How to Become an Electrician in Decatur Arkansas
The first step to becoming an electrical contractor or tradesman is enrolling in an electrician trade school near Decatur AR. But with so many technical schools to choose from, just how do you tackle making certain that you enroll in the right one? Especially since there are so many factors to examine. For instance, many potential students will begin by searching for schools that are nearby their home. After they have identified several that are within driving distance, they will pick the one with the least expensive tuition. Even though location and cost are important, they are not the sole factors that need to be evaluated. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should help mold your ultimate judgment when selecting an electrician trade school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit about becoming an electrician and the educational choices that are accessible.
Electrician Diploma, Certificate and Degree Options near Decatur AR
There are multiple approaches to receive electrician training in a technical or vocational school near Decatur AR. You can choose a diploma or certificate program, or earn an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at a few schools, but are not as common as the first three options. Often these programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program, which are mandated by most states to become licensed or if you would like to earn certification. Bellow are brief descriptions of the three most prevalent programs offered.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are typically provided by Arkansas trade and technical schools and take approximately a year to finish. They furnish a good foundation and are geared towards those who wish to join an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs take 2 years to finish and are provided by Arkansas junior or community colleges, usually as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They furnish a more comprehensive education while providing the foundation that prepares students to begin their apprenticeship program.
As earlier stated, Bachelor’s Degree programs are available at some Arkansas colleges, but are less favored at four years than the other briefer programs. Many states require that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and in most cases 4 years be completed prior to licensing. For that reason, many students are anxious to begin their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not part of their educational program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Criteria
Electricians in Decatur AR 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 be licensed in the majority of states or municipalities. The period of apprenticeship differs by state, but typically about four to five years of practical experience is needed before taking the licensing exam. The exams typically evaluate general knowledge and electrical theory, in addition to knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also an optional way for an electrician to distinguish her or himself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications available vary by state and may be acquired in many 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 trade school that you choose not only provides a strong academic foundation, but also helps ready you for passing any licensing and certification examinations that you may need to take in the future.
Attending Electrician Online Schools in Decatur AR
An alternative that you might have considered is choosing an electrician online program to earn a certificate or degree. While online schools are becoming more accepted as a way of attending class without needing to travel, in this situation they are not entirely internet based. Pretty much all electrician schools require some attendance on-campus to get practical hands-on training. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended online, distance learning may 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 traditional competitors. Travelling expenses from Decatur AR are also reduced and some of the study materials may be available online as well. Each of these benefits can make online electrician trade schools more affordable and convenient. And a number are fully accredited, which we will discuss in our due diligence checklist.
Topics to Ask Electrician Vocational Schools
Once you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to focus your training options. Since there are so many electrician vocational and trade schools in the Decatur AR region, it’s essential to have a checklist of criteria that each school must satisfy. The initial two that we talked about were location and tuition expense. If you are interested in earning an degree online, then that must be a feature that your chosen school offers. And although all three qualifiers may be critical when making your selection, there are additional variables that must be considered also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to research before selecting an electrical trade school.
Accreditation. Numerous electrician vocational schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn 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 Decatur AR program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you get an excellent education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, many states require that the electrician training program 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 or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It might also indicate that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to employ 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 Decatur AR grads obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous electrician technical programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrical companies or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with Decatur AR area electricians or electrical specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the electrical specialist you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Decatur AR electrical contracting company if they can give you some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Decatur home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to several 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 expertise 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 attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Decatur AR, confirm that the programs you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Decatur AR?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Decatur AR area.
Decatur is a city, in Benton County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 1,699 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Fayetteville–Springdale–Rogers, AR-MO Metropolitan Statistical Area. This town is named after Commodore Stephen Decatur, Jr.
Decatur is located in western Benton County at 36°20′15″N 94°27′24″W / 36.33750°N 94.45667°W / 36.33750; -94.45667 (36.337541, -94.456721).Arkansas Highway 59 passes through the city, leading north 6 miles (10 km) to Gravette and 13 miles (21 km) to the Missouri border, and south 13 miles (21 km) to Siloam Springs. Arkansas Highway 102 leads east 16 miles (26 km) to Bentonville and west 10 miles (16 km) to the Oklahoma border.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Decatur has a total area of 4.5 square miles (11.7 km2), of which 4.4 square miles (11.5 km2) is land and 0.039 square miles (0.1 km2), or 1.21%, is water.
Enroll in the Ideal Electrician Vocational School near Decatur AR
Choosing the right electrician training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare between the training programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any electrician training that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each 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 talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you pick is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new career as a professional electrician in Decatur AR.
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