How to Become an Electrician in Dothan Alabama
The initial step to learning to be an electrical contractor or tradesman is locating an electrician trade school near Dothan AL. But with so many vocational schools to pick from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly since there are a number of factors to consider. For example, many students will begin by looking for schools that are nearby their home. Once they have identified some that are within driving range, they will pick the one with the most affordable tuition. Even though location and cost are significant, they are not the only factors that must be examined. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should help mold your ultimate decision when selecting an electrician school. We will address that checklist in more 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 Dothan AL
There are multiple options to get electrician instruction in a trade or technical school near Dothan AL. You can select a diploma or certificate program, or receive an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are available at some schools, but are not as common as the first three options. Often these programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program, which are required by most states to be licensed or if you intend to earn certification. Following are short summaries of the 3 most prevalent programs available.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by Alabama technical and trade schools and take approximately a year to complete. They provide a good foundation and are aimed towards individuals who would like to get into an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees require 2 years to finish and are offered by Alabama community colleges, usually as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They offer a more comprehensive education while providing the foundation that readies students to join their apprenticeship program.
As previously stated, Bachelor’s Degree programs are available at certain Alabama colleges, but are less preferred at four years than the other briefer programs. The majority of states require that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and in most cases four years be carried out before licensing. Because of that, most students are anxious to begin their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not a component of their academic program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Prerequisites
Electricians in Dothan AL can perform a multitude of functions, such as installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and making sure that the wiring in buildings and homes are up to code standards. After completing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to become licensed in the majority of municipalities and states. The duration of apprenticeship differs by state, but usually about four to five years of practical experience is needed before taking the licensing exam. The exams usually assess general knowledge and electrical theory, along with understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also an optional way for an electrician to differentiate her or himself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications available vary by state and may be obtained in many specialties, including cable splicing as an example. The certification procedure in most cases involves three 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 trade school that you pick not only delivers a solid educational foundation, but also helps ready you for passing any licensing and certification examinations that you might be required to pass in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Online Training Classes in Dothan AL
An option that you may have contemplated is choosing an online electrician school to earn a certificate or degree. Even though online training programs have become more prevalent as a means of attending class without the need for travel, in this case they are not totally internet based. Just about all electrician training programs require partial attendance on-campus to get hands-on practical training. But since the rest of the classes can be attended online, distance learning can be a more practical option for students that have limited time for schooling. And as an added benefit numerous online training programs have a lower tuition cost compared to their on campus counterparts. Driving expenses from Dothan AL are also lessened and a portion of the study materials may be accessed on line as well. All of these advantages can make online electrician tech schools more economical and convenient. And many are fully accredited, which we will address in our questions to ask checklist.
Points to Ask Electrician Vocational Schools
Now that you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to focus your training options. Considering that there are numerous electrician vocational and trade schools in the Dothan AL area, it’s imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The first 2 that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. If you are interested in earning an degree online, then that must be an option that your chosen school offers. And even though all three qualifiers may be important when making your selection, there are additional variables that need to be taken into account also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to analyze prior to enrolling in an electrical technical school.
Accreditation. A large number of electrician technical schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Verify that the Dothan AL school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you obtain a superior education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, some states require that the electrician training course be accredited in order to qualify 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate could signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It could also suggest that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have higher 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 employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to help Dothan AL students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many electrician technical programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of electrician companies or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with Dothan AL area electricians or electrical contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the electrical technician you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Dothan AL electrical contracting company if they can give you some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Dothan home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to several of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Dothan AL, confirm that the programs you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Dothan AL?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Dothan AL area.
Dothan /ˈdoʊθən/ is a city in Dale, Henry, and Houston counties in the U.S. state of Alabama. It is the largest city and county seat of Houston County, with a population of 65,496 at the 2010 census. It is located in the state's southeastern corner, approximately 20 miles (32 km) west of the Georgia state line and 16 miles (26 km) north of Florida. Its name was taken from Genesis 37:17: "let us go to Dothan."
Dothan is the principal city of the Dothan, Alabama metropolitan area, which encompasses all of Geneva, Henry, and Houston counties; the small portion that lies in Dale County is part of the Ozark Micropolitan Statistical Area. The combined population for the entire Dothan metropolitan area in 2010 was 145,639. The city serves as the main transportation and commercial hub for a significant part of southeastern Alabama, southwest Georgia, and nearby portions of the Florida Panhandle. Since approximately one-fourth of the U.S. peanut crop is produced nearby, with much of it being processed in the city, Dothan is sometimes referred to as "The Peanut Capital of the World". Dothan also hosts the annual National Peanut Festival at the dedicated "Peanut Festival Fairgrounds".
The area that is now Dothan was inhabited for thousands of years by successive cultures of indigenous peoples. In historic times it was occupied by the Alabama and Creek Native American tribes who were hunters and gatherers in the vast forests of pine that covered this region. These tribes had developed complex cultures, and often used to meet and camp for trading near a large spring at the crossroads of two trails.
Choose the Ideal Electrician Vocational School near Dothan AL
Picking the best electrician training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any electrician training program that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every program provides different possibilities for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to attend a few 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, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional electrician in Dothan AL.
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