How to Become an Electrician in Whitefish Montana
The first step to becoming an electrical contractor or tradesman is finding an electrician trade school near Whitefish MT. But with so many technical schools to select from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the best one? Particularly because there are so many variables to consider. For instance, some students will commence by searching for schools that are nearby their residence. When they have located several that are within driving range, they will select the one with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important, they are not the only qualifications that must be considered. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifiers should help mold your ultimate judgment 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 being an electrician and the instructional choices that are accessible.
Electrician Diploma, Certificate and Degree Programs near Whitefish MT
There are several ways to obtain electrician instruction in a trade or technical school near Whitefish MT. You may choose a certificate or diploma program, or receive an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at some schools, but are not as prevalent as the other three options. In many cases these programs are made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program, which are mandated by the majority of states in order to become licensed or if you would like to become certified. Bellow are brief explanations of the three most typical programs available.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by Montana trade and technical schools and require about a year to finish. They provide a good foundation and are geared towards individuals who would like to enter an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees involve 2 years to finish and are provided by Montana community colleges, typically as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They offer a more comprehensive education while providing the foundation that readies students to join their apprenticeship program.
As earlier mentioned, Bachelor’s Degrees are available at certain Montana institutions, but are less popular at 4 years than the other shorter programs. Many states require that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and more typically four years be performed prior to licensing. For that reason, the majority of students are anxious to start their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not a component of their educational program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Criteria
Electricians in Whitefish MT can undertake a vast array of duties, including installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and making sure that the wiring in buildings and homes comply with code standards. After completing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to become licensed in most municipalities and states. The length of apprenticeship differs by state, but commonly around four to five years of practical experience is called for in order to take the licensing exam. The exams typically evaluate general knowledge and electrical theory, in addition to understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also a voluntary way for an electrician to distinguish her or himself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications offered differ by state and can be obtained in several specializations, including cable splicing as an example. The certification process in most cases 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 important that the electrician tech school that you select not only delivers a strong educational foundation, but also helps prep you for passing any licensing and certification exams that you may be required to take in the future.
Attending Electrician Online Programs in Whitefish MT
An option that you may have looked at is choosing an electrician online school to earn a degree or a certificate. Although online training programs are becoming more prevalent as a means of attending class without the need for travel, in this situation they are not entirely internet based. Pretty much all electrician training programs require some attendance on campus to obtain hands-on practical training. But since the balance of the classes can be accessed online, internet learning may be a more practical alternative for students that have limited time for education. And as a bonus numerous online training programs have a reduced tuition cost compared to their on-campus alternatives. Driving costs from Whitefish MT are also reduced and a portion of the study materials may be available online as well. All of these benefits can make online electrician vocational schools more affordable and accessible. And many are fully accredited, which we will cover in our due diligence checklist.
Points to Ask Electrician Training Schools
Once you have decided to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to narrow down your school options. Considering that there are numerous electrician vocational and trade schools in the Whitefish MT area, it’s imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each school must satisfy. The initial 2 that we discussed were location and tuition expense. If you have an interest in earning an degree online, then that must be an option that your final school offers. And although all three qualifiers may be crucial when making your selection, there are additional variables that need to be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to analyze prior to enrolling in an electrical trade school.
Accreditation. Numerous electrician vocational schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Make certain that the Whitefish MT school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you acquire an excellent education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states require that the electrician training program be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion and Placement Rates. Ask the electrician schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate may indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It might also suggest that the instructors were not qualified 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 more extensive directory of alumni, which can result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help Whitefish MT grads obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of electrician technical programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrician contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with Whitefish MT area electricians or electrical professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the electrical tech you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Whitefish MT electrical contracting company if they can give you some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Whitefish home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much individualized 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 see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with some of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Whitefish MT, check that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Whitefish MT?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Whitefish MT area.
Whitefish (Salish: epɫx̣ʷy̓u, "has whitefish") is a city in Flathead County, Montana, United States. The population was 6,357 at the 2010 census. It is home to a ski resort on Big Mountain called Whitefish Mountain Resort.
The Great Northern Railway was built through what is now Whitefish in 1904, which sparked development of the town. The area was originally known as Stumptown due to the abundant amount of timber that had to be cleared to build the town and railroad and because tree stumps were left in the streets throughout downtown. Early residents of the town worked for the railroad and nearby logging industries. By the late 1940s, with the successful construction of a ski resort on Big Mountain (a collaboration among local businessmen) the tourism sector was becoming increasingly important. The community was named for its location near Whitefish Lake.
In 2006, over 68,000 passengers embarked and disembarked through the historic Whitefish Depot, a stop on Amtrak's Empire Builder line, with some percentage of those being headed to the ski resort on Big Mountain.
Choose the Right Electrical Vocational School near Whitefish MT
Selecting the ideal electrical trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any electrician training that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each training program offers unique options for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional electrician in Whitefish MT.
Other Cool Cities in Montana