How to Become an Electrician in Whittier Alaska
The initial step to learning to be an electrical contractor or tradesman is finding an electrician trade school near Whittier AK. But with so many vocational schools to choose from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the best one? Especially because there are so many variables to evaluate. For instance, some potential students will start by looking for schools that are close to their home. After they have identified several that are within commuting distance, they will choose the one with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are of importance, they are not the sole qualifications that need to be evaluated. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should help mold your final judgment when choosing an electrician trade school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this article. But to begin with, let’s talk a little bit about being an electrician and the educational options that are accessible.
Electrician Degree, Certificate and Diploma Programs near Whittier AK
There are three general ways to obtain electrician instruction in a technical or vocational school near Whittier AK. You may enroll in a diploma or certificate program, or earn an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are obtainable at a few schools, but are not as common as the other three options. Often these programs are offered together with an apprenticeship, which are required by the majority of states in order to be licensed or if you want to become certified. Bellow are short descriptions of the three most prevalent programs available.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are typically provided by Alaska trade and technical schools and take about a year to complete. They furnish a solid foundation and are aimed towards those who wish to get into an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees involve 2 years to complete and are provided by Alaska community colleges, typically as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They furnish a more extensive education while providing the foundation that readies students to join their apprenticeship program.
As previously stated, Bachelor’s Degree programs are available at some Alaska colleges, but are less popular at 4 years than the other briefer programs. Most states mandate that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and in most cases 4 years be performed prior to licensing. Therefore, most students are eager to commence their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not a component of their educational program.
Electrician Certification and Licensing Requirements
Electricians in Whittier AK can perform a multitude of duties, including installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and ensuring that the wiring in houses and buildings comply with code standards. After completing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to become licensed in the majority of states or municipalities. The length of apprenticeship differs by state, but normally about 4 to 5 years of prior experience is needed before taking the licensing examination. The exams usually test electrical theory and general knowledge, as well as knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also an optional way for an electrician to differentiate him or herself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications offered differ by state and can be acquired in numerous specializations, including cable splicing as an example. The certification procedure in most cases includes 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 imperative that the electrician tech 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 may need to take in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Online Schools in Whittier AK
A possibility that you might have considered is enrolling in an online electrician program to earn a degree or a certificate. Even though online training programs have become more prevalent as a way of attending class without needing to travel, in this instance they are not totally internet based. Just about all electrician training programs require partial attendance on campus to get practical hands-on training. But since the remainder of the classes may be accessed online, internet learning may be a more accommodating alternative for individuals that have minimal time for education. And as an added benefit numerous online schools have a cheaper tuition cost compared to their traditional counterparts. Commuting costs from Whittier AK are also minimized and some of the study materials can be accessed on line also. Each of these benefits can make online electrician trade schools more economical and convenient. And many are fully accredited, which we will deal with in our due diligence checklist.
Points to Ask Electrician Vocational Schools
Once you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to focus your school options. Considering that there are numerous electrician tech and trade schools in the Whittier AK region, it’s essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The first two that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. If you have an interest in earning an online degree, then that must be a feature that your chosen school offers. And even though all three qualifiers may be important when making your selection, there are additional variables that must be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to research prior to enrolling in an electrical trade school.
Accreditation. Numerous electrician trade programs have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Confirm that the Whittier AK program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you receive a quality education, it can help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, some 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 reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate may indicate that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It could also mean that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist Whittier AK grads secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous electrician technical programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrician contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with Whittier AK area electricians or electrical contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the electrical technician you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Whittier AK electrical company if they can provide some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Whittier residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much personalized 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 big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Talk with a few of the students and get their feedback relating to 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. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs 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 Whittier AK, verify that the schools you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Whittier AK?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Whittier AK area.
Whittier is a city at the head of the Passage Canal in the U.S. state of Alaska, about 58 miles southeast of Anchorage. The city is within the Valdez–Cordova Census Area. At the 2010 census the population was 220, up from 182 in 2000. The 2016 estimate was 214 people, almost all of whom live in a single building. Whittier is also a port for the Alaska Marine Highway.
The region occupied by Whittier was once part of the portage route of the Chugach people native to Prince William Sound. Later, the passage was used by Russian and American explorers, and by prospecting miners during the gold rush. The nearby Whittier glacier was named for American poet John Greenleaf Whittier in 1915, and the town eventually took the name as well.
During World War II, the United States Army constructed a military facility, complete with port and railroad near Whittier Glacier and named the facility Camp Sullivan. The spur of the Alaska Railroad to Camp Sullivan was completed in 1943 and the port became the entrance for United States soldiers into Alaska.
Choose the Ideal Electrical Technical School near Whittier AK
Choosing the ideal electrical trade school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare among the training programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any electrician training program that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect 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 commitment, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional electrician in Whittier AK.
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