How to Become an Electrician in Champaign Illinois
The first step to becoming an electrical tradesman or contractor is enrolling in an electrician trade school near Champaign IL. But with numerous vocational schools to pick from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the right one? Especially because there are a number of factors to evaluate. For instance, many prospective students will start by searching for schools that are close to their residence. When they have found a few that are within driving range, they will select the one with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant, they are not the only things that need to be examined. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifiers should help mold your ultimate decision when selecting an electrician training school. We will discuss that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But to begin with, let’s talk a little bit about being an electrician and the educational choices that are offered.
Electrician Degree, Certificate and Diploma Options near Champaign IL
There are multiple options to receive electrician instruction in a technical or vocational school near Champaign IL. You can select a certificate or diploma program, or obtain an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are available at some schools, but are not as common as the first three alternatives. Often these programs are made available together with an apprenticeship, which are mandated by the majority of states in order to become licensed or if you intend to earn certification. Following are brief descriptions of the 3 most prevalent programs offered.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually provided by Illinois vocational and trade schools and take about a year to finish. They provide a solid foundation and are aimed towards individuals who wish to get into an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs require two years to finish and are offered by Illinois junior or community colleges, commonly as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They offer a more comprehensive education while supplying the foundation that readies students to join their apprenticeship program.
As earlier stated, Bachelor’s Degrees are accessible at some Illinois colleges, but are less preferred at four years than the other shorter programs. Many states mandate that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and in most cases four years be carried out before licensing. Therefore, many students are eager to begin their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not part of their educational program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Prerequisites
Electricians in Champaign IL can carry out a wide range of services, including 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 states or municipalities. The length of apprenticeship varies by state, but typically around four to five years of practical experience is called for before taking the licensing examination. The exams typically assess general knowledge and electrical theory, in addition to understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also an optional way for an electrician to distinguish him or herself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications available differ by state and can be earned in various specialties, such as cable splicing as an example. The certification process in most cases involves 3 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) along with the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s crucial that the electrician vocational school that you choose not only provides a solid educational foundation, but also helps ready you for passing any certification and licensing examinations that you might need to take in the future.
Attending Electrician Programs Online in Champaign IL
An alternative that you might have looked at is choosing an electrician online program to earn a degree or a certificate. While online schools are becoming more prevalent as a means of attending class without needing to travel, in this situation they are not completely internet based. Virtually all electrician schools require some attendance on campus to receive hands-on practical training. But since the balance of the classes may be accessed online, internet learning may be a more convenient choice for individuals that have limited time for schooling. And as an added benefit numerous online schools have a lower tuition cost compared to their on campus alternatives. Travelling expenses from Champaign IL are also minimized and a portion of the study materials can be available online as well. Each of these benefits can make electrician online tech schools more affordable and accessible. And a number are fully accredited, which we will discuss in our due diligence checklist.
What to Ask Electrician Technical Schools
Once you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to narrow down your training options. Considering that there are numerous electrician tech and trade schools in the Champaign IL region, it’s important to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The initial 2 that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. If you are interested in earning an online degree, then that must be an option that your chosen school offers. And although all three qualifiers may be critical when making your selection, there are other variables that must be taken into account as well. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess prior to enrolling in an electrical technical school.
Accreditation. A large number of electrician technical schools have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Make certain that the Champaign IL school 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 make certain that you acquire a superior education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states require that the electrician training program be accredited for it to qualify 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 finish the course. A low completion rate might signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It may also mean that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist Champaign IL grads acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of electrician technical programs are taught together 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 electrical businesses or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with Champaign IL area electricians or electrical professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the electrical technician you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Champaign IL electrical company if they can provide some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Champaign residence. Remember that if you decide to attend 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 desirable that you get as much one-on-one 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 students and instructors. Speak with some of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Champaign IL, verify that the programs you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, 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 due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Champaign IL?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Champaign IL area.
Champaign (English: /ˌʃæmˈpeɪn/) is a city in Champaign County, Illinois, United States. The city is 135 miles (217 km) south of Chicago, 124 miles (200 km) west of Indianapolis, Indiana, and 178 mi (286 km) northeast of St. Louis, Missouri. The United States Census Bureau estimates the city was home to 84,513 people as of July 1, 2014. Champaign is the tenth-most populous city in Illinois, and the state's fourth-most populous city outside the Chicago metropolitan area. It is included in the Champaign–Urbana metropolitan area.
Champaign is notable for sharing the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign with its sister city of Urbana. Champaign is also home to Parkland College which serves about 18,000 students during the academic year. Due to the university and a number of well known technology startup companies, it is often referred to as the hub, or a significant landmark, of the Silicon Prairie. Champaign houses offices for Sony, and for the Fortune 500 companies Abbott, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Caterpillar, Deere & Company, Dow Chemical Company, IBM, and State Farm.
Champaign was founded in 1855, when the Illinois Central Railroad laid its rail track two miles (3 km) west of downtown Urbana. Originally called "West Urbana", it was renamed Champaign when it acquired a city charter in 1860. Both the city and county name were derived from Champaign County, Ohio.
Select the Ideal Electrician Technical School near Champaign IL
Picking the best electrician trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the training programs you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any electrical training program that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to attend 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 proper training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional electrician in Champaign IL.
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