How to Become an Electrician in Prescott Valley Arizona
The initial step to learning to be an electrical contractor or tradesman is enrolling in an electrician trade school near Prescott Valley AZ. But with numerous technical schools to choose from, just how do you undertake making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially since there are a number of points to examine. For example, some potential students will start by looking for schools that are nearby their home. After they have found a few that are within commuting distance, they will select the one with the least expensive tuition. Although cost and location are important, they are not the only things that should be examined. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should influence your final judgment when picking an electrician school. We will discuss that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But to begin with, let’s talk a little bit about becoming an electrician and the instructional options that are available.
Electrician Certificate, Diploma and Degree Programs near Prescott Valley AZ
There are several approaches to receive electrician instruction in a technical or vocational school near Prescott Valley AZ. You can select a diploma or certificate program, or receive an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are available at certain schools, but are not as common as the first three options. Often these programs are offered together with an apprenticeship program, which are required by most states to become licensed or if you wish to earn certification. Following are brief summaries of the 3 most prevalent programs available.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally provided by Arizona trade and technical schools and require approximately a year to complete. They furnish a solid foundation and are aimed towards students who would like to join an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees require 2 years to finish and are provided by Arizona community colleges, usually as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They offer a more comprehensive education while providing the foundation that readies students to begin their apprenticeship program.
As previously mentioned, Bachelor’s Degrees are accessible at some Arizona colleges, but are less preferred 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 completed before licensing. For that reason, the majority of students are eager to start their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not part of their educational program.
Electrician License and Certification Prerequisites
Electricians in Prescott Valley AZ can carry out a multitude of functions, including installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and making sure that the wiring in houses and buildings comply with code standards. After completing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to be licensed in most states or municipalities. The duration of apprenticeship differs by state, but generally around four to five years of prior experience is required in order to take the licensing examination. The exams typically evaluate general knowledge and electrical theory, as well as understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also a voluntary way for an electrician to distinguish her or himself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications available differ by state and may be earned in several specializations, including cable splicing as an example. The certification process usually entails three 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) as well as the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s important that the electrician tech school that you pick not only provides a strong academic foundation, but also helps prep you for passing any licensing and certification exams that you might need to pass in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Online Training Classes in Prescott Valley AZ
A possibility that you might have looked at is selecting an online electrician program to earn a certificate or degree. Even though online schools are becoming more popular as a way of attending class without needing to travel, in this situation they are not totally internet based. Pretty much all electrician training programs require some attendance on campus to obtain practical hands-on training. But since the rest of the classes may be accessed online, internet learning may be a more accommodating alternative for students that have limited time for schooling. And as an added benefit many online training programs have a reduced tuition cost compared to their on campus alternatives. Travelling expenses from Prescott Valley AZ are also reduced and a portion of the study materials may be accessed online also. Each of these advantages can make electrician online vocational schools more economical and accessible. And a number are fully accredited, which we will cover in our due diligence checklist.
Topics to Ask Electrician Tech Schools
Once you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to refine your school options. Since there are so many electrician trade and vocational schools in the Prescott Valley AZ area, it’s important to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The initial two that we discussed were location and tuition expense. If you have an interest in earning an online degree, then that must be a feature that your final school offers. And while all three qualifiers may be crucial when making your selection, there are other variables that need to be considered also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to research before enrolling in an electrical trade school.
Accreditation. A large number of electrician technical programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Confirm that the Prescott Valley AZ program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you acquire a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states mandate 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 reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate could signify that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It could also indicate that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, 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 validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to help Prescott Valley AZ students obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of electrician trade programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of electrician contractors or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with Prescott Valley AZ area electricians or electrical professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes 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 using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the electrical tech you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Prescott Valley AZ electrical contractor if they can provide some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Prescott Valley residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be increased tuition fees 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 sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Talk with a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the teachers 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 programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Prescott Valley AZ, verify that the programs you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Prescott Valley AZ?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Prescott Valley AZ area.
Prescott Valley, Arizona
Prescott Valley is a town with a current population (October 2016) of about 45,500 residents. It is located in Yavapai County, Arizona, United States, about 8 miles east of Prescott, which it has surpassed in growth. Prescott Valley was the seventh fastest-growing place among all cities and towns in Arizona between 1990 and 2000.
Prescott Valley (locally, PV) is located in central Arizona approximately 85 miles (137 km) north of Phoenix at 5,100 feet (1,600 m). elevation. PV has good access to Arizona State Route 89, SR-89A and SR-69, connecting to Interstates 17 and 40. Air service is available at Ernest A. Love Field, about 8 miles (13 km) northwest.
One of PV’s landmarks, Glassford Hill (elevation 6,177 feet (1,883 m)) was once an active volcano between 10 and 14 million years ago. Colonel William A. Glassford traveled the area in the 1880s and helped build a system of 27 heliograph stations to monitor the movements of Apache Indians, U.S. military troops and civilians. Glassford Hill was a part of that early communications system.
Find the Ideal Electrician Tech School near Prescott Valley AZ
Choosing the right electrician trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any electrician training that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Every program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new career as a professional electrician in Prescott Valley AZ.
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