How to Become an Electrician in Tacoma Washington
The initial step to becoming an electrical contractor or tradesman is finding an electrician trade school near Tacoma WA. But with so many technical schools to pick from, just how do you undertake making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly since there are so many variables to evaluate. For example, some prospective students will commence by looking for schools that are nearby their home. When they have identified several that are within driving distance, they will select the one with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are important, they are not the only things that should be considered. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should help mold your final decision when choosing an electrician trade school. We will discuss 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 educational options that are accessible.
Electrician Certificate, Diploma and Degree Programs near Tacoma WA
There are several approaches to obtain electrician instruction in a vocational or trade school near Tacoma WA. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program, or earn an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are available at some schools, but are not as common as the first three alternatives. Often these programs are made available combined with an apprenticeship, which are required by most states in order to be licensed or if you want to earn certification. Following are short descriptions of the 3 most typical programs available.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually provided by Washington technical and trade schools and take about a year to finish. They provide a solid foundation and are aimed towards those who would like to enter an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees require two years to finish and are provided by Washington junior or community colleges, commonly as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They furnish a more extensive education while supplying the foundation that readies students to enter into their apprenticeship program.
As previously stated, Bachelor’s Degrees are available at some Washington institutions, but are less popular at four years than the other shorter programs. Many states require that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and more typically four years be performed before licensing. For that reason, many students are eager to begin their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not part of their educational program.
Electrician Certification and Licensing Requirements
Electricians in Tacoma WA can perform a multitude of services, including testing, installing and replacing electrical systems, and ensuring that the wiring in buildings and homes are up to code standards. After concluding an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are mandated to become licensed in most states or municipalities. The duration of apprenticeship differs by state, but usually around four to five years of experience is needed in order to take the licensing exam. The exams usually evaluate general knowledge and electrical theory, in addition to knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining 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 acquired in various specialties, including cable splicing as an example. The certification procedure usually includes 3 levels of proficiency:
- 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 important that the electrician tech school that you select not only delivers a solid academic foundation, but also helps prep you for passing any certification and licensing examinations that you may be required to take in the future.
Attending Electrician Programs Online in Tacoma WA
An option that you might have considered is enrolling in an electrician online school to earn a degree or a certificate. Although online schools have become more accepted as a way of attending class without the need for travel, in this situation they are not totally internet based. Just about all electrician training programs require some attendance on-campus to obtain practical hands-on training. But since the balance of the classes can be accessed online, distance learning can be a more accommodating choice for students that have limited time for education. And as an added benefit many online schools have a reduced tuition cost compared to their on campus competitors. Commuting costs from Tacoma WA are also lessened and some of the study materials can be accessed on line also. All of these advantages can make electrician online vocational schools more affordable and convenient. And many are fully accredited, which we will cover in our due diligence checklist.
Questions to Ask Electrician Trade Schools
Once you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to narrow down your school options. Considering that there are numerous electrician vocational and trade schools in the Tacoma WA area, it’s imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each program must satisfy. The initial 2 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 final school offers. And although all three qualifiers may be crucial when making your selection, there are other variables that need to be taken into account as well. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to analyze before choosing an electrical vocational school.
Accreditation. A large number of electrician vocational schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Make sure that the Tacoma WA school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it can assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states require that the electrician training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion and Placement Rates. Ask the electrician training programs you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate might indicate that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It may also signify that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to utilize 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 additionally that it has the network of contacts to help Tacoma WA students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many electrician training programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrical companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with Tacoma WA area electricians or electrical contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the electrical specialist you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Tacoma WA electrical company if they can give you some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Tacoma residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to several of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Tacoma WA, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Tacoma WA?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Tacoma WA area.
Tacoma (/təˈkoʊmə/ tə-KOH-mə) is a mid-sized urban port city and the county seat of Pierce County, Washington, United States. The city is on Washington's Puget Sound, 32 miles (51 km) southwest of Seattle (of which it is a satellite city), 31 miles (50 km) northeast of the state capital, Olympia, and 58 miles (93 km) northwest of Mount Rainier National Park. The population was 198,397, according to the 2010 census. Tacoma is the second-largest city in the Puget Sound area and the third largest in the state. Tacoma also serves as the center of business activity for the South Sound region, which has a population of around 1 million.
Tacoma adopted its name after the nearby Mount Rainier, originally called Takhoma or Tahoma. It is locally known as the "City of Destiny" because the area was chosen to be the western terminus of the Northern Pacific Railroad in the late 19th century. The decision of the railroad was influenced by Tacoma's neighboring deep-water harbor, Commencement Bay. By connecting the bay with the railroad, Tacoma's motto became "When rails meet sails". Commencement Bay serves the Port of Tacoma, a center of international trade on the Pacific Coast and Washington State's largest port.
Like most central cities, Tacoma suffered a prolonged decline in the mid-20th century as a result of suburbanization and divestment. Since the 1990s, developments in the downtown core include the University of Washington Tacoma; Tacoma Link, the first modern electric light rail service in the state; the state's highest density of art and history museums; and a restored urban waterfront, the Thea Foss Waterway. Neighborhoods such as the 6th Avenue District have been revitalized.
Pick the Ideal Electrical Tech School near Tacoma WA
Picking the ideal electrical trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare among the training programs you are considering. It’s a necessity that any electrical training program that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new career as a professional electrician in Tacoma WA.
Other Cool Cities in Washington
Business Results 1 - 10 of 258