How to Become an Electrician in Lakewood Washington
The initial step to becoming an electrical tradesman or contractor is locating an electrician trade school near Lakewood WA. But with so many technical schools to pick from, just how do you go about making certain that you enroll in the right one? Especially since there are so many factors to examine. For instance, some potential students will commence by looking for schools that are close to their residence. After they have identified some that are within commuting distance, they will decide on the one with the least expensive tuition. Even though location and cost are significant, they are not the sole things that should be considered. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should contribute toward your final judgment when selecting an electrician trade school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But to begin with, let’s review a little bit about becoming an electrician and the instructional choices that are available.
Electrician Degree, Diploma and Certificate Programs near Lakewood WA
There are several options to receive electrician training in a vocational or trade school near Lakewood WA. You may choose a certificate or diploma program, or earn an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are obtainable at some schools, but are not as prevalent as the other three alternatives. In many cases these programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program, which are mandated by most states to become licensed or if you wish to earn certification. Bellow are short descriptions of the 3 most typical programs offered.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are typically offered by Washington vocational and trade schools and take about a year to complete. They furnish a good foundation and are geared towards those who would like to enter an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees require two years to complete and are offered by Washington junior or community colleges, commonly as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They offer a more comprehensive education while providing the foundation that readies students to enter into their apprenticeship program.
As earlier mentioned, Bachelor’s Degree programs are available at some Washington institutions, but are less preferred at four years than the other shorter programs. Many states require that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and in most cases 4 years be performed before licensing. Therefore, many students are anxious to begin their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not a component of their academic program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Requirements
Electricians in Lakewood WA can undertake a vast array of services, including testing, installing and replacing electrical systems, and ensuring 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 typically around four to five years of prior experience is required in order to take the licensing exam. The exams usually test general knowledge and electrical theory, along with knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also a voluntary way for an electrician to identify her or himself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications offered vary by state and can be earned in numerous specialties, such as cable splicing as an example. The certification process in most cases involves 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 crucial that the electrician trade school that you enroll in not only furnishes a strong educational foundation, but also helps prepare you for passing any certification and licensing examinations that you may be required to pass in the future.
Attending Electrician Online Training Classes in Lakewood WA
An alternative that you might have contemplated is selecting an online electrician school to earn a certificate or degree. Although online training programs are becoming more accepted as a means of attending class without the need for travel, in this instance they are not totally internet based. Pretty much all electrician training programs require some attendance on-campus to get hands-on practical training. But since the balance of the classes can be accessed online, internet learning can be a more practical option for students that have minimal time for education. And as an added benefit numerous online degree programs have a reduced tuition cost compared to their traditional alternatives. Driving costs from Lakewood WA are also reduced and a portion of the study materials can be available online also. Each of these advantages can make online electrician vocational schools more economical and accessible. And a number are fully accredited, which we will address in our questions to ask checklist.
Points to Ask Electrician Vocational Schools
When you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to refine your training options. Since there are numerous electrician vocational and trade schools in the Lakewood WA area, it’s imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The initial two that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. If you have an interest in earning an degree online, then that needs to be an option that your chosen school offers. And while all three qualifiers may be important when making your decision, there are additional variables that need to be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to analyze before enrolling in an electrical technical school.
Accreditation. Many electrician vocational programs have earned 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 pertains to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Verify that the Lakewood WA school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you acquire a superior education, it can help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, some states require that the electrician training program be accredited in order to qualify 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 percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate may suggest that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It might also mean that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which can produce 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 an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help Lakewood WA graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many electrician vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrician contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with Lakewood WA area electricians or electrical contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the electrical specialist you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Lakewood WA electrical contracting company if they can give you some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Lakewood home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with several of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Lakewood WA, verify 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 allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Lakewood WA?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Lakewood WA area.
Lakewood was officially incorporated on February 28, 1996. Historical names include Tacoma/Lakewood Center and Lakes District (this name was used by the U.S. Census in the 1970 and 1980 Census). Lakewood is the second-largest city in Pierce County and is home to the Clover Park School District, the Lakewood Water District, Fort Steilacoom Park and Western State Hospital, a regional state psychiatric hospital.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.95 square miles (49.08 km2), of which, 17.17 square miles (44.47 km2) is land and 1.78 square miles (4.61 km2) is water.
There are several lakes within the city limits; the largest in area are American Lake, Lake Steilacoom, Gravelly Lake, Lake Louise, and Waughop Lake. A number of small creeks flow through Lakewood, some of which drain into nearby Puget Sound. The largest of these, Chambers Creek, flows from Lake Steilacoom to Chambers Bay between nearby University Place and Steilacoom.
Enroll in the Ideal Electrician Technical School near Lakewood WA
Picking the right electrical training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare among the training programs you are considering. It’s a must that any electrician training program that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional electrician in Lakewood WA.
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