How to Become an Electrician in Fultondale Alabama
The first step to learning to be an electrical contractor or tradesman is finding an electrician trade school near Fultondale AL. But with numerous technical schools to pick from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the right one? Particularly because there are so many points to evaluate. For example, many potential students will begin by searching for schools that are close to their home. When they have found some that are within commuting range, they will decide on the one with the least expensive tuition. While cost and location are of importance, they are not the sole factors that must be considered. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should help mold your ultimate judgment when picking an electrician 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 training options that are offered.
Electrician Diploma, Certificate and Degree Programs near Fultondale AL
There are three general approaches to obtain electrician instruction in a technical or vocational school near Fultondale AL. You can select a certificate or diploma program, or obtain an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are available at some schools, but are not as prevalent as the first three alternatives. Often these programs are made available combined with an apprenticeship program, which are mandated by most states to become licensed or if you wish to earn certification. Bellow are short explanations of the 3 most common programs available.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually provided by Alabama vocational and trade schools and take approximately a year to finish. They provide a solid foundation and are geared towards students who wish to join an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees involve 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 extensive education while providing the foundation that prepares students to begin their apprenticeship program.
As earlier stated, Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at some Alabama institutions, but are less popular at four years than the other briefer programs. Many states mandate that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and more typically 4 years be performed prior to licensing. For that reason, many students are eager to begin their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not a component of their educational program.
Electrician License and Certification Prerequisites
Electricians in Fultondale AL can perform a vast array of functions, including installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and making sure that the wiring in buildings and homes comply with 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 generally around 4 to 5 years of prior experience is called for before taking the licensing exam. The exams typically evaluate general knowledge and electrical theory, in addition to understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also an optional means for an electrician to differentiate him or herself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications offered differ by state and may be obtained in several specializations, including cable splicing as an example. The certification process in most cases includes 3 levels of proficiency:
- An experience requirement
- Passing a written exam
- Passing a practical exam
Examples of certifying agencies include the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (NJATC) as well as the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s crucial that the electrician vocational 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 need to pass in the future.
Attending Electrician Online Training Classes in Fultondale AL
An alternative that you might have contemplated is choosing an electrician online program to earn a certificate or degree. While online training programs have become more prevalent as a way of attending class without needing to travel, in this situation they are not entirely internet based. Just about all electrician training programs require some attendance on-campus to obtain practical hands-on training. But since the balance of the classes can be accessed online, distance learning may be a more practical alternative for students that have limited time for schooling. And as an added benefit numerous online schools have a reduced tuition cost compared to their on campus alternatives. Driving expenses from Fultondale AL are also lessened and a portion of the study materials may be accessed on line as well. All of these benefits can make online electrician vocational schools more economical and convenient. And many are fully accredited, which we will deal with in our questions to ask checklist.
Topics to Ask Electrician Tech Schools
Once you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to focus your training options. Because there are so many electrician trade and vocational schools in the Fultondale AL area, it’s imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The first two that we talked about were location and tuition expense. If you have an interest in earning an online degree, then that needs to be a feature that your chosen school offers. And even though all three qualifiers may be important when making your decision, there are other variables that need to be considered as well. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess before enrolling in an electrical tech school.
Accreditation. Many electrician vocational programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Confirm that the Fultondale AL school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it can assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, many states require that the electrician training course be accredited in order 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 percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate could suggest that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It may also mean that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to use 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 field, but also that it has the network of contacts to help Fultondale AL graduates 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 working partnerships with Fultondale AL area electricians or electrical contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the electrical technician you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Fultondale AL electrical contractor if they can give you some suggestions. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within driving distance of your Fultondale home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Speak with some of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Fultondale AL, verify that the programs you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Fultondale AL?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Fultondale AL area.
This area was once known as Fulton Springs. Prior to the building of Interstate 65, US 31 was the main route for travelers northbound from Birmingham towards Nashville, Tennessee. As a result, hotels such as the Keystone Lodge and Buchmann Motor Inn prospered. On the city's southern edge was located one of the few drive-in theatres in the Birmingham area (the "Skyview"). This was torn down when I-65 was built in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Pine Bowl bowling alley is still a long time fixture in the city.Traces of the old routing of US 31 are still noticeable in the city. From just south of the city hall to an old bridge on this city's northern side, most of this old routing is known as Stouts Road or in some cases simply "old US 31."
Fultondale was a relatively stagnant community until the last decade. Growth has occurred in residential areas mainly west of Interstate 65, while retail development has focused along and near the I-65/Walkers Chapel Road exit.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.2 square miles (32 km2), all land. Fultondale is located along one of the many ridgelines that comprise the southern end of the Appalachian Mountain chain. The area has been thoroughly mined for coal and other minerals in the past 100 years. The city is served by two major north/south highways, Interstate 65 and US Highway 31. The new Interstate 22 encroaches on the city's western edge and on June 20, 2016, the interchange with I-65 just south of Fultondale opened. I-22 will provide direct interstate access to Memphis, Tennessee. Upon completion of Interstate 22, Fultondale will become the fourth Alabama city (after Birmingham, Montgomery, and Mobile) to be directly served by more than one two-digit interstate highway (I-65 & I-22). The only east/west thoroughfare of note is Walkers Chapel Road (west of US 31) and New Castle Road (east of US 31). Rail lines run north/south along the city's eastern edge from Boyles Yard in Tarrant to points north and east. Air travel is available from nearby Birmingham International Airport.
Enroll in the Ideal Electrical Trade School near Fultondale AL
Selecting the ideal electrician training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any electrical tech school that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each program offers unique options for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional electrician in Fultondale AL.
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