How to Become an Electrician in Prattville Alabama
The initial step to becoming an electrical contractor or tradesman is finding an electrician trade school near Prattville AL. But with so many technical schools to select from, just how do you undertake making sure that you enroll in the right one? Especially because there are so many factors to consider. For instance, some prospective students will begin by looking for schools that are close to their residence. Once they have located a few that are within driving distance, they will choose the one with the cheapest tuition. Even though cost and location are important, they are not the only things that must be evaluated. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should help mold your ultimate judgment when choosing an electrician training school. We will cover that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit about becoming an electrician and the training choices that are offered.
Electrician Degree, Diploma and Certificate Options near Prattville AL
There are multiple ways to receive electrician training in a trade or technical school near Prattville AL. You may choose a diploma or certificate program, or obtain an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are available at certain schools, but are not as prevalent as the first three alternatives. Often these programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship, which are required by the majority of states to be licensed or if you wish to become certified. Following are brief descriptions of the 3 most prevalent programs available.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by Alabama technical and trade schools and require approximately a year to finish. They provide a solid foundation and are aimed towards individuals who want to enter an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees involve 2 years to complete and are offered by Alabama community colleges, usually as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They furnish a more well-rounded education while providing the foundation that prepares students to begin their apprenticeship program.
As previously stated, Bachelor’s Degree programs are offered at certain Alabama institutions, but are less preferred at 4 years than the other briefer programs. The majority of states require that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and more typically four years be performed before licensing. For that reason, most students are eager to begin their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not part of their educational program.
Electrician License and Certification Requirements
Electricians in Prattville AL can undertake a vast array of tasks, including testing, installing and replacing electrical systems, and making sure that the wiring in houses and buildings comply with code standards. After completing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are mandated to become licensed in most states or municipalities. The duration of apprenticeship differs by state, but normally about 4 to 5 years of practical experience is required in order to take the licensing exam. The exams commonly test general knowledge and electrical theory, along with knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also an optional method for an electrician to differentiate him or herself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications offered vary by state and can be obtained in many specialties, such as cable splicing as an example. The certification process in most cases includes 3 levels of proficiency:
- An experience requirement
- Passing a written exam
- Passing a practical exam
Examples of certifying agencies include the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (NJATC) and also the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s crucial that the electrician tech school that you pick not only delivers a strong academic foundation, but also helps ready you for passing any certification and licensing exams that you may need to pass in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Online Programs in Prattville AL
An alternative that you might have contemplated is choosing an electrician online school to earn a degree or a certificate. Although online training programs are becoming more accepted as a means of attending class without needing to travel, in this case they are not entirely internet based. Pretty much all electrician schools require partial attendance on campus to receive hands-on practical training. But since the balance of the classes can be attended online, internet learning can be a more practical choice for individuals that have minimal time for schooling. And as a bonus many online training programs have a reduced tuition cost compared to their on campus counterparts. Travelling costs from Prattville AL are also minimized and a portion of the study materials may be accessed on line also. All of these benefits can make online electrician vocational schools more affordable and convenient. And many are fully accredited, which we will address in our due diligence checklist.
Things to Ask Electrician Training Schools
Once you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to refine your school options. Considering that there are numerous electrician tech and trade schools in the Prattville AL region, it’s essential to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The first 2 that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. If you have an interest in earning an degree online, then that needs to be a feature that your chosen school offers. And while all three qualifiers may be crucial when making your decision, there are additional variables that need to be considered also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to assess before enrolling in an electrical trade school.
Accreditation. A large number of electrician vocational programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Verify that the Prattville AL program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you get an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of states require that the electrician training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion and Placement Rates. Ask the electrician training programs you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate could signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It could also suggest that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which can result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to help Prattville AL students obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of electrician trade programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrician contractors or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with Prattville AL area electricians or electrical companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the electrical tech you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Prattville AL electrical contracting company if they can give you some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Prattville residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with some of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Prattville AL, verify 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 allows part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Prattville AL?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Prattville AL area.
Prattville is a city in Autauga and Elmore counties in the State of Alabama. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 33,960. Nicknamed "The Fountain City" due to the many artesian wells in the area, Prattville is part of the Montgomery metropolitan statistical area and serves as the county seat of Autauga County.
Prattville was founded in 1839 by industrialist and architect Daniel Pratt. The area was largely inhabited by Native Americans and a few settlers when Pratt, a native of Temple, New Hampshire, first observed the Autauga Creek in the 1830s. He purchased approximately 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) from Joseph May at $21.00 an acre, and set out to build his manufacturing facilities and the town along the banks of Autauga Creek. The location was chosen because the creek could supply power to the cotton gin manufacturing equipment. The town became an industrial center and rapidly grew. In 1868, it was named the county seat for Autauga County.
On February 17, 2008, Prattville was hit by an F3 tornado which destroyed more than 45 homes and businesses and damaged over 700. Twenty-nine people were injured with no fatalities. Preliminary estimates put the damage at $85 million in insured and uninsured damages.
Select the Right Electrical Trade School near Prattville AL
Selecting the ideal electrician training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are considering. It’s a necessity that any electrical training program that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every program provides different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you decide on is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new career as a professional electrician in Prattville AL.
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