Welcome to ECN. I think you'll find a similar (albeit much more diverse)set of answers here.
I will agree with other advice offered elsewhere - If the opportunity presents itself, I'd suggest a local community college, IEC or IBEW apprenticeship (translation- IEC=Independent Electrical Contractor (non-union); IBEW=International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (union)). They're both out there - I'm not sure how things work down in KC area, but you might try contacting those two groups for additional info: http://www.ibew.org/directory/SearchDirectory/detailLU.asp?LocalUnion=124 http://www.ieci.org/default.asp?PID=85 http://www.iecwichita.org/
Edited to add: Found these as well, might be useful: http://entkdhr.state.ks.us/Appshp/apprentice.htm http://www.kslegislature.org/cgi-bin/statutes/index.cgi
You might also look into hiring on with a local EC (Electrical Contractor) to get a feel for the job.
$26k is a lot
of money without a guarantee of job placement. My correspondence class (great for theory, crappy for hands-on) ran $900 something by the time it was all said and done; it was that, combined with several years of "hands on" with a local ECs that allowed me to finally challenge the Municipal exam and get my own EC "ticket".
Any apprenticeship program worth it's salt is going to have to give you approximately 4 years worth of knowledge - both theory and hands-on - before they let you "wander loose" to challege any tests, and play with sparks as a journeyman electrician.
If you can, please post a link to the college's course description for the class, would you?
This business has it's own rewards, and, while there are higher paying gigs out there, it sure beats flippin' burgers, or doing something you're miserable in.
[This message has been edited by DougW (edited 04-28-2004).]