I recently took and passed by ETCP Entertainment Electricians Exam even though there is a fair amount of discussion in the industry whether or not it is truly needed. One of the main reasons behind my decision is that it add validation to the knowledge that I know I process. Going through the process of studying was also a great way to fill in the gaps of what I already knew. ETCP provides an outline of what will be on the test which is a good guide of what to study and ensure you having a good general working knowledge. Another reason was that when it comes to looking for a job further down the road it may help to influence an employers final decision in my favor of job candidates. The fact that my current local (IATSE) was willing to reimburse the $550 also helped make it seem like a really good idea with minimal downsides.
One of the thing that made me hesitating on taking the exam was the verification process. I wasn't sure exactly what ETCP/PLASA was looking for as far as proving hours and what process they were going to follow. Luckily for me, my primary employer keeps records of total hours worked through payroll. Having worked way more than the 3,000 hours required to qualify on points alone I was more than good to go. With so many hours in the bank I was very confident that at least the required 3,000 hours of electrical was completed. I also ended up submitting an official transcript from school which I had acquired a stack of at some point. Before submitting anything I did send ETCP an email and got a reply to all of the questions that I had which was very helpful. After submitting my paperwork and payment it took about two weeks for the ETCP people to call and verify with my direct report manager at work (yes they did call and check) and give me the go ahead and take the test.
After I got the go ahead to take the test, its a matter of going onto the AMP website and setting up a testing appointment. The test is administered on a computer which is the standard for industry testing. It is possible to take the test at the larger trade events on paper if that is something you desire. In the Southern California area all the testing center locations were located at HR&R Blocks. The actual venue is a back area they have set aside with computers in cubicles for privacy. As far as taking the test, the questions displayed on the computer with the multiple choice answers below them. The software makes it very easy to flag questions to go back to later so its possible to skip the more time consuming questions and come back later which is what I ended up doing to ensure I at least saw everything. In fact, the computer will not allow you to finish the exam without acknowledging unanswered questions and will scroll through them for you so you can answer them. At the end of the test, the computer closes out and asks you to return to the lobby. Once back in the lobby is when you get your results and a printout with the number of questions correct and the number of questions needed to pass. It also mentions that with in 6 weeks you will receive your certificate and ID card.
Since I took the test right before the Christmas/ New Years holidays in the middle of December it wasn't until after the New Year that I heard back from ETCP. They emailed me asking for a picture for my ID card as well as some information to put up on their website for my listing if you search for me there. About a week or so after that (a few days before this posts) I received my packet with my certificate, ID card, and some other goodies. So now all I have to worry about is the recertification process in 5 years or the process of adding one of the rigging certs if I chose to go that way in the future.