Preparing for Your HVAC Job Interview? Tips to Help You Land Your First Job
Whether you’re starting your HVAC training or nearing graduation, chances are there is one thing on your mind: landing your first job. The HVAC industry is booming, and there will be plenty of competition and job opportunities.
Luckily, your training has prepared you to enter your field, and now it’s time to venture out on your own and make your mark. The process of interviewing for your first job can be stressful. But with a little preparation and some helpful tips, it is possible to wow the interviewer and enter the workforce.
Here are a few simple tips to help you stand out during your first interview in the HVAC industry.
Learn About the Company
In addition to helping impress your potential future employer, researching a company will also help you prepare for the interview. For example, begin with the job listing. It will provide you with an understanding of what the company is looking for in an employee.
Head to the company’s website and learn about the executives, their mission statement, and any recent events. These events could be anything from opening another branch to the promotion of an executive. Additionally, focus on the specific services offered by the company. While speaking to the interviewer, make sure you mention your experience and expertise, as it relates to these services.
Finally, if possible, learn about the human resources representative who will perform the interview. You can typically find information on the company’s website or a corporate networking site. Learn about the interviewer’s background, including their hobbies, and find commonalities. Use shared interests to break the ice.
Gather the Necessary Paperwork
During the interview, the human resources representative will ask for any necessary paperwork. Depending on the organization, this paperwork could include anything from a resume and diploma or certification to references from instructors and past employers.
Read the job listing carefully and learn which documentation you will need for the interview. If it isn’t listed, don’t hesitate to contact the HR department of the company and ask. In addition to this paperwork, also bring along a pen and paper to jot down notes, and a list of questions for the representative.
For example, you could ask about the specific job requirements, any additional certification required for the position, and the potential for job growth. Asking questions will show the interviewer that you’re interested, in both your field and the job.
Dress to Impress
One of the many perks of working for an HVAC company is the casual dress code. However, this doesn’t mean you should walk into the interview like it’s the first day of work. Instead, dress to impress, which will let the HR representative know you are serious about the job.
Here are a few tips to help you look your best for your first job interview:
- Dress conservatively. Women should always wear a pant suit or skirt that is at least knee length, and men should wear a suit and tie. Avoid loud colors, prints, and showing too much skin.
- Cover any tattoos. Grab some makeup and cover any visible tattoos. If you have any facial piercings, now is the time to remove them. The HVAC industry is laid back, but visible tattoos and piercings are unprofessional.
- Grooming basics. In addition to the pre-interview shower, go the extra mile to show the interviewer you’re serious. For example, if you have a beard, head to a stylist and have it trimmed and shaped.
Before you walk into the interview, take a last look in the mirror, suck on a breath mint, and smile!
Be Prepared to Answer Some Common Questions
In addition to generic interview questions, you will be asked specific questions about the HVAC field. Learning the questions before the interview, and preparing an answer will help you appear knowledgeable and comfortable.
Here are a few of the questions you can expect during your first HVAC job interview:
- What are your motivations? The interviewer will want to know why you will be a good employee in the future. Let them know what personally motivates, such as your children, spouse, or your passion for customer service.
- How do you interact with customers? Tell a story about a positive interaction with a customer. Include how you explained the issue in non-technical terms that the customer understood.
- What makes you qualified to work in the HVAC field? Take this opportunity to shine by speaking about your past academic successes. If you have any experience in a related field, don’t hesitate to talk about this, as well.
Don’t hesitate to ask questions during this point, as well. Once again, asking questions will let the interviewer know you are serious about the job.
After the Interview
Finally, after the interview is over, thank the HR representative before you leave. A few days later, whether or not you get the job, send the interviewer a thank you note. This gesture will make you stand out, which will help you secure a position in the future.
The first step in securing a lucrative job in the HVAC field is a quality education. When you’re ready, don’t hesitate to contact the HVAC Technical Institute.
Training to Be an HVAC Technician? Invest in These 11 Tools
When it comes to skilled labor occupations, like HVAC technician, the right equipment can be almost as important as the professional’s training, knowledge, and certification.
While many of the tools you need as a student are provided by your instructor and some equipment will come from your future employer, you should invest in certain items yourself. Whether you just signed up for a HVAC training course or you have already started classes, you’ll need certain tools to succeed.
In this blog, we list 11 common pieces of handheld and protective equipment you will want to invest in.
Much of the equipment you’ll use as a technician can be carried with you and is operated by hand. Common handheld tools needed in the HVAC training classroom and on HVAC job sites include the following.
The first tool you’ll need is a high-quality multimeter. These devices measure voltage, current, and resistance, allowing HVAC technicians to do their jobs safely and efficiently.
2. Drill and Bits
One of the most important tools on your work belt as an HVAC technician is a battery-powered drill. Because you’ll rely on this drill during virtually every project, it’s in your best interest to invest in a strong drill with a long-lasting battery.
In addition to the included Phillips head drill bit, you’ll also need a hex bit.
3. Electrical Tester
On many HVAC job sites, you’ll be working with and in proximity to electrical components. Your electrical tester helps identify which components are live so you can stay safe as you work.
While you’ll use your drill to apply many fasteners, the drill may be too powerful for certain applications. You will also want to carry multiple screwdrivers. Your set should include Phillips head, flat head, and hex drivers.
Invest in screwdrivers that have insulated handles as an extra preventative measure against electric shock.
5. Tape Measure
Aside from your drill, your tape measure is one of the most frequently used tools in your arsenal. Your tape measure should be at least 25 feet long to accommodate the large scale of industrial and commercial jobs.
6. Writing Utensils
Once you’ve identified live wires or measured a HVAC component, you’ll need to take note of your findings. Carry pencils and permanent markers so you can mark relevant components right away.
If you’re starting a training program, your instructor will most likely provide a list of required tools that you should purchase before your first class. Start with the items on that list before investing in tools that you may not use as often.
Best safety practices on HVAC job sites are some of the first concepts you’ll learn during training. However, regardless of how careful you are when working, it’s important to protect yourself with adequate safety gear. Your work wardrobe should include the following.
The right work boots protect you from lacerations and reduce your risk of electric shock. Additionally, your boots should provide adequate arch and ankle support to ensure you stay comfortable throughout the work day.
2. Ear Protection
Blowers, ducts, cutting equipment, and drills can get loud on a job site. Depending on the work you’re doing, you may be required to wear ear protection.
Disposable ear plugs work for most situations, but you should also invest in over-ear protective gear if your supervisor hasn’t already provided this type of ear protection.
Like your work boots, your gloves reduce the risk of both acute and cumulative injury. Padded gloves protect your hands when you work with sharp components and live electricity.
Wearing appropriately supportive gloves also decreases repetitive motion strain which can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome and other hand health issues.
4. Safety Glasses
While you will not need to wear safety glasses every moment you’re on the job, this protective measure is important when cutting, grinding, or working with loose objects. Choose safety glasses with side shields that are intended for industrial applications to ensure you have adequate protection.
5. Work Pants
When it comes to your work pants, function is far more important than style. Look for heavy duty denim or canvas pants that you can comfortably bend and kneel in.
You may want to choose a roomier waist measurement than you usually would to ensure that your work pants are comfortable for a full demanding day.
In addition to this list, pay attention to the requirements of your training course and the professional you have an apprenticeship with. Depending on the exact nature of your work, you may need other specialized pieces of safety gear.
If you are having trouble finding or choosing a specific handheld tool or protective item that you need, talk to your instructor. He or she can give you ideas of where to find high-quality equipment and which types of tools will best align with your needs.
Prioritize outfitting yourself appropriately so that you’re ready for all the tasks you’ll need to complete during your HVAC technician education and career.
Create Your Own HVAC Career
Both young people and older workers who are training today for a future career in HVAC have a world of opportunities available to them when they receive their certifications. No matter which type of personality, work style, or area of interest you possess, there’s a niche job waiting for you to fill with your skills and expertise.
Many HVAC training graduates begin their careers in more traditional roles working with established home and commercial contractors. As you work in the field repairing systems you know and learning about new systems, you may find that you develop a passion for certain types of HVAC products, clients, or working conditions.
Latch on to your passions and study those niche markets in depth. Get trained and certified in the systems used in your preferred locations and set your own working conditions. Virtually every business and home needs HVAC services, so don’t be afraid to combine your passions.
HVAC for the Music Lover
Here’s a case in point: you may think that lumbering metal furnaces have nothing to do with music. But music stores, studios, entertainment venues, and festival grounds require HVAC installation and service. There are a host of niche HVAC possibilities for people who want to be backstage around music makers.
Music stores, musicians, and instrument collectors need HVAC systems that are precisely monitored for humidity levels. Too much or too little moisture in the air will warp or crack a delicate instrument. Music studios need HVAC systems that are as quiet as possible, with no bumping or knocking sounds that might affect a master recording.
Festival grounds rely on solar AC systems and portable HVAC units. A knowledge of generator-powered heaters and AC units is a plus. Old bars and saloons with performance stages may need HVAC professionals who know how to work the old equipment or install a new system that doesn’t detract from the history of the venue.
HVAC for Sailors
If you want to increase your income in the HVAC field, you have to attract clients who have the resources to hire you. Build up your base of upscale clients by dedicating yourself to a niche segment of the HVAC market. Study the hobbies and interests of the affluent demographic around you.
In the Great Lakes region, for example, there are many nautical clients looking for technicians to service the HVAC systems on their yachts and cabin cruisers. When you learn the craft of installing and repairing marine HVAC systems and perform your duties faithfully and honestly, your name will get around at the marinas. You’ll suddenly be in demand.
Some boats are being outfitted with programmable logic controllers (PLCs) to manage the onboard systems, including power, lighting, ventilation, heating, and cooling systems. Get certified in PLC work, and you’ll be able to wow boat owners with the new flexibility and control you give them over their PLC systems. You’ll certainly be invited on cruises, but you’ll no doubt own your own boat before long.
HVAC for the Outdoor Lover
If you love to wander in the wilderness, you’re not alone. So do many people who stay in cabins, lodges, and hotels in scenic regions of the world. You could become a specialist in HVAC systems for small hotels and travel the ski circuit in winter. You can set up a system with which you ski a few hours a day and do emergency heating system repairs by night.
Learn about tropical AC systems to work at island resorts in exotic locations. Many resorts that are situated close to the equator have little need for heating systems, but they do require professionals with knowledge of solar, chilled water, and evaporative cooling systems.
Another possibility is working for the park service, forest service, or other outdoor-related organization. Many state and federal agencies hire HVAC technicians, as do public and private parks. Managers at these locations appreciate and hire people who are passionate about the recreational properties they serve.
HVAC for the Creative Genius
When you choose to work in the industrial HVAC sector, you become an expert problem solver. Most industrial HVAC systems involve custom applications of appliances that must be constantly tweaked, updated, and repaired. If you love to work with a team to solve puzzles and mysteries, this is the environment for you.
Working in one plant, you’ll be asked to solve problems with the same equipment over and over. While this may sound monotonous, this repetition helps you develop your diagnostic and repair skills. The set system also allows you to try new approaches until you’re able to adjust the facility environment to the client’s expectations.
If you work with a crew that goes from plant to plant, you have even more opportunities to problem solve and create unique systems to meet client’s needs. Whether a client needs specialty HVAC filtration for excess oil spray, individual cooling systems for offices, or ventilation in a food storage room, you can help design and install the components they need.
If you learn all you can about smart HVAC systems in manufacturing and industrial facilities, you’ll be way ahead of the pack in your knowledge and attractiveness to industry employers.
Contact HVAC Technical Institute today to get started on a fascinating and personal journey of your own. Learn about modern HVAC systems and become certified to begin a new and exciting career.
What Does It Take to Become an Electrician? The Education and Certification Process
Being an electrician can offer a hands-on occupation with good wages and a high level of job security. Licensed electricians, known in the industry as journeymen electricians, can take on most electrical projects and may decide to work for a company or to be self-employed.
Becoming a journeyman electrician can take anywhere from two to seven years. In this blog, we list the steps required or recommended in becoming an electrician. (more…)
5 Arguments to Sell Yourself as an Electrician
As you begin your career as an electrician, selling yourself is as much a part of the business as selling your services. You already know why your customers should hire you, but how do you put that marketable words?
Especially as you begin your electrician career and don’t necessarily have decades of experience behind you, your customers may question whether they really need the services of an electrician or if they can do this work themselves. Every time you’re called for an assessment or an estimate, you have to prove to the customer why they should hire you to do the job you just proposed.
Luckily, your skills are highly valuable and protect your customers from dangerous DIY work. Use these arguments to communicate the value of your work to the people who are going to pay you.
1. You Know the Code
No matter how many customers you meet who think they have the skills to handle their own wiring, few if any will know building code like you do. Remind your customers that code requirements are a safety issue. If they start tying into isolated circuits or overloading plugs and switches, they’re going to run into trouble. You are there to prevent that trouble. You know the building code.
2. You Are Less Expensive than an Accident
If your potential customer thinks you sound expensive, imagine how much they’re going to have to pay if they mess up a job and have to shell out for huge repairs. List some comparisons for your customers, such as how much it costs for you to do the job versus how much it costs to replace the electric components if the customer has to fix them later. Demonstrate your value with actual numbers and they’ll see a job done right the first time is the way to go.
3. Tell Them to Cut Corners—Just Somewhere Else
DIY is a phenomenon for a reason. Some housework is relatively easy for customers to do themselves. Maybe your customers don’t think they should have to shell out hundreds or thousands of dollars for work they can learn how to do from a YouTube video.
You can validate this sentiment in your customers’ minds without making them think they don’t need your skills. Talk about how if you mess up a paint job, it’s not a big deal. But if you mess up an electric job, you could cause a fire or cause serious damage to your home. Advise them to DIY, just not here.
4. You’ve Been Trained Well
You know how hard you worked in school, you know what kind of education you received, and you know how that benefits your customer. So tell them. Even if you don’t have decades of experience yet, you still went through a rigorous training process that taught you to be an expert at your craft as well as how to be safe.
Your customers do not know electrician best practices. They don’t know how to stay safe on the job and they didn’t receive the education you did. Explain what you did in school and the education you have backing you up on every job you perform.
5. You Have References
Even if you haven’t had a slew of customers quite yet, don’t be afraid to present testimonials from people who think you did a good job for them. Ask satisfied customers if you can use them as a reference, and use your good reviews to gain new fans.
Getting started in your electrician career can seem daunting, whether you’re working as a freelancer or with a company. But you have a lot to offer your customers—you just have to show them. Prove to your customers how valuable your work is and you’ll gain a loyal customer base in no time.
7 Fitness Tips for Electricians
In a previous blog, we gave you 3 Tips That Make Trade School Easier, which included some information about exercising and eating healthy.
Physical fitness is an important part of your future job as an electrician. As a result, it’s best to start and maintain a workout regimen before and during trade school. We’ve provided 7 tips for you to incorporate into your new training schedule.
1. Increase Your Core and Back Strength
As an electrician, you’re going to spend a lot of time on your feet. It can do a number on your back over time. To prevent pulling a back muscle, do lunges, planks, hip bridges, and leg lifts daily. These weight-bearing exercises will increase your core strength and make your hips and lower back more flexible.
2. Work on Your Arms and Legs to Improve Lifting
Electrical work requires a lot of heavy lifting. You might literally use your arms to lift something, but you’re actually using your leg strength to hoist. Keep your arms and legs strong by scheduling time to squat and benchpress two or three times a week.
3. Stretch for Five Minutes Before and After Work
Yoga might not be your thing. If you’d rather hit the gym than do a downward-facing dog, set up five minutes before you go to work and five minutes after you come home to stretch.
As an electrician, you’ll need to fit into tight spaces. That means you need to stay limber. Start stretching, and you’ll notice a difference in your flexibility almost immediately.
4. Avoid Drinking Stimulants on the Job
Job sites have a seemingly endless supply of coffee available to you. Some co-workers pack cans of Red Bull, Monster, and other energy drinks to keep them going during a long day.
Limit your coffee intake to the morning, and avoid consuming energy drinks altogether. These stimulants will mess with your sleeping and cause you major highs and lows throughout the day. To maintain your energy, eat small amounts of protein during your work day.
5. Allocate Time After Work for Recovery
Recovery is a crucial part of sustaining your physical health. So many blue collar workers go straight from work to their couch at home without giving recovery a second thought.
Schedule 45 minutes to 1 hour to rest every day after work, and use it to stretch and relax. Eat a small recovery meal, packed with protein, as soon as you finish working. It may be best to leave it in your car, and eat it before you drive home. Drink some water to rehydrate your body.
6. Stop (or Moderate) Your Bad Habits
It’s tempting take a smoke break or grab drinks after work with your co-workers. It’s also, unfortunately, pretty detrimental to your health. Smoking negatively impacts your cardiovascular health, which you need to be in tip-top shape for long days on the job.
Drinking in moderation isn’t tremendously impactful to your health. However, if you spend most of your evening throwing back beers with your friends, then you’re adding unnecessary calories, disrupting your sleep, and misusing time you could be recovering from work.
7. Get Enough Sleep, No Matter What
Sleep is one of the most commonly overlooked elements of physical fitness. It’s also one of the most important. Make sure you get at least eight hours of sleep, and go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day, even on the weekend. Without enough sleep, you can be too groggy to perform you job efficiently.
If you follow these tips and work on your fitness, you will be better prepared for your upcoming career as an electrician. This job requires good physical condition all day, every day. Long hours and long stretches of work aren’t uncommon. In order to optimize your performance on the job, start improving your physical fitness during trade school and maintain as you transition to becoming a full-time electrician.
For more information about becoming an electrician, contact HVAC Technical Institute.
How OSHA Applies to HVAC Techs and Electricians
If you’re preparing for a career as an HVAC technician or an electrician, you know that your job will involve some hazards. Your training will prepare you to evaluate your working conditions so you can ensure your own safety, but the US government also has a dedicated administrative division, OSHA, that strives to guarantee your safety on the job.
Learn more about this important government body and how its regulations protect you.
What OSHA Is and What It Does
The term OSHA refers to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA is a segment of the Department of Labor that was established in the 1970s. Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1979 when it recognized that workplace accidents and health hazards have a huge impact on the nation’s economy.
OSHA’s mission is to protect all workers in America from workplace hazards that could jeopardize their health or safety. To accomplish this mission, OSHA sets safety standards, performs inspections to ensure employers comply with the applicable standards, and provides training and materials designed to prevent accidents.
Since OSHA was founded, on-the-job fatalities have dropped more than 50 percent. At the same time, work-related injuries and illnesses have decreased significantly, especially in industries where OSHA focuses its attention. One of those industries is construction and building improvement, the job field that includes HVAC technicians and electricians.
How OSHA Applies to HVAC and Electrical Work
When you obtain employment as an HVAC technician or an electrician, your employer has a legal responsibility to ensure that you work in a safe environment. Some employer responsibilities are the same for nearly every employer. These responsibilities include the following:
- Provide safety training that workers can understand.
- Record work-related illnesses and injuries.
- Share records of work-related illnesses and injuries with employees.
- Put up the OSHA poster (or a state equivalent) in a prominent workplace location. This poster details employee rights to safe working conditions.
- Provide employees with safe equipment and tools needed to perform job responsibilities.
- Inspect worksites for safety hazards, and adjust the workplace conditions as needed.
Depending on the nature of your work, your employer may also be required to apply and enforce specific safety standards, such as the following:
- Safe use of stairways, ladders, or scaffolding
- Safe use of hand and power tools
- Protection from shocks, fires, or electrocution when working with electricity
- Protection from danger when working in confined spaces
In your HVAC or electrical career, you will likely work at various locations every day, such as office buildings or private homes. Even though you will work at multiple sites, your employer must still inspect each site for safety hazards or train you to thoroughly evaluate worksite conditions so you can stay safe.
What Rights OSHA Protects for Workers Like You
OSHA strives to ensure that all employees can feel safe at their jobs, so they guarantee workers some special protections. These protections include the following:
- You have the right to request an OSHA inspection of your workplace or your working equipment.
- You can talk to an OSHA inspector when he or she visits your workplace. Your employer cannot request that you don’t speak to visiting OSHA inspectors.
- You can report an injury or illness that you or one of your coworkers sustains. Your employer should not discourage you from reporting worksite incidents.
- You can review your employer’s records of any work-related injuries or illnesses. Your employer cannot prevent you from seeing these records.
If you suspect that your working conditions or the equipment your employer provides you are unsafe, often the best course of action is to bring the issue to the attention of your employer. Your employer can then correct the issue so that all employees can work safely.
However, if your employer fails to restore safe working conditions, you have the right to file a confidential complaint with OSHA and request a safety inspection. OSHA inspectors will then visit your workplace and ensure that your employer complies with their safety standards.
OSHA also protects workers who file complaints from any retaliation by their employers. For example, if you ask for an OSHA inspection and your employer gets fined for not complying with OSHA safety standards, your employer cannot demote you or fire you for reporting the situation.
This whistleblower rule ensures that workers feel empowered to protect themselves and their coworkers from having to work in unsafe conditions. If you ever get punished at work after filing a complaint with OSHA, you can report the retaliation to OSHA. OSHA will pursue further legal action against your employer.
Prepare for a Career in HVAC or Electrical Work
The information in this blog is a short summary of the basics you need to know about OSHA before you begin work as an electrician or an HVAC technician. During your technical training, you will receive more detailed information about how OSHA applies to your work. If you have specific questions about OSHA, ask one of your teachers.
Once you become familiar with OSHA and how it applies to you, you’ll be more protected as you work, and you’ll be prepared to act if you ever need to.
6 Reasons to Pursue a Career as an Electrician
Have you found yourself at a career crossroads? Maybe you just finished high school but aren’t excited about seeking a traditional college education. Perhaps you feel that your current job offers you no opportunities for advancement. You may even hope to enter a higher-paying career field or to escape a boring desk job.
If any of those situations sound familiar, consider becoming an electrician. Read through our list of six reasons to pursue a career as an electrician to discover if this field suits you.
1. Obtain an Affordable, Hands-On Education
Trade schools provide an affordable method for gaining the skills necessary to work as an electrician. At some schools, you can finish your training in a year or less. When you finish, you won’t leave with huge amounts of student debt because you completed the program quickly. You may also have financial aid options to help you pay for the courses.
Many trade schools offer several class schedule options. You may have a choice between day classes or night classes. You can pick the courses that fit your schedule and allow you to work when you’re not in class. When you finish your education, you’ll be prepared to take applicable licensing and certification exams. After you pass these exams, you can begin working in the industry.
Most electricians complete a hands-on apprenticeship with a qualified, experienced electrician before working on their own. During an apprenticeship, you receive additional on-the-job training and get paid while you learn. At the conclusion of your apprenticeship, you become a journeyman electrician, a higher skill level that usually comes with a higher earning potential.
2. Work in a Respected Career Field
Electricians perform highly technical work, and the work requires skill and care. While homeowners will often attempt DIY projects like framing in a new room or installing new cabinets, they usually hire a professional to complete electrical work. They know that working with electricity can be dangerous, so they rely on trained electricians to finish complicated tasks.
Similarly, nearly every new construction project requires an electrician’s expertise at some point. Other construction professionals trust and respect the electricians they work with.
3. Stimulate Your Mind and Face New Challenges Daily
Although electricians perform the same types of work on most job sites, the work they do is not monotonous. You may spend a few hours a week completing paperwork or doing other desk-based work (especially if you run your own business), but for the most part, you will work in the field at various job sites.
One day you might be wiring in a new home, and the next you could be repairing an electrical panel at a large warehouse. If you like solving problems, working with your hands, and meeting new people, you can play to those strengths in this job field.
4. Choose Between Several Career Paths
Electricians have numerous career opportunities, so you can select a career path that suits your personality. The most common types of work for electricians include installations at new construction sites, repairs and upgrades for private customers, and union work. You will also have the option of switching career tracks if you want a change down the road.
Even if you stay in one career track throughout your working years, you still have opportunities for advancement. For example, you could begin as a service technician for a local electrician’s business. After a few years, you might receive a promotion to manager. Eventually, you may even decide to open your own business.
5. Increase Your Earning Potential
Electricians have one of the highest average salaries among trade professionals and construction industry workers. In 2014, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported $51,110 as the average national salary in this career field. The average hourly pay rate is just below $25.
After you complete your training, your pay could be lower or higher, depending on factors like previous work experience, job field, skill level, and location. For example, many electricians in Illinois earn more than the national average. BLS data from 2014 reports that an Illinois electrician’s annual mean wage in that year was $69,940 with an hourly mean wage of $33.62.
6. Take Advantage of Growing Demand for Qualified Electricians
Over the next 10 years, job opportunities for electricians are expected to grow by 14% according to BLS estimates. That pace is faster than anticipated job growth in most other fields.
This growing demand for electricians occurs in part because there is a consistent need for their services. Our society depends on electricity, and new electrical technologies emerge regularly. When homeowners and business owners desire to implement these new technologies in their buildings, they depend on trained electricians to carry out the work.
Another reason for the growing demand is that many long-time electricians will be retiring in the next decade. Although they won’t be working, clients will still require their services, so new electricians must train now to replace them. Once you complete your training, you can work in this career field that offers excellent job security.
Does a job as an electrician sound like a good fit for you? The reasons above should help you decide. If you’re ready to begin your career as an electrician, contact a trade school today.
3 Tips That Make Trade School Easier
As you study and prepare for your exams each semester, you wonder how you can use your time more efficiently and get better grades. The challenge of a trade school is that you need to have complete mastery over what you’re learning, and you want to be sure that when you graduate, you have the skills to succeed.
It’s not easy, but you can do it! These study tips might be helpful to you as you work on mastering your trade. But succeeding in school isn’t just about keeping your nose in the book—it’s about learning how to learn.
Below are three tips that have helped us as we’ve learned skills, practiced our trade, and worked hard to improve our grades. Check them out and you may be surprised by how fast you improve!
Tip #1: Stay Healthy
Your mind is a powerful tool, but it can’t function well if your body isn’t healthy! In fact, students who live healthy lifestyles are proven to get better grades.
Making health a priority while you’re going to school can be tough. After all, some students juggle a full, challenging school schedule, work part- or full-time, help support a family, volunteer in their community, and maintain a social life—and adding exercise, enough sleep, and a healthy diet to an already overwhelming schedule can feel a little ridiculous.
There are a few health tips you should never compromise on, even if you have a busy school schedule:
- Always eat breakfast! Try to avoid sugary cereals if possible, but if that’s what it takes, do it. Feeding your brain every morning before you start your day is an important part of staying healthy.
- Get your vitamins. Nothing is worse than taking an exam with the flu or trying to study while coughing and sneezing. Vitamins help stave away sickness and keep your mind sharp.
- Exercise for thirty minutes a day, at least three times a week. Do whatever it takes—bike to school, join a yoga class, or play a pickup game of basketball with friends. Get your heart rate up and stretch those muscles!
Remember that maintaining good health will relieve stress, not add to it! Taking the time for a twenty minute run or a few extra minutes to prepare a healthy meal will help your body and mind rejuvenate. You’ll be ready to study, learn new skills, and focus during exams if your body is in shape and you’ve had enough rest.
Tip #2: Maintain Good Relationships With Your Teachers
We’re not talking about sucking up to get the grade. But you should develop and maintain good relationships with your instructors. Why? Because in addition to knowing more than you (they are the teachers, after all!) they can help you work through challenging problems and get the most out of your educational experience.
Make sure that your teachers understand why you’re in school and what you’re hoping to achieve. If your teachers see that you are driven, hard-working, and honest, they may be more inclined to help you when you run into a difficult problem or struggle to learn a new concept.
You may want to get to know your teachers as well. What have they achieved in their lives? Why are they teaching? What do they hope to do with the rest of their careers? As you get to know your teachers, you may be surprised by how much they can teach you about school and your own future career.
In a trade school, it can be especially important to have good relationships with your teachers because your instructors can help you when you look for jobs and go into the work force. If your teachers know that you are eager to learn, work hard, and develop good people skills, they’ll be much more likely to recommend you to an inquiring employer or to point you in the direction of a good job.
Tip #3: Join a Study Group
Logging away your long study hours all by yourself isn’t much fun, and many people remember what they study much better if they study with others. You may have never thought of yourself as a social learner, but when you’re learning skills with your hands, it might be best for you to study with others.
If your school offers study groups, consider joining one and preparing for your next test with a small group. And if there aren’t any study groups currently at your trade school, create one! Invite a few students in class to join you as you study.
Because you’re learning a trade, it’s a good idea to include a few people in the study group who seem to have mastered the skills already. Teaching others will give these students a chance to solidify what they’ve learned, but you’ll benefit too as you learn from them and watch their skill.
School can be challenging, but as you keep yourself healthy, work well with your instructors, and learn with others, you’ll improve quickly and master the skills you need for your next career. Start today and make the most out of your trade school experience!
Three Steps to a Successful Mid-Life Career Change
You’re at a time in your life when you expected to be settled in a career and well on your way to retirement, but you suddenly find yourself in need of a change. There are many reasons to look into starting a new career, including:
- Feelings of boredom or dissatisfaction
- An unreliable economy and job industries
- A change in family life
- Financial difficulties
- A desire to make a difference
Whatever the reason, you find yourself searching for an exciting new career.
A midlife career change can be stimulating and enjoyable, but it can also be stressful—that is, unless you do it right. Self-reflection, input from tests and professionals, and a quality vocational school can help you make a smooth career change. Read our guide for successful midlife career transitions below.
Step #1: Know You
If you don’t understand what is lacking in your current career—and what you hope to find in your new career—then you may find yourself in another dissatisfying situation in ten years. The best way to avoid this? Measure your needs and priorities carefully.
For many people, this first step of finding a satisfying new career is very difficult. It’s a strange irony of life: sometimes the person we find most impossible to understand is the person inside our own skin. The following questions may help:
- What strengths and talents did you utilize best in your last (or current) job? What strengths and talents have you enjoyed developing in the course of your career?
- What kind of challenges do you most enjoy solving?
- What brings you the most satisfaction at work? What kinds of situations make you feel stimulated and excited to return to work the next morning?
- What do you hope to achieve in the course of your career?
- What is most important to you in life? How have your past jobs helped you to achieve those priorities (or kept you from reaching your goals)?
- What are you willing to do to find a satisfying solution to your midlife career crisis?
As you ask yourself these questions, try to evaluate yourself honestly. Ask someone you trust to review your answers and give their own feedback.
Consider writing down your needs, talents, priorities, interests, and goals as you define them so that you can review them often. Later steps will help you determine exactly what kind of careers to look into, but if you don’t have goals and a clearly-defined vision of what you want to achieve, it could be easy to fall back into another dead-end career.
Step #2: Test Time
You need to become familiar with yourself and what you want; a career self-assessment test can help you find out which type of career can help you become the best version of yourself. These tests measure your talents, interests, and personality and match them to jobs that will make you feel useful, challenged, involved, and satisfied.
You can find career tests online, and many of them are free. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the Strong Interest Inventory work especially well for those considering a mid-career change.
You may also consider speaking with a career coach or counselor. Your local vocational school likely offers counseling for those considering various career paths. A coach can help you discover specific opportunities in your community and can help you evaluate which steps to take next.
Assessments and career coaches won’t have all the answers, but they can help you articulate things that you find valuable in a job. Do you like working with your hands? Are you an abstract thinker? Do you enjoy working with people, or would you rather solve problems alone? There are millions of jobs out there, and a career assessment and coach can do a lot to help you narrow down your search.
Step #3: Back to School
Choosing a new career that you’ll love may require that you get some vocational training. Choose a training school that can help you learn the skills you need quickly and can give you plenty of hands-on experience. Certification from a reputable vocational school can help you find a job quickly and launch your new career toward success.
For example, if you like solving problems, working with your hands, and helping other people, you might want to consider a career as an electrician. A vocational school can help you become certified and learn everything you need to successfully master your new trade.
A vocational school or technical institute can also help you with continuing education as you begin your new career. Choose a school that has high job placement success after training so you can feel confident that a job awaits you.
As you learn more about yourself, set goals, get help from assessments and a career coach, and get the training you need at an excellent vocational school, you’ll be prepared to begin a new, satisfying career. You don’t need to stay in a job that you don’t like. You can begin a new life today! Begin setting goals and contact your vocational school of choice today.