I have been asking myself this question from time to time. Are cheater courses a benifit to our trade or does it cheapen it by allowing obvious unqualified persons to pass the state/county master exams?
Myself personally, I think the cheater courses would be ok, provided there were additional requirements to keep the license. For example, I see some states and counties require continuing education as a requirement to keep the license.
I don't think a prep course should be considered cheating, just smart. I took a 7 day(over 3 weekends) course before I took my license exam. I scored a 91. Over half of the people who took the course still failed the exam. If I hadn't taken the course I too would have failed, not because the course gave me the answers, but because without it I wouldn't have known how to find the correct answer in the time allowed. I'm a better electrician because of the prep course I took, I learned things that I hadn't needed in the past, but might in the future. And Georgia does require continuing ed, but that is a joke, 2 hours every 2 years and almost anything counts.
James, I see where you are coming from, but I think that I'll have to agree with Eagle. Any time someone takes a course of any kind, I would call it education. I will tell you that here in Houston, not many have passed the Master's Test. I consider myself fortunate to have passed. It took me a year and 6 months, 2 nights a week of school to pass. So, in the nation's 4th largest city, there are fewer than 700 of us who hold a Houston Master's. James, you sound like a guy who cares about the education level of our trade. The only people who can "raise the bar" are the people in authority. I will say also that we are responsible to "raise the bar" as much as we can on an individual basis.
Well a cheater course doesn't really cheat for you. You get out what you put in. I took a exam prep course which ran 72 hours. Eleven days at 8 hours a session. It was spread over 3 months on saturdays. And the home work was about 20hrs a week. It opened my eyes on a lot of things. Being a residential electrician I didn't have much control or transformer expierence prior to taking that course. It really helped me continue learning well after I passed. For guys to take an weekend long crash course and pass, they would have to know a great deal walking into that class. The Georgia test is heavily weighted with taxes, unemployment insurance, workers comp and such. The only way to get this stuff is to take a course cause the bossman isn't gonna waste his time one it. I never had a master teach me what I needed to know on the test. I think if you can get done in a weekend... great! But good luck. As Electric Eagle said continuing ed in our state can be a joke. I try to go find a course that will benefit me instead of just trying to get my four hours in. Like I said you get out what you put in. Today we wrapped up about two hours early so I took all my men back to the shop for school. Pulled out the dry-erase board and started preaching. We took 14.4kv primaries and took them through the whole system down to the last recept. I referenced the code the whole way through and they sat with pen, paper and ugly book and took notes. No one I worked for did this for me and it made tough when I went from the field to the code book. I try to do this with my crew when we have time and it's fun to hear to helpers arguing code issues the next day on the job! It really gives them a sense of pride and makes them better electricians.