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North Carolina Teens Get Electrical Systems Certifications

Students at Crest High School in North Carolina are receiving Electronics Technician Association International professional certifications, qualifying them to work with direct or alternating current and digital circuits.

simple electrical circuit illustration
(TNS) — When Jamie Hamrick’s electrical systems students started their spring semester on Thursday, they were greeted by a drawing on a white board.

“It’s a diagram of a circuit,” explained Hamrick before classes started. “I’m going to say does anybody know what this is? And they are going to say no. I’ll say this is a whole new language you are about to learn.”

And by the end of the school year, most, if not all of those students will know that new language, and how it applies to working with electrical components and circuit boards, like the back of their hands. If recent trends are any indication, many will have internationally recognized certificates to prove it.

Last semester, more than 80 students across Hamrick’s three electrical systems classes earned Electronics Technician Association International. The certificates mean the students have met standards for working on direct current, alternating current and digital circuits.

For students who choose to leave school and enter a skilled trade, those certifications open the doors for extra opportunities in education and employment.

“To see these kids go through it and transition to at the end they tell me ‘Mr. Hamrick I’m coming back’ or ‘I’m going to do this and I’m going to do that.’ To get that kind of feedback feels great,” Hamrick said.

Each of the three electrical systems courses taught at Crest offers students a chance to earn a professional certification. Hamrick has also partnered with Cleveland Community College to help students transition from his class to taking college-level electrical courses while they are still in high school.

To prepare for their tests, students spend much of the semester learning the basics of new concepts from Hamrick, himself a former electrical engineer for IBM, then testing those concepts using school provided multimeters and oscilloscopes.

“I really like how to learn something and then see how it all fits together,” said Travis Snyder, a junior at Crest who recently earned certificates in digital currents and basic digital electronics.

“You really get to learn something and then apply it in a hands on kind of way. If you think you know something, you can go over and test it and see if you are right,” said Allie MacArthur, a senior who has completed certificates in digital currents and basic digital electronics.

Crest is currently the only county high school with an electrical systems program which allows students to earn Electronics Technician Association International certifications.

Hamrick is trying to change that, however. He has partnered with Cleveland Community College to host an Industrial Technology Boot Camp, which covers many of the concepts offered in his high school classes.

The boot camp is open to anyone, and Hamrick is hoping to attract students from other area high schools interested in electronics.

“Clearwater has said they are sending some people over to take it. So if we can get people from local business interacting with and learning with some of our high school students, that would be great,” he said.

There is a fee to join the boot camp, but scholarships are available.

©2022 The Star (Shelby, N.C.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.