How to Become an Electrician in Elgin Illinois
The initial step to becoming an electrical tradesman or contractor is enrolling in an electrician trade school near Elgin IL. But with numerous technical schools to select from, just how do you tackle making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially because there are a number of points to consider. For instance, many potential students will commence by looking for schools that are close to their home. Once they have identified a few that are within driving distance, they will select the one with the lowest tuition. While location and cost are of importance, they are not the only factors that need to be considered. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should help mold your ultimate judgment when picking an electrician school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let’s talk a little bit about becoming an electrician and the educational options that are accessible.
Electrician Degree, Certificate and Diploma Programs near Elgin IL
There are multiple options to receive electrician instruction in a technical or vocational school near Elgin IL. You may enroll in a certificate or diploma program, or earn an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at some schools, but are not as prevalent as the first three options. Often these programs are made available combined with an apprenticeship program, which are required by most states to become licensed or if you intend to earn certification. Bellow are brief descriptions of the 3 most common programs available.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are typically offered by Illinois vocational and trade schools and take approximately a year to finish. They furnish a good foundation and are geared towards students who wish to enter an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs require 2 years to complete and are provided by Illinois junior or community colleges, typically as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They provide a more comprehensive education while supplying the foundation that readies students to join their apprenticeship program.
As previously stated, Bachelor’s Degree programs are available at certain Illinois colleges, but are less popular at 4 years than the other briefer programs. Many states mandate that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and in most cases four years be completed before licensing. Because of that, most students are eager to start their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not part of their educational program.
Electrician License and Certification Criteria
Electricians in Elgin IL can undertake a multitude of services, such as testing, installing and replacing electrical systems, and making sure that the wiring in buildings and homes are up to code standards. After finishing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to become licensed in the majority of municipalities and states. The period of apprenticeship varies by state, but commonly around four to five years of prior experience is required in order to take the licensing examination. The exams usually assess general knowledge and electrical theory, in addition to knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also a voluntary means for an electrician to identify him or herself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications offered differ by state and can be obtained in various specialties, such as cable splicing as an example. The certification process in most cases includes 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 select not only furnishes a strong educational foundation, but also helps prep you for passing any licensing and certification examinations that you might be required to pass in the future.
Attending Electrician Programs Online in Elgin IL
A possibility that you may have looked at is selecting an online electrician program to earn a certificate or degree. Although online training programs are becoming more popular as a means of attending class without the need for travel, in this case they are not entirely internet based. Just about all electrician schools require some attendance on-campus to obtain practical hands-on training. But since the remainder of the classes may be accessed online, internet learning may be a more practical alternative for students that have minimal time for schooling. And as a bonus numerous online schools have a lower tuition cost compared to their on campus alternatives. Driving expenses from Elgin IL are also lessened and some of the study materials can be available online also. All of these advantages can make electrician online tech schools more economical and accessible. And a number are fully accredited, which we will address in our due diligence checklist.
Questions to Ask Electrician Trade Schools
Once you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to focus your school options. Since there are so many electrician vocational and trade schools in the Elgin IL area, it’s imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The initial two that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. If you are interested in earning an degree online, then that must be a feature that your final school offers. And although all three qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are other factors that must be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess before enrolling in an electrical technical school.
Accreditation. Numerous electrician trade schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Make certain that the Elgin IL program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it can help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, many 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 or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate may indicate that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It may also indicate 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 more extensive directory of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist Elgin IL grads obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most electrician trade 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 companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with Elgin IL area electricians or electrical companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus 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 presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the electrical tech you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Elgin IL electrical contractor if they can provide some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Elgin residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with some of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Elgin IL, confirm that the programs you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be 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, sickness or family issues.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Elgin IL?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Elgin IL area.
Elgin (/ˈɛldʒɪn/ EL-jin) is a city in Cook and Kane counties in the northern part of the U.S. state of Illinois. Located roughly 35 mi (56 km) northwest of Chicago, it lies along the Fox River. As of 2013, the city had a total population of 110,145, making it the eighth-largest city in Illinois.
The Indian Removal Act of 1830 and the Black Hawk Indian War of 1832 led to the expulsion of the Native Americans who had settlements and burial mounds in the area, and set the stage for the founding of Elgin. Thousands of militiamen and soldiers of Gen. Winfield Scott's army marched through the Fox River valley during the war, and accounts of the area's fertile soils and flowing springs soon filtered east.
In New York, James T. Gifford and his brother Hezekiah Gifford heard tales of this area ripe for settlement, and travelled west. Looking for a site on the stagecoach route from Chicago to Galena, Illinois, they eventually settled on a spot where the Fox River could be bridged. In April 1835, they established the city, naming it after the Scottish tune "Elgin".
Enroll in the Ideal Electrician Vocational School near Elgin IL
Choosing the ideal electrician trade school will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the training programs you are considering. It’s a necessity that any electrician training that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each training program offers different options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional electrician in Elgin IL.
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