How to Become an Electrician in West Springfield Massachusetts
The initial step to learning to be an electrical contractor or tradesman is enrolling in an electrician trade school near West Springfield MA. But with numerous vocational schools to choose from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the right one? Especially because there are a number of variables to evaluate. For instance, many potential students will begin by searching for schools that are nearby their home. After they have identified a few that are within commuting range, they will select the one with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant, they are not the only qualifications that must be examined. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifiers should help mold your ultimate judgment when selecting an electrician trade school. We will talk about that checklist in more detail later in this article. But to begin with, let’s review a little bit about being an electrician and the training options that are accessible.
Electrician Certificate, Diploma and Degree Options near West Springfield MA
There are three general ways to receive electrician instruction in a trade or technical school near West Springfield MA. You can choose a diploma or certificate program, or earn an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are obtainable at a few schools, but are not as prevalent as the other three options. In many cases these programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship, which are mandated by the majority of states to be licensed or if you want to become certified. Bellow are short summaries of the three most common programs offered.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by Massachusetts trade and technical schools and require approximately a year to complete. They provide a good foundation and are geared towards students who wish to join an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs take two years to finish and are offered by Massachusetts community colleges, commonly as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They furnish a more well-rounded education while providing the foundation that readies students to enter into their apprenticeship program.
As previously stated, Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at certain Massachusetts institutions, but are less preferred at four years than the other briefer programs. Most states require that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and more typically four years be carried out prior to licensing. For that reason, the majority of students are eager to start their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not part of their academic program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Prerequisites
Electricians in West Springfield MA can perform a multitude of services, 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 the majority of municipalities and states. The period of apprenticeship varies by state, but usually around four to five years of prior experience is required before taking the licensing examination. The exams typically test general knowledge and electrical theory, along with knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also an optional way for an electrician to distinguish him or herself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications available vary by state and can be acquired in several specialties, including cable splicing as an example. The certification procedure usually involves 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) along with the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s imperative that the electrician vocational school that you pick not only furnishes a strong educational foundation, but also helps prep you for passing any licensing and certification exams that you might be required to take in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Schools Online in West Springfield MA
An alternative that you may have contemplated is selecting an electrician online program to earn a certificate or degree. While online schools have become more popular as a means of attending class without the need for travel, in this case they are not completely internet based. Pretty much all electrician training programs require some attendance on-campus to receive practical hands-on training. But since the rest of the classes may be accessed online, internet learning may be a more accommodating alternative for individuals that have limited time for schooling. And as an added benefit numerous online degree programs have a reduced tuition cost compared to their on-campus alternatives. Travelling costs from West Springfield MA are also lessened and some of the study materials can be accessed online as well. All of these benefits can make online electrician trade schools more economical and accessible. And many are fully accredited, which we will cover in our due diligence checklist.
Topics to Ask Electrician Tech Schools
When you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to focus your training options. Considering that there are so many electrician vocational and trade schools in the West Springfield MA region, it’s important to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The first two that we discussed 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 critical when making your determination, there are other variables that must be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to assess before enrolling in an electrical vocational school.
Accreditation. Numerous electrician vocational schools have acquired 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 relates to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Make sure that the West Springfield MA program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you receive a quality education, it can assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate may signify that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It might also mean that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist West Springfield MA grads obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous electrician training programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrical businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with West Springfield MA area electricians or electrical contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the electrical technician you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local West Springfield MA electrical company if they can give you some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your West Springfield residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger 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. Talk to a few of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the teachers 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 evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near West Springfield MA, verify that the programs you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near West Springfield MA?
Following is a little bit of background information about the West Springfield MA area.
West Springfield, Massachusetts
West Springfield is a city in Hampden County, Massachusetts, United States. It is part of the Springfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 28,391 at the 2010 census. The city is also known as "West Side", in reference to the fact that it is on the western side of the Connecticut River from Springfield, a fact which played a major part in the town's early history.
In paraphrase, from the official town history book... The area that became known as West Springfield was settled in 1635. The settlers fled to higher ground on the east side of the river and founded Springfield in the aftermath of the great hurricane of 1635. West Springfield was good farm land, so some families did stay on the west side.
Other than the trade in beaver skins, economic activity in early colonial Springfield consisted largely of subsistence farming and animal husbandry, with barter being the preferred medium of exchange for neighbors' crops, and locally produced goods. Gristmills and saw mills were also present in the early settlement.
Pick the Ideal Electrical Technical School near West Springfield MA
Choosing the ideal electrical training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any electrician training that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new career as a professional electrician in West Springfield MA.
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