How to Become an Electrician in Tuscaloosa Alabama
The first step to learning to be an electrical contractor or tradesman is finding an electrician trade school near Tuscaloosa AL. But with so many technical schools to pick from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the right one? Particularly since there are so many points to evaluate. For example, some potential students will start by looking for schools that are close to their residence. Once they have found some that are within driving range, they will select the one with the least expensive tuition. Although location and cost are of importance, they are not the sole qualifications that should be examined. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifiers should contribute toward your ultimate judgment when choosing an electrician school. We will cover that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But to begin with, let’s talk a little bit about becoming an electrician and the instructional choices that are accessible.
Electrician Diploma, Certificate and Degree Programs near Tuscaloosa AL
There are multiple options to obtain electrician training in a technical or vocational school near Tuscaloosa AL. You may enroll in a certificate or diploma program, or obtain an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are available at certain schools, but are not as common as the first three alternatives. Frequently these programs are made available together with an apprenticeship, which are mandated by the majority of states in order to become licensed or if you want to become certified. Following are short explanations of the three most common programs available.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually provided by Alabama vocational and trade schools and require approximately a year to finish. They furnish a solid foundation and are geared towards students who would like to enter an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs take 2 years to finish and are provided by Alabama community colleges, usually as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They offer a more well-rounded education while supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter into their apprenticeship program.
As previously mentioned, Bachelor’s Degrees are accessible at some Alabama colleges, but are less favored at four years than the other briefer programs. Many states mandate that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and in most cases 4 years be performed prior to licensing. For that reason, many students are anxious to begin their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not part of their academic program.
Electrician License and Certification Prerequisites
Electricians in Tuscaloosa AL can undertake a vast array of tasks, including 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 municipalities and states. The duration of apprenticeship differs by state, but typically around 4 to 5 years of prior experience is required in order to take the licensing examination. The exams typically test electrical theory and general knowledge, as well as knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also a voluntary way for an electrician to differentiate him or herself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications available vary by state and may be obtained in various specialties, such as cable splicing as an example. The certification procedure in most cases involves 3 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 imperative that the electrician trade school that you enroll in not only provides a solid academic foundation, but also helps prepare you for passing any licensing and certification exams that you might be required to take in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Programs Online in Tuscaloosa AL
An alternative that you may have looked at is choosing an online electrician program to earn a certificate or degree. Although online schools have become more popular as a way of attending class without needing to travel, in this case they are not entirely internet based. Pretty much all electrician training programs require some attendance on campus to obtain hands-on practical training. But since the remainder of the classes can be accessed online, distance learning can be a more accommodating choice for individuals that have limited time for schooling. And as a bonus many online training programs have a cheaper tuition cost compared to their traditional counterparts. Travelling expenses from Tuscaloosa AL are also reduced and some of the study materials can be available on line as well. Each of these benefits can make electrician online trade schools more economical and accessible. And a number are fully accredited, which we will address in our questions to ask checklist.
Points to Ask Electrician Technical Schools
When you have decided to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to narrow down your training options. Considering that there are numerous electrician vocational and trade schools in the Tuscaloosa AL region, it’s essential to have a checklist of criteria that each program must satisfy. The initial 2 that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. If you have an interest in earning an degree online, then that needs to be an option that your final school offers. And even though all three qualifiers may be important when making your selection, there are other variables that must be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to research prior to selecting an electrical technical school.
Accreditation. A large number of electrician technical programs have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Make sure that the Tuscaloosa AL school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you acquire a quality education, it can help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states require that the electrician training course be accredited for it 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 or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate could indicate that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It could also suggest that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also imperative 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 employ 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 Tuscaloosa AL grads secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many electrician training programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of electrical companies or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with Tuscaloosa AL area electricians or electrical contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the electrical specialist you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Tuscaloosa AL electrical company if they can provide some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Tuscaloosa residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Talk with some of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with 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 programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Tuscaloosa AL, check that the programs you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Tuscaloosa AL?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Tuscaloosa AL area.
Tuscaloosa (/tʌskəˈluːsə/ TUS-kə-LOO-sə) is a city in and the seat of Tuscaloosa County in west central Alabama (in the southeastern United States). Located on the Black Warrior River at the Atlantic Seaboard fall line of the Piedmont, it is the fifth-largest city in Alabama, with an estimated population of 100,287 in 2017. The city was originally known as Tuskaloosa until the early 20th century.
Incorporated as a town on December 13, 1819, it was named after Tuskaloosa, the chief of a band of Muskogean-speaking people. They battled and were defeated by forces of Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto in 1540 in the Battle of Mabila, thought to have been located in what is now central Alabama. Tuscaloosa served as Alabama's capital city from 1826 to 1846.
Tuscaloosa is the regional center of industry, commerce, healthcare, and education for the area of west-central Alabama known as West Alabama. It is the principal city of the Tuscaloosa Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Tuscaloosa, Hale and Pickens counties. In 2013 its estimated metro population was 235,628. Tuscaloosa is also the home of The University of Alabama, Stillman College and Shelton State Community College. While the city attracted international attention when Mercedes-Benz announced it would build its first automotive assembly plant in North America in Tuscaloosa County, the University of Alabama remains the dominant economic and cultural engine in the city, making it a college town.
Enroll in the Right Electrician Vocational School near Tuscaloosa AL
Picking the ideal electrical training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any electrical training program that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each training program offers different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new trade as a professional electrician in Tuscaloosa AL.
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