How to Become an Electrician in Huntsville Alabama
The initial step to becoming an electrical tradesman or contractor is finding an electrician trade school near Huntsville AL. But with so many vocational schools to choose from, just how do you undertake making sure that you enroll in the right one? Particularly because there are a number of points to examine. For example, some prospective students will commence by looking for schools that are close to their home. Once they have identified some that are within driving range, they will pick the one with the least expensive tuition. While cost and location are of importance, they are not the only things that should be examined. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should influence your final decision when picking an electrician training school. We will address that checklist in more detail later in this article. But first, let’s review a little bit about becoming an electrician and the instructional options that are offered.
Electrician Certificate, Diploma and Degree Options near Huntsville AL
There are three general ways to receive electrician training in a trade or technical school near Huntsville AL. You may select a certificate or diploma program, or earn an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are obtainable at some schools, but are not as prevalent as the other three options. Frequently these programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship, which are required by the majority of states to become licensed or if you would like to become certified. Bellow are brief summaries of the 3 most typical programs available.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are typically offered by Alabama technical and trade schools and take approximately a year to complete. They provide a solid foundation and are geared towards individuals who wish to join an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs involve 2 years to complete and are provided by Alabama junior or community colleges, commonly as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They offer a more extensive education while providing the foundation that prepares students to begin their apprenticeship program.
As earlier mentioned, Bachelor’s Degrees are accessible at some Alabama institutions, but are less preferred at four years than the other shorter programs. Most states mandate that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and in most cases four years be performed prior to licensing. Because of that, the majority of students are anxious to commence their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not part of their academic program.
Electrician License and Certification Criteria
Electricians in Huntsville AL can perform a vast array of services, including testing, installing and replacing electrical systems, and ensuring that the wiring in houses and buildings are up to code standards. After finishing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to become licensed in most municipalities and states. The duration of apprenticeship differs by state, but generally about four to five years of practical experience is called for in order to take the licensing examination. The exams commonly test electrical theory and general knowledge, in addition to knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also an optional method for an electrician to distinguish her or himself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications available differ by state and can be obtained in many specialties, including cable splicing as an example. The certification process usually entails 3 levels of proficiency:
- 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 imperative that the electrician tech school that you enroll in not only provides a strong educational foundation, but also helps prep you for passing any licensing and certification examinations that you might need to take in the future.
Attending Electrician Schools Online in Huntsville AL
An option that you may have contemplated is selecting an online electrician program to earn a degree or a certificate. Even though online schools have become more accepted as a way of attending class without needing to travel, in this case they are not entirely internet based. Virtually all electrician training programs require partial attendance on campus to receive practical hands-on training. But since the rest of the classes may be attended online, internet learning might be a more practical option for students that have limited time for education. And as a bonus numerous online degree programs have a lower tuition cost compared to their on-campus competitors. Driving costs from Huntsville AL are also lessened and some of the study materials may be accessed on line as well. All 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 questions to ask checklist.
Questions to Ask Electrician Tech Schools
Now that you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to focus your school options. Considering that there are numerous electrician tech and trade schools in the Huntsville AL area, it’s essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The first two that we talked about were location and tuition expense. If you are interested in earning an online degree, then that must be a feature that your final school offers. And although all three qualifiers may be important when making your selection, there are additional variables that need to be considered also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to research before choosing an electrical tech school.
Accreditation. A large number of electrician vocational schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Make certain that the Huntsville AL school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you acquire a superior education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, a number of states require that the electrician training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion and Placement Rates. Ask the electrician schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It could also indicate that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help Huntsville AL students obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of electrician technical programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrical contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with Huntsville AL area electricians or electrical companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the electrical specialist you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Huntsville AL electrical contractor if they can provide some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Huntsville residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to a few of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Huntsville AL, check that the programs you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Huntsville AL?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Huntsville AL area.
Huntsville is a city located primarily in Madison County in the Appalachian region of northern Alabama. Huntsville is the county seat of Madison County. The city extends west into neighboring Limestone County and south into Morgan County. Huntsville's population was 180,105 as of the 2010 census. Huntsville is the third-largest city in Alabama and the largest city in the five-county Huntsville-Decatur-Albertville, AL Combined Statistical Area, which at the 2013 census estimate had a total population of 683,871. The Huntsville Metropolitan Area's population was 417,593 in 2010 to become the 2nd largest in Alabama. Huntsville metro's population reached 441,000 by 2014.
It grew across nearby hills north of the Tennessee River, adding textile mills, then munitions factories, NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and the United States Army Aviation and Missile Command nearby at the Redstone Arsenal. The National Trust for Historic Preservation named Huntsville to its "America's Dozen Distinctive Destinations for 2010" list.
The first settlers of the area were Muscogee-speaking people. The Chickasaw traditionally claim to have settled around 1300 after coming east across the Mississippi. A combination of factors, including depopulation due to disease, land disputes between the Choctaw and Cherokee, and pressures from the United States government had largely depopulated the area prior to 1805. That year Revolutionary War veteran John Hunt settled in the land around the Big Spring. The 1805 Treaty with the Chickasaws and the Cherokee Treaty of Washington of 1806 ceded native claims to the United States Government. The area was subsequently purchased by LeRoy Pope, who named the area Twickenham after the home village of his distant kinsman Alexander Pope.
Pick the Ideal Electrical Vocational School near Huntsville AL
Choosing the right electrical trade school will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any electrician training that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every training program offers different options for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional electrician in Huntsville AL.
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