How to Become an Electrician in Salina Kansas
The first step to learning to be an electrical tradesman or contractor is finding an electrician trade school near Salina KS. But with numerous technical schools to select from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the right one? Especially because there are a number of factors to consider. For example, many prospective students will start by searching for schools that are close to their home. After they have identified several that are within commuting distance, they will choose the one with the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are of importance, they are not the only qualifications that should be examined. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should help mold your final judgment when picking an electrician school. We will address that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But to begin with, let’s review a little bit about becoming an electrician and the instructional choices that are accessible.
Electrician Diploma, Certificate and Degree Programs near Salina KS
There are three general ways to obtain electrician training in a technical or vocational school near Salina KS. You may choose a diploma or certificate program, or obtain an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at a few schools, but are not as common as the other three options. Often these programs are made available combined with an apprenticeship, which are required by most states to become licensed or if you would like to become certified. Following are short summaries of the 3 most prevalent programs available.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are typically provided by Kansas technical and trade schools and take approximately a year to finish. They provide a solid foundation and are aimed towards students who wish to join an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees take two years to complete and are offered by Kansas junior or community colleges, typically as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They offer a more well-rounded education while supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter into their apprenticeship program.
As previously stated, Bachelor’s Degree programs are available at some Kansas colleges, but are less preferred at four years than the other briefer programs. Most states mandate that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and more typically 4 years be performed prior to licensing. Because of that, many students are eager to start their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not a component of their educational program.
Electrician Certification and Licensing Prerequisites
Electricians in Salina KS can perform a wide range of duties, including installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and ensuring that the wiring in buildings and homes comply with code standards. After finishing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are mandated to become licensed in most municipalities and states. The period of apprenticeship differs by state, but generally about four to five years of experience is required before taking the licensing examination. The exams typically assess general knowledge and electrical theory, as well as understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also a voluntary means for an electrician to differentiate her or himself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications offered vary by state and can be earned in many specialties, such as cable splicing as an example. The certification process usually entails 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) as well as the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s imperative that the electrician vocational school that you choose not only provides a solid academic foundation, but also helps prepare you for passing any licensing and certification exams that you might need to take in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Schools Online in Salina KS
A possibility that you might have looked at is selecting an electrician online school to earn a degree or a certificate. While online training programs have become more accepted as a means of attending class without needing to travel, in this situation they are not completely internet based. Virtually all electrician training programs require some attendance on campus to obtain hands-on practical training. But since the balance of the classes can be attended online, internet learning may be a more practical option for students that have minimal time for schooling. And as a bonus numerous online training programs have a reduced tuition cost compared to their on-campus alternatives. Driving costs from Salina KS are also minimized and a portion of the study materials can be available online as well. Each of these advantages can make online electrician tech schools more economical and accessible. And many are fully accredited, which we will address in our due diligence checklist.
Topics to Ask Electrician Tech Schools
Once you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to refine your school options. Since there are numerous electrician tech and trade schools in the Salina KS area, it’s imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must satisfy. The initial 2 that we mentioned 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 although all three qualifiers may be important when making your selection, there are additional variables that must be taken into account also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to analyze before enrolling in an electrical technical school.
Accreditation. A large number of electrician technical programs have earned 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 relates to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Make certain that the Salina KS school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states mandate that the electrician training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion and Placement Rates. Ask the electrician schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate might indicate that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It could also suggest that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which can result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist Salina KS graduates obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of electrician vocational programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrical companies or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with Salina KS area electricians or electrical contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying 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 campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the electrical tech you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Salina KS electrical contracting company if they can provide some pointers. Also bear in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within driving distance of your Salina home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with several of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Salina KS, confirm that the programs you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Salina KS?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Salina KS area.
Salina /səˈlaɪnə/ is a city in and the county seat of Saline County, Kansas, United States. As of the 2010 census[update], the city population was 47,707. Located in one of the world's largest wheat-producing areas, Salina is a regional trade center for north-central Kansas. It is home to multiple colleges.
Prior to European colonization of the area, the site of Salina was located within the territory of the Kansa people. Claimed first by France as part of Louisiana and later acquired by the United States with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, it was within the area organized by the U.S. as Kansas Territory in 1854. In 1856, a colony led by Preston B. Plumb established the first American settlement near the site at a location on the Saline River.
Settlers led by journalist and lawyer William A. Phillips founded Salina in 1858. During the following two years, the territorial legislature chartered the town company, organized the surrounding area as Saline County, and named Salina the county seat. The westernmost town on the Smoky Hill Trail, Salina established itself as a trading post for westbound immigrants, prospectors bound for Pikes Peak, and area American Indian tribes. The town's growth halted with the outbreak of the American Civil War when much of the male population left to join the U.S. Army.
Pick the Right Electrician Trade School near Salina KS
Selecting the best electrical training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a must that any electrician training that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary 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 offers unique options for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional electrician in Salina KS.
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