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The Electrician Trade

By: Karine Dutemple

The Electrician Trade

By: Karine Dutemple

Renovation tradesElectricity and lightingThe Electrician Trade

Are you thinking about becoming an electrician but hesitant about moving forward with this adventure for one reason or another? Of course, learning a trade involves a lot more than simply sitting in a classroom, and thus, we’re here to offer a glimpse of what this exciting job will hold for you. This includes information about the prospects it offers.

All about becoming an electrician

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What does an electrician do?

As the name implies, the electrician installs, assembles, and tests a set of electrical devices such as electrical wiring, electrical panels, and light fixtures. Working in both the residential and commercial sectors, the electrician will work on their own or for a company.

The skills required to be an electrician

electrical work

Apart from an interest in the field of electricity, certain skills and interests are essential to become an electrician. First, it is essential to have good mathematical skills, given the need to perform calculations and apply the results in a real context.

Electronics, as well as electrical engineering, must certainly be sources of interest for any aspiring electrician. In a similar vein, the ability to read plans and understand their specifications are also essential skills to move forward with this profession.

As this work obviously involves risks, one must have the ability to be extremely meticulous as well as to possess flawless concentration when performing required tasks. In the same vein, having good dexterity is of paramount importance. Even further, we could say the work of an electrician is often carried out in rather restricted places or at heights. Therefore, it’s important to be sensitive to these working conditions.

The daily life of an electrician can be particularly demanding, which is why it's necessary to be in excellent physical condition. It should also be emphasized that being an electrician involves dealing with and solving problematic situations. Therefore, it’s necessary to demonstrate a strong sense of control and a good level of responsiveness, as these are essential qualities.

As you can already imagine, the job of an electrician is often done alone. You must, therefore, appreciate the individual work, with the additional abilities to be able to be autonomous and take initiative.

Training and certification to be an electrician

electrician working with

Let’s start this section by reminding the reader that the certification requirements for this trade vary from one province or territory to another.  Nevertheless, holding the correct certification is essential for anyone who wishes to practice this profession.

Essentially, a high school degree or its equivalent is required to access training in this field. In certain provinces, such as Ontario, two to three years of classroom training is required. In contrast, the situation in Quebec is quite different. Indeed, you’ll be required to have your DEP (DVS) as well as to complete 4 periods of 2000 hours of apprenticeship to be eligible for a provincial qualification exam. Note that when successful, you’ll obtain the title of companion. The entire apprenticeship lasts between 4 and 5 years, including technical training, on-the-job training as well as a mandatory exam.

As is the case with many construction trades, it’s possible to take an interprovincial exam in order to obtain the Red Seal and be able to work as an electrician across Canada.

In Quebec, in order to have access to construction sites and to be able to meet the requirements for on-the-job training, it will be necessary to provide proof to the CCQ that you’ve successfully completed your course (DEP) and to work within the school. A company for at least 150 hours out of a total of 12 weeks. In addition, proof of this employment must be provided to the CCQ.

Apart from the DEP in electricity, strictly speaking, know that other programs in Quebec give access to this title such as the program in installation and maintenance of security systems.

Being an Electrician: Job Prospects and Salary

Although the wage scale of this trade is highly dependent on collective agreements, the salary ranges from $23,000 to $70,000. The base salary corresponds to that of an apprentice who starts this trade in contrast to the other figure which indicates the salary earned by a journeyman electrician working an annual minimum of 500 hours. It should be noted that the salary increases with the 2000-hour apprenticeship periods mentioned above, which ultimately leads to the title of a journeyman.

Although a small drop in hiring is expected in the residential sector as well as in the institutional sector, it should be mentioned that job prospects in this field remain promising. Moreover, graduates are doing well, as noted by the approximate placement rate of 92%.

Interestingly, for women attracted to a career path as an electrician, the construction industry offers a good place as this job is one of those in which the presence of women is most marked.

Working as an electrician in Quebec

As we have already mentioned in many of our articles, it is essential for anyone who wishes to work as an electrician to obtain a valid license from the RBQ. Specifically, this license is required: Electricity, plumbing, heating, oil or natural gas burners (sub-category 16).

Rather than going directly to the RBQ, it is important to know that the CMEQ (Corporation des maîtres électriciens du Québec) should be called upon. This organization is responsible for qualifying its members for a sub-category 16 licence. 

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Last modified 2023-05-09

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Must-Have Masonry Tools

You can’t just decide to call yourself a mason on a whim, since techniques like formwork are difficult to master, even for professionals. However, with the right masonry tools, available at hand in your toolbox, some jobs can be done independently. Therefore, here's an overview of the most important masonry tools along with their specifications. This list of tools isn't as exhaustive as it sounds. In fact, as Jonathan Barras, of Maçonnerie Élégance, explained in an interview we did with him: "As for basic tools [trowels, hammers, etc. Ed.], it's really up to the employees to get them.” Most Common Tools Used by Masons Barras also pointed out that, "When working on new masonry, workers use tools such as trowels, tables, jointer, a level, and hammer." To lay it out differently, let's just say that every mason must have at least 9 indispensable masonry tools: trowel, float, plaster, set square, plumb bob, string line, concrete mixer, sledgehammer, and masonry chisel. Trowel Source: Pixabay The trowel is the most iconic masonry tool. It's basically a steel blade either triangular, trapezoidal, or square in shape, fixed to a curved or profiled handle. It comes in three varieties: basic, berthelet, and brick trowel. Basic trowel A basic trowel is basically a tool used to mount common bricks (round trowel), to grout bricks, and when tuckpointing (tuck pointer). However, don't assume that the basic trowel is a specific type of trowel. In fact, it's a category that, along with the tuck pointer and the round trowel, includes the renowned Venetian plaster trowel, triangular trowel, or a hand trowel with a tapered blade. In fact, every mason needs these various trowels to perform precision work. Berthelet trowel Triangular in shape, the berthelet trowel has two unique shapes, lengthwise. On one side, it’s bevelled and smooth, and on the other, it’s usually jagged. The toothed side can be used to remove any surplus plaster on the work surface, while the flat side is used for finishing work, especially when smoothing out the plaster. Brick trowel It's the ultimate time-saver. Since it has bevelled edges, the brick trowel is ideal to cut bricks. To split the brick, simply strike each corner of the brick with the edge of the trowel, then strike it with the back of the handle. Plastering float Whenever you see a mason with a trowel in one hand, you can probably assume that they have a plastering float in the other. Keep in mind that they also have to carry the mortar. That's why they use a float. Basically, it's a flat, square-shaped tool masons slap on mortar or plaster. Often, masons use it to smooth out the plaster on the wall they're building. Are you looking for experts for your masonry project? Fill in this form to be connected with top-rated contractors! Plastering trowel This is another tool in the plasterer’s float family, and it has a semi-hard surface that’s perfect to smooth out plaster, screed, or cement. It’s also known as a “mason’s trowel” or “pointing trowel.” Its rubber base also makes the float perfect for tiling without fear of scuffing the surface. Different trowels should be used depending on the work at hand: Venetian plaster trowel: To smooth out screed and plaster; Flemish-style float: Perfect to level the ground; Swiss plastering float: Convenient to smooth out the plaster. Steel corner brace The corner brace enables masons to ensure right angles. It’s one of the indispensable tools a mason can have on hand. Brass plumb bob and string line After the set square for right angles, there’s the plumb bob for vertical reference. Said tool is used to ensure that a wall is built straight, and is an essential masonry tool. Together with a string line, these two instruments ensure that a wall is straight, both in terms of length and height. It's the string, or more precisely its clever setup, that makes it all possible: The string is nothing more or less than a cord pulled from an anchor point called an "eyelet." The line's perpendicularity is ensured by pulling another string across the line and attaching it to two markers. As Barras pointed out, "In masonry, to measure, you can use tools like levels, string lines [to mark, to trace, Ed.]." This speaks to its significance. Concrete mixer Source: Pixabay This tool is very dependent on the project's size. It's unnecessary should you be pouring a slab with a surface of less than 50 ft² (15m²), or when building interior walls. However, as soon as the work becomes substantial, you have to mix the concrete in a concrete mixer. Electric or heated concrete mixer? 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The term "masonry chisel" doesn't refer to two steel blades, but rather to a thin, flat piece of metal on top of the chisel. Its function? To cut brick, stone or concrete. If at first, it doesn't do the trick, you can add a flat chisel to your arsenal. Overview of the different masonry tools and their features Also mentioned by Barras in terms of tools: “Renovation workers use a lot more tools than new masonry project workers such as saws [Arbotech Tools, Ed.] or drop-in anchors.” Along with the 9 must-have tools above-mentioned, other tools are also required, such as clamps, concrete planer, combi hammer, masonry brush, and brick jointer. Clamps Also known as brick anchors, clamps are small, metal rods on which a metal plate slides. The mason will shove the tip of the rod into a wall and then slide the metal plate until it clamps onto a wooden board used as formwork. Clamps are used to allow workers to plaster walls while the mortar isn’t yet dry. However, note that formwork techniques are very specific and not all masons can perform such work. Concrete planer A concrete planer is essential when finishing a screed as it gives the concrete a smooth and compact finish. Sometimes referred to as a "surface planer" because of the way it works, or a "scarifier.” In fact, the concrete planer is fitted with blades attached to a single or double rotor, which will smooth over a surface. Combi hammer Although it might resemble a drill, the combi hammer isn't even close to being in the same category. If you have load-bearing vibro concrete walls in your home, you've probably already burned through your drill bit without making a single dent. With a combi hammer, there’s no doubt about it, it functions by first having a piston compressing a pocket of air, which will then impact the hammer, which then activates the drill. The result: You can drill through vibro concrete, reinforced concrete, granite, hard brick, and other materials. 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Boom truck crane, also known as a telescopic crane: You’ll be asked to work with heavy-duty hydraulic cranes (to move loads of 20 tons or more), moderate loads (5 to 20 tons), and wellheads (at sea, welding). Tower crane: You’ll manoeuvre fixed cranes, overhead or bridge cranes to lift materials. Mobile crane: This division includes conventional and hydraulic machines. These’ll be hoisted onto mechanical or hydraulic cranes capable of lifting 15-ton loads. 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Skills Needed to Manoeuvre a Crane Source: Pawel Grzegorz - Pixabay To really make the most of your studies and overcome challenges along the way, some personality types are more favourable when it comes to possibly becoming a crane operator. According to the Holland Code (RIASEC) test, the authorities on the matter suggest that individuals with an RCE personality type are more likely to have the prerequisites to manoeuvre cranes. In other words, people who have a realistic, conventional, and enterprising sense of self, and enjoy carrying out concrete, defined, and thorough tasks. Moreso, they’re able to uphold certain sets of guidelines, be physically involved in their work, and manage important responsibilities. 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Resilient Flooring Layer: A Little-Known Trade

If you’re looking for a career in the construction industry where teamwork is essential and perfectionism is—at long last—valued, consider becoming a resilient interior flooring layer. This little-known profession, although essential, is seeing a significant labour shortage as a result of a large number of workers retiring. Has it piqued your interest? Check out the following to find out whether your worker profile corresponds to that of the trade. What does a resilient flooring layer do? Source: Canva So, what’s resilient flooring, anyway? Well, it’s basically flooring that is resistant to impact, like carpet, underlayment, vinyl, linoleum, cork, rubber, and the list goes on. Specially practical in commercial buildings or health centres, such materials require that the person performing the installation partake in a special academic training during which they’ll learn to: Read and sketch plans and evaluate potential production costs; Plan the work and prepare surfaces to be covered; Ensure the worksite adheres to health and security measures; Measure, cut, and alter flooring; Adequately use various types of glue, polishers, vacuums, cement mixers, air hammers, and other tools; Lay, replace, and repair flooring in buildings. Do you have what it takes to become a resilient flooring layer? Source: Canva The skills and knowledge required to dominate this trade, and to successfully carry out the required tasks are, no surprise, linked to physical fitness and manual labour. Since you’ll be called to handle heavy tools and lean down, it goes without saying that you’ll need physical strength, great flexibility and stability, and be somewhat dexterous. Also, you’ll need to be able to spot the little details and have good observational skills. On the intellectual side, mathematical and deductive skills, along with a sharp mind, are required. In fact, the first steps undertaken on a work site are the blueprints, calculations, and know-how about the materials’ characteristics. Since it’s a very teamwork-prone type of job, you have to be comfortable speaking openly, organizing tasks logically, and gathering the necessary information to relay the information clearly and concisely. At the same time, your capacity to take initiative and be autonomous will be key to a successful career path. If you’ve already turned to a career counsellor, it’s likely that they’ve already asked you to take the Holland test (RIASEC) to determine your personality traits and areas of interest. Note that the profile that’s most likely to suit that of a resilient flooring layer is Realist - Investigative - Conventional. Simply put, though you’ve probably already figured that out based on the above-mentioned information, meaning individuals who prefer concrete and physical work, problem solvers, and those who walk a straight line in terms of conduct. Note that some employers will mandate workers to be bilingual and have the ability to work anywhere in Quebec (driver’s license and transportation). Carpet and Other Resilient Flooring Installers: Required Training Source: Canva To be able to work in a job related to various resilient flooring installations, you’ll need to complete a DVS (also known as a DEP) in Resilient Flooring Installation—Buildings and Public Works—which is 900 hours, full time. This training program is available in English and in French, depending on the establishment in question. In a nutshell, these are the options available to you: Capitale-Nationale - CSS de la Capitale - ÉMOICQ Laval - CSS de Laval - C.F.P. Le Chantier Montérégie - CSS Marie-Victorin - C.F.P. Pierre-Dupuy Montréal - CSS de Montréal - École des métiers de la construction de Montréal What the future holds for a resilient flooring layer You’ll have to show up at the CCQ with a diploma attesting to your completion of a DVS in resilient flooring installation and find an employer that’s registered with the CCQ and guarantees 150 hours of work. Once these conditions are met, you’ll then move on to being an apprentice. To then obtain your journeyperson certificate, you’ll need to have accrued at least 2,000 hours of experience. Once your career has taken off, you’ll make an average wage of $29/h; most likely a bit more depending on the industry in which you work. Most of the work sites are at institutional and commercial levels. As for employers, they’re often flooring resellers or manufacturers as well as construction contractors. Note that, if you have an entrepreneurial bone, this trade is perfect to eventually go out on your own. Some relevant links: How to join the construction industry without a diploma Training programs dedicated to women in construction Finding the right job for you Advice for contractors and labourers in the renovation industry

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How to Become a Security Systems Electrician

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How to Become an Elevator Mechanic

Are you particularly handy, meticulous, and love working with machinery? You’re not afraid of heights, consider yourself a problem solver, and can manage your stress levels…how about considering specializing in elevator installation, repair, and maintenance! This type of work, with diverse duties, has excellent employment prospects; just consider the number of apartment and condo towers that are being built every month in urban and suburban areas. An Elevator Mechanic’s Duties Source: Tima Miroshnichenko – Pexels The key role of such a tradesperson consists of ensuring the proper functioning of mechanical and electric motion systems that are found in elevators, freight elevators, dumbwaiters, and escalators. As such, depending on the chosen industry, the individual in question will be able to install, repair, modernize, or maintain these systems used to transport materials or individuals. All-around handy, this type of mechanic must know the ins and outs of electricity, electronics, welding, hydraulics, mechanics, and so forth. On top of the above-mentioned elements, the academic training and on-site experience will teach future elevator mechanics to accomplish the following: Interpret blueprints, sketches, and quotes directly linked to the system's components Use various techniques and tools Prepare construction work (piping, wiring, framework, etc.) Respect standards to ensure the safe use of devices, worksite, and public (before, during, and after the work is completed) Assemble cabins, install control units, and the necessary wiring for electrical or electronic controls Perform general preventative maintenance Test material to spot weaknesses Disassemble, repair, or replace defectives units Carry out final performance assessments of devices to ensure safe use and compliance Provide quotes to prospective clients Required Skillset to Become a Good Elevator Mechanic Since this trade requires one to be working, suspended at great heights or wedged in tight spaces, one can’t be acrophobic or claustrophobic. Being dexterous and having excellent hand-eye coordination to handle moving parts are essential to practice the trade. Since the job requires one to play around with high-voltage electromotive forces or handle tiny parts, the mechanic must be meticulous, precise, and have a heightened sense of responsibility. Being naturally gifted with mathematics and calculations, in general, is just as important as developing one’s observational and analytical skills to solve complex problems. Often working alone during maintenance calls, one must have a healthy dose of know-how and autonomy in their DNA to work as an elevator mechanic. On the flip side, the mechanic must be able to easily work with other players in the business (installers, electricians, contractors, homeowners, etc.). Some employers will request for their workforce to be bilingual and have the capacity to work everywhere in Quebec (must hold a valid driver’s license and have access to a vehicle). As such, offering 24/7, on-call services during peak periods will be considered an asset during the hiring process. How to Become an Elevator Mechanic or Installer Source: Kelly – Pexels To work in any trades related to the installation or repair of various elevator systems, one must complete a DVS in Elevator Mechanics—Maintenance Mechanics—full-time for a period of two years, meaning 1,800 hours. This training program is only offered in one educational establishment in Quebec, and that’s the École des métiers du Sud-Ouest-de-Montréal—the ÉMSOM (French), and the training can be completed in English. Note that you won’t need to go through an internship during the course of your studies, since the learning period will be done on-site, as an apprentice. To do so, you’ll first have to prove to the CCQ that you’ve successfully completed the training program. You’ll be asked to adhere to a syndicate, and then provide a guarantee from your employer giving you permission to work for them, and that, for a period of at least 150 hours over a three-month period. You’ll also have to obtain a workplace health and safety certification and provide a ($100) payment to the CCQ. In case you want to work in the construction industry (industrial, commercial, institutional), you’ll then actually go through the steps to become a journeyperson. Check out this website to know more about working in the construction industry without a diploma. (French) Job Prospects and Trades Related to a DVS in Elevator Mechanics The job prospects for diploma holders are excellent; demand is strong and there's a lack of qualified candidates. Keep in mind that training won’t only allow you to repair elevators, but also dumbwaiters, escalators, overhead cranes, and much more. The construction industry can be seen as constantly seeking new hires, but you can also seek employment elsewhere. For example, manufacturers, certain private companies or specialized companies, or even real estate firms for that matter, offer their installation, repair, and maintenance services for individuals, businesses and public institutions. In Quebec, the median wage is $39 an hour. The latter varies depending on the years of experience and the employment sector. The advantage of the trade is that it allows you to find year-round contracts, no matter the season. In case this article convinced you or validated your career choice, here's a list of jobs waiting for your skillset: Elevator mechanic Escalator installer Stair and overhead crane installer-repairer Technical representative of elevators and other equipment Cover photo: Aaron – Flickr

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