How to Become an Electrician in Fairbanks Alaska
The initial step to learning to be an electrical tradesman or contractor is enrolling in an electrician trade school near Fairbanks AK. But with numerous vocational schools to pick from, just how do you undertake making sure that you enroll in the right one? Particularly since there are a number of variables to evaluate. For instance, many prospective students will start by searching for schools that are close to their residence. After they have found several that are within commuting range, they will pick the one with the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are important, they are not the only factors that must be examined. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifiers should help mold your final judgment when choosing an electrician trade school. We will cover that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let’s talk a little bit about becoming an electrician and the instructional options that are accessible.
Electrician Certificate, Diploma and Degree Programs near Fairbanks AK
There are multiple approaches to get electrician instruction in a trade or technical school near Fairbanks AK. You can select a diploma or certificate program, or receive an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are obtainable at some schools, but are not as prevalent as the other three alternatives. Often these programs are offered together with an apprenticeship program, which are mandated by most states in order to be licensed or if you would like to become certified. Bellow are brief explanations of the three most prevalent programs available.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by Alaska trade and technical schools and require approximately a year to complete. They provide a solid foundation and are aimed towards those who want to enter an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees require 2 years to complete and are offered by Alaska junior or community colleges, usually as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They offer a more extensive education while providing the foundation that readies students to begin their apprenticeship program.
As previously mentioned, Bachelor’s Degrees are available at certain Alaska institutions, but are less popular at 4 years than the other shorter programs. The majority of states mandate that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and more typically 4 years be carried out prior to licensing. Therefore, many students are eager to start their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not a component of their academic program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Prerequisites
Electricians in Fairbanks AK can undertake a multitude of functions, such as testing, installing and replacing electrical systems, and making sure that the wiring in buildings and homes are up to code standards. After finishing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to become licensed in most states or municipalities. The duration of apprenticeship varies by state, but commonly around four to five years of experience is needed before taking the licensing examination. The exams usually test electrical theory and general knowledge, as well as knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also an optional means for an electrician to distinguish him or herself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications available vary by state and can be obtained in many specialties, including cable splicing as an example. The certification procedure usually includes 3 levels of proficiency:
- An experience requirement
- Passing a written exam
- Passing a practical exam
Examples of certifying agencies include the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (NJATC) and also the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s crucial that the electrician vocational school that you select not only furnishes a solid educational foundation, but also helps prep you for passing any certification and licensing examinations that you might be required to pass in the future.
Attending Electrician Online Programs in Fairbanks AK
An option that you may have contemplated is choosing an electrician online school to earn a degree or a certificate. Even though online schools have become more popular as a means of attending class without needing to travel, in this instance they are not totally internet based. Virtually all electrician training programs require some attendance on-campus to receive hands-on practical training. But since the balance of the classes can be accessed online, internet learning can be a more accommodating choice for individuals that have limited time for education. And as an added benefit many online schools have a cheaper tuition cost compared to their traditional alternatives. Driving expenses from Fairbanks AK are also reduced and a portion of the study materials may be accessed on line also. Each of these benefits can make electrician online tech schools more economical and accessible. And a number are fully accredited, which we will cover in our due diligence checklist.
Points to Ask Electrician Trade Schools
Once you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to narrow down your training options. Since there are numerous electrician tech and trade schools in the Fairbanks AK region, it’s imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The first 2 that we talked about were location and tuition expense. If you are interested in earning an degree online, then that must be an option that your chosen school offers. And even though all three qualifiers may be crucial when making your selection, there are additional factors that need to be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to research prior to selecting an electrical vocational school.
Accreditation. A large number of electrician vocational programs have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Verify that the Fairbanks AK program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you obtain an excellent education, it can help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states mandate that the electrician training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion and Placement Rates. Ask the electrician schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate might suggest that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It may also indicate that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist Fairbanks AK grads secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many electrician technical programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrical businesses or trade unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with Fairbanks AK area electricians or electrical professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the electrical technician you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Fairbanks AK electrical contractor if they can give you some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Fairbanks residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to some of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Fairbanks AK, verify that the programs you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Fairbanks AK?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Fairbanks AK area.
Fairbanks is the largest city in the Interior region of Alaska. 2016 estimates put the population of the city proper at 32,751, and the population of the Fairbanks North Star Borough at 100,605, making it the second most populous metropolitan area in Alaska (after Anchorage). The Metropolitan Statistical Area encompasses all of the Fairbanks North Star Borough and is the northernmost Metropolitan Statistical Area in the United States, located 196 driving miles (or 140 air miles) south of the Arctic Circle. Fairbanks is home to the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the founding campus of the University of Alaska system.
Though there was never a permanent Alaska Native settlement at the site of Fairbanks, Athabascan peoples have used the area for thousands of years. An archaeological site excavated on the grounds of the University of Alaska Fairbanks uncovered a Native camp about 3,500 years old. From evidence gathered at the site, archaeologists surmise that Native activities in the area were limited to seasonal hunting and fishing. In addition, archeological sites on the grounds of nearby Fort Wainwright date back 10,000 years. Arrowheads excavated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks site matched similar items found in Asia, providing some of the first evidence that humans arrived in North America via the land bridge.
Captain E. T. Barnette founded Fairbanks in August 1901 while headed to Tanacross (or Tanana Crossing, where the Valdez–Eagle trail crossed the Tanana River), where he intended to set up a trading post. The steamboat on which Barnette was a passenger, the Lavelle Young, ran aground while attempting to negotiate shallow water. Barnette, along with his party and supplies, were deposited along the banks of the Chena River 7 miles (11 km) upstream from its confluence with the Tanana River. The sight of smoke from the steamer's engines caught the attention of gold prospectors working in the hills to the north, most notably an Italian immigrant named Felice Pedroni (better known as Felix Pedro) and his partner Tom Gilmore. The two met Barnette where he disembarked and convinced him of the potential of the area. Barnette set up his trading post at the site, still intending to eventually make it to Tanacross. Teams of gold prospectors soon congregated in and around the newly founded Fairbanks; they built drift mines, dredges, and lode mines in addition to panning and sluicing.
Find the Right Electrical Tech School near Fairbanks AK
Selecting the best electrical trade school will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the training programs you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any electrical tech school that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides different options for certification also. Probably The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you select is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new career as a professional electrician in Fairbanks AK.
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