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Students interested in training to become electricians can find several opportunities in Washington. Many 2-year schools offer certificate programs in the field, and students are taught to complete wiring projects, understand circuitry and work with transformers. Some schools offer programs for electricians interested in working in construction as well as for novices seeking a fundamental understanding of the trade. In addition, students may have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience through co-ops and externships.
Bellingham Technical College
Bellingham Technical College, located in Bellingham, offers two distinct certificate programs for aspiring electricians. One program is designed for fundamental training in the field, while the other is specifically designed for practical construction work. The fundamental certificate program includes courses in circuitry, safety, electrical drawings and occupational math. Students looking for more in-depth training can take a look at the construction certificate, which includes courses in grounding and bonding, electrical code and residential wiring. The school also offers an associate's degree for those who may be interested in continuing their education in the field.
Big Bend Community College
Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake provides several certificate programs for prospective electricians. Students may choose a certificate program in electronics technology, which includes courses in technical writing, circuit analysis and applied mathematics. Students interested in focused training in specific areas can select a certificate program in industrial electricity, instrumentation, national electric code and programmable logic controllers. The Certificate of Accomplishment programs are designed for students who do not intend on completing an associate's degree or Certificate of Completion program.
Perry Technical Institute
Located in Yakima, Perry Technical Institute offers a 2-year training program for prospective electricians. This program includes courses in electrical safety, electro-mechanical motor controls, programmable logic controllers, blueprint reading and transformer connections. Students can also complete an externship as part of their training. This program is recognized by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries and counts towards the requirements to become a journeyman in the state. However, even after completing the program, students must complete 2,000 additional hours of training to qualify for the journeyman exam.
Spokane Community College
This Spokane-based community college has an electrical trainee certificate program. Students take courses in electrical theory, electrical math, circuits and raceways. Those who complete the program should be equipped to work as sales agents in the electrical field or become electrical trainees and begin to obtain on-the-job training. The entire program can be completed in three quarters and requires the completion of at least 59 credits of coursework.
Walla Walla Community College
Students can pursue a 1-year certificate or a 2-year Associate in Applied Arts and Sciences in Electrical Technology at this school in Walla Walla. Courses in applied math and writing as well as an introductory computer class are recommended before enrolling in the electrical technology program. During the degree program, students learn about pneumatics and hydraulics, power generation, electricity theory principles and electrical raceways. A cooperative work experience is part of the curriculum.
Students who plan to work in Washington need to be certified journeyman or specialty electricians. Before they can become general journeyman electricians, however, they must become electrical trainees. Aspiring electricians apply for a trainee certificate through the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. They perform supervised work with a certified electrician while working towards the 8,000 hours of practical experience required for the certified electrician credential. To qualify for the necessary exam, they also need 96 hours of basic classroom instruction. Five schools with certificate programs for aspiring electricians are detailed below with a brief comparison table and a breakdown of tuition and school offerings.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Electrician Certificate Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)|
|Bellingham Technical College||2-year, public; small city|| Electrical Construction Certificate,
Electrical Fundamentals Certificate
|$3,389 in-state; $8,728 out-of-state*|
|Big Bend Community College||2-year, public; remote town|| Certificate of Achievement in Electronics Technology,
Certificate of Achievement in Industrial Electricity,
Certificate of Achievement in Programmable Logic Controllers,
Certificate of Accomplishment in Basic Electricity,
Certificate of Accomplishment in Electronics,
Certificate of Accomplishment in Industrial Electricity,
Certificate of Accomplishment in Instrumentation,
Certificate of Accomplishment in National Electrical Code,
Certificate of Accomplishment in Programmable Logic Controllers
|$3,846 in-state; $4,254 out-of-state*|
|Perry Technical Institute||2-year, private, not-for-profit; small city||Certificate of Completion in Electrical Technology||$36,711 for electrician program*|
|Spokane Community College||2-year, public; midsize city||Electrical Trainee Certificate||$3,388 in-state; $8,726 out-of-state*|
|Walla Walla Community College||2-year, public; small city||Electrical Technology Certificate||$4,203 in-state; $5,670 out-of-state*|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics.