How to Become an Electrician in Elba Alabama
The first step to becoming an electrical tradesman or contractor is enrolling in an electrician trade school near Elba AL. But with numerous technical schools to pick from, just how do you tackle making sure that you enroll in the best one? Especially because there are so many variables to evaluate. For instance, many students will begin by searching for schools that are nearby their residence. When they have located several that are within commuting range, they will select the one with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are of importance, they are not the only qualifications that must be considered. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should contribute toward your ultimate decision when selecting an electrician trade school. We will address that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But to begin with, let’s review a little bit about becoming an electrician and the instructional options that are accessible.
Electrician Certificate, Diploma and Degree Options near Elba AL
There are three general ways to receive electrician training in a technical or vocational school near Elba AL. You may enroll in a diploma or certificate program, or obtain an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at a few schools, but are not as prevalent as the other three alternatives. Frequently these programs are made available combined with an apprenticeship program, which are mandated by most states in order to be licensed or if you intend to earn certification. Following are brief summaries of the 3 most typical programs available.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally provided by Alabama vocational and trade schools and take approximately a year to complete. They furnish a solid foundation and are geared towards those who want to enter an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs take two years to complete and are offered by Alabama junior or community colleges, typically as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They furnish a more well-rounded education while providing the foundation that prepares students to join their apprenticeship program.
As earlier mentioned, Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at certain Alabama colleges, but are less preferred at four years than the other shorter programs. The majority of states mandate that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and more typically four years be carried out prior to licensing. Therefore, most students are anxious to start their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not part of their academic program.
Electrician License and Certification Prerequisites
Electricians in Elba AL can perform a vast array of services, such as testing, installing and replacing electrical systems, and ensuring that the wiring in buildings and homes comply with code standards. After completing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to be licensed in most states or municipalities. The duration of apprenticeship varies by state, but commonly about 4 to 5 years of experience is required before taking the licensing examination. The exams typically test general knowledge and electrical theory, in addition to knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also a voluntary method for an electrician to distinguish her or himself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications available differ by state and may be obtained in many specializations, such as cable splicing as an example. The certification process usually involves 3 levels of competency:
- An experience requirement
- Passing a written exam
- Passing a practical exam
Examples of certifying organizations include the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (NJATC) and also the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s important that the electrician tech school that you select not only provides a strong academic foundation, but also helps prepare you for passing any licensing and certification exams that you might need to take in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Schools Online in Elba AL
An option that you might have looked at is choosing an online electrician school to earn a certificate or degree. Even though online training programs have become more popular as a way of attending class without the need for travel, in this instance they are not totally internet based. Virtually all electrician training programs require some attendance on campus to receive practical hands-on training. But since the rest of the classes may be accessed online, distance learning can be a more accommodating alternative for students that have minimal time for education. And as an added benefit numerous online schools have a lower tuition cost compared to their on-campus counterparts. Driving expenses from Elba AL are also lessened and some of the study materials can be accessed online as well. Each of these benefits can make electrician online tech schools more economical and accessible. And a number are fully accredited, which we will deal with in our due diligence checklist.
Points to Ask Electrician Training Schools
Once you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to focus your training options. Considering that there are so many electrician vocational and trade schools in the Elba AL region, it’s essential to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The first 2 that we discussed were location and tuition expense. If you have an interest in earning an degree online, then that must be an option that your final school offers. And even though all three qualifiers may be critical when making your selection, there are additional factors that need to be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to analyze before enrolling in an electrical technical school.
Accreditation. Many electrician trade schools have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Make certain that the Elba AL program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial assistance 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 schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate might suggest that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It could also suggest that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist Elba AL grads secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of electrician vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of electrician contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with Elba AL area electricians or electrical companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the electrical technician you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Elba AL electrical contractor if they can give you some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Elba home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to a few of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Elba AL, confirm that the programs you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Elba AL?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Elba AL area.
Elba is a city in Coffee County, Alabama, United States. At the time of the 2010 U.S. census, its population was 3,940. Elba is part of the Enterprise micropolitan statistical area. Elba is the official county seat of Coffee County, though there are two county courthouses, with the other one being located in the town of Enterprise.
The town which eventually became Elba originated near a ferry across the Pea River in the early 1830s. Originally called Bridgeville, a U.S. post office was established in the town by 1841. In 1851, a lottery to determine a new name for the town was held. One citizen had been reading a biography of Napoleon Bonaparte, and his suggestion of "Elba" as its name was the winner when it was drawn from a hat before any of the other suggestions. Elba became the county seat of Coffee County in 1852.
A logging railroad first reached Elba on March 20, 1892, with the first permanent rail line arriving in October 1898. The "Dorsey Trailer Company" was constructed at the end of this railroad line, and this company manufactured the highway trailers that served on railroads and highways starting with the piggyback railroad or containerized cargo boom of the second half of the 20th century. The new railroad line ended in West Elba, where the "New Town" industrial section of the town was located. The Seaboard System Railroad ceased all railroad service to Elba, including freight service, on November 27, 1984.
Choose the Right Electrician Vocational School near Elba AL
Selecting the best electrician trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any electrician training that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional electrician in Elba AL.
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