How to Become an Electrician in Elkhart Illinois
The first step to learning to be an electrical tradesman or contractor is enrolling in an electrician trade school near Elkhart IL. But with so many technical schools to pick from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly because there are a number of points to evaluate. For example, many prospective students will begin by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. Once they have found several that are within driving distance, they will choose the one with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are of importance, they are not the only qualifications that need to be considered. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should help mold your ultimate decision when picking an electrician training school. We will address that checklist in more detail later in this post. But to begin with, let’s review a little bit about becoming an electrician and the instructional options that are accessible.
Electrician Diploma, Certificate and Degree Programs near Elkhart IL
There are multiple options to get electrician instruction in a technical or vocational school near Elkhart IL. You may enroll in a diploma or certificate program, or obtain an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are available at certain schools, but are not as common as the other three alternatives. In many cases these programs are made available together with an apprenticeship program, which are mandated by most states in order to become licensed or if you wish to earn certification. Following are brief summaries of the three most prevalent programs available.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are typically provided by Illinois trade and technical schools and take approximately a year to finish. They furnish a good foundation and are geared towards those who wish to get into an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees take two years to complete and are offered by Illinois junior or community colleges, commonly 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 stated, Bachelor’s Degrees are available at some Illinois colleges, but are less preferred at 4 years than the other briefer programs. Many states require that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and in most cases four years be carried out prior to licensing. Because of that, many students are anxious to start their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not part of their educational program.
Electrician Certification and Licensing Criteria
Electricians in Elkhart IL can perform a wide range of duties, including installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and ensuring that the wiring in buildings and homes are up to code standards. After concluding an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are mandated to be licensed in most states or municipalities. The period of apprenticeship varies by state, but commonly around four to five years of practical experience is needed in order to take the licensing examination. The exams typically assess electrical theory and general knowledge, in addition to knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also a voluntary way for an electrician to differentiate him or herself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications available differ by state and can be acquired in many specializations, such as cable splicing as an example. The certification process usually involves 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 imperative that the electrician trade school that you choose not only provides a solid educational foundation, but also helps prep you for passing any licensing and certification exams that you may need to take in the future.
Attending Electrician Schools Online in Elkhart IL
A possibility that you might have contemplated is choosing an online electrician program to earn a certificate or degree. Even though online schools have become more prevalent as a means of attending class without the need for travel, in this instance they are not entirely internet based. Pretty much all electrician schools require some attendance on-campus to get practical hands-on training. But since the remainder of the classes may be accessed online, internet learning may be a more convenient option for students that have limited time for education. And as a bonus numerous online degree programs have a cheaper tuition cost compared to their traditional counterparts. Commuting expenses from Elkhart IL are also reduced and some of the study materials may be available on line as well. Each of these advantages can make online electrician vocational schools more economical and accessible. And many are fully accredited, which we will address in our questions to ask checklist.
Questions to Ask Electrician Technical Schools
When you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to narrow down your training options. Since there are numerous electrician trade and vocational schools in the Elkhart IL area, it’s essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The initial 2 that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. If you have an interest in earning an online degree, then that needs to 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 must be considered as well. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to research before enrolling in an electrical trade school.
Accreditation. Many electrician technical schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Make sure that the Elkhart IL program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you acquire an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, many states require that the electrician training program be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion and Placement Rates. Ask the electrician training programs you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate may indicate that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It may also signify that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly imperative 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 validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist Elkhart IL students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many electrician training programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrical companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with Elkhart IL area electricians or electrical companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the electrical specialist you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Elkhart IL electrical contracting company if they can give you some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Elkhart home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher 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 difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with a few of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Elkhart IL, confirm that the schools you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Elkhart IL?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Elkhart IL area.
According to the 2010 census, Elkhart has a total area of 1.459 square miles (3.78 km2), of which 1.45 square miles (3.76 km2) (or 99.38%) is land and 0.009 square miles (0.02 km2) (or 0.62%) is water.
Per the 2010 United States Census, Elkhart had 405 people. Among non-Hispanics this includes 387 White (95.6%), 2 Asian (0.5%), 2 Native Hawaiian & 1 from two or more races. The Hispanic or Latino population included 13 people (3.2%).
There were 176 households out of which 19.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.1% were married couples living together, 2.8% had a female householder with children & no husband present, and 38.6% were non-families. 33.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 34.1% had someone who was 65 years of age or older.
Pick the Right Electrician Trade School near Elkhart IL
Picking the best electrician trade school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are considering. It’s a necessity that any electrician training that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each training program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you pick is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional electrician in Elkhart IL.
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