How to Become an Electrician in Barstow California
The first step to becoming an electrical contractor or tradesman is locating an electrician trade school near Barstow CA. But with numerous technical schools to pick from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the best one? Especially since there are so many points to consider. For example, many potential students will commence by searching for schools that are close to their home. Once they have identified some that are within driving distance, they will select the one with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are important, they are not the only things that need to be evaluated. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should influence your ultimate decision when choosing an electrician school. We will cover that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let’s talk a little bit about becoming an electrician and the instructional choices that are available.
Electrician Degree, Certificate and Diploma Options near Barstow CA
There are three general approaches to receive electrician instruction in a vocational or trade school near Barstow CA. You can select a certificate or diploma program, or receive an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at a few schools, but are not as prevalent as the first three alternatives. Often these programs are offered together with an apprenticeship, which are mandated by most states to be licensed or if you intend to become certified. Following are short summaries of the three most common programs available.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally provided by California vocational and trade schools and require approximately a year to complete. They furnish a good foundation and are geared towards individuals who would like to join an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees take two years to complete and are offered by California community colleges, usually as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They furnish a more extensive education while supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter into their apprenticeship program.
As earlier mentioned, Bachelor’s Degrees are accessible at certain California institutions, but are less preferred at 4 years than the other shorter programs. Many states mandate that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and in most cases 4 years be completed before licensing. Therefore, many students are anxious to begin their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not a component of their educational program.
Electrician Certification and Licensing Guidelines
Electricians in Barstow CA can undertake a wide range of duties, including installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and ensuring that the wiring in houses and buildings comply with code standards. After concluding an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to become licensed in most states or municipalities. The length of apprenticeship differs by state, but typically about four to five years of practical experience is called for before taking the licensing examination. The exams commonly test general knowledge and electrical theory, as well as knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also an optional method for an electrician to identify her or himself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications offered vary by state and can be obtained in various specializations, such as cable splicing as an example. The certification process in most cases involves three 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) along with the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s imperative that the electrician vocational school that you select not only provides 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 Barstow CA
A possibility that you may have contemplated is choosing an online electrician school to earn a degree or a certificate. Although online schools are becoming more accepted as a way of attending class without the need for travel, in this instance they are not totally internet based. Pretty much all electrician schools require partial attendance on-campus to get hands-on practical training. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended online, distance learning can be a more accommodating choice for students that have limited time for schooling. And as an added benefit numerous online degree programs have a cheaper tuition cost compared to their on campus counterparts. Driving costs from Barstow CA are also minimized and a portion of the study materials may be available online also. Each of these benefits can make electrician online trade schools more economical and convenient. And many are fully accredited, which we will deal with in our due diligence checklist.
Points to Ask Electrician Trade Schools
When you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to narrow down your training options. Since there are numerous electrician vocational and trade schools in the Barstow CA area, it’s important to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The initial 2 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 final school offers. And while all three qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are additional variables that need to be considered also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess prior to selecting an electrical trade school.
Accreditation. Numerous electrician trade programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Verify that the Barstow CA program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you acquire a superior education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, many states require that the electrician training program be accredited in order to qualify 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 lower completion rate might indicate that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It could also signify that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which can 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 industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help Barstow CA students acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many electrician trade programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of electrical contractors or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with Barstow CA area electricians or electrical companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the electrical specialist you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Barstow CA electrical contractor if they can give you some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Barstow home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much individualized instruction 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 observe how big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to a few of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the instructors and learn 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 can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Barstow CA, verify that the programs you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Barstow CA?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Barstow CA area.
Barstow is a major transportation center for the Inland Empire. Several major highways including Interstate 15, Interstate 40, California State Route 58, and U.S. Route 66 converge in the city. It is the site of a large rail classification yard, belonging to the BNSF Railway. The Union Pacific Railroad also runs through town using trackage rights on BNSF's main line to Daggett 10 miles (16 km) east, from where it heads to Salt Lake City and the BNSF heads to Chicago. Barstow is about 15 miles (24 km) from Yermo, 25 miles (40 km) from Victorville, 62 miles (100 km) from Baker, California and 111 miles (179 km) from Primm, Nevada. Barstow serves as a halfway point for drivers who travel between Los Angeles, California (120 miles (190 km) southwest) and Las Vegas, Nevada (150 miles (240 km) northeast).
The settlement of Barstow began in the late 1830s in the Mormon Corridor. Every fall and winter, as the weather cooled, the rain produced new grass growth and replenished the water sources in the Mojave Desert. People, goods and animal herds would move from New Mexico and later Utah to Los Angeles, along the Old Spanish Trail from Santa Fe, or after 1848, on the Mormon Road from Salt Lake City. Trains of freight wagons traveled back to Salt Lake City and other points in the interior. These travelers followed the course of the Mojave River, watering and camping at Fish Ponds on its south bank (west of Nebo Center) or 3.625 miles up river on the north bank, at a riverside grove of willows and cottonwoods, festooned with wild grapes, called Grapevines (later the site of North Barstow). In 1859, the Mojave Road followed a route was established from Los Angeles to Fort Mojave through Grapevines that linked eastward with the Beale Wagon Road across northern New Mexico Territory to Santa Fe.
Indian troubles with the Paiute, Mojave and Chemehuevi tribes followed and from 1860 Camp Cady, a U.S. Army post 20 miles (32 km) east of Barstow, was occupied sporadically until 1864, then permanently, by soldiers occupying other posts on the Mojave Road or patrolling in the region until 1871. Trading posts were established at Grapevines and Fish Ponds that supplied travelers on the roads and increasingly the miners that came into the Mohave Desert after the end of hostilities with the native people.
Pick the Right Electrician Trade School near Barstow CA
Choosing the ideal electrical 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 among the schools you are considering. It’s a must that any electrical tech school that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each training program provides different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional electrician in Barstow CA.
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