How to Become an Electrician in Washington District of Columbia
The first step to becoming an electrical contractor or tradesman is locating an electrician trade school near Washington DC. But with numerous vocational schools to choose from, just how do you undertake making sure that you enroll in the right one? Especially because there are so many variables to evaluate. For example, some students will commence by looking for schools that are close to their home. Once they have identified a few that are within driving distance, they will select the one with the least expensive tuition. While location and cost are of importance, they are not the only qualifications that must be evaluated. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should influence your final judgment when picking an electrician training school. We will discuss that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit about becoming an electrician and the educational choices that are accessible.
Electrician Diploma, Certificate and Degree Options near Washington DC
There are multiple options to get electrician training in a trade or technical school near Washington DC. You can select a certificate or diploma program, or obtain an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are obtainable at certain schools, but are not as common as the other three alternatives. Frequently these programs are made available combined with an apprenticeship, which are mandated by most states to be licensed or if you intend to earn certification. Following are brief summaries of the 3 most prevalent programs offered.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually provided by District of Columbia vocational and trade schools and take approximately a year to complete. They furnish a solid foundation and are aimed towards those who would like to get into an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees take 2 years to finish and are offered by District of Columbia junior or community colleges, commonly as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They offer a more well-rounded education while providing the foundation that prepares students to enter into their apprenticeship program.
As previously stated, Bachelor’s Degree programs are offered at some District of Columbia institutions, but are less popular at four years than the other briefer programs. Many states mandate that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and in most cases four years be performed before licensing. Therefore, most students are anxious to start their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not part of their academic program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Guidelines
Electricians in Washington DC can carry out a vast array of services, such as installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and ensuring that the wiring in buildings and homes are up to code standards. After completing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are mandated to be licensed in the majority of municipalities and states. The length of apprenticeship differs by state, but usually around four to five years of practical experience is needed before taking the licensing examination. The exams usually assess general knowledge and electrical theory, along with understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also a voluntary means for an electrician to differentiate her or himself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications available differ by state and can be acquired in numerous specializations, such as cable splicing as an example. The certification process usually involves three 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) and also the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s imperative that the electrician trade school that you choose not only furnishes a strong educational foundation, but also helps prepare you for passing any certification and licensing exams that you might be required to pass in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Online Training Classes in Washington DC
A possibility that you may have contemplated is choosing an electrician online school to earn a certificate or degree. While online schools have become more accepted as a way of attending class without the need for travel, in this case they are not totally internet based. Just about all electrician schools require some attendance on-campus to get practical hands-on training. But since the balance of the classes may be accessed online, internet learning can be a more accommodating alternative for individuals that have minimal time for schooling. And as an added benefit numerous online training programs have a lower tuition cost compared to their on-campus competitors. Driving expenses from Washington DC are also lessened and some of the study materials may be accessed online also. Each of these benefits can make online electrician tech schools more economical and convenient. And many are fully accredited, which we will deal with in our questions to ask checklist.
Questions to Ask Electrician Tech Schools
When you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to narrow down your training options. Since there are numerous electrician vocational and trade schools in the Washington DC region, it’s important to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The first two that we discussed were location and tuition expense. If you are interested in earning an degree online, then that must be an option that your chosen school offers. And while all three qualifiers may be critical when making your decision, there are additional variables that need to be considered as well. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to analyze before enrolling in an electrical technical school.
Accreditation. Numerous electrician trade schools have received 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 pertains to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Confirm that the Washington DC program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you acquire a quality education, it can assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, many states require that the electrician training course 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate may indicate that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It might also indicate that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which may produce 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 an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist Washington DC graduates obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous electrician trade programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrical companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with Washington DC area electricians or electrical companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the electrical tech you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Washington DC electrical contractor if they can give you some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Washington residence. Take note that if you decide to attend 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 get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak with several of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the teachers 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 fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Washington DC, check that the programs you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Washington DC?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Washington DC area.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington or D.C., is the capital of the United States of America. Founded after the American Revolution as the seat of government of the newly independent country, Washington was named after George Washington, first President of the United States and Founding Father. Washington is the principal city of the Washington Metropolitan Area, which has a population of 6,131,977. Washington is described as the political Capital of the World, owing to its status as the seat of the United States Federal Government and numerous international institutions, such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Washington is one of the most visited cities in the world, with more than 20 million annual tourists.
The signing of the Residence Act on July 16, 1790, approved the creation of a capital district located along the Potomac River on the country's East Coast. The U.S. Constitution provided for a federal district under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Congress and the District is therefore not a part of any state. The states of Maryland and Virginia each donated land to form the federal district, which included the pre-existing settlements of Georgetown and Alexandria. Named in honor of President George Washington, the City of Washington was founded in 1791 to serve as the new national capital. In 1846, Congress returned the land originally ceded by Virginia; in 1871, it created a single municipal government for the remaining portion of the District.
Washington had an estimated population of 693,972 as of July 2017. Commuters from the surrounding Maryland and Virginia suburbs raise the city's population to more than one million during the workweek. The Washington metropolitan area, of which the District is the principal city, has a population of over 6 million, the sixth-largest metropolitan statistical area in the country.
Select the Right Electrical Vocational School near Washington DC
Choosing the ideal electrical training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the training programs you are considering. It’s a must that any electrician tech school that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each training program provides different options for certification also. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the 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 best one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new career as a professional electrician in Washington DC.
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