Electrical Technology Certificate Program Sets Students up for Success in the Classroom and Beyond

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From left to right: Mailia Hauer and Alexander VickApril 21, 2023

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the use of electricity in the U.S. is expected to grow 30% by the year 2050. Due to our ever-increasing dependence upon electricity, electricians are always in demand to install and maintain these electrical systems. In Michigan, there is an expected growth of 13% in the employment of electricians from 2020 to 2030, according to Careeronestop, the U.S. Department of Labor’s job search website. 

The Electrical Technology Program at Michigan State University (MSU) provides electrical apprenticeship training emphasizing agricultural, residential, commercial, and industrial wiring. The Electrical Technology program is recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeship and Training, and the State of Michigan’s Bureau of Construction Codes. 

“This major is good for anyone that wants to become an electrician. It provides experience through the hands-on labs and gives you an insight into the world of electricity,” said current student Mailia Hauer. 

Students in the electrical technician program complete three semesters of classroom instruction with intensive, hands-on labs. After the first two semesters of classroom instruction, students complete an internship for one semester. Some students take the opportunity for an internship to travel somewhere new, while two-thirds take the opportunity to return to their hometown and begin building relationships with other electricians they wish to work with full-time. 

“After this [classroom instruction], I am going to go through my electrical apprenticeship, and become a licensed electrician. After that, a world will open for me to the point where I would like to run my own company or potentially look into giving other people who were interested in the trade a place to learn,” said current student Alexander Vick.

Education can be expensive, and the Electrical Technology program has provided opportunities to offset student costs. In the Spring of 2023, the Electrical Technology Program, the Institute of ALeft to Right: Jackson Derr, Alden Rodammer, and Coper Gardenhourgricultural Technology (IAT), and the Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering distributed over $100,000 in scholarships to IAT students. Each Electrical Technology student that completed their first semester with an overall GPA of at least 2.5 was eligible for a $5,000 scholarship. In addition, each of the other on-campus IAT programs, were provided with a $5,000 scholarship that could be awarded to students in need. 

Providing financial support for students is a key piece to their success, according to Electrical Technology Program Coordinator Jon Althouse. “The cost of secondary education can put a financial burden on families, and these funds enable students to obtain an education they may not be able to afford otherwise.” The scholarships are funded by outreach courses that assist electricians across the U.S. in acquiring and maintaining electrical licenses.  

Current student Alexander Vick adds, “As excited as I was about this program, the thought of paying for all of this out of my own pocket scared me. This scholarship has been able to give me the chance to ease that burden and focus on my education. It also made me feel as though going through this program was the right decision to make and I am so happy that I started the program when I did. Now I can really dive into giving the program my all and learn as much as I can from those around me before I go out into the world and leave my mark as an electrical technology student. I will be as much of a representative of the program as the program represents me!”

Utilizing the skills from the hands-on labs and internships, students are ready for their next steps after graduation. Most students that graduate from the Electrical Technology program at MSU go on to be licensed and end up as electrical contractors where the sky is the limit.