schooling. Time worked in a trade is done so under the direct supervision of another tradesman in the same trade.

    Question 2 - many trade schools / colleges about, and they all are partners with industry, developing thier programs to suite local needs. Forget online, it has little to do with the trades.

    Question 3 - construction is governed by the local municipality. They determine what types of buildings require engineering intervention. The permitting procedure also dictates the quallifications of the person responsible for the permit. That then sets the tone for the qualifications of the persons carrying out the directives. Often, in residential construction, the ony 'certified' workers are the electricians and gas fitters.
     
  3. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
    12,440
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    Becoming a certified professional is a lot more than just passing a test.

    Soon after we moved into our previously owned home, I discovered a fault in the electrical wiring, presumably installed by a certified electrician.

    Here is how I envisioned the scenario during construction:

    Certified electrician (CE) turns on main breaker panel.
    GFI installed to service the bathroom trips.
    CE does this repeatedly with the same results.
    It is close to quitting time.
    CE cuts the GROUND connection at GFI.
    GFI no longer trips. Problem solved.

    How did I discover the problem? I was trying to set up a computer system. The computer was plugged into one outlet and the printer into another outlet. Every time I attempted to connect the printer cable to the computer the GFI would trip. Go figure.

    CE was too lazy to go and find the problem that the GFI clearly indicated exists.
    I found the problem behind a totally remote power outlet where the NEUTRAL and GROUND wires were touching as a result of poor workmanship.

    To sum up, being a qualified professional is more than knowing the code and passing the test. It also means integrity, workmanship, pride and quality work and lots of experience.
     
  4. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    It also means kissing the right butts.

    It was only by luck that I repaired TV's for a company that also did air conditioning. A few years later, I read the entire electrical code and looked into being an electrician. Problem! The fact that I had designed subsystems for F-104 fighters did not qualify me to even take the test!

    Fortunately I had friends in the air conditioning business and they "certified" that I had enough experience to take the air conditioning test. Yay! Passed with 96.75% after spending 80 minutes to complete an 8 hour test.

    Being qualified means nothing without friends in the business.
     
  5. loosewire

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 25, 2008
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    Most counties have a trades board,they are very knowledgeable about

    ringers trying to get into a profession. They have there own staff and

    test,the oral review board is the toughest. The board is made up of

    contractors that want a guy to be bonded insured and proven experience.

    They want supervisors and journeymen ,not more contractors to take there

    gravey.
     
  6. BSomer

    Member

    Dec 28, 2011
    433
    106
    Not every state in the US has an electrical board or a licensing program. Some states leave that up to the counties or cities to figure out what they want to do. Here in Nebraska we have a state electrical board with inspectors and the likes. It is the state that administers the testing for electrical licenses. In order to qualify to take this test, the individual must have completed 4 years as a registered apprentice and 2 years in a college.

    If you pass the test you are then a licensed journeyman electrician. If I recall correctly, you must work for 3 years as a journeyman to qualify for the contractors license.

    There are other licensing available in Nebraska, fire alarm installer, residential wireman. These are limited to what the person is authorized to install or how many apprentices they can oversee.

    When I took my journeyman electrician test in '93 I was not required to have any school, just 4 years on the job training as a registered apprentice. Times have changed though and the state requires some formal education through a trade school or other college.

    As to the other trades... I know that plumbers and refrigeration / HVAC technicians have a licensing program here in Nebraska. There may be others as well but I am not sure what they may be.

    Now the question about what determines if somebody works on residential or commercial or industrial... It depends on the person and/or the contractor they work for. I never liked the residential side of electrical work. It was not challenging enough for me, though I did do some residential work from time to time. Most of my experience was in commercial and industrial new installations, remodel/addition work, and service/repair.
     
  7. maxpower097

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2009
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    388
    Take the test to get a license. Then pay for your said license. Buy insurance, then start to advertise and get biz. I would consider apprenticing in a field or getting on CL to ask advice for local laws.
    But typically you take a test and get your license.
    Then pay insurance and that makes you legal.
    But everystate will be different and have slightly different laws.

    For instance down here were really into AC repair because of the heat makes the AC's work 2x 3x as much as someone up north so the steps to become an AC guy here are very regulated with apprenticeships, etc.. and its expensive. But if you have an AC license here you will never be out of work.
     
  8. Mathematics!

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 21, 2008
    1,022
    4
    Ok, but essentially if one could pass all the written exam stuff.

    Would he need to go to a trade school or could he just take the exams and find somebody to work under for some years?

    Basically is a trade school nessary or could you bypass it.

    Question 2
    even if you could pass the written tests what guarentees you that you will beable to find a person to work with/under? (does going thru a trade school guarentee this ?)

    Question 3
    Is there any requirements for being able to get building insurances or is it just like car insurance where the rates are higher for new drivers and once you prove yourself they lower the rates?

    Question 4
    From your above post I am still unsure what the process of determining an electrician or plumber ,...etc working for the power or water company directly or just for residential home based stuff. And how would one go about switching from one area to the next?

    Lets keep this discussion in the US.
    And yes GetDeviceInfo we discussed something similar to this previously but still didn't understand how getting into these profession typically could go .... since most colleges/universities I have went to had engineering degrees but didn't really do the hands on or prepare you for construction only the theory of how it all works. Which the theory gives you the knowledge to do it all but the hands on gives you the experience to be great at doing it. And I have to say the theoritical knowledge of most engineering university class's is well over what you would need in most cases to do the actual job. As well as in my area I haven't seen any schools that would prepare you for actually doing the non-theory stuff. So I was kind of wondering schools/places prepare you for actually doing the installations ...etc
    And if you could just take the written exams and find somebody or must you do the traditional stuff like go thru a type of trade school with so many credits ,...etc before you take the exams and work under a professional...
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2012
  9. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    Contact the licensing board in the geographical area where you want to work. They actually know the answers and the local options for training/apprenticeship. Everybody here is just guessing because there are very few with contractors licenses and apparently none with a Massachusetts contractors license.
     
  10. maxpower097

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2009
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    388
    +1 Its gonna come down to the city/county/state you live in, some industries you will have to goto a school and apprentice, some you can start working tomorrow. But first select a trade, then select an area.
     
  11. Mathematics!

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 21, 2008
    1,022
    4
    Thanks that would answer my questions on what I have to do to work in a particular building profession.

    Curious where there phone number or location would normally be to get in contact with them? Is it like contacting a town hall person or something some board of directories for the town or state?

    Also if you get approved to work/permitted/licenised does that only hold for a particular state or area. Or can you get a building/contracting permit for any area in the US?

     
    Last edited: May 15, 2012
  12. GetDeviceInfo

    Senior Member

    Jun 7, 2009
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    http://www.mass.gov/lwd/labor-standards/das/workers/the-apprentice-process.html

    sounds very similar across North America.

    Not sure about your area, but typically an engineer may have a degree, but can't work unless they are certified under an association, which includeds an internship. That would be your equivalent of hands on. The difference is that in a trade, once licensed, your good for ever, where as an Engineer must meet the association's annual requirements. An Electrician for instance can license into a higher level, such as a Masters, which has recurring licensing requirements.

    you'll have to check to see what states honour which qualifications, and if there is a multistate qualification. In Canada we have the 'red seal' which most provinces honour.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2012
  13. Mathematics!

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 21, 2008
    1,022
    4
    Thanks perfect thats describes partly the procedure in going for a carrer in building houses.

    I am going to call state of mass to get all the info though.

    Curious we have basically just talked about building interms of buildings/houses (i.e plumbers , electrians ,carpenters ,contractors ,...etc)

    But what about auto mechanics and other vehicle based mechanics/engineers like airplanes, Helicopter , cars , buses , trucks, boats, trains, rockets ,...etc is there a certain procedure/ training school / test for these similar to the building exam? ( basically how would one get into those professions )

    Or can anybody work on these if they know the material or have a 4 year in mechanics or engineering.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2012
  14. loosewire

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 25, 2008
    1,584
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    You can do a lot,out of bounds until you find an area that you would call easy

    money locations.Lots of work and just blend in with the rest of do It yourself

    contractors,big bucks un-noticed until you start running into F.E.M.A roadblocks.

    Weeding out non-contractors or wanna be contractors. State insurance agents

    checking on un-insured wanna be's. O' the lure for big bucks,the new age of

    F.E.M.A. they road block whole towns once you are inside with hammer and nails.

    You get your 15 minutes of fame on the local news at road blocks. You don't know

    the hownowners are double dipping from there insurance company and F.E.M.A.

    So a trip to the box store make you feel like contractor,your sub- contractor

    friend falls and you have no insurance,you have a problem and your friend never

    works again,collecting benefits at your exspense.On and on ,on and on-big bucks.
     
  15. GetDeviceInfo

    Senior Member

    Jun 7, 2009
    1,571
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    that link had a list of trades recognized by your state. Auto, Heavy Duty, Aviation, and many others are recognized as a trade, and follow the same basic guidelines. Specialty, would typically be an extension of basic engineering.

    Anybody can work on anything, and may even do a good job. But different industries have guidelines in place, primarily for safety. Say I wanted to build a road, I'd have to be permitted to do so by the local municipality. That permit would specify at which stages of construction, an engineers' stamp would be required. The engineer, in qualifying the permit requirements, must employ certain industry specific standards. These standards layout the qualifications of the persons performing the associated work. Those persons then, via thier qualifications, control the work quality, even if they employ non qualified persons.

    Residential housing for instance, often only requires an engineers stamp on the grade slip, and the structures blueprints, non of which specifys the qualifications of those performing the work. Municipal permits then dictate the qualifications, with electrical and gas being the two where trades are required. In more complex structures, the engineer will designate trade qualifications for work performance.
     
  16. Mathematics!

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 21, 2008
    1,022
    4
    Ok , not disagreeing on the process of local Municipal for saftey and other things.

    But it is still unclear if somebody has a 4year or masters in engineering/mechanics from a university what other requirements / schools / supervison teaching ,...etc is required to work on building planes , cars , bus , boats ,...etc

    And if somebody wanted to get into these professions what would the procedure be. For example we talked about the building (i.e plumbing , electrians , contractors ,...etc housing/building)
    And normally one could get into those professions by going to a trade school , taking some exams , and working under some professional in your field.

    For big things like planes, choppers , bridges, trains/railroads ,...etc what allows you to work on these things... I don't think it is as easy as just going to trade school and passing , some tests , working under somebody but maybe I am wrong about the big things.

    It just seems to me these fields ( skill sets for working on these things) are much more hidden from the people that generally go to the typical colleges or universities.

    I would think these fields should be incorporated into regular colleges / universities since then each field/ person attending would have equal opportunity or people would have one place to get all professional informations / knowledge on any field including the trade fields....

    Instead of trying to find a specialized person or place to get into or at least get the info of what a typical day in a particular job would be like.

    I do have to say most engineers have more then enough skill sets to go into most of the trading fields but just lacks the ability of actually doing the procedure which you can only gain with practice and supervison for a little bit
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2012
  17. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    Trade licensing is a form of the old apprenticeship method. The government has taken upon itself the responsibility of "qualifying" people that want to work in the trades. It is the influence of the old apprenticeship method that causes requirements that you be experienced in each trade. As I said in a previous post, I am very over qualfied to be an electrician, and a lot of other people are, but you can not get a license without experience that is sworn to by people that are already in the trade of your choice.

    I can underatand this when I see BSEE's come here and ask how to connect a single transistor to a microcontroller. A college degree leaves much to be desired in practical experience.

    Licensing boards are always regional. Some only control a single county. Some are statewide. Still, small cities inside a county often require certain qualifications. A county license or a state license ususlly trumps a city requirement.

    You seem to be asking for someone to describe the qualification and licensing requirements for every job in the world. This is impossible. You must decide what you want to work on, and where, and then ask how. You ask how at the local licening board.
     
  18. loosewire

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 25, 2008
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    U.S. labor Department,they have all the info you want on any subject.
     
  19. GetDeviceInfo

    Senior Member

    Jun 7, 2009
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    you are seriously underestimating the value of mentorship. All you have to do is compare the wage scales of graduates compared to experienced workers. Industry knows the value of hands on experience and rewards accordingly.

    There are predominately two trainers, institutional and industry. Institutional prepares you, industry matures you. You need to choose a direction. If you want to work on all these things, maybe you should become a politician.
     
  20. loosewire

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 25, 2008
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    We don't know how old this guy is and how much life experience he has,

    I have been.
     
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