How to Become an Electrician in Elmhurst Illinois
The initial step to learning to be an electrical contractor or tradesman is finding an electrician trade school near Elmhurst IL. But with so many vocational schools to choose from, just how do you undertake making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly because there are so many points to consider. For example, many potential students will start by looking for schools that are close to their residence. After they have identified a few that are within driving distance, they will select the one with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are important, they are not the only things that need to be considered. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifiers should influence your final judgment when picking an electrician school. We will cover that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But first, let’s review a little bit about being an electrician and the educational options that are offered.
Electrician Degree, Diploma and Certificate Options near Elmhurst IL
There are three general options to obtain electrician training in a technical or vocational school near Elmhurst IL. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program, or obtain an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are obtainable at certain schools, but are not as common as the other three alternatives. Often these programs are made available together with an apprenticeship program, which are required by the majority of states in order to be licensed or if you would like to earn certification. Following are brief explanations of the 3 most prevalent programs offered.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally provided by Illinois trade and technical schools and take about a year to complete. They furnish a good foundation and are geared towards students who would like to join an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs take two years to complete and are provided by Illinois junior or community colleges, typically as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They furnish a more comprehensive education while supplying the foundation that prepares students to join their apprenticeship program.
As earlier stated, Bachelor’s Degrees are accessible at some Illinois institutions, but are less popular at 4 years than the other shorter programs. Most states mandate that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and in most cases four years be performed prior to licensing. For that reason, most students are eager to begin their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not a component of their educational program.
Electrician License and Certification Prerequisites
Electricians in Elmhurst IL can undertake a multitude of duties, such as testing, installing and replacing electrical systems, and ensuring that the wiring in buildings and homes comply with code standards. After completing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to become licensed in most municipalities and states. The duration of apprenticeship varies by state, but typically about four to five years of prior experience is called for before taking the licensing examination. The exams typically test electrical theory and general knowledge, in addition to knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also an optional means for an electrician to distinguish her or himself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications offered differ by state and may be earned in many specializations, 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 agencies include the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (NJATC) and also the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s important that the electrician trade school that you enroll in not only delivers a solid educational foundation, but also helps prepare you for passing any licensing and certification examinations that you might be required to take in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Online Training Classes in Elmhurst IL
An alternative that you might have contemplated is choosing an online electrician program to earn a degree or a certificate. 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. Virtually all electrician training programs require partial attendance on campus to get hands-on practical training. But since the balance of the classes can be attended online, internet learning might be a more accommodating alternative for individuals that have minimal time for schooling. And as an added benefit numerous online training programs have a lower tuition cost compared to their on campus competitors. Travelling expenses from Elmhurst IL are also reduced and some of the study materials may be accessed online also. Each of these advantages can make online electrician vocational schools more affordable and accessible. And many are fully accredited, which we will discuss in our due diligence checklist.
Points to Ask Electrician Tech Schools
When you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to narrow down your school options. Because there are numerous electrician vocational and trade schools in the Elmhurst IL area, it’s imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The initial two that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. If you are interested in earning an online degree, then that needs to be a feature that your chosen school offers. And even though all three qualifiers may be critical when making your decision, there are other factors that must be taken into account as well. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to research prior to choosing an electrical tech school.
Accreditation. A large number of electrician vocational schools have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Verify that the Elmhurst IL school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it can assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of states require that the electrician training program be accredited for it to be approved 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 or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It might also suggest that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help Elmhurst IL students secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most electrician training programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of electrical companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with Elmhurst IL area electricians or electrical specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish 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 in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the electrical technician you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Elmhurst IL electrical contracting company if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Elmhurst home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak with some of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Elmhurst IL, check that the programs you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Elmhurst IL?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Elmhurst IL area.
Elmhurst is a city mostly in DuPage County and overlapping into Cook County in the U.S. state of Illinois, and a western suburb of Chicago. As of the 2016 census, the city had a total population of 46,387. 
Members of the Potawatomi Native American people, who settled along Salt Creek just south of where the city would develop, are the earliest known settlers of the Elmhurst area. Around 1836, European-American immigrants settled on tracts of land along the same creek. At what would become Elmhurst City Centre, a native of Ohio named Gerry Bates established a community on a tract of "treeless land" in 1842.
The following year, Hill Cottage Tavern opened where St. Charles Road and Cottage Hill Avenue presently intersect. In 1845, the community was officially named Cottage Hill when a post office was established. Four years later the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad was given right-of-way through Cottage Hill giving farmers easier access to Chicago. The community changed its name to Elmhurst in 1869. In 1871, Elmhurst College was organized and currently has 3,500 undergraduates and about 300 graduate students. Elmhurst was incorporated as a village in 1882, with a population between 723 and 1,050, and legal boundaries of St. Charles Road to North Avenue, and one half mile west and one quarter mile east of York Street. Elmhurst Memorial Hospital was founded in 1926 as the first hospital in DuPage County.
Enroll in the Ideal Electrical Vocational School near Elmhurst IL
Picking the right electrician trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a must that any electrician training that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every training program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional electrician in Elmhurst IL.
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