How to Become an Electrician in Vancouver Washington
The first step to becoming an electrical tradesman or contractor is enrolling in an electrician trade school near Vancouver WA. But with so many technical schools to choose from, just how do you tackle making sure that you enroll in the best one? Particularly because there are a number of factors to evaluate. For example, some students will commence by searching for schools that are close to their home. Once they have found some that are within driving range, they will decide on the one with the lowest tuition. Even though location and cost are important, they are not the sole things that should be evaluated. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should contribute toward your ultimate decision when choosing an electrician school. We will address that checklist in more detail later in this post. But to begin with, let’s talk a little bit about being an electrician and the instructional options that are available.
Electrician Certificate, Diploma and Degree Programs near Vancouver WA
There are several approaches to receive electrician instruction in a technical or vocational school near Vancouver WA. You can select a diploma or certificate program, or obtain an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are obtainable at some schools, but are not as prevalent as the first three options. Frequently these programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program, which are mandated by most states in order to become licensed or if you want to earn certification. Following are short explanations of the three most common programs offered.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are typically provided by Washington technical and trade schools and require approximately a year to finish. They provide a good foundation and are aimed towards individuals who want to get into an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs take 2 years to finish and are offered by Washington community colleges, usually as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They offer a more comprehensive education while providing the foundation that prepares students to begin their apprenticeship program.
As previously stated, Bachelor’s Degree programs are offered at certain Washington institutions, but are less preferred at four years than the other shorter programs. The majority of states mandate that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and more typically 4 years be carried out prior to licensing. Therefore, many students are anxious to begin their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not part of their academic program.
Electrician Certification and Licensing Guidelines
Electricians in Vancouver WA can perform a vast array of functions, such as installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and ensuring that the wiring in houses and buildings comply with code standards. After concluding an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to be licensed in the majority of municipalities and states. The period of apprenticeship varies by state, but normally about 4 to 5 years of practical experience is required in order to take the licensing exam. The exams usually test general knowledge and electrical theory, in addition to knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also an optional means for an electrician to differentiate him or herself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications available vary by state and may be acquired in numerous specializations, such as cable splicing as an example. The certification process in most cases involves 3 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) along with the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s imperative that the electrician tech school that you choose not only delivers a strong educational foundation, but also helps prepare you for passing any licensing and certification exams that you might be required to pass in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Programs Online in Vancouver WA
A possibility that you may have considered is selecting an electrician online program to earn a certificate or degree. Although online schools are becoming more prevalent as a way of attending class without needing to travel, in this instance they are not completely internet based. Virtually all electrician training programs require partial attendance on-campus to receive hands-on practical training. But since the remainder of the classes can be attended online, distance learning might be a more accommodating choice for individuals that have minimal time for education. And as an added benefit numerous online schools have a lower tuition cost compared to their on-campus competitors. Driving costs from Vancouver WA are also lessened and a portion of the study materials can be accessed on line as well. All of these benefits can make electrician online trade schools more economical and convenient. And a number are fully accredited, which we will deal with in our questions to ask checklist.
What to Ask Electrician Vocational Schools
Now that you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to focus your school options. Because there are so many electrician tech and trade schools in the Vancouver WA region, it’s important to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The initial 2 that we discussed 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 although all three qualifiers may be critical when making your decision, there are other factors that must be considered as well. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to research before choosing an electrical trade school.
Accreditation. A large number of electrician trade schools have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Confirm that the Vancouver WA school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many states mandate that the electrician training program be accredited for it 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 program. A low completion rate might suggest that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It might also suggest that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory 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 confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help Vancouver WA grads obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous electrician technical programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrical companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with Vancouver WA area electricians or electrical contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes job 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 state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the electrical technician you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Vancouver WA electrical company if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Vancouver home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with some of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Vancouver WA, check that the schools you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Vancouver WA?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Vancouver WA area.
Vancouver is a city on the north bank of the Columbia River in the U.S. state of Washington, and the largest suburb of Portland, Oregon. Incorporated in 1857, it is the fourth largest city in the state, with a population of 161,791 as of April 1, 2010 census. Vancouver is the county seat of Clark County and forms part of the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area, the 23rd largest metropolitan area in the United States. Originally established in 1825 around Fort Vancouver, a fur-trading outpost, the city is located on the Washington–Oregon border along the Columbia River, directly north of Portland. In 2005, Money magazine named it No. 91 on its list of best places in America to live. In 2016, WalletHub ranks Vancouver the 39th best place in the US for families to live.
Vancouver shares its name with the larger city of Vancouver in southern British Columbia, Canada, approximately 300 mi (480 km) to the north. Both cities were named after sea captain George Vancouver, but the American city is older; Vancouver, B.C., was incorporated 29 years after the incorporation of Vancouver, Washington, and more than 60 years after the name Vancouver was first used in reference to the historic Fort Vancouver trading post on the Columbia River. City officials have periodically suggested changing the U.S. city's name to Fort Vancouver to reduce confusion with its larger and better-known northern neighbor. Many Pacific Northwest residents distinguish between the two cities by referring to the Canadian city as "Vancouver, B.C." and the United States city as "Vancouver, Washington," or "Vancouver, USA." Local nicknames include "Vantucky" (though this is often used as a derogatory term) and "The 'Couv(e)". In 2013, the nickname "Vansterdam" surfaced as a result of the legalization of marijuana in the state of Washington; this is a reference to the cannabis-legal city of Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
The Vancouver area was inhabited by a variety of Native American tribes, most recently the Chinook and Klickitat nations, with permanent settlements of timber longhouses. The Chinookan and Klickitat names for the area were reportedly Skit-so-to-ho and Ala-si-kas, respectively, meaning "land of the mud-turtles." First European contact was made in 1775, with approximately half of the indigenous population dead from smallpox before the Lewis and Clark expedition camped in the area in 1806. Within another fifty years, other actions and diseases such as measles, malaria and influenza had reduced the Chinookan population from an estimated 80,000 "to a few dozen refugees, landless, slaveless and swindled out of a treaty."
Enroll in the Ideal Electrical Trade School near Vancouver WA
Selecting the right electrician training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the training programs you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any electrician training that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Probably the best way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you select is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional electrician in Vancouver WA.
Other Cool Cities in Washington
Business Results 1 - 10 of 176