How to Become an Electrician in Alabaster Alabama
The initial step to becoming an electrical contractor or tradesman is enrolling in an electrician trade school near Alabaster AL. But with so many technical schools to pick from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially because there are a number of points to examine. For instance, many potential students will start by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. Once they have found a few that are within commuting range, they will decide on the one with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant, they are not the sole factors that need to be evaluated. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should contribute toward your final decision when picking an electrician school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let’s review a little bit about being an electrician and the training options that are offered.
Electrician Certificate, Diploma and Degree Programs near Alabaster AL
There are multiple approaches to get electrician training in a trade or technical school near Alabaster AL. You may enroll in a certificate or diploma program, or receive an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are available at some schools, but are not as common as the first three options. In many cases these programs are made available combined with an apprenticeship program, which are required by most states in order to be licensed or if you would like to become certified. Bellow are brief summaries of the 3 most common programs offered.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually provided by Alabama vocational and trade schools and take about a year to finish. They provide a good foundation and are aimed towards students who would like to enter an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees involve two years to complete and are offered by Alabama junior or community colleges, commonly as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They offer a more well-rounded education while providing the foundation that prepares students to begin their apprenticeship program.
As earlier stated, Bachelor’s Degrees are offered 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 more typically four years be performed before licensing. Therefore, the majority of students are eager to begin their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not a component of their educational program.
Electrician Certification and Licensing Requirements
Electricians in Alabaster AL can undertake a wide range of services, such as testing, installing and replacing 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 most municipalities and states. The duration of apprenticeship differs by state, but generally about 4 to 5 years of prior experience is required before taking the licensing examination. The exams typically test electrical theory and general knowledge, in addition to knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also an optional method for an electrician to differentiate her or himself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications available vary by state and can be acquired in many specialties, such as cable splicing as an example. The certification process in most cases includes 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) and also the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s imperative that the electrician vocational school that you pick not only provides a strong academic foundation, but also helps prep you for passing any licensing and certification examinations that you may be required to take in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Online Training Classes in Alabaster AL
A possibility that you may have contemplated is selecting an electrician online school to earn a certificate or degree. While online training programs are becoming more accepted as a way of attending class without the need for travel, in this situation they are not entirely internet based. Pretty much all electrician schools require some attendance on-campus to obtain hands-on practical training. But since the balance of the classes may be attended online, internet learning can be a more practical alternative for students that have minimal time for schooling. And as a bonus numerous online training programs have a cheaper tuition cost compared to their traditional alternatives. Commuting expenses from Alabaster AL are also lessened and some of the study materials can be accessed online also. All of these benefits can make electrician online trade schools more economical and accessible. And a number are fully accredited, which we will discuss in our due diligence checklist.
What to Ask Electrician Vocational Schools
Now that you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to narrow down your training options. Since there are so many electrician trade and vocational schools in the Alabaster AL area, it’s important to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The initial two that we discussed 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 chosen school offers. And although all three qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are additional factors that must be considered also. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to analyze prior to choosing an electrical vocational school.
Accreditation. A large number of electrician vocational schools have earned 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 relates to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Confirm that the Alabaster AL school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you acquire an excellent education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states require 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 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 might indicate that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It may also suggest that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which can result in more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help Alabaster AL grads obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many electrician training programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrical contractors or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with Alabaster AL area electricians or electrical specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the electrical tech you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Alabaster AL electrical company if they can give you some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Alabaster residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to some of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Alabaster AL, confirm that the programs you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Alabaster AL?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Alabaster AL area.
Alabaster is a city and southern suburb of Birmingham in Shelby County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census, the population was 30,352. According to the 2013 Census Estimates, the city had a population of 31,342. Alabaster is the 16th largest city in Alabama (by number of residents) and still a growing population.
Alabaster mostly occupies the Cahaba and Opossum Valleys, which are divided by the Pine Ridge that runs north to south. To the east and west, both valleys are flanked by parallel mountain ridges that locally run north to south, but are a part of a larger system of ridges that generally runs north-east to south-west (the tailing ends of the Appalachian foothills). The valleys are drained by small creeks (Buck Creek, Beaverdam Creek) which flow into the Cahaba River.
George L. Scott, Sr., an Alabaster pioneer, owned and operated Alabaster Lime Co. His shipping point was known as “Scott Rock”. Later, housing was built to accommodate some of the employees, and the community acquired its name Alabaster from the "white calcium carbonate mineral". The First Bank of Alabaster opened in 1952, and its president was George L. Scott, Jr., who later became the first mayor of Alabaster. The first attempt in 1952 to incorporate Alabaster failed. In January 1953, the petition was again filed, and on February 23, 1953, Alabaster was officially incorporated with a favorable vote of 79 to 23, and 427 residing inhabitants. In 1955, the Alabaster Water and Gas Board was formed.
Pick the Right Electrician Trade School near Alabaster AL
Choosing the best electrical training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are considering. It’s a necessity that any electrical training that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Probably The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you decide on is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new trade as a professional electrician in Alabaster AL.
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