How to Become an Electrician in Winfield Alabama
The first step to learning to be an electrical contractor or tradesman is finding an electrician trade school near Winfield AL. But with numerous vocational schools to pick from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially because there are so many points to evaluate. For example, some prospective students will start by looking for schools that are close to their residence. Once they have located a few that are within commuting distance, they will choose the one with the least expensive tuition. While cost and location are of importance, they are not the sole factors that must be examined. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should influence your ultimate decision when choosing an electrician school. We will address that checklist in more detail later in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit about becoming an electrician and the training options that are offered.
Electrician Certificate, Diploma and Degree Programs near Winfield AL
There are multiple options to receive electrician training in a trade or technical school near Winfield AL. You may select a diploma or certificate program, or earn an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at certain schools, but are not as prevalent as the first three options. In many cases these programs are offered together with an apprenticeship program, which are mandated by most states in order to be licensed or if you wish to become certified. Bellow are short summaries of the 3 most prevalent programs available.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by Alabama trade and technical schools and require approximately a year to complete. They provide a solid foundation and are geared towards those who would like to get into an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs involve 2 years to complete and are provided by Alabama junior or community colleges, usually 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 previously mentioned, Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at some Alabama colleges, but are less popular at four years than the other briefer programs. The majority of states require that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and in most cases four years be carried out before licensing. Because of that, the majority of students are eager to begin their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not a component of their academic program.
Electrician License and Certification Guidelines
Electricians in Winfield AL can perform a wide range of tasks, such as testing, installing and replacing electrical systems, and ensuring that the wiring in buildings and homes are up to code standards. After concluding an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to become licensed in the majority of municipalities and states. The length of apprenticeship differs by state, but generally around four to five years of prior experience is called for in order to take the licensing examination. The exams typically assess 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 identify him or herself 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 process in most cases includes three 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 delivers a solid educational foundation, but also helps prepare you for passing any certification and licensing exams that you might need to pass in the future.
Attending Electrician Online Training Classes in Winfield AL
An alternative that you may have contemplated is choosing an online electrician school to earn a certificate or degree. Even though online schools are becoming more prevalent as a means of attending class without the need for travel, in this instance they are not completely internet based. Just about all electrician schools require partial attendance on campus to receive practical hands-on training. But since the rest of the classes may be accessed online, distance learning might be a more practical choice for individuals that have minimal time for schooling. And as an added benefit numerous online schools have a lower tuition cost compared to their on campus counterparts. Commuting expenses from Winfield AL are also lessened and some of the study materials may be available on line also. Each of these benefits can make electrician online vocational schools more economical and accessible. And a number are fully accredited, which we will address in our due diligence checklist.
What to Ask Electrician Tech Schools
When you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to refine your training options. Because there are numerous electrician vocational and trade schools in the Winfield AL region, it’s essential 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 online degree, then that needs to be an option that your chosen school offers. And although all three qualifiers may be critical when making your selection, there are additional factors that need to be taken into account as well. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to research prior to choosing an electrical vocational school.
Accreditation. A large number of electrician trade programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Make certain that the Winfield AL program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you acquire a quality education, it can assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states require that the electrician training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion and Placement Rates. Ask the electrician schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate might suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It may also signify that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to employ 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 industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist Winfield AL graduates acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most electrician training programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrician companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working relationships with Winfield AL area electricians or electrical contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the electrical tech you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Winfield AL electrical company if they can give you some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Winfield residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to a few of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Winfield AL, confirm that the schools you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Winfield AL?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Winfield AL area.
Winfield is a small city situated in Northwest Alabama 26 miles (42 km) east of the Mississippi state line. It lies in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountain range which stretches from the deep South all the way to Maine. Long before the earliest settlers arrived, Indian tribes hunted in the forest and fished in the streams and along and around Winfield. The town was originally called "Needmore", but when it was incorporated in either 1887 or 1891, the name was changed to Winfield in honor of General Winfield Scott. This area was once the Chickasaw Indian domain. Although there were no known Indian settlements within the county, several sites were maintained as hunting camps.
Winfield is located in southern Marion County at 33°55′42″N 87°48′29″W / 33.92833°N 87.80806°W / 33.92833; -87.80806 (33.928258, -87.807990), with a portion extending south into Fayette County. U.S. Route 43 passes through the city, leading northwest 6.5 miles (10.5 km) to Guin and south 18 miles (29 km) to Fayette. Hamilton, the Marion County seat, is 20 miles (32 km) northwest via US 43.
Winfield has a subtropical climate characterized by hot, humid summers, mild winters, and abundant rainfall during the late winter and spring. January sees average daily high temperatures of 53.0 °F (11.7 °C) and lows of 31.8 °F (−0.1 °C). In July, the average daily high is 90.6 °F (32.6 °C), and the low is 69.2 °F (20.7 °C). Snowfall is infrequent in the area, with a yearly average of 0.5 inches (12.7 mm). The average yearly rainfall in Winfield is about 52 inches (1,300 mm), with March being the wettest month and October the driest.
Choose the Right Electrical Vocational School near Winfield AL
Selecting the best electrician trade school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare among the training programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any electrical training program that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional electrician in Winfield AL.
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