How to Become an Electrician in Shelby Alabama
The first step to becoming an electrical tradesman or contractor is finding an electrician trade school near Shelby AL. But with so many technical schools to pick from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the right one? Particularly since there are a number of variables to evaluate. For instance, some potential students will commence by searching for schools that are nearby their home. After they have found several that are within commuting range, they will choose the one with the cheapest tuition. Even though location and cost are of importance, they are not the only factors that must be examined. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should help mold your final judgment when choosing an electrician school. We will discuss 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 instructional choices that are accessible.
Electrician Certificate, Diploma and Degree Programs near Shelby AL
There are multiple options to get electrician instruction in a technical or vocational school near Shelby AL. You may enroll in a diploma or certificate program, or earn an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are obtainable at some schools, but are not as prevalent as the first three alternatives. Frequently these programs are made available together with an apprenticeship program, which are required by most states to become licensed or if you wish to earn certification. Bellow are brief summaries of the three most common programs offered.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are typically provided by Alabama vocational and trade schools and take about a year to complete. They furnish a solid foundation and are aimed towards those who would like to join an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees take 2 years to complete and are provided by Alabama community colleges, usually as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They offer a more comprehensive education while supplying the foundation that readies students to enter into their apprenticeship program.
As previously mentioned, Bachelor’s Degree programs are accessible at some Alabama institutions, but are less popular at 4 years than the other briefer programs. Many states mandate that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and more typically four years be completed before licensing. For that reason, many students are eager to commence their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not part of their academic program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Guidelines
Electricians in Shelby AL can undertake a wide range of duties, including testing, installing and replacing electrical systems, and making sure that the wiring in houses and buildings comply with code standards. After finishing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are mandated to be licensed in most states or municipalities. The period of apprenticeship varies by state, but typically about four to five years of prior experience is called for in order to take the licensing exam. The exams commonly evaluate electrical theory and general knowledge, along with understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also an optional way for an electrician to identify him or herself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications available differ by state and may be obtained in numerous specialties, including 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) as well as the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s imperative that the electrician tech school that you enroll in not only delivers a solid educational foundation, but also helps prep you for passing any licensing and certification exams that you might need to take in the future.
Attending Electrician Online Programs in Shelby AL
An option that you might have looked at is enrolling in an online electrician program to earn a degree or a certificate. Although online schools are becoming more popular 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 obtain hands-on practical training. But since the balance of the classes can be accessed online, distance learning may be a more convenient choice for individuals that have minimal time for education. And as an added benefit many online training programs have a reduced tuition cost compared to their on campus counterparts. Driving expenses from Shelby AL are also lessened and a portion of the study materials may be accessed online also. All of these benefits can make online electrician 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
When you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to refine your school options. Because there are so many electrician trade and vocational schools in the Shelby AL region, it’s imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must satisfy. The initial two that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. If you have an interest in earning an online degree, then that needs to be an option that your chosen school offers. And even though all three qualifiers may be critical when making your decision, there are other variables that need to be considered as well. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to analyze before choosing an electrical vocational school.
Accreditation. Many electrician trade schools have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Verify that the Shelby AL program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you acquire a superior education, it can help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states mandate that the electrician training program be accredited in order to be approved 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 low completion rate may signify that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It could also mean that the teachers were not competent 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 more extensive directory of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist Shelby AL students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most electrician training programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of electrician contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with Shelby AL area electricians or electrical specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment 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 on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the electrical specialist you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Shelby AL electrical contracting company if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Shelby residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in 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 desirable that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk with a few of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise 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 fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Shelby AL, confirm that the schools you are comparing provide those options. 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 protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Shelby AL?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Shelby AL area.
Shelby County, Alabama
Shelby County is a county of the U.S. state of Alabama. As of the 2010 census the population was 195,085. The county seat is Columbiana. The county is named in honor of Isaac Shelby, Governor of Kentucky from 1792 to 1796 and again from 1812 to 1816.
Shelby County was established on February 7, 1818, and it was named for the Revolutionary War hero and the first Governor of Kentucky, Isaac Shelby. Beginning in 1820, the first county seat was located at Shelbyville. This settlement, long defunct, was located within the modern city limits of Pelham. The first courthouse was built of logs. The seat was moved to Columbia, now Columbiana, in 1826. Initially housed in an old school building, a new brick courthouse building was completed in 1854. It is now known as the Old Shelby County Courthouse and houses the Shelby County Museum and Archives. The current limestone courthouse was built from 1905–06, at a cost of $300,000.
Shelby County was the home of an early inland waterway, the Coosa River, and it was also the location of a very early east-west railroad in Alabama that connected Atlanta, Georgia, with locations to its west. Shelby County was also crossed by an early north-south railroad, the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, that connected Louisville, Nashville, Decatur, Birmingham, and Montgomery.
Pick the Ideal Electrical Trade School near Shelby AL
Choosing the right electrician trade school will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any electrician tech school that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional electrician in Shelby AL.
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