How to Become an Electrician in Westford Massachusetts
The initial step to becoming an electrical tradesman or contractor is locating an electrician trade school near Westford MA. But with so many 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 examine. For example, many students will begin by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. Once they have located some that are within driving distance, they will choose the one with the least expensive tuition. Although location and cost are significant, they are not the only factors that should be considered. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should contribute toward your ultimate judgment when picking an electrician trade school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this article. But first, let’s review a little bit about becoming an electrician and the training choices that are offered.
Electrician Certificate, Diploma and Degree Programs near Westford MA
There are several ways to obtain electrician instruction in a technical or vocational school near Westford MA. You may choose a diploma or certificate program, or receive an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at some schools, but are not as prevalent as the other three alternatives. Frequently these programs are made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program, which are required by most states in order to become licensed or if you would like to become certified. Bellow are brief descriptions of the three most typical programs offered.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally provided by Massachusetts technical and trade schools and require about a year to finish. They furnish a good foundation and are geared towards individuals who want to get into an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs involve two years to complete and are offered by Massachusetts community colleges, commonly as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They offer a more well-rounded education while providing the foundation that readies students to begin their apprenticeship program.
As previously mentioned, Bachelor’s Degrees are available at certain Massachusetts institutions, but are less popular at four years than the other shorter programs. The majority of states mandate that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and in most cases four years be performed before licensing. For that reason, most students are anxious to start their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not part of their educational program.
Electrician License and Certification Criteria
Electricians in Westford MA can perform a multitude of functions, including installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and making sure that the wiring in houses and buildings are up to code standards. After completing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to be licensed in the majority of states or municipalities. The period of apprenticeship differs by state, but usually around 4 to 5 years of experience is called for before taking the licensing examination. The exams usually assess general knowledge and electrical theory, along with knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also an optional method for an electrician to differentiate her or himself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications offered differ by state and may be earned in numerous specializations, such as cable splicing as an example. The certification process in most cases entails three 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) as well as the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s important that the electrician tech school that you select not only furnishes a solid educational foundation, but also helps ready you for passing any licensing and certification exams that you might need to pass in the future.
Attending Electrician Online Programs in Westford MA
An option that you might have looked at is selecting an electrician online program to earn a degree or a certificate. While online schools have become more prevalent as a way of attending class without needing to travel, in this case they are not entirely internet based. Just about all electrician schools require partial attendance on-campus to receive practical hands-on training. But since the remainder of the classes can be accessed online, internet learning may be a more accommodating option for individuals that have limited time for education. And as an added benefit numerous online training programs have a reduced tuition cost compared to their on-campus competitors. Driving costs from Westford MA are also minimized and a portion of the study materials can be available on line also. Each of these advantages can make online electrician tech schools more affordable and convenient. And many are fully accredited, which we will deal with in our due diligence checklist.
Questions to Ask Electrician Vocational Schools
Now that you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to focus your training options. Considering that there are numerous electrician vocational and trade schools in the Westford MA area, it’s imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The initial two that we talked about 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 factors that must be considered also. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to research prior to enrolling in an electrical vocational school.
Accreditation. Many electrician trade schools have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Verify that the Westford MA program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you acquire a quality education, it can assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available 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 training programs you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It may also suggest that the teachers 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 list of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help Westford MA students obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many electrician trade programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of electrician contractors or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with Westford MA area electricians or electrical specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to build 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 on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the electrical tech you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Westford MA electrical contractor if they can provide some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Westford residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be increased 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 difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to a few of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Westford MA, verify that the programs you are comparing offer those options. 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 protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Westford MA?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Westford MA area.
In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Westford primarily produced granite, apples, and worsted yarn. The Abbot Worsted Company was said to be the first company in the nation to use camel hair for worsted yarns. Citizens from Westford also had some notable involvement in the Revolutionary War. Westford Minutemen were alerted by efforts of Samuel Prescott who alerted Acton, to the southeast towards Stow.
By the end of the American Civil War, as roads and transportation improved, Westford began to serve as a residential suburb for the factories of Lowell, becoming one of the earliest notable examples of suburban sprawl. Throughout the 20th century (and with the invention of the automobile), Westford progressively grew, continuing to serve as residential housing for the industries of Lowell, and later, Boston.
By the 1990s, Westford was home to offices for Red Hat, Samsung, Sonus Networks, Seagate, Iris Associates, Visual Solutions, and many other technology firms, most located along Massachusetts Route 110, parallel to I-495. It is also the North American headquarters for Puma, which holds a road race in town. The leading manufacturer of EEG electrodes, HydroDot Inc., located here in 2007.
Select the Right Electrical Technical School near Westford MA
Choosing the right electrical training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the training programs you are considering. It’s a necessity that any electrician training program that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every program offers unique options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal means 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. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end result will be a new career as a professional electrician in Westford MA.
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