How to Become an Electrician in Folsom California
The initial step to learning to be an electrical tradesman or contractor is finding an electrician trade school near Folsom CA. But with so many technical schools to pick from, just how do you undertake making certain that you enroll in the best one? Particularly since there are a number of variables to examine. For instance, some prospective students will begin by looking for schools that are close to their residence. After they have found some that are within commuting distance, they will pick the one with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are of importance, they are not the sole factors that need to be examined. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should contribute toward your ultimate judgment when picking an electrician trade school. We will talk about that checklist in more detail later in this article. But to begin with, let’s talk a little bit about being an electrician and the instructional choices that are accessible.
Electrician Diploma, Certificate and Degree Options near Folsom CA
There are three general options to obtain electrician training in a technical or vocational school near Folsom CA. You may select a diploma or certificate program, or obtain an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are available at a few schools, but are not as prevalent as the other three options. Frequently these programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program, which are required by the majority of states to be licensed or if you wish to earn certification. Following are short descriptions of the three most common programs available.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by California trade and technical schools and take approximately a year to complete. They furnish a solid foundation and are geared towards students who wish to get into an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs take two years to complete and are offered by California junior or community colleges, usually as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They offer a more extensive education while providing the foundation that prepares students to enter into their apprenticeship program.
As previously stated, Bachelor’s Degree programs are available at some California institutions, but are less popular at four years than the other briefer programs. Most states mandate that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and in most cases four years be carried out prior to licensing. Because of that, the majority of students are anxious to commence their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not a component of their educational program.
Electrician License and Certification Criteria
Electricians in Folsom CA can carry out a multitude of duties, such as testing, installing and replacing electrical systems, and ensuring that the wiring in houses and buildings are up to code standards. After completing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are mandated to be licensed in most municipalities and states. The duration of apprenticeship differs by state, but typically around 4 to 5 years of practical experience is required before taking the licensing examination. The exams typically test electrical theory and general knowledge, as well as understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also a voluntary means for an electrician to distinguish her or himself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications available vary by state and can be acquired in many specializations, such as cable splicing as an example. The certification procedure in most cases 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) as well as the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s imperative that the electrician tech school that you select not only provides a solid academic foundation, but also helps prep you for passing any licensing and certification exams that you might be required to take in the future.
Attending Electrician Online Training Classes in Folsom CA
An option that you may have considered is choosing an online electrician program to earn a degree or a certificate. 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 completely internet based. Pretty much all electrician training programs require partial attendance on-campus to get practical hands-on training. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended online, internet learning might be a more accommodating option for students that have minimal time for education. And as a bonus many online degree programs have a lower tuition cost compared to their on campus alternatives. Travelling expenses from Folsom CA are also lessened and a portion of the study materials may be available on line as well. Each of these benefits can make online electrician vocational schools more affordable and convenient. And many are fully accredited, which we will address in our questions to ask checklist.
Questions to Ask Electrician Tech Schools
Once you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to focus your training options. Considering that there are numerous electrician vocational and trade schools in the Folsom CA region, it’s important to have a checklist of criteria that each school must satisfy. The first two that we discussed were location and tuition expense. If you are interested in earning an online degree, then that needs to be an option that your final school offers. And while all three qualifiers may be important when making your selection, there are additional variables that must be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to assess before enrolling in an electrical trade school.
Accreditation. Numerous electrician trade programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Confirm that the Folsom CA program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, 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 might signify that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It might also mean that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to help Folsom CA grads acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most electrician vocational programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrical businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with Folsom CA area electricians or electrical professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides 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 certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the electrical specialist you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Folsom CA electrical contracting company if they can provide some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Folsom residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with several of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Folsom CA, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Folsom CA?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Folsom CA area.
Folsom is named for Joseph Libbey Folsom who purchased Rancho Rio de los Americanos from the heirs of a San Francisco merchant William Alexander Leidesdorff, and laid out the town called Granite City, mostly occupied by gold miners seeking fortune in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Though few amassed a great deal of wealth, the city prospered due to Joseph Folsom's lobbying to get a railway to connect the town with Sacramento. Joseph died in 1855, and Granite City was later renamed to Folsom in his honor. The railway was abandoned in the 1980s but opened up as the terminus of the Gold Line of Sacramento Regional Transit District's light rail service in 2005. A few former gold-rush era towns are located within city limits of Folsom, including Prairie City, Salmon Falls, and Mormon Island (though these towns no longer exist).
The establishment of Folsom Prison came in 1880, when the Livermore family made an agreement with the state to donate land for the prison in exchange for prison labor. They planned to build a hydro-electric dam from the American River for a sawmill. Though the sawmill did not work out, the Livermores soon realized that the natural force of running water could provide enough power to transmit to Sacramento, and the Folsom Powerhouse, now a National Historic Landmark, was opened. At the time it was opened, it had the longest overhead run of electricity (22 miles) in the country. The powerhouse operated until 1952.
Folsom Dam was built in 1956, providing much-needed flood control and water rights for the Sacramento Valley. The creation of this dam also created one of the most popular lakes in Northern California, Folsom Lake. The dam is located on the southwest corner of the lake. The lake is an estimated 4.8 miles (7.7 km) from Granite Bay to the most southern point of Folsom Lake.
Select the Ideal Electrician Tech School near Folsom CA
Choosing the best electrician training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any electrician training that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional electrician in Folsom CA.
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