How to Become an Electrician in Soldotna Alaska
The initial step to becoming an electrical tradesman or contractor is finding an electrician trade school near Soldotna AK. But with numerous technical schools to choose from, just how do you tackle making certain that you enroll in the right one? Especially because there are a number of variables to consider. For instance, some potential students will begin by searching for schools that are close to their residence. Once they have located a few that are within driving distance, they will pick the one with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are of importance, they are not the only things that must be examined. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should help mold your ultimate judgment when picking an electrician school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But to begin with, let’s review a little bit about being an electrician and the instructional options that are accessible.
Electrician Diploma, Certificate and Degree Programs near Soldotna AK
There are several options to receive electrician instruction in a vocational or trade school near Soldotna AK. You can select a certificate or diploma program, or earn an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at some schools, but are not as prevalent as the first three options. Often these programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program, which are required by the majority of states to become licensed or if you wish to become certified. Following are short explanations of the three most typical programs available.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally provided by Alaska vocational and trade schools and require about a year to complete. 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 2 years to complete and are offered by Alaska community colleges, typically as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They furnish a more well-rounded education while supplying the foundation that readies students to begin their apprenticeship program.
As earlier stated, Bachelor’s Degrees are accessible at some Alaska institutions, but are less preferred at 4 years than the other shorter programs. Many states require that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and more typically four years be completed before licensing. For that reason, most students are anxious to commence their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not part of their academic program.
Electrician Certification and Licensing Requirements
Electricians in Soldotna AK can carry out a vast array of duties, such as installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and ensuring that the wiring in buildings and homes comply with code standards. After finishing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are mandated to be licensed in most states or municipalities. The length of apprenticeship differs by state, but generally around 4 to 5 years of practical experience is called for in order to take the licensing exam. The exams usually evaluate general knowledge and electrical theory, in addition to understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also an optional method for an electrician to differentiate him or herself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications available vary by state and may be earned in numerous specialties, including cable splicing as an example. The certification procedure in most cases entails three levels of competency:
- An experience requirement
- Passing a written exam
- Passing a practical exam
Examples of certifying organizations include the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (NJATC) as well as the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s important that the electrician vocational school that you select not only furnishes a solid academic foundation, but also helps prep you for passing any licensing and certification examinations that you might need to pass in the future.
Attending Electrician Schools Online in Soldotna AK
An option that you may have contemplated is enrolling in an online electrician program to earn a degree or a certificate. Although online schools are becoming more accepted as a way of attending class without the need for travel, in this instance they are not entirely internet based. Just about all electrician training programs require some attendance on-campus to receive practical hands-on training. But since the balance of the classes may be accessed online, internet learning can be a more convenient choice for students that have limited time for education. And as an added benefit numerous online training programs have a cheaper tuition cost compared to their on-campus alternatives. Driving costs from Soldotna AK are also minimized and some of the study materials can be available on line also. Each of these benefits can make electrician online tech schools more economical and convenient. And many are fully accredited, which we will cover in our due diligence checklist.
Topics to Ask Electrician Technical Schools
When you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to focus your training options. Because there are numerous electrician tech and trade schools in the Soldotna AK area, it’s imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each program must satisfy. The initial 2 that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. If you are interested in earning an degree online, then that needs to be an option that your chosen school offers. And while all three qualifiers may be critical when making your decision, there are other factors that need to be taken into account also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to analyze prior to selecting an electrical vocational school.
Accreditation. Numerous electrician trade schools have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Verify that the Soldotna AK program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you acquire an excellent education, it can help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently 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 training programs you are considering 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 may indicate that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It may also mean that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also essential 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 use 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 also that it has the network of contacts to help Soldotna AK grads secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most electrician technical programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrical companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with Soldotna AK area electricians or electrical contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the electrical technician you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Soldotna AK electrical contractor if they can give you some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Soldotna home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be higher 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 bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with a few of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Soldotna AK, check that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Soldotna AK?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Soldotna AK area.
Soldotna is located in the Southcentral portion of Alaska on the central-western portion of the Kenai Peninsula. The city limits span 7 square miles along the Kenai River, which empties into the Cook Inlet in the nearby city of Kenai. The Kenai River was selected by CNN Travel as one of the "World's 15 Best Rivers for Travelers," due to its fishing and hunting opportunities. Soldotna is located on the western edge of the vast Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, a protected area spanning nearly 2 million acres and home to bears, moose, caribou, sheep, and many fish and bird species.
The city is located at the junction of the Sterling Highway and the Kenai Spur Highway, which has enabled Soldotna to develop as a service and retail hub for the Central Peninsula as well as for travelers between Anchorage and Homer. The Central Peninsula Hospital serves the medical needs of the region's residents and tourists. The Kenai Peninsula College, a branch of the University of Alaska Anchorage, operates the Kenai River Campus in Soldotna. Additionally, the headquarters of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, the Kenai Peninsula Borough, and the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District are located in the city.
In 1947, after World War II, the United States government withdrew a number of townships along Cook Inlet and the lower Kenai River from the Kenai National Moose Range, opening up the area to settlement under the Homestead Act. Veterans of the United States armed services were given a 90-day preference over non-veterans in selecting land and filing for property. Also in that year, the Sterling Highway right-of-way was cleared of trees from Cooper Landing to Kenai. The location of present-day Soldotna was selected as the site for the highway's bridge crossing the Kenai River.
Find the Right Electrician Tech School near Soldotna AK
Picking the ideal electrician trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It’s a must that any electrical tech school that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Probably the best way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you choose is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional electrician in Soldotna AK.
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