How to Become an Electrician in Gadsden Alabama
The initial step to becoming an electrical contractor or tradesman is finding an electrician trade school near Gadsden AL. But with numerous technical schools to choose from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the best one? Especially because there are a number of factors to consider. For example, some students will start by looking for schools that are nearby their home. Once they have located some that are within driving range, they will decide on the one with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are significant, they are not the only factors that need to be examined. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should help mold your final decision when picking an electrician trade school. We will address that checklist in more detail later in this post. But to begin with, let’s talk a little bit about becoming an electrician and the instructional choices that are available.
Electrician Certificate, Diploma and Degree Options near Gadsden AL
There are multiple ways to get electrician training in a technical or vocational school near Gadsden AL. You can choose a certificate or diploma program, or earn an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at some schools, but are not as prevalent as the first three options. In many cases these programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program, which are required by most states in order to be licensed or if you intend to earn certification. Following are short explanations of the 3 most prevalent programs offered.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by Alabama trade and technical schools and require approximately a year to complete. They furnish a good foundation and are geared towards individuals who want to enter an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs require 2 years to finish and are provided by Alabama community colleges, usually as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They furnish a more extensive education while providing the foundation that readies students to enter into their apprenticeship program.
As previously stated, Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at some Alabama institutions, but are less favored at four years than the other shorter programs. Many states mandate that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and in most cases four years be performed prior to licensing. Therefore, most students are eager to commence their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not part of their educational program.
Electrician License and Certification Guidelines
Electricians in Gadsden AL can perform a vast array of services, including testing, installing and replacing electrical systems, and making sure that the wiring in houses and buildings are up to code standards. After finishing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to become licensed in the majority of states or municipalities. The length of apprenticeship varies by state, but usually around 4 to 5 years of experience is needed in order to take the licensing examination. The exams usually assess electrical theory and general knowledge, as well as knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also an optional way for an electrician to distinguish her or himself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications available vary by state and may be acquired in many specialties, including cable splicing as an example. The certification process usually involves three levels of proficiency:
- An experience requirement
- Passing a written exam
- Passing a practical exam
Examples of certifying organizations include the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (NJATC) along with the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s crucial that the electrician trade school that you enroll in not only delivers a strong educational foundation, but also helps prepare you for passing any licensing and certification examinations that you may be required to take in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Online Schools in Gadsden AL
An option that you may have looked at is choosing an online electrician school to earn a degree or a certificate. Even though online training programs are becoming more prevalent as a means of attending class without the need for 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 may be a more practical choice for individuals that have minimal time for education. And as a bonus many online degree programs have a lower tuition cost compared to their traditional alternatives. Driving expenses from Gadsden AL are also lessened and some of the study materials may be available on line as well. Each of these advantages can make online electrician vocational schools more affordable and accessible. And many are fully accredited, which we will discuss in our questions to ask checklist.
Questions to Ask Electrician Training Schools
Now that you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to refine your training options. Considering that there are so many electrician vocational and trade schools in the Gadsden AL region, it’s important to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The initial 2 that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. If you are interested in earning an degree online, then that must be a feature that your final school offers. And even though all three qualifiers may be important when making your selection, there are additional variables that must be taken into account also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to research before choosing an electrical vocational school.
Accreditation. Many electrician trade schools have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Make certain that the Gadsden AL school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you get a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states require that the electrician training course be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion and Placement Rates. Ask the electrician schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate might suggest that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It could also signify that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which may result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist Gadsden AL grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most electrician vocational programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrical companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with Gadsden AL area electricians or electrical companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus 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 already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the electrical tech you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Gadsden AL electrical contractor if they can give you some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Gadsden residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation 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 couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to several of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Gadsden AL, check that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Gadsden AL?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Gadsden AL area.
Gadsden is a city in and the county seat of Etowah County in the U.S. state of Alabama. It is located on the Coosa River about 56 miles (90 km) northeast of Birmingham and 90 miles (140 km) southwest of Chattanooga, Tennessee. It is the primary city of the Gadsden Metropolitan Statistical Area, which has a population of 103,931. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 36,856, with an estimated population of 35,837 in 2016. Gadsden and Rome, Georgia, are the largest cities in the triangular area now defined by the interstate highways between Atlanta, Birmingham, and Chattanooga.
In the 19th century, Gadsden was at one time Alabama's second-most important center of commerce and industry, trailing only the seaport of Mobile. The two cities were important shipping centers: Gadsden for riverboats and Mobile for international trade.
From the late 19th century through the 1980s, Gadsden was a center of heavy industry, including the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company and Republic Steel. More than a decade after the sharp decline in industry, in 1991 Gadsden was awarded the honor of All-America City by the National Civic League. This honored the way Gadsden's citizens, government, businesses, and voluntary organizations have worked together to address critical local issues.
Select the Ideal Electrical Tech School near Gadsden AL
Choosing the best electrician trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the training programs you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any electrical training program that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each training program offers different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional electrician in Gadsden AL.
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