How to Become an Electrician in Arlington Alabama
The initial step to becoming an electrical tradesman or contractor is locating an electrician trade school near Arlington AL. But with so many technical schools to pick from, just how do you undertake making certain that you enroll in the best one? Especially since there are a number of factors to consider. For example, many prospective students will commence by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. After they have identified a few that are within driving range, they will choose the one with the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are significant, they are not the sole things that must be considered. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should help mold your final decision when choosing an electrician school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let’s talk a little bit about being an electrician and the educational options that are offered.
Electrician Degree, Diploma and Certificate Programs near Arlington AL
There are several ways to get electrician training in a technical or vocational school near Arlington AL. You may enroll in a diploma or certificate program, or earn an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are available at a few schools, but are not as prevalent as the other three alternatives. In many cases these programs are made available combined with an apprenticeship, which are mandated by most states to become licensed or if you wish to become certified. Bellow are brief descriptions of the 3 most prevalent programs offered.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are typically offered by Alabama trade and technical schools and require approximately a year to finish. They provide a good foundation and are aimed towards individuals who wish to get into an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees require two years to complete and are offered by Alabama community colleges, usually as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They offer a more well-rounded education while providing the foundation that readies students to join their apprenticeship program.
As previously mentioned, Bachelor’s Degree programs are available at certain Alabama institutions, but are less popular at 4 years than the other briefer programs. Most states mandate that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and more typically 4 years be performed before licensing. Therefore, the majority of students are anxious to commence their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not part of their educational program.
Electrician Certification and Licensing Criteria
Electricians in Arlington AL can undertake a wide range of functions, including testing, installing and replacing electrical systems, and making sure that the wiring in houses and buildings comply with code standards. After concluding an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are mandated to be licensed in most states or municipalities. The duration of apprenticeship differs by state, but normally around four to five years of practical experience is called for in order to take the licensing examination. The exams usually evaluate electrical theory and general knowledge, in addition to understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also a voluntary means for an electrician to distinguish her or himself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications available differ by state and can be acquired in many specializations, such as cable splicing as an example. The certification process in most cases 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 imperative that the electrician vocational school that you select not only provides a strong educational foundation, but also helps prepare you for passing any certification and licensing exams that you may need to take in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Programs Online in Arlington AL
A possibility that you may have contemplated is choosing an online electrician program to earn a certificate or degree. While online training programs are becoming more prevalent as a way of attending class without the need for travel, in this situation they are not entirely internet based. Virtually all electrician schools require partial attendance on campus to get hands-on practical training. But since the remainder of the classes can be accessed online, distance learning might be a more convenient choice for students that have limited time for schooling. And as a bonus numerous online training programs have a cheaper tuition cost compared to their on-campus alternatives. Commuting expenses from Arlington AL are also lessened and a portion of the study materials can be accessed online as well. All of these benefits can make online electrician trade schools more affordable and accessible. And many are fully accredited, which we will discuss in our due diligence checklist.
Questions to Ask Electrician Training Schools
Now that you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to focus your school options. Because there are so many electrician tech and trade schools in the Arlington AL region, it’s essential to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The first two that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. If you have an interest in earning an online degree, then that needs to be an option that your chosen school offers. And while all three qualifiers may be important when making your selection, there are additional factors that need to be taken into account as well. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to assess before choosing an electrical technical school.
Accreditation. A large number of electrician technical schools have acquired 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 instance electrical technology. Verify that the Arlington AL school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Also, many states mandate that the electrician training program be accredited in order to qualify 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It could also signify that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to utilize 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 assist Arlington AL students obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous electrician trade programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of electrician companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with Arlington AL area electricians or electrical contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the electrical tech you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Arlington AL electrical contracting company if they can give you some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Arlington home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to several of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Arlington AL, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Arlington AL?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Arlington AL area.
Arlington County, Virginia
Arlington County is a county in the Commonwealth of Virginia, often referred to simply as Arlington or Arlington, Virginia. In 2016, the county's population was estimated at 230,050, making it the sixth-largest county in Virginia, or the fourth-largest city if it were incorporated as such. It is the 5th highest-income county in the U.S. by median family income and has the highest concentration of singles in the region.
The county is coterminous with the U.S. Census Bureau's census-designated place of Arlington. Though a county, it is also treated as the second-largest principal city of the Washington metropolitan area.
The county is situated in Northern Virginia on the southwestern bank of the Potomac River directly across from the District of Columbia, of which it was once a part. With a land area of 26 square miles (67 km2), Arlington is the geographically smallest self-governing county in the U.S., and by reason of state law regarding population density, has no incorporated towns within its borders. Due to the county's proximity to downtown Washington, D.C., Arlington is home to many important installations for the capital region and U.S. government, including the Pentagon, Reagan National Airport, and Arlington National Cemetery. Many schools and universities have campuses in Arlington, most prominently the Antonin Scalia Law School of George Mason University.
Find the Ideal Electrical Vocational School near Arlington AL
Selecting the right electrician training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the training programs you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any electrical training program that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every training program offers different options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new trade as a professional electrician in Arlington AL.
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