How to Become an Electrician in Boaz Alabama
The first step to learning to be an electrical contractor or tradesman is enrolling in an electrician trade school near Boaz AL. But with so many vocational schools to choose from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially since there are a number of factors to evaluate. For instance, many prospective students will commence by searching for schools that are close to their residence. After they have located some that are within driving range, they will choose the one with the lowest tuition. Even though cost and location are of importance, they are not the sole things that must be considered. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifiers should help mold your ultimate decision when picking an electrician training school. We will address that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let’s talk a little bit about being an electrician and the instructional options that are offered.
Electrician Degree, Certificate and Diploma Programs near Boaz AL
There are multiple options to get electrician instruction in a vocational or trade school near Boaz AL. You may choose a diploma or certificate program, or obtain an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at certain schools, but are not as common as the other three options. In many cases these programs are offered together with an apprenticeship program, which are required by most states to become licensed or if you would like to earn certification. Following are short descriptions of the 3 most typical programs offered.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by Alabama trade and technical schools and require approximately a year to complete. They furnish a good foundation and are aimed towards individuals who want to get into an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs require 2 years to complete and are offered by Alabama junior or community colleges, typically as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They offer a more comprehensive education while providing the foundation that readies students to join their apprenticeship program.
As previously mentioned, Bachelor’s Degree programs are offered at some Alabama colleges, but are less popular at 4 years than the other briefer programs. Most states mandate that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and more typically 4 years be performed before licensing. Therefore, many students are eager to start their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not part of their academic program.
Electrician License and Certification Requirements
Electricians in Boaz AL can undertake a multitude of duties, such as installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and making sure that the wiring in houses and buildings are up to code standards. After finishing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to be licensed in the majority of municipalities and states. The period of apprenticeship varies by state, but typically about 4 to 5 years of prior experience is required before taking the licensing examination. The exams commonly test general knowledge and electrical theory, along with understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also a voluntary means for an electrician to distinguish her or himself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications available vary by state and can be acquired in numerous specializations, including cable splicing as an example. The certification procedure in most cases includes three levels of competency:
- An experience requirement
- Passing a written exam
- Passing a practical exam
Examples of certifying agencies include the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (NJATC) as well as the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s important that the electrician vocational school that you enroll in not only provides a solid educational foundation, but also helps ready you for passing any licensing and certification exams that you might be required to pass in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Online Training Classes in Boaz AL
A possibility that you might have contemplated is selecting an electrician online school to earn a certificate or degree. Although online schools have become more popular as a way of attending class without the need for travel, in this situation they are not completely internet based. Just about all electrician training programs require some attendance on campus to obtain hands-on practical training. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended online, internet learning might be a more accommodating alternative for students that have limited time for education. And as an added benefit many online degree programs have a cheaper tuition cost compared to their on-campus competitors. Commuting expenses from Boaz AL are also reduced and a portion of the study materials can be accessed on line also. Each of these benefits can make online electrician tech schools more affordable and convenient. And many are fully accredited, which we will cover in our due diligence checklist.
Questions to Ask Electrician Technical Schools
Now that you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to focus your training options. Considering that there are so many electrician vocational and trade schools in the Boaz AL area, it’s important to have a checklist of criteria that each program must satisfy. The first 2 that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. If you are interested in earning an degree online, then that must be a feature that your final school offers. And although all three qualifiers may be critical when making your selection, there are additional factors that must be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to analyze before selecting an electrical vocational school.
Accreditation. Many electrician vocational programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Make certain that the Boaz AL program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it can help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states require that the electrician training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion and Placement Rates. Ask the electrician training programs you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate could signify that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It might also signify that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help Boaz AL graduates secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most electrician vocational programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrician companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with Boaz AL area electricians or electrical professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the electrical tech you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Boaz AL electrical contractor if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Boaz home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak to some of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Boaz AL, check that the programs you are comparing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Boaz AL?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Boaz AL area.
Boaz is a city in Marshall and Etowah counties in the U.S. state of Alabama. It is part of the Gadsden, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the city's population was 9,551. Boaz is known for its outlet shops.
First settled in the 1850s, the town of Boaz was officially founded November 11, 1878 by the Sparks Family of Georgia. A post office has been in operation since 1887. The city was named after Boaz, from the Bible. It was incorporated in 1897.
The Julia Street Memorial United Methodist Church, Snead Junior College Historic District, the Thomas A. Snellgrove Homestead, and the Edward Fenns Whitman House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage lists the Boaz Elementary School, the First Baptist Church and Cemetery, and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.
Choose the Right Electrician Trade School near Boaz AL
Picking the right electrical trade school will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any electrical tech school that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each program provides different options for certification also. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new trade as a professional electrician in Boaz AL.
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