How to Become an Electrician in Foley Alabama
The first step to becoming an electrical contractor or tradesman is enrolling in an electrician trade school near Foley AL. But with numerous vocational schools to pick from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the right one? Especially since there are a number of factors to evaluate. For example, some students will commence by searching for schools that are close to their home. After they have identified some that are within driving range, they will select the one with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant, they are not the sole qualifications that should be evaluated. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should contribute toward your final decision when selecting an electrician school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this article. But to begin with, let’s review a little bit about being an electrician and the educational options that are available.
Electrician Degree, Diploma and Certificate Programs near Foley AL
There are several options to receive electrician training in a technical or vocational school near Foley AL. You can enroll in 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 other three alternatives. Often these programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program, which are mandated by the majority of states in order to become licensed or if you want to earn certification. Following are brief descriptions of the 3 most typical programs available.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally provided by Alabama vocational and trade schools and require approximately a year to finish. They provide a good foundation and are aimed towards those who wish to get into an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees take two years to finish and are offered by Alabama junior or community colleges, typically as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They provide a more comprehensive education while providing the foundation that readies students to begin their apprenticeship program.
As earlier stated, Bachelor’s Degrees are available at certain Alabama colleges, but are less popular at four years than the other briefer programs. Many states mandate that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and in most cases 4 years be carried out prior to licensing. Because of that, the majority of students are anxious to start their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not a component of their academic program.
Electrician Certification and Licensing Guidelines
Electricians in Foley AL can perform a wide range of duties, including installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and making sure that the wiring in houses and buildings comply with code standards. After completing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to be licensed in most states or municipalities. The length of apprenticeship differs by state, but commonly around four to five years of practical experience is called for in order to take the licensing exam. The exams commonly assess general knowledge and electrical theory, along with understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also a voluntary means for an electrician to identify her or himself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications available differ by state and may be earned 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 agencies 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 tech school that you pick not only furnishes a strong academic foundation, but also helps ready you for passing any licensing and certification exams that you may be required to take in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Schools Online in Foley AL
An option that you may have contemplated is enrolling in an electrician online school to earn a certificate or degree. While online schools have become more prevalent as a means of attending class without needing to travel, in this case they are not entirely internet based. Virtually all electrician training programs require some attendance on-campus to receive hands-on practical training. But since the balance of the classes can be attended online, distance learning can be a more accommodating option for students that have minimal time for schooling. And as a bonus numerous online schools have a lower tuition cost compared to their on-campus counterparts. Travelling expenses from Foley AL are also minimized and some of the study materials can be available online also. All of these benefits can make online electrician tech schools more affordable and convenient. And a number are fully accredited, which we will cover in our due diligence checklist.
What to Ask Electrician Training Schools
Now that you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to narrow down your school options. Since there are numerous electrician trade and vocational schools in the Foley AL region, it’s important to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must satisfy. The initial 2 that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. If you are interested in earning an online degree, then that needs to be a feature that your final school offers. And although all three qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are additional variables that need to be considered also. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to assess before choosing an electrical technical school.
Accreditation. Numerous electrician trade programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Make sure that the Foley AL program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you acquire an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, many 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate could signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It might also indicate that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help Foley AL students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous electrician technical programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrical companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with Foley AL area electricians or electrical professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing 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 working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the electrical technician you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Foley AL electrical company if they can give you some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Foley home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much one-on-one training 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 students and teachers. Speak with some of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Foley AL, confirm that the programs you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Foley AL?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Foley AL area.
Foley is a city in Baldwin County, Alabama, United States. The 2010 census lists the population of the city as 14,618. Foley is a principal city of the Daphne–Fairhope–Foley Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Baldwin County.
Foley was named for its founder, John B. Foley of Chicago.As Foley was traveling to President McKinley's funeral in 1901, he met a railroad agent who told him of the area in South Baldwin County. Foley came down the following year, and he liked what he saw and bought up to between 40,000 acres (160 km2) and 50,000 acres (200 km2) of land. He then returned to Chicago and formed the Magnolia Land Company. As he began to sell off acreage, he realized the need for a better way for the people to come to Foley.
Foley used some of his own money to lay the rails so the train could come from Bay Minette. The first railroad station was built in 1905. The original station burned in 1908 and was replaced the following year by the station that is now the City's museum. John Foley donated parcels of land for a school and churches. These included the current Catholic Church, Saint Margaret of Scotland, the Baptist church and the Methodist church. The first train to service Foley was a wood burner called the "Pine Knot Special." It would leave Foley in the morning and make a return trip in the afternoon. As people cleared the land, they would place lighter knots in a wood box for the engineer to use as was needed. Foley was incorporated in 1915 with G. I. Weatherly serving as its first mayor.
Select the Right Electrician Trade School near Foley AL
Selecting the right electrician training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any electrician training that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides unique options for certification also. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional electrician in Foley AL.
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