How to Become an Electrician in Kirkland Washington
The first step to becoming an electrical tradesman or contractor is finding an electrician trade school near Kirkland WA. But with numerous vocational schools to select from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the right one? Particularly since there are a number of factors to consider. For example, many students will start by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. After they have found several that are within driving range, they will pick the one with the least expensive tuition. While cost and location are of importance, they are not the only things that should be examined. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should contribute toward your ultimate decision when picking an electrician school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this article. But first, let’s review a little bit about being an electrician and the training options that are offered.
Electrician Degree, Certificate and Diploma Programs near Kirkland WA
There are multiple approaches to obtain electrician instruction in a trade or technical school near Kirkland WA. You can choose a certificate or diploma program, or obtain an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are available at certain schools, but are not as common as the other three options. Frequently these programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program, which are mandated by most states to become licensed or if you wish to become certified. Following are brief explanations of the three most common programs available.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by Washington trade and technical schools and require about a year to complete. They provide a good foundation and are aimed towards students who want to get into an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs involve two years to complete and are offered by Washington junior or community colleges, typically as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They provide a more extensive education while supplying the foundation that readies students to enter into their apprenticeship program.
As earlier stated, Bachelor’s Degrees are accessible at certain Washington institutions, but are less popular at 4 years than the other briefer programs. The majority of states mandate that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and in most cases four years be performed before licensing. For that reason, many students are anxious to begin their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not part of their educational program.
Electrician License and Certification Requirements
Electricians in Kirkland WA can carry out a wide range of tasks, including testing, installing and replacing 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 be licensed in most municipalities and states. The duration of apprenticeship varies by state, but typically about 4 to 5 years of practical experience is needed before taking the licensing exam. The exams typically assess general knowledge and electrical theory, in addition to knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also an optional way for an electrician to differentiate him or herself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications available differ by state and can be earned in several specialties, including cable splicing as an example. The certification process usually 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) 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 examinations that you might be required to take in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Schools Online in Kirkland WA
An alternative that you might have contemplated is selecting an electrician online school to earn a certificate or degree. Although online schools are becoming more popular as a means of attending class without the need for travel, in this situation they are not entirely internet based. Just about all electrician schools require some attendance on-campus to receive hands-on practical training. But since the remainder of the classes can be accessed online, internet learning can be a more convenient option for individuals that have minimal time for education. And as an added benefit many online training programs have a cheaper tuition cost compared to their on-campus counterparts. Travelling costs from Kirkland WA are also reduced and a portion of the study materials may be available on line as well. Each of these advantages can make online electrician trade schools more affordable and convenient. And a number are fully accredited, which we will address 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 narrow down your school options. Since there are numerous electrician tech and trade schools in the Kirkland WA area, it’s important to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The first two that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. If you have an interest in earning an degree online, then that must be a feature 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 considered as well. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to assess prior to enrolling in an electrical tech school.
Accreditation. A large number of electrician technical programs have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Confirm that the Kirkland WA program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you acquire a quality education, it can help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of states require that the electrician training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion and Placement Rates. Ask the electrician training programs you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate could indicate that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It could also mean that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to employ 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 trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to help Kirkland WA grads obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most electrician technical programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrician businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with Kirkland WA area electricians or electrical specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the electrical specialist you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Kirkland WA electrical contractor if they can give you some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Kirkland residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging 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 teachers and students. Speak to some of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to some of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Kirkland WA, verify that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Kirkland WA?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Kirkland WA area.
Kirkland is a city in King County, Washington, United States. A suburb east of Seattle, its population was 88,630 in a 2017 census estimate, which made it the sixth largest city in the county and the twelfth largest in the state.
Kirkland was the original home of the Seattle Seahawks; the NFL team's headquarters and training facility were located at the Lake Washington Shipyard (now Carillon Point) along Lake Washington for their first ten seasons (1976–85), then at nearby Northwest University through 2007. Warehouse chain Costco previously had its headquarters in Kirkland. While Costco is now headquartered in Issaquah the city is the namesake of its "Kirkland Signature" store brand.
The 1982 Kirkland National Little League team won the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. That event is the subject of the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary Little Big Men. It also was the home to Little League's 1992 Big League Softball World Series Champions representing the Eastside District Nine Leagues. Since 1999 Kirkland has been the home of the Little League Junior Softball World Series held each August at Kirkland's Everest Park.
Pick the Right Electrical Vocational School near Kirkland WA
Picking the ideal electrician training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a must that any electrical tech school that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers different options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new trade as a professional electrician in Kirkland WA.
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