Apprenticeship


Hello, About two years ago my boss gave to me an apprentice application which I filled out and handed back to him (after I offered to pay the registration fee which he politely refused and demanded to pay himself). Now, after accruing quite a few hours on the job, I've become a little excited with the anticipation of one day holding my journeyman license and then it dawns on me....
I was never given an apprentice card or registration number.
Let me preface this by saying, my boss is a snake. He has a hard time keeping employees and I have been very loyal to him. Working a minimum of 60 hrs. per week and having all the responsibilities of a licensed plumber without the pay (and experience obviously). I never wanted to be thrown into this but would have much rather learned the proper way from a good journeyman or master. But, to keep my job, I have been running a crew for the last year and a half. Crazy, I know. I'm a fast learner with common sense and have had to "figure it out" on my own. So, I'm thinking.... I wouldn't be surprised if my boss didn't want me to ever hold a license because then he would be faced with either paying me competitive wages or I could easily obtain a job that would.
So I log on to the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners and contacted them via email of my apprentice card or registration number. I received a prompt email from them stating I am not registered and the last two years I've been employed were "illegal" and would not be credited towards my 8000 hours for journeyman examination.
Shit, I'm so pissed at my boss it'll be all I can do not to quit in the morning. Is this correct? Am I screwed?
Any suggestions what actions I should/could take?
Thanks, Michael
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Michael, I'm sorry but it does sound like you have been employed by a sleazeball. That said, I'm going to offer you what I think is your best course of action so you don't lose all your time. You need to lay a trap and make it sound as good for him as possible. You know, tell him what a benefit it would be to have a licensed plumber on his jobs in case a state inspector came by. Reassure him that you don't want any more money or anything like that. Tell him you would just like to get your own card so you won't get in any trouble. Use whatever angle you think will convince him that he's okay with you getting your Tradesman license. Don't try the Journeyman test because I don't think you have enough experience to pass it. Besides, your legitimate experience level is close to Tradesman requirements. Once he's convinced then get him to fill out the form found here:
http://www.tsbpe.state.tx.us/common/employer%20certification%20form%20march%202006.pdf
All these forms are available on the TSBPE site: http://www.tsbpe.state.tx.us/index.html
If you can get him to fill out the verification form, he's stuck with whatever he reports. That's the key. Assuming he fills out the form and you pass the test, no one can take that card away from you. Your next step would be to make the next available exit from this sleazeball and find a decent employer.
Good luck.
Bob Wheatley
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Thanks Bob! Great advice. Only one problem that I see (may not be a problem at all) is, in that form that you linked to, it asks for an Apprentice registration number to which I have none. The original problem being the application was never sent in to begin with. Can this form be completed without that bit of information?
As far as that Journeyman test goes, it scares the shit out of me so no problem with any premature attempts at it. I've read through some of the sample questions on TSBPE's site and it looks like Greek to me. I really am not in a hurry to take any test, I'm just afraid of loosing the 5,000 hours I have accrued. There's also the concern of mine that I'd like to learn this trade the proper way with a working knowledge of codes and such, and not left to fin for my own out there. The upside is, I'm a fairly quick study with good retention skills. With a good textbook and solitude, I can get a pretty good grasp of *some* things. Perhaps that's what I'll have to do in this instance.
Thanks again Bob. Need a good employee? Michael

http://www.tsbpe.state.tx.us/common/employer%20certification%20form%20march%202006.pdf
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Yes. That's why I suggested it. I have filled it out many times over the years for employees and ex-employees who for whatever reason neglected to get their apprenticeship card. And remember for future reference if someone else offers to something for you that is your responsibility to politely decline and do oi yourself.

I can always use help. How close to Houston are you?
Bob Wheatley
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Good advice Bob. I think I'll take this experience as a lesson learned. I'm afraid that I'm naive and trusting of others to a fault.

6 hr. drive I'm in the ArkLaTex area. Thanks again for good advice and a glint of hope.
Michael
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That's not a bad commute considering you would learn from one of the best. If you work a 10 hr. day, with a 12 hr. commute, you still have 2 hours to eat and sleep :-)
See if Bob will pay you mileage and you'll be rich in no time.
Eric
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