How to Become an Electrician in Alton Illinois
The initial step to becoming an electrical contractor or tradesman is enrolling in an electrician trade school near Alton IL. But with so many vocational schools to select 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, many potential students will commence by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. When they have identified some that are within driving range, they will select the one with the most affordable tuition. Even though location and cost are significant, they are not the sole factors that need to be examined. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should contribute toward your ultimate judgment when selecting an electrician school. We will address that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But first, let’s review a little bit about being an electrician and the educational choices that are accessible.
Electrician Diploma, Certificate and Degree Programs near Alton IL
There are three general approaches to receive electrician instruction in a vocational or trade school near Alton IL. You may select a certificate or diploma program, or receive an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at a few schools, but are not as common as the other three alternatives. Frequently these programs are made available combined with an apprenticeship, which are required by most states in order to become licensed or if you want to earn certification. Following are brief explanations of the 3 most typical programs offered.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally provided by Illinois vocational and trade schools and require approximately a year to complete. They provide a good foundation and are geared towards students who want to join an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees require two years to finish and are provided by Illinois junior or community colleges, commonly as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They provide a more extensive education while supplying the foundation that readies students to enter into their apprenticeship program.
As previously mentioned, Bachelor’s Degrees are available at certain Illinois institutions, but are less favored at four years than the other briefer programs. The majority of states require that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and in most cases four years be performed before licensing. Therefore, many students are anxious to start their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not part of their academic program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Guidelines
Electricians in Alton IL can perform a multitude of duties, such as testing, installing and replacing electrical systems, and ensuring that the wiring in buildings and homes comply with code standards. After completing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are mandated to become licensed in most states or municipalities. The period of apprenticeship varies by state, but typically about four to five years of prior experience is required before taking the licensing examination. The exams typically assess general knowledge and electrical theory, in addition to knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also a voluntary means for an electrician to identify him or herself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications offered differ by state and can be obtained in several specialties, such as 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 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 furnishes a solid academic foundation, but also helps prep you for passing any certification and licensing examinations that you might be required to pass in the future.
Attending Electrician Online Schools in Alton IL
An alternative that you may have looked at is selecting an electrician online school to earn a certificate or degree. Even though online schools have become more accepted as a means of attending class without needing to travel, in this instance they are not entirely internet based. Just about all electrician training programs require partial attendance on-campus to obtain practical hands-on training. But since the balance of the classes may be accessed online, distance learning may be a more accommodating option for students that have limited time for education. And as a bonus numerous online training programs have a cheaper tuition cost compared to their on campus alternatives. Travelling costs from Alton IL are also reduced and a portion of the study materials may be accessed online as well. All of these advantages can make electrician online vocational schools more economical and convenient. And a number are fully accredited, which we will address in our due diligence checklist.
Topics to Ask Electrician Technical Schools
Now that you have decided to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to narrow down your training options. Since there are so many electrician trade and vocational schools in the Alton IL region, it’s important to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The first two that we discussed 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 although all three qualifiers may be crucial when making your determination, there are other variables that need to be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess prior to choosing an electrical vocational school.
Accreditation. Numerous electrician technical schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Make certain that the Alton IL program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you acquire a quality education, it can assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, some states require that the electrician training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion and Placement Rates. Ask the electrician training programs you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate may indicate that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It might also suggest that the teachers were not competent to instruct 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 list of graduates, which can result in more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to help Alton IL graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of electrician technical programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of electrician contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with Alton IL area electricians or electrical professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the electrical specialist you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Alton IL electrical contractor if they can provide some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Alton residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak to several of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Alton IL, verify that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, ask 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 Alton IL?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Alton IL area.
Alton is a city on the Mississippi River in Madison County, Illinois, United States, about 15 miles (24 km) north of St. Louis, Missouri. The population was 27,865 at the 2010 census. It is a part of the Metro-East region of the Greater St. Louis metropolitan area. It is famous for its limestone bluffs along the river north of the city, for its role preceding and during the American Civil War, and as the home town of jazz musician Miles Davis and Robert Wadlow, the tallest known person in history. It was the site of the last Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas debate in October 1858. The former state penitentiary in Alton was used during the Civil War to hold up to 12,000 Confederate prisoners of war.
Although Alton once was growing faster than its sister city of St. Louis, a coalition of St. Louis businessmen planned to build a competing town to stop its expansion and bring business to St. Louis. The result was Grafton, Illinois.
Many blocks of housing in Alton were built in the Victorian Queen Anne style; they represent a prosperous period in the river city's history. At the top of the hill in the commercial area, several stone churches and a fine city hall also represent the city's wealth during its good times based on river traffic, manufacturing and shipping. It was a commercial center for a large agricultural area. Numerous residences on hills have sweeping views of the Mississippi River.
Pick the Ideal Electrician Trade School near Alton IL
Choosing the right electrical trade school will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any electrician training program that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each training program provides different possibilities for certification also. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you select is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the final result will be a new trade as a professional electrician in Alton IL.
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