How to Become an Electrician in University Place Washington
The first step to becoming an electrical tradesman or contractor is finding an electrician trade school near University Place WA. But with numerous technical schools to select from, just how do you tackle making sure that you enroll in the right one? Especially because there are so many variables to evaluate. For example, many potential students will begin by searching for schools that are close to their home. After they have located several that are within commuting distance, they will decide on the one with the lowest tuition. Even though location and cost are significant, they are not the sole things that must be evaluated. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should help mold your final decision when selecting an electrician training school. We will cover that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit about becoming an electrician and the instructional options that are available.
Electrician Certificate, Diploma and Degree Programs near University Place WA
There are multiple approaches to receive electrician instruction in a trade or technical school near University Place WA. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program, or receive an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are available at some schools, but are not as common as the other three alternatives. Frequently these programs are made available together with an apprenticeship, which are mandated by the majority of states to become licensed or if you intend to earn certification. Following are short explanations of the three most common programs available.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are typically offered by Washington vocational and trade schools and require about a year to complete. They provide a good foundation and are geared towards individuals who wish to enter an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees require 2 years to complete and are offered by Washington junior or community colleges, typically as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They furnish a more well-rounded education while providing the foundation that prepares students to begin their apprenticeship program.
As previously stated, Bachelor’s Degree programs are available at certain Washington institutions, but are less popular at 4 years than the other shorter programs. The majority of states mandate that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and in most cases four years be completed before licensing. For that reason, most students are eager to begin their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not part of their academic program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Requirements
Electricians in University Place WA can perform a wide range of functions, 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 required to become licensed in most municipalities and states. The period of apprenticeship differs by state, but typically around four to five years of experience is required before taking the licensing exam. The exams usually test electrical theory and general knowledge, as well as understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also a voluntary method for an electrician to identify him or herself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications available differ by state and can be acquired in several specializations, including cable splicing as an example. The certification process usually includes 3 levels of proficiency:
- An experience requirement
- Passing a written exam
- Passing a practical exam
Examples of certifying organizations 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 pick not only provides a solid educational foundation, but also helps prep you for passing any certification and licensing exams that you may need to take in the future.
Attending Electrician Programs Online in University Place WA
An alternative that you may have looked at is enrolling in an online electrician school to earn a certificate or degree. Although online schools are becoming more popular 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 rest of the classes may be attended online, internet learning might be a more practical option for students that have limited time for schooling. And as an added benefit many online schools have a reduced tuition cost compared to their traditional competitors. Commuting expenses from University Place WA are also lessened and some of the study materials may be available on line as well. Each of these benefits can make online electrician vocational schools more affordable and convenient. And many are fully accredited, which we will cover in our questions to ask checklist.
What to Ask Electrician Trade Schools
Once you have decided to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to refine your school options. Because there are so many electrician vocational and trade schools in the University Place WA region, it’s essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The initial two that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. If you have an interest in earning an degree online, then that must be an option that your chosen school offers. And even though all three qualifiers may be important when making your selection, there are additional variables that need to be taken into account also. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to analyze prior to selecting an electrical vocational school.
Accreditation. Many electrician vocational programs have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Verify that the University Place WA program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of 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 percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate could indicate that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It might also signify that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to help University Place WA students obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many electrician vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrical contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with University Place WA area electricians or electrical specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local 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 working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the electrical tech you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local University Place WA electrical company if they can give you some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within driving distance of your University Place home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak with some of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near University Place WA, confirm that the programs you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask 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 University Place WA?
Following is a little bit of background information about the University Place WA area.
University Place, Washington
University Place received its name in the 1800s when the University of Puget Sound, a private liberal-arts college in North Tacoma, purchased land along the primary north-south route of Grandview Drive. The school sought to build a new campus there, but ended up selling the land back to the city for about $11,000. University Place remained an unincorporated part of Pierce County until the City of University Place was formed on August 31, 1995.
Today, University Place is largely suburban in character and functions as a mixed business and residential area with waterfront on the Puget Sound. The town is home to Curtis Senior High School and Charles Wright Academy.
University Place's news is primarily covered by The News Tribune (Tacoma), and is also covered by University Place Patch, a hyper-local news website that launched in October 2010, and sometimes by news media in Seattle. Earlier newspapers for the community were the weekly Suburban Times (1970s), published by Dave Sclair (who, starting in 1970, also published Western Flyer); and, in the 1980s, the Lakewood Press, published by Grace T. Eubanks and later Dane S. Claussen, which launched the University Place Press as a monthly and then biweekly before it folded in early 1989.
Find the Right Electrical Tech School near University Place WA
Picking the right electrician training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a must that any electrician tech school that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional electrician in University Place WA.
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