How to Become an Electrician in Mena Arkansas
The first step to learning to be an electrical tradesman or contractor is finding an electrician trade school near Mena AR. But with numerous vocational schools to select from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly because there are so many points to consider. For example, many potential students will commence by searching for schools that are close to their residence. When they have identified a few that are within driving distance, they will pick the one with the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are significant, they are not the sole things that need to be evaluated. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifiers should influence your final decision when selecting an electrician training school. We will cover that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But to begin with, let’s talk a little bit about being an electrician and the educational options that are offered.
Electrician Degree, Certificate and Diploma Programs near Mena AR
There are several ways to receive electrician training in a vocational or trade school near Mena AR. You may select a certificate or diploma program, or earn an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are available at certain schools, but are not as prevalent as the first three options. Frequently these programs are made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program, which are required by most states in order to become licensed or if you would like to earn certification. Following are short descriptions of the 3 most common programs offered.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are typically offered by Arkansas trade and technical schools and take about a year to complete. They furnish a solid foundation and are geared towards students who would like to join an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs take two years to complete and are provided by Arkansas junior or community colleges, commonly as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They provide a more well-rounded education while providing the foundation that readies students to join their apprenticeship program.
As previously stated, Bachelor’s Degrees are available at some Arkansas colleges, but are less preferred at 4 years than the other shorter programs. Most states require that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and more typically four years be completed before licensing. Because of that, the majority of students are eager to commence their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not part of their educational program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Prerequisites
Electricians in Mena AR can perform a wide range of functions, including installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and making sure that the wiring in houses and buildings comply with code standards. After finishing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to be licensed in the majority of municipalities and states. The duration of apprenticeship differs by state, but normally about four to five years of prior experience is called for before taking the licensing examination. The exams typically evaluate general knowledge and electrical theory, as well as knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also an optional way for an electrician to identify him or herself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications available differ by state and can be obtained in several specialties, such as cable splicing as an example. The certification process usually entails 3 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 crucial that the electrician vocational school that you choose not only provides a strong academic foundation, but also helps prep you for passing any licensing and certification examinations that you may need to pass in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Online Schools in Mena AR
An option that you may have looked at is selecting an online electrician school to earn a certificate or degree. While online schools are becoming more popular as a means of attending class without needing to travel, in this instance they are not entirely internet based. Just about all electrician training programs require some attendance on-campus to obtain hands-on practical training. But since the rest of the classes may be accessed online, internet learning can be a more accommodating alternative for students that have minimal time for education. And as a bonus many online degree programs have a reduced tuition cost compared to their on-campus alternatives. Commuting costs from Mena AR are also minimized and some of the study materials may be available on line also. All of these benefits can make electrician online vocational schools more economical and accessible. And many are fully accredited, which we will cover in our due diligence checklist.
Questions to Ask Electrician Vocational Schools
Now that you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to focus your training options. Considering that there are so many electrician tech and trade schools in the Mena AR area, it’s important to have a checklist of criteria that each program must satisfy. The first two that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. If you have an interest in earning an degree online, then that must be a feature that your final school offers. And even though all three qualifiers may be critical when making your decision, there are other variables that need to be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess before selecting an electrical tech school.
Accreditation. Numerous electrician trade programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Confirm that the Mena AR program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states mandate that the electrician training program be accredited for it to be approved 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 of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate may signify that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It may also suggest that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It’s also imperative 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 use 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 also that it has the network of contacts to help Mena AR students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of electrician training programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of electrical businesses or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with Mena AR area electricians or electrical contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art 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 with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Mena AR electrical company if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Mena home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with some of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to some of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Mena AR, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Mena AR?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Mena AR area.
Mena was founded by Arthur Edward Stilwell during the building of the Kansas City, Pittsburg and Gulf Railroad (now the Kansas City Southern), which stretched from Kansas City, Missouri to Port Arthur, Texas. Train service to Mena began in 1896.
Stilwell named the town in honor of Folmina Margaretha Janssen-De Goeijen, the wife of his friend and financier Jan De Goeijen, whom Mr. De Goeijen affectionately called Mena. Janssen Park in the center of Mena is also named for her.
In 1901, a black man, Peter Berryman, was lynched after an alleged altercation with a white girl. No one was arrested for the crime. Several other instances of racially motivated hate and violence towards Mena's black community had been noted. This, combined with declining job prospects after the railway shops left town, led many blacks to leave Mena. By 1910, just 16 remained.
Choose the Right Electrician Trade School near Mena AR
Picking the right electrical training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. 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 must that any electrical tech school that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each program offers unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional electrician in Mena AR.
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