How to Become an Electrician in Valley Washington
The initial step to learning to be an electrical tradesman or contractor is enrolling in an electrician trade school near Valley WA. But with numerous vocational schools to select from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the right one? Particularly because there are so many points to examine. For instance, many prospective students will begin by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. Once they have located several that are within driving distance, they will decide on the one with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are significant, they are not the sole things that need to be considered. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifiers should influence your final decision when selecting an electrician school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this article. But first, let’s review a little bit about being an electrician and the educational options that are accessible.
Electrician Degree, Diploma and Certificate Programs near Valley WA
There are several options to receive electrician training in a trade or technical school near Valley WA. You can select a certificate or diploma program, or receive an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are available at certain schools, but are not as prevalent as the first three options. Frequently these programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship, which are mandated by the majority of states in order to be licensed or if you wish to earn certification. Following are brief descriptions of the three most common programs offered.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by Washington trade and technical schools and take about a year to finish. They provide a solid foundation and are geared towards individuals who want to get into an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs involve two years to finish and are offered by Washington junior or community colleges, typically as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They furnish a more well-rounded education while supplying the foundation that readies students to begin their apprenticeship program.
As earlier stated, Bachelor’s Degree programs are available at some Washington institutions, but are less preferred at 4 years than the other briefer programs. The majority of states require that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and in most cases 4 years be carried out before licensing. Therefore, many students are anxious to commence their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not a component of their academic program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Criteria
Electricians in Valley WA can perform a multitude of duties, such as testing, installing and replacing electrical systems, and making sure that the wiring in buildings and homes are up to code standards. After concluding an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to be licensed in most states or municipalities. The length of apprenticeship differs by state, but normally about 4 to 5 years of prior experience is required before taking the licensing exam. The exams commonly assess general knowledge and electrical theory, in addition to knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also a voluntary means for an electrician to identify her or himself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications available vary by state and can be acquired in many specialties, including 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) as well as the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s crucial that the electrician trade school that you select not only delivers a solid academic foundation, but also helps ready you for passing any certification and licensing exams that you might need to pass in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Online Training Classes in Valley WA
An option that you may have looked at is choosing an electrician online school to earn a certificate or degree. While online training programs have become more prevalent as a way of attending class without needing to travel, in this instance they are not entirely internet based. Just about all electrician training programs require some attendance on campus to receive hands-on practical training. But since the balance of the classes can be accessed online, distance learning may be a more practical choice for individuals that have minimal time for education. And as a bonus numerous online degree programs have a lower tuition cost compared to their on campus competitors. Commuting costs from Valley WA are also lessened and some of the study materials may be available on line also. Each of these benefits can make online electrician tech schools more affordable and convenient. And a number are fully accredited, which we will cover in our due diligence checklist.
Things to Ask Electrician Vocational Schools
When you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to focus your training options. Because there are so many electrician vocational and trade schools in the Valley WA region, it’s important to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The initial 2 that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. If you are interested in earning an online degree, then that needs to be an option that your final school offers. And while all three qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are other factors that need to be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to research prior to enrolling in an electrical trade school.
Accreditation. Many electrician vocational schools have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Confirm that the Valley WA program and school 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 an excellent education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, some states require that the electrician training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion and Placement Rates. Ask the electrician schools you are considering 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 could signify that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It may also mean that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to employ 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 field, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist Valley WA grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most electrician trade programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrician contractors or trade unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with Valley WA area electricians or electrical companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the tools 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, talk to the electrical tech you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Valley WA electrical company if they can provide some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Valley home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much one-on-one instruction 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 witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools 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 Valley WA, confirm that the programs you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Valley WA?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Valley WA area.
Maple Valley, Washington
The area was settled in 1879 by three men who were improving a trail and brought their families in. When a name for a future community was proposed, the names Vine Maple Valley and Maple Ridge were suggested. A vote was taken by writing the names on slips of paper and placing them in a hat. Vine Maple Valley won by 2/3, but the word "Vine" was later cut by the post office because it made the name too long.
The town's early history mainly had to do with coal, lumber milling to build homes, and a railroad which ran through town. Coal was brought in from Black Diamond to the south, but the town itself also mined coal from Cedar Mountain. The mine was used as late as 1947. Rail workers for lines like the Northern Pacific Railroad and the Cedar River Watershed, closed off by the City of Seattle, meant more workers for those things. More residents meant more lumber milling. More lumber milling meant more workers. Suquamish tribe chairperson Martha George was born near Maple Valley in Sheridan in 1892, at a logging camp where her mother and grandmother worked as cooks."
The town grew inward. Blacksmith shops, hotels, saloons and stores took up the town in the 1910s and 1920s. Schools went up as well. Early schools were shacks at best. A two-room school went up in 1910, but a larger school was quickly needed. Tahoma High School, a three-story brick building, went up in 1920. Students made up the name by combining the first two letters in the town names Taylor, Hobart and Maple Valley. The school still serves the Tahoma School District as an elementary school.
Find the Ideal Electrical Tech School near Valley WA
Choosing the best electrical training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a necessity that any electrical training that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every training program provides unique options for certification also. Probably The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end result will be a new career as a professional electrician in Valley WA.
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