How to Become an Electrician in Girdwood Alaska
The initial step to becoming an electrical contractor or tradesman is finding an electrician trade school near Girdwood AK. But with so many technical schools to choose from, just how do you tackle making certain that you enroll in the right one? Especially since there are so many variables to examine. For instance, many students will commence by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. Once they have found some that are within driving distance, they will pick the one with the most affordable tuition. Even though cost and location are important, they are not the only things that must be evaluated. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should contribute toward your ultimate decision when choosing an electrician school. We will address that checklist in more detail later in this article. But to begin with, let’s review a little bit about becoming an electrician and the educational choices that are accessible.
Electrician Diploma, Certificate and Degree Programs near Girdwood AK
There are three general ways to receive electrician instruction in a technical or vocational school near Girdwood AK. You can choose a diploma or certificate program, or receive an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are available at some schools, but are not as prevalent as the other three alternatives. Frequently these programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship, which are mandated by most states to become licensed or if you want to earn certification. Following are brief explanations of the three most prevalent programs available.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally provided by Alaska technical and trade schools and require approximately a year to finish. They provide a solid foundation and are aimed towards those who would like to enter an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees take two years to complete and are provided by Alaska community colleges, typically as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They furnish a more comprehensive education while supplying the foundation that prepares students to begin their apprenticeship program.
As earlier mentioned, Bachelor’s Degree programs are offered at certain Alaska institutions, but are less favored at four years than the other shorter programs. Many states mandate that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and more typically 4 years be performed prior to licensing. For that reason, the majority of students are anxious to start their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not part of their educational program.
Electrician License and Certification Criteria
Electricians in Girdwood AK can carry out a wide range of tasks, such as testing, installing and replacing electrical systems, and making sure that the wiring in houses and buildings are up to code standards. After finishing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are mandated to be licensed in the majority of municipalities and states. The duration of apprenticeship differs by state, but generally about four to five years of practical experience is required before taking the licensing examination. The exams usually test general knowledge and electrical theory, as well as knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also an optional means for an electrician to differentiate her or himself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications offered vary by state and may be obtained in several specialties, including cable splicing as an example. The certification procedure in most cases entails 3 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 trade school that you choose not only delivers a solid academic foundation, but also helps ready you for passing any certification and licensing exams that you might be required to pass in the future.
Attending Electrician Schools Online in Girdwood AK
A possibility that you may have considered is selecting an online electrician school to earn a certificate or degree. While online schools are becoming more accepted as a means of attending class without the need for travel, in this situation they are not entirely internet based. Pretty much all electrician schools require some attendance on campus to receive hands-on practical training. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended online, internet learning might be a more accommodating alternative for students that have minimal time for education. And as an added benefit numerous online training programs have a lower tuition cost compared to their on-campus counterparts. Driving costs from Girdwood AK are also minimized and a portion of the study materials may be accessed online also. All of these benefits can make online electrician tech schools more economical and accessible. And many are fully accredited, which we will discuss in our questions to ask checklist.
Points to Ask Electrician Technical Schools
Once you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to narrow down your training options. Since there are so many electrician vocational and trade schools in the Girdwood AK region, it’s important to have a checklist of criteria that each school must satisfy. 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 must be a feature that your chosen school offers. And although all three qualifiers may be crucial when making your determination, there are additional factors that need to be taken into account also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to assess prior to enrolling in an electrical trade school.
Accreditation. A large number of electrician technical schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Verify that the Girdwood AK school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you acquire a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of states require that the electrician training program be accredited for it to be approved 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 may signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It might also indicate that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which can result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help Girdwood AK graduates secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most electrician technical programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of electrician businesses or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with Girdwood AK area electricians or electrical specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the electrical tech you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Girdwood AK electrical contractor if they can give you some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Girdwood residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to a few of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Girdwood AK, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Girdwood AK?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Girdwood AK area.
Girdwood is a resort town within the southern extent of the Municipality of Anchorage in the state of Alaska. Located near the end of the Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet, Girdwood lies in a valley in the southwestern Chugach Mountains, surrounded by seven glaciers feeding into a number of creeks, which either converge within the valley or empty directly into the arm. Girdwood is typically accessed by the Seward Highway (Milepost 90), with the main line of the Alaska Railroad paralleling the highway. By road distance, most of the community lies within 35 to 40 miles (56 to 64 km) of downtown Anchorage. According to 2014 estimates, a little under 2,000 people live in the valley.
Founded as a community to supply miners during the Turnagain Arm gold rushes of the 1890s, Girdwood was mostly a small, quiet place until the middle of the 20th century. Two events drastically altered that. The first was the establishment of Alyeska Resort along the slopes of Mount Alyeska, which became an international destination coincidental with Anchorage's civic promotion of itself as "The Air Crossroads of the World". The second was the 1964 earthquake, which devastated the original townsite located directly along the arm. Following the earthquake, most of the town moved further up the valley to a new townsite, though a few homes remained and a strip mall was later constructed along the Seward Highway. Historically dominated in the years since the resort's opening by seasonally-occupied vacation homes and seasonal activity at the resort, the opening of the Alyeska Prince Hotel during the 1990s has shifted the resort, and hence Girdwood as a whole, more towards year-round activity and a year-round economy. This has led to periodic debates about community growth and affordability of housing for resort workers, many of whom over the years have resorted to camping illegally on public lands.
Girdwood still revolves heavily around seasonal activity, with skiing and snowboarding at Alyeska Resort bringing visitors and their money into the community. Summer activities are also popular, which include hiking, fishing and rafting. The Girdwood Forest Fair, held every July, is the community's most significant visitor attraction apart from resort-related activities. Girdwood is located within the northernmost extent of rain forest on Earth, and also serves as the closest point of access to Chugach National Forest from Anchorage proper.
Choose the Right Electrical Tech School near Girdwood AK
Selecting the ideal electrical training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the training programs you are considering. It’s a must that any electrician training program that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional electrician in Girdwood AK.
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