How to Become an Electrician in Seattle Washington
The first step to learning to be an electrical tradesman or contractor is locating an electrician trade school near Seattle WA. But with numerous vocational schools to select from, just how do you undertake making certain that you enroll in the best one? Especially because there are so many points to consider. For example, some prospective students will start by looking for schools that are nearby their home. Once they have identified some that are within driving range, they will decide on the one with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important, they are not the only things that need to be considered. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifiers should influence your ultimate judgment when choosing an electrician trade school. We will address that checklist in more detail later in this article. But first, let’s review a little bit about becoming an electrician and the instructional choices that are accessible.
Electrician Degree, Certificate and Diploma Options near Seattle WA
There are multiple options to get electrician training in a technical or vocational school near Seattle WA. You may enroll in a certificate or diploma program, or obtain an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at some schools, but are not as common as the first three alternatives. In many cases these programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship, which are required by most states in order to be licensed or if you intend to become certified. Following are short explanations of the 3 most prevalent programs available.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are typically offered by Washington vocational and trade schools and require approximately a year to finish. They provide a solid foundation and are geared towards those who wish to join an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs take two years to complete and are provided by Washington junior or community colleges, typically as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They offer a more extensive education while providing the foundation that readies students to begin their apprenticeship program.
As earlier mentioned, Bachelor’s Degree programs are accessible at some Washington colleges, but are less popular at 4 years than the other shorter programs. Most states mandate that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and more typically 4 years be carried out before licensing. For that reason, the majority of students are anxious to commence their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not part of their educational program.
Electrician License and Certification Criteria
Electricians in Seattle WA can undertake a vast array of functions, including installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and making sure that the wiring in houses and buildings are up to code standards. After concluding an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are mandated to be licensed in most municipalities and states. The length of apprenticeship varies by state, but typically about four to five years of prior experience is called for in order to take the licensing exam. The exams typically test general knowledge and electrical theory, along with understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also an optional way for an electrician to identify him or herself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications available differ by state and can be obtained in several specializations, including cable splicing as an example. The certification process usually involves three levels of proficiency:
- 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 provides a solid academic foundation, but also helps prep you for passing any licensing and certification exams that you may need to take in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Training Classes Online in Seattle WA
An alternative that you may have considered is selecting an electrician online program to earn a degree or a certificate. Even though online training programs are becoming more accepted as a means of attending class without needing to travel, in this case they are not entirely internet based. Virtually all electrician schools require partial attendance on-campus to get practical hands-on training. But since the balance of the classes may be accessed online, distance learning might be a more practical option for students that have limited time for education. And as an added benefit numerous online degree programs have a reduced tuition cost compared to their traditional counterparts. Travelling costs from Seattle WA are also reduced and a portion of the study materials can be accessed on line also. Each of these benefits can make electrician online tech schools more affordable and accessible. And a number are fully accredited, which we will discuss in our due diligence checklist.
Topics to Ask Electrician Trade Schools
Once you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to narrow down your training options. Because there are so many electrician trade and vocational schools in the Seattle WA region, it’s essential to have a checklist of criteria that each program must satisfy. The initial two that we discussed were location and tuition expense. If you are interested in earning an degree online, then that needs to be an option that your chosen school offers. And while all three qualifiers may be crucial when making your determination, there are additional factors that must be taken into account also. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess prior to choosing an electrical tech school.
Accreditation. Many electrician technical schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Make sure that the Seattle WA program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you acquire a superior education, it can assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Also, some states require that the electrician training course be accredited in order to qualify 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 of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate may suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It could also suggest that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive 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 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 Seattle WA graduates secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most electrician trade programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrician companies or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with Seattle WA area electricians or electrical contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained 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, consult with the electrical tech you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Seattle WA electrical company if they can give you some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Seattle residence. Take note that if you decide to attend 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 get as much personalized instruction 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 big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Seattle WA, check that the programs you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Seattle WA?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Seattle WA area.
Seattle (/siˈætəl/ ( listen) see-AT-əl) is a seaport city on the west coast of the United States. It is the seat of King County, Washington. With an estimated 725,000 residents as of 2018[update], Seattle is the largest city in both the state of Washington and the Pacific Northwest region of North America. According to U.S. Census data released in 2018, the Seattle metro area’s population stands at 3.87 million, and ranks as the 15th-largest in the United States. In July 2013, it was the fastest-growing major city in the United States and remained in the Top 5 in May 2015 with an annual growth rate of 2.1%. In July 2016, Seattle was again the fastest-growing major U.S. city, with a 3.1% annual growth rate. Seattle is the northernmost large city in the contiguous United States.
The city is situated on an isthmus between Puget Sound (an inlet of the Pacific Ocean) and Lake Washington, about 100 miles (160 km) south of the Canada–United States border. A major gateway for trade with Asia, Seattle is the fourth-largest port in North America in terms of container handling as of 2015[update].
The Seattle area was previously inhabited by Native Americans for at least 4,000 years before the first permanent European settlers.Arthur A. Denny and his group of travelers, subsequently known as the Denny Party, arrived from Illinois via Portland, Oregon, on the schooner Exact at Alki Point on November 13, 1851. The settlement was moved to the eastern shore of Elliott Bay and named "Seattle" in 1852, after Chief Si'ahl of the local Duwamish and Suquamish tribes.
Find the Right Electrical Vocational School near Seattle WA
Picking the best electrical trade school will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any electrical training that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each training program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional electrician in Seattle WA.
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