How to Become an Electrician in Colfax Illinois
The initial step to learning to be an electrical contractor or tradesman is locating an electrician trade school near Colfax IL. But with so many technical schools to choose from, just how do you tackle making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially because there are so many factors to examine. For instance, many students will begin by searching for schools that are nearby their home. When they have located several that are within commuting range, they will choose the one with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are of importance, they are not the only factors that must be evaluated. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should help mold your final decision when selecting an electrician school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit about being an electrician and the training choices that are available.
Electrician Degree, Diploma and Certificate Options near Colfax IL
There are multiple ways to obtain electrician training in a trade or technical school near Colfax IL. You can select a certificate or diploma program, or receive an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are obtainable at certain schools, but are not as prevalent as the other three alternatives. In many cases these programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship, which are mandated by the majority of states in order to become licensed or if you would like to earn certification. Following are short descriptions of the 3 most typical programs available.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are typically provided by Illinois technical and trade schools and require about a year to finish. They furnish a solid foundation and are aimed towards individuals who would like to enter an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs involve 2 years to finish and are offered by Illinois junior or community colleges, usually as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They provide a more comprehensive education while supplying the foundation that prepares students to begin their apprenticeship program.
As previously stated, Bachelor’s Degree programs are accessible at certain Illinois colleges, but are less popular at four years than the other shorter programs. Many states require that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and more typically 4 years be carried out prior to licensing. For that reason, the majority of students are anxious to start their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not part of their academic program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Prerequisites
Electricians in Colfax IL can perform a vast array of functions, such as testing, installing and replacing electrical systems, and ensuring that the wiring in houses and buildings comply with code standards. After concluding an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are mandated to become licensed in most municipalities and states. The period of apprenticeship varies by state, but generally around 4 to 5 years of practical experience is needed in order to take the licensing examination. The exams usually assess general knowledge and electrical theory, along with understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also an optional method for an electrician to distinguish her or himself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications offered vary by state and may be obtained in several specializations, such as cable splicing as an example. The certification process in most cases includes three 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) as well as the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s imperative that the electrician trade school that you select not only delivers a strong educational foundation, but also helps prep you for passing any certification and licensing exams that you might be required to take in the future.
Attending Electrician Training Classes Online in Colfax IL
A possibility that you may have looked at is selecting an online electrician program to earn a degree or a certificate. While online training programs have become more prevalent as a means of attending class without needing to travel, in this case they are not entirely internet based. Just about all electrician training programs require partial attendance on campus to receive hands-on practical training. But since the rest of the classes can be accessed online, internet learning may be a more practical alternative for individuals that have limited time for education. And as an added benefit many online training programs have a reduced tuition cost compared to their traditional alternatives. Driving costs from Colfax IL are also reduced and a portion of the study materials can be available online as well. All of these advantages can make online electrician tech schools more economical and convenient. And a number are fully accredited, which we will discuss in our questions to ask checklist.
What to Ask Electrician Technical Schools
Now that you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to narrow down your school options. Because there are so many electrician vocational and trade schools in the Colfax IL area, it’s essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The first 2 that we mentioned 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 additional variables that must be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to assess prior to selecting an electrical vocational school.
Accreditation. A large number of electrician vocational schools have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Confirm that the Colfax IL program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you acquire a quality education, it can help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states mandate that the electrician training program be accredited in order 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 low completion rate may signify that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It may also mean that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which can mean more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist Colfax IL graduates secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many 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 inside their network of electrician contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with Colfax IL area electricians or electrical contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the electrical tech you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Colfax IL electrical company if they can give you some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Colfax home. Remember 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 get as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with some of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Colfax IL, confirm that the programs you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Colfax IL?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Colfax IL area.
Colfax was laid out on March 22, 1880 by James E. Wood (22 October 1818 – October 1908). Anderson was born in Indiana and had come to McLean County about 1855 as State Missionary for the Christian Church. He stayed and became a farmer, a banker, and a lifelong promoter of Colfax. To locals, Anderson was affectionately known as “Uncle Billy.” The northeastern townships of the county were among the last to be served by railroads. After many false starts the Clinton, Bloomington, and Northwestern Railroad began making its way westward from Kankakee, Illinois. It was aided by contributions in cash and land for the right-of-way by many local farmers. Cropsey, Anchor, and Cooksville were all laid out at the same time as Colfax. The first train arrived in Colfax on 4 July 1880. For two years the track extended only from Kankakee to Colfax and a turntable was installed to send the trains back eastwards. Eventually the tracks were completed to Bloomington. The Railroad soon became part of the Illinois Central system. Colfax is one of several communities in the United States named for the Schuyler Colfax: the U.S Speaker of the House of Representatives during the terms of Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. Colfax also served as Ulysses S. Grant's Vice President. Others communities include Colfax, California; Colfax, Indiana; Colfax, Louisiana; Colfax, North Carolina and Colfax, Washington.
The Original Town of Colfax was a rectangle on the north side of the tracks. There were twelve blocks, each with eight or sixteen small lots, and an additional four blocks, each with a single larger lot, were located along the western edge of the Original Town., for a total of one hundred lots. These faced a widened area of railroad land, which ran the full length of the Original Town. No other public spaces were designated, but Main Street, which ran parallel to the tracks and one block to the north, was wider than the other streets. The depot was on the north side of the tracks and the early elevator, lumber yard and stock yard were on the south side. William Rinker erected the first store, which sold groceries. Another grocery store, Wilson and Santee, followed. The third store was a somewhat larger two-story structure built by D.A. Green, who had moved his operation into Colfax from Potosi near the McLean County–Livingston County border; Green sold groceries, dry goods and drugs.
In 1886 a company was formed to open the first of two coal mines at Colfax. The first to be opened was the shaft just west of town. Frank Seymour and Sons were paid fourteen dollars a foot to sink the shaft. They encountered problems with water, with cave ins and were soon slowed by the need to blast their way through limestone layers before reaching the coal seams. The railroad was unable to bring in sufficient shoring for the shaft and additional timber had to be hauled in by wagon. At 140 feet (43 m) they struck a narrow vein of coal, but excavators had to go down to 392 feet (119 m) before finding a productive 5 1⁄2-foot-thick (1.7 m) seam of coal. Miners were brought in, and the first coal was taken in June 1888. Financial troubles and rapid changes of ownership soon followed. The organization of a company to open a second shaft, this one east of town, shaft began in December 1891, but it was June 1894 before digging could begin.
Select the Ideal Electrician Vocational School near Colfax IL
Picking the right electrical trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare among the training programs you are considering. It’s a necessity that any electrician tech school that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each training program provides different options 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. Take the time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new career as a professional electrician in Colfax IL.
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