Archive for October, 2012

What It Means To Be Career Ready

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

The Career Readiness Partner Council recently released a statement titled Building Blocks of Change: What it Means to be Career Ready. Multiple business, human interest, policy and educational organizations have endorsed the document, which explains what being career ready entails.

Key factors for being ready to pursue a productive career include: knowledge in technology, academics and employability, as well as skill sets and attitude as being important. Here are some of the broad skills that are considered necessary for becoming globally competent.

Adaptability

It’s common for people to switch careers. Emerging technology, unreliable markets and self-run businesses make up a large portion of the statistics which state that the average person goes through seven careers in their life. The ability to adapt, learn new skills and keep up with new research and development is essential to both personal and economic success for any nation. The newly-released statement emphasizes the ability to learn and adapt as requisites for succeeding in the international workforce. The United States isn’t alone in realizing this key to prosperity. Numerous other nations are also choosing it as the building block of their education reform efforts.

Communications

Communication is essential for career preparedness. Being able to communicate effectively is a necessary skill for all workers, but in an increasingly global community, students will need to communicate with people who speak another language. This is evidenced in the way that Career and Technical Education programs often provide students with chances to learn another language. In many areas of the country,  positions remain empty because too few people can speak a second language.

Technology

Being able to use technology effectively is another important part of being globally competent. Technology is heavily relied upon in numerous jobs and is constantly evolving. Involving technology in teaching and learning doesn’t just give students a valuable skill. It also gives them access to the world at large and enables them to communicate with a wider variety of people. Once they join the international labor force, they’ll be experienced in communicating with other cultures.

Experience

Real-world experience is another key part of the career readiness statement. Things like job shadowing, apprenticeships and internships help students in virtually any career be ready to enter the work force.  If you are currently in school, make sure to maximize these opportunitites to improve your chances of landing the job you want.

Trade Schools Provide Path to Jobs

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Many people assume that everybody has to attend college. This is a misconception. Trade schools provide a great alternative for people who want to start working within the shortest time possible and those who are good at working with their hands.

According to Robert Donnell, the director of Vatterott Education Center’s North Park campus, technical college allows students to pursue what they would like to do in life right from the first day. If someone is interested in becoming a cosmetologist, for example, there are programs that teach relevant skills.

Each class deals exclusively with the concerned trade. For instance, students do not have to take a whole year studying either English composition or algebra before embarking on their desired hands-on programs.

Courses Offered

The college offers certificate, diploma and associate’s degree programs. Students can graduate with certificates within 50 weeks only, after which they can enter the workforce. Of course, some programs take longer than others. Students taking an associate’s degree program generally take 18 months to complete their studies. Whichever the case, all the programs are significantly cheaper than conventional college programs. What’s more, needy students can receive financial assistance.

Students can study nine different courses at North Park campus. While most of the courses deal with such traditional programs as plumbing, electrical mechanics, welding and Heating and Ventilating & Air Conditioning (HVAC); students may also study business management, computer technology, Web design, cosmetology, medical assistant and medical billing.

Some courses are tailored to meet specific community needs. Students taking HVAC study how to install systems in old, brick homes found in St. Louis. The technique required in this instance is different than the one used in newer homes.

Job Prospects and Salary

Whichever program a student takes, the employment rates are attractive. For instance, medical officers are generally interested in hiring people with hands-on experience. Here are specific statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  1.  HVAC: Median Wage: $45 per hour, $42,530 per year View Source
  2. Computer Support Specialists: Median Wage: $24 per hour, $46,260 per year View Source
  3. Administrative Services Managers: Median Wage:   45 per hour, 77,890 per year View Source
  4. Barbers, Hairdressers, & Cosmetologists View Source

The future is bright for photovoltaic electrical specialists

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Have you ever seen houses or office buildings with solar panels near where you live? Well, solar power is becoming a major player in the U.S. energy market, as many utility companies are realizing that clean, renewable electricity doesn’t have to cost the Earth. As solar power becomes more commonplace, the need for skilled electrical workers is going to increase. If you’re ready for a bright future in photovoltaic electrical engineering, consider signing up for a training program at electrician schools.

The work

Solar panels use a process called photovoltaic transfer to convert energy from the sun’s rays into usable electricity. Some photovoltaic engineers are responsible for integrating solar paneling into existing electrical grids, while others work to ensure that output from solar installations is working properly. Depending on the size and power needs of an individual installation, there could be dozens or even hundreds of photovoltaic specialists responsible for its operation.

As such, many different kinds of professionals are needed at renewable energy companies across the country. From the installation specialists who are responsible for putting the panels in place to the electrical engineers who monitor current, voltage and power output, solar energy is an exciting and dynamic field that’s set to become a dominant player in the U.S. in years to come.

The pay

Although solar power technology has been around for some time, the field of photovoltaic engineering has only really begun to take off in the past few years. As such, databases such as PayScale are still gathering data on how much photovoltaic electrical engineers actually earn. However, even if you choose to specialize in the installation of solar paneling, you could be in for a bright future. PayScale reports that these professionals can earn between $30,075 and $84,305, depending on experience. As solar power becomes more common across the U.S., more data will become available on the earning potential of this profession.

The prospects

Again, it’s difficult to quantify the demand for photovoltaic specialists due to a lack of data. However, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) includes these professionals in its listings under general electricians.

The BLS reports that demand for electrical specialists is expected to increase by 23% through 2020, faster than the national average of 14% for all occupations. The need for electrical workers is often closely related to the building and construction industry. Although the economic climate has been tough on the construction industry during the past few years, more companies realize the value of adhering to standards such as the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. Buildings that earn LEED status often utilize clean power installations such as solar paneling, and increasing numbers of organizations are designing their future structures to adhere to these standards.

Think a career as a photovoltaic specialist is right for you? Tell us why in the comment space below.

HVAC careers in the construction industry

Monday, October 15th, 2012

If you’ve ever had the misfortune of having your air conditioner break down in the summer, or your heater go on the blink in the winter, chances are you had to hire a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) professional to help you out. However, HVAC engineers do far more than just repair faulty units. Did you know that these professionals are an integral part of the construction industry? If you’re thinking of ways to launch a career in the building trade, you might want to think about becoming an HVAC construction specialist.

The work

When a new building is slated for construction, turning the blueprints into an actual building takes more than just bricks and mortar. The installation of heating and cooling systems is a vital part of the construction process, especially in large commercial buildings like offices where air often circulates centrally throughout the structure. HVAC construction specialists work with building companies to ensure that heating and ventilation systems are installed correctly, and that they adhere to state and federal environmental regulations.

Depending on the job in question, HVAC construction specialists can perform a variety of tasks. In some cases, third-party companies handle the installation of heating and ventilation systems, while in other instances they may be hired to serve as consultants. HVAC construction managers are often knowledgeable in areas such as thermodynamics, fluid mechanics and heat transfer.

The pay

If you’re lucky enough to land a job in HVAC after you finish up at technical training schools, you could be earning a competitive salary. According to PayScale, HVAC engineers can earn between $39,694 and $97,139 per year, depending on the level of experience. If you end up working on larger projects, such as the construction of skyscrapers and other commercial buildings, the pay could be even higher.

The outlook

Demand for HVAC construction specialists and engineers is often closely tied to the building industry in general. Fortunately, things seem to be looking up in this sector, as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the need for HVAC engineers will increase by 34% through 2020, which is much faster than the national average of 14% for all occupations.

In today’s construction industry, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and are often designed to provide maximum comfort and control with minimal impact on the environment. This means that skilled HVAC engineers are likely to be in pretty steady demand for the foreseeable future.

Even if you work in an area where the construction industry is a little slow, you could still be in luck. Many organizations are realizing the importance of environmentally friendly structures, and skilled HVAC engineers are often consulted to maximize the natural airflow of a building, especially if the company is aiming to achieve awards like the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification.

Like the idea of working as an HVAC construction specialist? Search for a school near you that offers technical training.

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Train for an electrifying career

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

If you’re thinking about becoming an electrician, you’ve picked one line of work that’s doing well right now. In fact, it’s doing so well the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 23% increase in job opportunities for this profession – and in this economy, that’s pretty good.

However, a life as an electrician isn’t for everyone. Maybe you want to go to electrician schools, but would like to do something a little different, but still work within the electrical field. Well, you’re in luck, as you can do more with the skills you acquire than just installing lighting systems and inspecting circuit breakers.

Electrical and electronics installers and repairers

If you view fixing broken equipment as a challenge, rather than a hassle, maybe you’d do well as an electrical and electronics installer and repairer.

What they do

Essentially, these professionals do exactly what their job titles imply, across a range of industries, including utilities, transportation and telecommunications. One day, they may be repairing a motor and the next they’re replacing a gasket. While you will receive training for this line of work in technical schools, you’ll also have service guides and schematics to work from, since every piece of equipment is different.

As you’re training for this profession, you can choose to specialize in a certain area of interest. For example, the BLS says commercial and industrial equipment electrical and electronics repairer could work with transmitters and antennas. Other areas you may be interested in focusing on include electric motors, power tools and substations.

What they earn

According to PayScale, you could be making anywhere between $43,402 and $92,462 each year, which works out to an hourly rate running from $20.13 to $38.62.

Electrical and electronic engineering technicians

Are you looking for a career that mixes your love of math, problem-solving and design work? Then it may be time to consider a future as an electrical and electronic engineering technician.

What they do

All those electronics have to come from somewhere. While you won’t be solely responsible for creating everything from computers to navigational equipment, you’ll assist the engineers who do. When new products are being assembled, in your role as an electrical engineering technician you may help test them and find ways of correcting design flaws. As an electronic engineering technician, your responsibilities may include building prototypes, making parts and looking for malfunctions.

Before you become either an electrical or electronic engineering technician, you’ll typically have to hold an associate degree from a technical school, according to the BLS.

What they earn

If you enter this field, you stand to make between $31,696 and $70,189 on a yearly basis, according to PayScale. This breaks down to anywhere from $14.44 to $29.44 an hour.

So based on this information, what do you think? Does the idea of entering one of these professions appeal to you more than another, or are you giving a career as an electrician some more consideration? Let us inside your thought process in the comment space below.

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