Ridgewater to Open New Evening Electrical Technology Program
May 6, 2021
WILLMAR and HUTCHINSON, MN – Future electricians will soon have a new training option at Ridgewater College beginning Fall 2021 – a new afternoon-evening Electrical Technology option in Willmar to complement the traditional daytime Electrician program available on both Willmar and Hutchinson campuses.
“We’re extremely excited to offer this new Electrical Technology career choice designed to help meet electrical industry critical needs,” said Leland Floren, longtime Ridgewater Electrician instructor. “It is a great alternative choice to achieve your degree for people seeking to ‘earn while they learn.’”
The demand for electricians is strong. It’s why Ridgewater expanded its Electrician program to the Hutchinson campus in 2018. According to careerwise.minnstate.edu, the projected Minnesota job growth outlook is about 9.5 percent, well above the state average for 2018-2028. Central Minnesota’s anticipated growth rate is even higher at 12.3 percent, with current median electrician wages at $35.55, much higher than the state median wage of $21.49 for all careers.
The new 60-credit diploma option offers students the chance to work during the day and learn in the late afternoon and evenings. It’s a great option for students already working in industry or students looking to get started. Course delivery includes a blended format of online lectures with in-person labs at the Willmar campus.
Future electricians within both program options will learn residential and commercial electrical work, as well as industrial and maintenance installation in accordance with the National Electrical Code. They’ll practice working with motor controls, photovoltaic solar systems, transformers, specialized systems, heating, venting and air conditioning, as well as energy-efficient lighting and heating/cooling systems.
“The idea is to give students options and flexibility,” said Jeff Miller, Ridgewater dean of technical instruction. “One thing that the COVID pandemic has taught us is that we can deliver a high-quality online education even in highly technical areas.”
One distinct difference between the new and traditional programs is that the 83-credit Associate of Applied Science Electrician Degree and 74-credit diploma programs are approved by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) toward one year (or 2,000 hours) of work experience. This allows the student to apply 2,000 hours to the 8,000 hours (or 48 months) required to be able to test for the Class A journeyworker electrician license. The traditional options also include Applied Math, construction site safety and OSHA training.
“The Electrical Technology program option to ‘earn as you learn’ is a way for working students to be able to earn a college degree at the same time,” said Keith Olson, Electrician instructor, Willmar campus. It’s also an option for others interested in the blended format of online and on campus.
Olson added, “The Electrical Technology diploma can lead you to a satisfying and rewarding career as an apprentice electrician, Class A journeyworker electrician, Class A master electrician, electrical contractor, maintenance electrician and many other career choices in the electrical trades.”
To learn more about the Electrical Technology or Electrician programs, go to www.ridgewater.edu/electrician