How to Become an Electrician in Berkeley California
The first step to learning to be an electrical tradesman or contractor is locating an electrician trade school near Berkeley CA. But with so many technical schools to choose from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially because there are so many points to consider. For example, many potential students will start by looking for schools that are close to their residence. When they have identified some that are within commuting distance, they will decide on the one with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are of importance, they are not the only qualifications that should be evaluated. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should influence your final decision when picking an electrician trade school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let’s talk a little bit about becoming an electrician and the educational choices that are available.
Electrician Degree, Certificate and Diploma Programs near Berkeley CA
There are multiple options to get electrician training in a trade or technical school near Berkeley CA. You can choose a certificate or diploma program, or earn an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are available at certain schools, but are not as prevalent as the other three alternatives. Frequently these programs are offered together with an apprenticeship, which are mandated by most states to be licensed or if you intend to earn certification. Following are brief summaries of the three most common programs available.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually provided by California trade and technical schools and require about a year to complete. They furnish a solid foundation and are aimed towards students who want to get into an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs require 2 years to complete and are provided by California junior or community colleges, typically as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They offer a more well-rounded education while supplying the foundation that readies students to enter into their apprenticeship program.
As previously mentioned, Bachelor’s Degrees are accessible at some California institutions, but are less popular at 4 years than the other briefer programs. Many states require that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and in most cases 4 years be carried out prior to licensing. For that reason, many students are eager to commence their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not part of their academic program.
Electrician License and Certification Criteria
Electricians in Berkeley CA can carry out a multitude of duties, such as testing, installing and replacing electrical systems, and making sure that the wiring in buildings and homes comply with code standards. After completing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are mandated to be licensed in the majority of municipalities and states. The length of apprenticeship varies by state, but commonly around 4 to 5 years of experience is called for in order to take the licensing examination. The exams typically assess electrical theory and general knowledge, along with understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also a voluntary way for an electrician to distinguish her or himself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications offered vary by state and can be earned in many specializations, including cable splicing as an example. The certification process in most cases involves three 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) and also the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s important that the electrician trade school that you enroll in not only delivers a solid academic foundation, but also helps prepare you for passing any certification and licensing exams that you might need to pass in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Programs Online in Berkeley CA
An option that you might have contemplated is selecting an online electrician school to earn a certificate or degree. Even though online training programs are becoming more prevalent as a way of attending class without needing to travel, in this case they are not totally internet based. Just about all electrician schools require partial attendance on-campus to receive practical hands-on training. But since the rest of the classes can be accessed online, distance learning can be a more practical alternative for students that have limited time for schooling. And as a bonus many online schools have a lower tuition cost compared to their on-campus counterparts. Travelling costs from Berkeley CA are also lessened and some of the study materials may be available online also. All of these benefits can make online electrician trade schools more affordable and accessible. And many are fully accredited, which we will address in our questions to ask checklist.
What to Ask Electrician Training Schools
Now that you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to focus your school options. Because there are numerous electrician vocational and trade schools in the Berkeley CA area, it’s essential to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The first 2 that we mentioned 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 selection, there are other factors that must be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to analyze prior to enrolling in an electrical technical school.
Accreditation. A large number of electrician vocational schools have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Make certain that the Berkeley CA school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, a number of states mandate that the electrician training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion and Placement Rates. Ask the electrician schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It could also indicate that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to help Berkeley CA grads obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous electrician vocational programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrical businesses or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with Berkeley CA area electricians or electrical professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to form 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 working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the electrical technician you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Berkeley CA electrical contractor if they can provide some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Berkeley home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to a few of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the teachers 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 programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Berkeley CA, confirm that the schools you are comparing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Berkeley CA?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Berkeley CA area.
Berkeley (/ˈbɜːrkli/ BURK-lee) is a city on the east shore of San Francisco Bay in northern Alameda County, California. It is named after the 18th-century Irish bishop and philosopher George Berkeley. It borders the cities of Oakland and Emeryville to the south and the city of Albany and the unincorporated community of Kensington to the north. Its eastern border with Contra Costa County generally follows the ridge of the Berkeley Hills. The 2010 census recorded a population of 112,580.
Berkeley is home to the oldest campus in the University of California system, the University of California, Berkeley, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which is managed and operated by the University. It also has the Graduate Theological Union, one of the largest religious studies institutions in the world. Berkeley is one of the most socially liberal cities in the United States.
The site of today's City of Berkeley was the territory of the Chochenyo/Huchiun band of the Ohlone people when the first Europeans arrived. Evidence of their existence in the area include pits in rock formations, which they used to grind acorns, and a shellmound, now mostly leveled and covered up, along the shoreline of San Francisco Bay at the mouth of Strawberry Creek. Other artifacts were discovered in the 1950s in the downtown area during remodeling of a commercial building, near the upper course of the creek.
Enroll in the Ideal Electrician Tech School near Berkeley CA
Choosing the ideal electrical training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any electrician training program that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each program offers unique options for certification also. Probably The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional electrician in Berkeley CA.
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