How to Become an Electrician in Flagstaff Arizona
The first step to becoming an electrical tradesman or contractor is finding an electrician trade school near Flagstaff AZ. But with numerous vocational schools to select from, just how do you go about making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially because there are so many factors to consider. For example, many potential students will begin by looking for schools that are nearby their home. When they have identified several that are within driving distance, they will select the one with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are important, they are not the sole factors that should be examined. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should help mold your ultimate judgment when picking an electrician trade school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit about becoming an electrician and the educational options that are accessible.
Electrician Degree, Certificate and Diploma Options near Flagstaff AZ
There are several options to get electrician training in a technical or vocational school near Flagstaff AZ. You may select a certificate or diploma program, or obtain an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are available at certain schools, but are not as common as the first three options. In many cases these programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship, which are mandated by most states to be licensed or if you want to earn certification. Following are brief descriptions of the three most typical programs offered.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally provided by Arizona vocational and trade schools and require about a year to finish. They provide a solid foundation and are geared towards individuals who want to enter an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs require two years to complete and are offered by Arizona junior or community colleges, usually as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They furnish a more extensive education while supplying the foundation that readies students to enter into their apprenticeship program.
As previously mentioned, Bachelor’s Degree programs are accessible at certain Arizona institutions, but are less preferred at 4 years than the other shorter programs. Most states mandate that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and in most cases 4 years be completed prior to licensing. For that reason, many students are anxious to commence their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not part of their academic program.
Electrician License and Certification Criteria
Electricians in Flagstaff AZ can undertake a multitude of duties, including testing, installing and replacing electrical systems, and making sure that the wiring in buildings and homes comply with code standards. After finishing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to become licensed in most municipalities and states. The period of apprenticeship varies by state, but generally about four to five years of prior experience is required before taking the licensing examination. The exams usually assess electrical theory and general knowledge, in addition to understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also a voluntary means for an electrician to differentiate him or herself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications offered differ by state and can be acquired in numerous specialties, such as 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 agencies include the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (NJATC) along with the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s important that the electrician vocational school that you pick not only furnishes a solid educational foundation, but also helps ready you for passing any certification and licensing examinations that you may need to pass in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Training Classes Online in Flagstaff AZ
An option that you may have considered is enrolling in an online electrician program to earn a degree or a certificate. While online training programs are becoming more accepted as a means of attending class without the need for travel, in this instance they are not completely internet based. Virtually all electrician training programs require some attendance on campus to get hands-on practical training. But since the balance of the classes may be accessed online, distance learning may be a more accommodating option for students that have limited time for education. And as an added benefit numerous online schools have a cheaper tuition cost compared to their traditional alternatives. Commuting costs from Flagstaff AZ are also lessened and a portion of the study materials may be accessed on line also. Each of these benefits can make electrician online tech schools more economical and accessible. And many are fully accredited, which we will cover in our due diligence checklist.
What to Ask Electrician Tech Schools
Once you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to refine your school options. Because there are so many electrician vocational and trade schools in the Flagstaff AZ region, it’s important to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must satisfy. The first two that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. If you are interested in earning an online degree, then that must be an option that your chosen school offers. And even though all three qualifiers may be crucial when making your decision, there are other factors that must be considered also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to research before choosing an electrical tech school.
Accreditation. Many electrician vocational programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Make sure that the Flagstaff AZ school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you get a superior education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, many states mandate that the electrician training course be accredited for it 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 percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate may signify that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It may also signify that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist Flagstaff AZ grads obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of electrician training programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of electrician businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with Flagstaff AZ area electricians or electrical professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the electrical technician you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Flagstaff AZ electrical contractor if they can give you some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Flagstaff home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much one-on-one 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 large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with several of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Flagstaff AZ, verify that the programs you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask 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 Flagstaff AZ?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Flagstaff AZ area.
Flagstaff is a city in and the county seat of Coconino County in northern Arizona, in the southwestern United States. In 2015, the city's estimated population was 70,320. Flagstaff's combined metropolitan area has an estimated population of 139,097. The city is named after a ponderosa pine flagpole made by a scouting party from Boston (known as the "Second Boston Party") to celebrate the United States Centennial on July 4, 1876.
Flagstaff lies near the southwestern edge of the Colorado Plateau, along the western side of the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest in the continental United States. Flagstaff is next to Mount Elden, just south of the San Francisco Peaks, the highest mountain range in the state of Arizona. Humphreys Peak, the highest point in Arizona at 12,633 feet (3,851 m), is about 10 miles (16 km) north of Flagstaff in Kachina Peaks Wilderness.
Flagstaff's early economy was based on the lumber, railroad, and ranching industries. Today, the city remains an important distribution hub for companies such as Nestlé Purina PetCare, and is home to Lowell Observatory, The U.S. Naval Observatory, the United States Geological Survey Flagstaff Station, and Northern Arizona University. Flagstaff has a strong tourism sector, due to its proximity to Grand Canyon National Park, Oak Creek Canyon, the Arizona Snowbowl, Meteor Crater, and historic Route 66. The city is also a growing center for medical and biotechnology manufacturing, home to corporations such as SenesTech and W. L. Gore and Associates. 
Select the Ideal Electrical Trade School near Flagstaff AZ
Picking the best electrician trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are many things that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any electrician tech school that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each training program offers different options for certification as well. Probably The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you choose is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional electrician in Flagstaff AZ.
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