How to Become an Electrician in Puyallup Washington
The first step to becoming an electrical tradesman or contractor is locating an electrician trade school near Puyallup WA. But with numerous technical schools to pick from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially because there are so many factors to examine. For example, some prospective students will begin by searching for schools that are nearby their residence. After they have found some that are within driving distance, they will decide on the one with the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are of importance, they are not the sole factors that must be considered. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should influence your final decision when selecting an electrician trade school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this article. But to begin with, let’s talk a little bit about becoming an electrician and the educational options that are offered.
Electrician Degree, Certificate and Diploma Programs near Puyallup WA
There are multiple ways to receive electrician training in a vocational or trade school near Puyallup WA. You may enroll in a diploma or certificate program, or earn an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at certain schools, but are not as common as the other three options. Frequently these programs are made available combined with an apprenticeship, which are required by the majority of states to be licensed or if you want to become certified. Following are brief explanations of the 3 most common programs available.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally provided by Washington trade and technical schools and require approximately a year to finish. They provide a solid foundation and are aimed towards students who want to join an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees take 2 years to finish and are offered by Washington community colleges, commonly as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They furnish a more extensive education while supplying the foundation that prepares students to begin their apprenticeship program.
As earlier mentioned, Bachelor’s Degrees are available at some Washington colleges, but are less favored at 4 years than the other briefer programs. Most states require that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and more typically four years be performed prior to licensing. For that reason, most students are anxious to start their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not a component of their academic program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Prerequisites
Electricians in Puyallup WA can carry out a wide range of services, such as testing, installing and replacing electrical systems, and ensuring that the wiring in buildings and homes comply with code standards. After concluding an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are mandated to become licensed in most municipalities and states. The period of apprenticeship varies by state, but normally around 4 to 5 years of experience is called for in order to take the licensing exam. The exams commonly assess electrical theory and general knowledge, along with understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also a voluntary way for an electrician to differentiate her or himself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications offered vary by state and can be obtained in many specializations, such as cable splicing as an example. The certification procedure usually includes three 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 enroll in not only delivers a strong academic foundation, but also helps prepare you for passing any certification and licensing exams that you might be required to take in the future.
Attending Electrician Programs Online in Puyallup WA
An option that you may have contemplated is choosing an online electrician program to earn a degree or a certificate. While online training programs are becoming more prevalent as a way of attending class without the need for travel, in this instance they are not completely internet based. Virtually all electrician schools require partial attendance on campus to get hands-on practical training. But since the balance of the classes can be accessed online, internet learning might be a more practical choice for individuals that have limited time for education. And as a bonus many online schools have a reduced tuition cost compared to their on campus counterparts. Travelling costs from Puyallup WA are also lessened and some of the study materials may be accessed on line as well. Each of these advantages can make electrician online tech schools more affordable and accessible. And many are fully accredited, which we will discuss in our due diligence checklist.
Topics to Ask Electrician Training Schools
Now that you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to focus your training options. Since there are numerous electrician trade and vocational schools in the Puyallup WA area, it’s essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must satisfy. The first two that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. If you are interested in earning an online degree, then that needs to be a feature that your final school offers. And even though all three qualifiers may be crucial when making your decision, there are additional factors that must be considered as well. Following is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to analyze prior to choosing an electrical tech school.
Accreditation. Numerous electrician technical schools have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Make certain that the Puyallup WA program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states mandate 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 reviewing 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 disappointed with the course and quit. It could also signify that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which can result in 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 a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to help Puyallup WA grads secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of electrician technical 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 trade unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with Puyallup WA area electricians or electrical contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment 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 state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the electrical technician you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Puyallup WA electrical company if they can provide some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Puyallup residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger 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. Talk with several of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Puyallup WA, check that the programs you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Puyallup WA?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Puyallup WA area.
Puyallup, Washington (/pjuːˈæləp/ ( listen) pew-AL-əp or /pjuːˈɔːləp/ pew-AWL-əp) is a city in Pierce County, Washington, about 10 miles (16 km) southeast of Tacoma and 35 miles (56 km) south of Seattle. The population was 37,022 at the 2010 Census and the Washington State Office of Financial Management estimated the 2014 population at 38,670. Named after the Puyallup Tribe of Native Americans, Puyallup means "the generous people". It is also home to the Washington State Fair, the state's main fair.
In 1833, The Puyallup Valley was a maze of creeks and old forest growth. It was subjected to frequent floods and massive log jams from the meandering river. The first white settlers were part of the first wagon train to cross the Cascades at Naches Pass in 1853. Native Americans numbered about 2,000 in what is now the Puyallup Valley in the 1830s and 1840s. The first European settlers arrived in the 1850s. In 1877, Ezra Meeker platted a townsite and named it Puyallup after the local Puyallup Indian tribes. The town grew rapidly throughout the 1880s and was incorporated in 1890, the first mayor being Ezra Meeker. The turn of the 20th century brought change to the valley with the growth of nearby Tacoma and the interurban rail lines. The Western Washington Fairgrounds were developed giving local farmers a place to exhibit their crops and livestock. During the early part of World War II, the fairgrounds were part of Camp Harmony, a temporary Japanese American internment camp for more than 7,000 detainees, most of whom were American citizens. Subsequently, they were moved to the Minidoka relocation center near Twin Falls, Idaho.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 14.04 square miles (36.36 km2), of which 13.93 square miles (36.08 km2) is land and 0.11 square miles (0.28 km2) is water, mainly consisting of the Puyallup River estuary.
Choose the Right Electrical Trade School near Puyallup WA
Picking the right electrical 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 several things that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a must that any electrical training program that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world context, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each training program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to monitor a few 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 dedication, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional electrician in Puyallup WA.
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