How to Become an Electrician in Athens Alabama
The first step to becoming an electrical tradesman or contractor is enrolling in an electrician trade school near Athens AL. But with numerous technical schools to select from, just how do you undertake making sure that you enroll in the best one? Especially because there are so many points to evaluate. For example, some potential students will begin by searching for schools that are nearby their home. After they have identified several that are within commuting range, they will choose the one with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are important, they are not the only things that must be examined. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should influence your ultimate decision when selecting an electrician trade school. We will address that checklist in more detail later in this article. But to begin with, let’s review a little bit about becoming an electrician and the instructional choices that are available.
Electrician Certificate, Diploma and Degree Programs near Athens AL
There are multiple options to receive electrician training in a trade or technical school near Athens AL. You may enroll in a certificate or diploma program, or obtain an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at some schools, but are not as common as the first three options. In many cases these programs are made available together with an apprenticeship, which are required by the majority of states to become licensed or if you want to earn certification. Bellow are short explanations of the three most prevalent programs offered.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by Alabama technical and trade schools and require about a year to complete. They furnish a solid foundation and are geared towards those who would like to get into an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees take two years to complete and are provided by Alabama junior or community colleges, usually as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They provide a more well-rounded education while supplying the foundation that readies students to begin their apprenticeship program.
As earlier stated, Bachelor’s Degrees are available at certain Alabama institutions, but are less favored 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 performed prior to licensing. Therefore, most students are anxious to commence their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not a component of their educational program.
Electrician Certification and Licensing Prerequisites
Electricians in Athens AL can carry out a wide range of functions, such as installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and ensuring that the wiring in buildings and homes are up to code standards. After finishing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are mandated to become licensed in most states or municipalities. The duration of apprenticeship varies by state, but commonly about 4 to 5 years of practical experience is needed before taking the licensing exam. The exams usually test electrical theory and general knowledge, along with knowledge 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 available vary by state and can be acquired in various specializations, such as cable splicing as an example. The certification procedure in most cases includes 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) as well as the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s imperative that the electrician trade school that you choose not only delivers a strong educational foundation, but also helps prepare you for passing any licensing and certification examinations that you may need to take in the future.
Attending Electrician Online Schools in Athens AL
An option that you might have considered is enrolling in an electrician online school to earn a certificate or degree. Even though online training programs are becoming more accepted as a means of attending class without needing to travel, in this instance they are not totally internet based. Pretty much all electrician training programs require partial attendance on campus to receive practical hands-on training. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended online, distance learning might be a more accommodating option for individuals that have minimal time for education. And as a bonus many online schools have a cheaper tuition cost compared to their traditional competitors. Driving expenses from Athens AL are also reduced and some of the study materials can be available on line as well. Each of these advantages can make electrician online trade schools more affordable and convenient. And many are fully accredited, which we will deal with in our due diligence checklist.
Topics to Ask Electrician Trade Schools
Once you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to narrow down your training options. Since there are so many electrician tech and trade schools in the Athens AL region, it’s imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The initial 2 that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. If you have an interest in earning an degree online, then that must be a feature that your final school offers. And while all three qualifiers may be critical when making your determination, there are additional factors that need to be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to research prior to enrolling in an electrical tech school.
Accreditation. Many electrician trade programs have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Make sure that the Athens AL school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states require that the electrician training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion and Placement Rates. Ask the electrician schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate might suggest that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It could also suggest that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which can result in more contacts for the school to utilize 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 also that it has the network of contacts to assist Athens AL graduates obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many electrician technical programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of electrical businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with Athens AL area electricians or electrical companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm 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, talk to the electrical specialist you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Athens AL electrical contracting company if they can give you some suggestions. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Athens residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to a few of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify 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 Athens AL, check that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, 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 Athens AL?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Athens AL area.
Athens is a city in Limestone County, in the State of Alabama. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 21,897. The city is the county seat of Limestone County and is included in the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area.
Founded in 1818 by John Coffee, Robert Beaty, John D. Carroll, and John Read, Athens is one of the oldest incorporated cities in the State of Alabama, having been incorporated one year prior to the state's admittance to the Union in 1819. Limestone County was also created by an act of the Alabama Territorial Legislature in 1818. The town was first called Athenson, but was incorporated as Athens after the ancient city in Greece. The town's first mayor was Samuel Tanner, and the Tanner area, south of Athens, was named on his behalf.
The Athens area was the home of William Wyatt Bibb, the first Governor of Alabama, and its second Governor, his brother Thomas Bibb, who succeeded him in office when he died in a fall from his horse.
Find the Right Electrician Trade School near Athens AL
Selecting the ideal electrician training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any electrician training program that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional electrician in Athens AL.
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