How to Become an Electrician in Palmer Alaska
The first step to learning to be an electrical tradesman or contractor is locating an electrician trade school near Palmer AK. But with numerous vocational schools to pick from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the best one? Especially because there are so many variables to evaluate. For example, many students will commence by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. When they have located some that are within commuting range, they will pick the one with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are of importance, they are not the only things that need to be considered. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should contribute toward your final decision when choosing an electrician training school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this article. But to begin with, let’s review a little bit about being an electrician and the training choices that are offered.
Electrician Diploma, Certificate and Degree Options near Palmer AK
There are three general ways to get electrician instruction in a vocational or trade school near Palmer AK. You can choose a diploma or certificate program, or receive an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at some schools, but are not as common as the other three options. Frequently these programs are made available combined with an apprenticeship, which are mandated by most states in order to become licensed or if you wish to become certified. Following are short explanations of the three most typical programs available.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by Alaska technical and trade schools and take about a year to complete. They provide a solid foundation and are aimed towards individuals who want to join an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees involve two years to complete and are offered by Alaska junior or community colleges, usually as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They provide a more comprehensive education while providing the foundation that readies students to enter into their apprenticeship program.
As earlier stated, Bachelor’s Degrees are available at some Alaska institutions, but are less popular at 4 years than the other shorter programs. Many states mandate that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and in most cases four years be performed prior to licensing. Because of that, most students are anxious to start their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not a component of their educational program.
Electrician License and Certification Guidelines
Electricians in Palmer AK can perform a vast array of functions, such as installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and ensuring that the wiring in buildings and homes comply with code standards. After completing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are mandated to be licensed in the majority of municipalities and states. The duration of apprenticeship differs by state, but usually around four to five years of prior experience is called for before taking the licensing examination. The exams typically assess electrical theory and general knowledge, in addition to understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also an optional means for an electrician to differentiate him or herself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications available differ by state and may be earned in many specialties, such as cable splicing as an example. The certification process usually includes 3 levels of competency:
- 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 imperative that the electrician vocational school that you enroll in not only furnishes a strong academic foundation, but also helps ready you for passing any certification and licensing exams that you may be required to take in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Online Schools in Palmer AK
An alternative that you may have contemplated is enrolling in an electrician online school to earn a degree or a certificate. Even though online training programs have become more accepted as a way of attending class without needing to travel, in this situation they are not entirely internet based. Pretty much all electrician training programs require some attendance on campus to receive practical hands-on training. But since the rest of the classes can be accessed online, internet learning can be a more convenient option for students that have minimal time for education. And as an added benefit numerous online training programs have a lower tuition cost compared to their traditional competitors. Travelling costs from Palmer AK are also lessened and some of the study materials can be accessed online also. All of these advantages can make online electrician vocational schools more affordable and convenient. And many are fully accredited, which we will address in our questions to ask checklist.
Questions to Ask Electrician Technical Schools
Once you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to focus your training options. Considering that there are numerous electrician vocational and trade schools in the Palmer AK area, it’s imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The initial 2 that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. If you are interested in earning an degree online, then that must be a feature that your chosen school offers. And while all three qualifiers may be important when making your determination, 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 before selecting an electrical tech school.
Accreditation. A large number of electrician vocational schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Make certain that the Palmer AK program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you receive an excellent education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of states require that the electrician training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion and Placement Rates. Ask the electrician schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate could signify that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It may also mean that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist Palmer AK grads obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many electrician vocational programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrical contractors or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with Palmer AK area electricians or electrical professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the electrical specialist you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Palmer AK electrical contracting company if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Palmer home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with several of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Palmer AK, verify that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Palmer AK?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Palmer AK area.
Palmer is a city in and the borough seat of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. It is part of the Anchorage Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 5,937.
The first people to live in the Matanuska Valley, where Palmer is located, were the Dena'ina and Ahtna Athabaskans. They moved throughout the area, living a subsistence lifestyle and trading with other native groups. Their trade routes were along the Matanuska River. Russians came to Alaska in 1741 and brought the Russian Orthodox religious tradition to the indigenous peoples of the region. In the early 1890s, an entrepreneur named George W. Palmer built a trading post on the Matanuska River, near present-day Palmer. The town was later named after Palmer.
In the late 19th century, the U.S. government began to take interest in the Matanuska coal fields located north of Palmer. This interest sparked financiers to consider constructing the Alaska Central Railroad in 1904. The advent of World War I created a need for high quality coal to fuel U.S. battleships, and by 1917 the US Navy had constructed rail from the port of Seward to the Chickaloon coal deposits. At the end of World War I, the U.S. Navy distributed land in the coal fields to war veterans and additional land was opened to homesteading. Farmers, miners and homesteaders began to populate the area. The Palmer Post Office was opened July 6, 1917 under the name of Warton. With railroad accessibility, new markets for agriculture began to open up for farmers in the Matanuska Valley.
Pick the Ideal Electrical Tech School near Palmer AK
Selecting the right electrician training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any electrician training that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each program offers unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new career as a professional electrician in Palmer AK.
Other Cool Cities in Alaska
Business Results 1 - 10 of 11