How to Become an Electrician in Kennewick Washington
The first step to learning to be an electrical contractor or tradesman is finding an electrician trade school near Kennewick WA. But with numerous vocational schools to pick from, just how do you tackle making sure that you enroll in the right one? Particularly since there are so many points to examine. For instance, some students will start by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. When they have identified several that are within driving range, they will select the one with the most affordable tuition. Even though cost and location are of importance, they are not the only factors that must be examined. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should help mold your ultimate decision when picking an electrician trade school. We will talk about that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let’s talk a little bit about being an electrician and the educational options that are offered.
Electrician Certificate, Diploma and Degree Programs near Kennewick WA
There are three general approaches to obtain electrician instruction in a vocational or trade school near Kennewick WA. You may enroll in a diploma or certificate program, or receive an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at a few schools, but are not as prevalent as the first three alternatives. Often these programs are made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program, which are required by most states in order to become licensed or if you would like to become certified. Bellow are brief summaries of the three most common programs offered.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are typically offered by Washington vocational and trade schools and take about a year to complete. They provide a good foundation and are geared towards students who would like to enter an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees involve two years to complete and are offered by Washington junior or community colleges, commonly as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They provide a more comprehensive education while providing the foundation that prepares students to join their apprenticeship program.
As previously mentioned, Bachelor’s Degree programs are offered at certain Washington institutions, but are less popular at four years than the other shorter programs. The majority of states require that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and in most cases 4 years be carried out prior to licensing. For that reason, the majority of students are anxious to begin their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not a component of their educational program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Guidelines
Electricians in Kennewick WA can carry out a wide range of functions, such as testing, installing and replacing electrical systems, and making sure that the wiring in buildings and homes are up to code standards. After completing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to be licensed in the majority of states or municipalities. The period of apprenticeship varies by state, but usually around four to five years of experience is needed before taking the licensing examination. The exams typically test general knowledge and electrical theory, in addition to knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also a voluntary method for an electrician to differentiate him or herself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications available vary by state and may be earned in various specializations, such as 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) and also the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s important that the electrician vocational school that you select not only provides a solid educational foundation, but also helps ready you for passing any certification and licensing exams that you may need to take in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Online Programs in Kennewick WA
A possibility that you may have contemplated is choosing an online electrician program to earn a degree or a certificate. Even though online training programs have become more popular as a means of attending class without the need for travel, in this situation they are not totally internet based. Pretty much all electrician training programs require partial attendance on-campus to get practical hands-on training. But since the remainder of the classes can be accessed online, internet learning can be a more accommodating option for individuals that have limited time for education. And as an added benefit many online degree programs have a lower tuition cost compared to their on campus alternatives. Driving expenses from Kennewick WA are also reduced and a portion of the study materials can be accessed on line also. Each of these benefits can make online electrician tech schools more economical and convenient. And many are fully accredited, which we will cover in our questions to ask checklist.
Things to Ask Electrician Trade Schools
Now that you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to refine your training options. Because there are so many electrician trade and vocational schools in the Kennewick WA area, it’s important to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The first two that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. If you have an interest in earning an online degree, then that must be an option that your final school offers. And even though all three qualifiers may be critical when making your selection, there are other variables that need to be considered as well. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to analyze prior to choosing an electrical trade school.
Accreditation. Many electrician vocational programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Confirm that the Kennewick WA school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, many 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate could indicate that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It may also indicate that the teachers 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 broader list of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to employ 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 assist Kennewick WA grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many electrician trade programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrical companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with Kennewick WA area electricians or electrical companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the electrical technician you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Kennewick WA electrical contractor if they can provide some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Kennewick residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple 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 relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Kennewick WA, verify that the programs you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Kennewick WA?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Kennewick WA area.
Kennewick (/ˈkɛnəwɪk/) is a city in Benton County in the southeastern part of the State of Washington, along the southwest bank of the Columbia River, just southeast of the confluence of the Columbia and Yakima rivers and across from the confluence of the Columbia and the Snake River. It is the most populous of the three cities collectively referred to as the Tri-Cities (the others being Pasco across the Columbia and Richland across the Yakima). The population was 73,917 at the 2010 census. July 1, 2017 estimates from the Census Bureau put the city's population at 81,607.
The name "Kennewick" is believed to be a native word meaning "grassy place." It has also been called "winter paradise," mostly because of the mild winters in the area. In the past, Kennewick has also been known by other names. Legend has it that the strangest was "Tehe," which has been attributed to the reaction from a native girl's laughter when asked the name of the region.
During the 1880s, steamboats and railroads connected what would become known as Kennewick to the other settlements along the Columbia River. In 1887, a temporary railroad bridge was constructed by the Northern Pacific Railroad connecting Kennewick and Pasco. That bridge could not endure the winter ice on the Columbia and was partially swept away in the first winter. A new, more permanent bridge was built in its place in 1888. Until this time, rail freight from Minneapolis to Tacoma had to cross the Columbia River via ferry.
Select the Ideal Electrical Tech School near Kennewick WA
Selecting the ideal electrician trade school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any electrician training that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional electrician in Kennewick WA.
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