How to Become an Electrician in Centralia Illinois
The initial step to becoming an electrical contractor or tradesman is locating an electrician trade school near Centralia IL. But with so many technical schools to choose from, just how do you tackle making sure that you enroll in the best one? Particularly because there are a number of variables to evaluate. For instance, some students will commence by searching for schools that are close to their home. Once they have found some that are within commuting range, they will decide on the one with the least expensive tuition. Although location and cost are significant, they are not the only qualifications that should be examined. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifiers should contribute toward your final judgment when choosing an electrician training school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let’s talk a little bit about being an electrician and the training options that are available.
Electrician Certificate, Diploma and Degree Options near Centralia IL
There are three general ways to get electrician instruction in a vocational or trade school near Centralia IL. You may choose a diploma or certificate program, or earn an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are obtainable at some schools, but are not as common as the first three options. In many cases these programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program, which are mandated by the majority of states to be licensed or if you would like to earn certification. Bellow are short summaries of the three most common programs offered.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are typically offered by Illinois vocational and trade schools and take about a year to complete. They provide a solid foundation and are aimed towards students who wish to get into an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs take two years to complete and are offered by Illinois community colleges, typically as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They offer a more well-rounded education while providing the foundation that prepares students to join their apprenticeship program.
As previously mentioned, Bachelor’s Degree programs are accessible at some Illinois institutions, but are less preferred at four years than the other shorter programs. The majority of states mandate that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and more typically 4 years be performed before licensing. Because of that, the majority of students are eager to begin their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not a component of their educational program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Criteria
Electricians in Centralia IL can perform a vast array of tasks, such as testing, installing and replacing electrical systems, and making sure that the wiring in houses and buildings are up to code standards. After finishing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to be licensed in the majority of states or municipalities. The length of apprenticeship varies by state, but usually around four to five years of experience is called for before taking the licensing exam. The exams typically evaluate general knowledge and electrical theory, along with knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also a voluntary method for an electrician to identify her or himself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications available differ by state and may be earned in many specializations, including cable splicing as an example. The certification process in most cases entails 3 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 important that the electrician trade school that you choose not only delivers a solid educational foundation, but also helps prepare you for passing any licensing and certification exams that you may need to pass in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Online Training Classes in Centralia IL
A possibility that you might have contemplated is selecting an electrician online school to earn a certificate or degree. While online training programs are becoming more prevalent as a way of attending class without needing to travel, in this situation they are not totally internet based. Pretty much all electrician schools require partial attendance on campus to obtain practical hands-on training. But since the balance of the classes can be attended online, internet learning may be a more convenient option for students that have limited time for education. And as an added benefit many online schools have a cheaper tuition cost compared to their on campus counterparts. Driving costs from Centralia IL are also reduced and a portion of the study materials can be available online also. All of these benefits can make electrician online trade schools more affordable and accessible. And a number are fully accredited, which we will deal with in our due diligence checklist.
Questions to Ask Electrician Vocational Schools
Now that you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to narrow down your school options. Considering that there are numerous electrician vocational and trade schools in the Centralia IL area, it’s imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each program must satisfy. The first two that we discussed were location and tuition expense. If you have an interest in earning an online degree, then that must be an option that your final school offers. And while all three qualifiers may be crucial when making your determination, there are additional factors that need to be considered also. Below is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to analyze before enrolling in an electrical vocational school.
Accreditation. Many electrician trade schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Make sure that the Centralia IL school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you receive a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Also, some states mandate that the electrician training course be accredited in order to be approved 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 program. A low completion rate could signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It may also mean that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which can mean 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 Centralia IL students acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
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 inside their network of electrical companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with Centralia IL area electricians or electrical specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the electrical tech you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Centralia IL electrical company if they can provide some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Centralia residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with some of the students and get their comments 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 fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Centralia IL, check 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. Additionally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Centralia IL?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Centralia IL area.
Centralia is a city in Clinton, Jefferson, Marion, and Washington counties in the U.S. state of Illinois. The population was 13,032 as of the 2010 census, down from 14,136 in 2000. The current mayor is Tom Ashby.
Centralia is named for the Illinois Central Railroad, built in 1853. The city was founded at the location where the two original branches of the railroad converged. Centralia was first chartered as a city in 1859.
In the southern city limits is the intersection of the Third Principal Meridian and its baseline. This initial point was established in 1815, and it governs land surveys for about 60% of the state of Illinois, including Chicago. The original monument is at the junction of Highway 51 and the Marion-Jefferson County Line Road; today there is a small easement situated in the northeast corner of this intersection, which contains a monument and historic marker.
Enroll in the Ideal Electrical Technical School near Centralia IL
Selecting the ideal electrician training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any electrician training program that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each program provides different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you select is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new career as a professional electrician in Centralia IL.
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