How to Become an Electrician in Anchorage Alaska
The first step to becoming an electrical tradesman or contractor is finding an electrician trade school near Anchorage AK. But with so many technical schools to select from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the right one? Especially because there are a number of factors to examine. For example, some prospective students will start by looking for schools that are nearby their home. When they have found several that are within commuting range, they will choose the one with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant, they are not the only qualifications that should be considered. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should contribute toward your final decision when selecting an electrician trade school. We will discuss that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let’s review a little bit about becoming an electrician and the training choices that are accessible.
Electrician Degree, Diploma and Certificate Options near Anchorage AK
There are three general ways to get electrician instruction in a trade or technical school near Anchorage AK. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program, or obtain an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are available at certain schools, but are not as common as the first three alternatives. Frequently these programs are made available combined with an apprenticeship, which are required by most states to be licensed or if you would like to become certified. Bellow are short descriptions of the three most prevalent programs available.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by Alaska vocational and trade schools and require about a year to finish. They furnish a solid foundation and are geared towards individuals who would like to get into an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees take two years to finish and are provided by Alaska community colleges, commonly as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They furnish a more extensive education while supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter into their apprenticeship program.
As earlier stated, Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at some Alaska colleges, but are less favored at 4 years than the other shorter programs. Many states require that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and more typically 4 years be carried out prior to licensing. Therefore, most students are anxious to begin their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not a component of their educational program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Requirements
Electricians in Anchorage AK can carry out a vast array of functions, including testing, installing and replacing electrical systems, and ensuring that the wiring in houses and buildings are up to code standards. After concluding an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to become licensed in most states or municipalities. The duration of apprenticeship differs by state, but typically around four to five years of practical experience is called for in order to take the licensing exam. The exams commonly assess general knowledge and electrical theory, as well as understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also an optional method for an electrician to identify her or himself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications available differ by state and may be earned in numerous specializations, including cable splicing as an example. The certification procedure usually entails 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) along with the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s important that the electrician trade school that you pick not only furnishes a solid academic foundation, but also helps prepare you for passing any certification and licensing examinations that you might need to take in the future.
Attending Electrician Online Schools in Anchorage AK
An option that you may have contemplated is selecting an online electrician school to earn a certificate or degree. Although online training programs have become more prevalent as a way of attending class without the need for travel, in this case they are not completely internet based. Virtually all electrician training programs require partial attendance on-campus to receive hands-on practical training. But since the remainder of the classes may be accessed online, internet learning can be a more accommodating option for students that have minimal time for schooling. And as a bonus numerous online degree programs have a reduced tuition cost compared to their on-campus competitors. Commuting costs from Anchorage AK are also minimized and some of the study materials may be accessed on line as well. Each of these advantages can make electrician online vocational schools more affordable and accessible. And a number are fully accredited, which we will discuss in our due diligence checklist.
What to Ask Electrician Tech Schools
Now that you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to focus your school options. Because there are so many electrician vocational and trade schools in the Anchorage AK region, it’s important to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The first 2 that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. If you have an interest in earning an online degree, then that needs to be a feature that your final school offers. And while all three qualifiers may be important when making your decision, there are other variables that need to be considered also. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess prior to enrolling in an electrical trade school.
Accreditation. A large number of electrician vocational schools have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Make certain that the Anchorage AK school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, some states require that the electrician training course be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion and Placement Rates. Ask the electrician schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate could signify that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It could also mean that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to utilize 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 field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help Anchorage AK grads secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many electrician technical programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of electrical contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with Anchorage AK area electricians or electrical companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the electrical tech you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Anchorage AK electrical contractor if they can provide some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Anchorage residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with a few of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Anchorage AK, verify that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Anchorage AK?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Anchorage AK area.
Anchorage (officially called the Municipality of Anchorage; Dena'ina: Dgheyaytnu) is a unified home rule municipality in the U.S. state of Alaska. With an estimated 298,192 residents in 2016, it is Alaska's most populous city and contains more than 40 percent of the state's total population; among the 50 states, only New York has a higher percentage of residents who live in its most populous city. All together, the Anchorage metropolitan area, which combines Anchorage with the neighboring Matanuska-Susitna Borough, had a population of 401,635 in 2016, which accounts for more than half of the state's population. At 1,706 square miles of land area, the city is larger than the smallest state, Rhode Island, at 1,212 square miles.
Anchorage is in the south-central portion of Alaska, at the terminus of the Cook Inlet, on a peninsula formed by the Knik Arm to the north and the Turnagain Arm to the south. The city limits span 1,961.1 square miles (5,079.2 km2) which encompass the urban core, a joint military base, several outlying communities and almost all of Chugach State Park.
Due to its location, almost equidistant from New York City, Frankfurt, and Tokyo, Anchorage lies within 9 1⁄2 hours by air of nearly 90% of the industrialized world. For this reason, the Anchorage International Airport is a common refueling stop for many international cargo flights and home to a major FedEx hub, which the company calls a "critical part" of its global network of services.
Choose the Right Electrical Vocational School near Anchorage AK
Picking the right electrical training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the training programs you are considering. It’s a necessity that any electrical training that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each training program provides different possibilities for certification also. Probably the best way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional electrician in Anchorage AK.
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