How to Become an Electrician in Fairfield Alabama
The first step to becoming an electrical contractor or tradesman is enrolling in an electrician trade school near Fairfield AL. But with numerous technical schools to pick from, just how do you go about making certain that you enroll in the best one? Especially since there are so many factors to consider. For instance, many students will start by searching for schools that are nearby their residence. When they have found some that are within driving range, they will pick the one with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are significant, they are not the only things that should be considered. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should contribute toward your final judgment when selecting an electrician training school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit about being an electrician and the educational choices that are available.
Electrician Degree, Certificate and Diploma Options near Fairfield AL
There are three general options to get electrician training in a trade or technical school near Fairfield AL. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program, or obtain an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at certain schools, but are not as prevalent as the other three alternatives. Frequently these programs are made available together with an apprenticeship, which are mandated by most states to become licensed or if you would like to become certified. Bellow are short explanations of the three most typical programs available.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by Alabama trade and technical schools and require about a year to complete. They provide a solid foundation and are aimed towards those who wish to join an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees require two years to complete and are offered by Alabama junior or community colleges, usually as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They provide a more comprehensive education while supplying the foundation that readies students to enter into their apprenticeship program.
As previously mentioned, Bachelor’s Degrees are available at some Alabama institutions, but are less favored at 4 years than the other briefer programs. The majority of states mandate that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and more typically 4 years be completed prior to licensing. Therefore, the majority of students are eager to commence their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not part of their academic program.
Electrician Certification and Licensing Prerequisites
Electricians in Fairfield AL can carry out a vast array of services, including installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and ensuring 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 states or municipalities. The length of apprenticeship differs by state, but generally about four to five years of experience is required in order to take the licensing examination. The exams usually evaluate electrical theory and general knowledge, along with understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also an optional means for an electrician to differentiate her or himself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications available differ by state and may be acquired in several specializations, including cable splicing as an example. The certification procedure usually involves 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 important that the electrician vocational school that you enroll in not only provides a solid academic foundation, but also helps prepare you for passing any licensing and certification exams that you might be required to pass in the future.
Attending Electrician Online Programs in Fairfield AL
An option that you may have contemplated is enrolling in an electrician online program to earn a certificate or degree. Although online training programs are becoming more prevalent as a way of attending class without the need for travel, in this instance they are not totally internet based. Just about all electrician training programs require partial attendance on-campus to obtain practical hands-on training. But since the balance of the classes may be attended online, internet 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 cheaper tuition cost compared to their on-campus competitors. Travelling costs from Fairfield AL are also reduced and a portion of the study materials may be available on line also. All of these benefits can make online electrician trade schools more affordable and accessible. And a number are fully accredited, which we will address in our questions to ask checklist.
Questions to Ask Electrician Tech Schools
Once you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to focus your training options. Considering that there are numerous electrician vocational and trade schools in the Fairfield AL area, it’s important to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The first 2 that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. 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 important when making your decision, there are other variables that must be considered also. Below is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to assess before choosing an electrical tech school.
Accreditation. Many electrician trade programs have acquired 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 relates to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Make certain that the Fairfield AL program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you acquire a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states mandate that the electrician training program be accredited for it 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 percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate could signify that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It may also suggest that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist Fairfield AL grads obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of electrician vocational programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrical businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with Fairfield AL area electricians or electrical professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the electrical technician you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Fairfield AL electrical company if they can give you some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Fairfield residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Talk with some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the teachers 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 programs you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Fairfield AL, check that the programs you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Fairfield AL?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Fairfield AL area.
Fairfield is a city in western Jefferson County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Birmingham metropolitan area and is located southeast of Pleasant Grove. The population was 11,117 at the 2010 census.
This city was founded in 1910 in which the featured speaker at the dedication ceremony was former President Theodore Roosevelt. It was originally named Corey, after an executive of U.S. Steel Corporation. The name was later changed to the city in which the President of U.S. Steel lived, Fairfield, Connecticut. It was planned as a model city by the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company to house workers in their new Fairfield Works plant, now owned by U.S. Steel, similar to its northeastern city of Ensley.
As of the census of 2000, there were 12,381 people, 4,600 households, and 3,141 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,503.8 people per square mile (1,354.2/km²). There were 4,960 housing units at an average density of 1,403.7 per square mile (542.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 8.90% White, 90.23% Black or African American, 0.06% Native American, 0.15% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.17% from other races, and 0.48% from two or more races. 0.59% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Enroll in the Right Electrical Trade School near Fairfield AL
Choosing the right electrical 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 a number of things that you will need to assess and compare between the training programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any electrician tech school that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides different options for certification as well. Probably the best approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional electrician in Fairfield AL.
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