How to Become an Electrician in Wilmerding Pennsylvania
The initial step to becoming an electrical contractor or tradesman is enrolling in an electrician trade school near Wilmerding PA. But with numerous technical schools to choose from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly because there are a number of factors to evaluate. For example, some prospective students will begin by looking for schools that are close to their residence. When they have found a few that are within driving distance, they will select the one with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are significant, they are not the only factors that should be examined. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should contribute toward your final judgment when choosing an electrician school. We will cover that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let’s talk a little bit about becoming an electrician and the training choices that are accessible.
Electrician Certificate, Diploma and Degree Programs near Wilmerding PA
There are three general approaches to get electrician instruction in a vocational or trade school near Wilmerding PA. You may enroll in a diploma or certificate program, or earn an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at certain schools, but are not as common as the first three alternatives. Often these programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program, which are required by the majority of states in order to be licensed or if you want to earn certification. Following are brief descriptions of the 3 most typical programs available.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are typically provided by Pennsylvania trade and technical schools and take approximately a year to finish. They furnish a solid foundation and are aimed towards individuals who want to join an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees involve 2 years to complete and are offered by Pennsylvania junior or community colleges, usually as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They provide a more comprehensive education while providing the foundation that prepares students to enter into their apprenticeship program.
As previously stated, Bachelor’s Degrees are accessible at certain Pennsylvania colleges, but are less favored at four years than the other shorter programs. Many states require that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and in most cases four years be performed prior to licensing. Because of that, most students are eager to start their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not part of their academic program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Prerequisites
Electricians in Wilmerding PA can carry out a multitude of functions, including testing, installing and replacing electrical systems, and making sure that the wiring in houses and buildings are up to code standards. After finishing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are mandated to become licensed in most municipalities and states. The length of apprenticeship differs by state, but typically about four to five years of practical experience is called for before taking the licensing examination. The exams typically assess general knowledge and electrical theory, in addition to knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also a voluntary means for an electrician to differentiate her or himself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications available vary by state and may be obtained in many specialties, such as cable splicing as an example. The certification process in most cases includes three levels of competency:
- An experience requirement
- Passing a written exam
- Passing a practical exam
Examples of certifying organizations include the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (NJATC) and also the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s crucial that the electrician vocational school that you pick not only furnishes a solid educational foundation, but also helps prep you for passing any certification and licensing examinations that you may need to take in the future.
Attending Electrician Online Schools in Wilmerding PA
An alternative that you may have considered is selecting an online electrician program to earn a certificate or degree. While online training programs have become more accepted as a way of attending class without the need for travel, in this instance they are not totally internet based. Just about all electrician training programs require partial attendance on campus to obtain hands-on practical training. But since the remainder of the classes can be accessed online, distance learning can be a more practical option for individuals that have minimal time for education. And as an added benefit many online degree programs have a cheaper tuition cost compared to their on campus counterparts. Driving expenses from Wilmerding PA are also lessened and a portion of the study materials may be accessed online as well. Each of these advantages can make electrician online trade schools more economical and accessible. And a number are fully accredited, which we will discuss in our questions to ask checklist.
Points to Ask Electrician Training Schools
When you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to focus your training options. Since there are so many electrician trade and vocational schools in the Wilmerding PA area, it’s essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must satisfy. The initial two that we discussed were location and tuition expense. If you are interested in earning an degree online, then that needs to be a feature that your final school offers. And although all three qualifiers may be crucial when making your decision, there are additional variables that must be considered as well. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to assess prior to enrolling in an electrical tech school.
Accreditation. Many electrician trade programs have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Verify that the Wilmerding PA school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you acquire an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, many states require that the electrician training program be accredited for it 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate might suggest that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It might also signify that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which may mean 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 a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist Wilmerding PA students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of electrician vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrician businesses or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working relationships with Wilmerding PA area electricians or electrical contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the electrical technician you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Wilmerding PA electrical company if they can provide some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Wilmerding residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation 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 training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to a few of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Wilmerding PA, confirm that the schools you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, 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 Wilmerding PA?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Wilmerding PA area.
Wilmerding is a borough in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 2,190 at the 2010 census. It is located 12 miles (19 km) southeast of Pittsburgh. At the start of the twentieth century, it had extensive foundries and machine shops of the Westinghouse Air Brake Company. Wilmerding is adjacent to the borough of Turtle Creek, which takes its name from a small stream that flows past both places.
George Westinghouse purchased land in the Turtle Creek valley in 1887 and 1888 as a site for his Westinghouse Air Brake Company and related facilities. Westinghouse then sold the land to the East Pittsburgh Improvement Company, incorporated in December 1888, to develop the site, and it began the sale of lots in June 1889.
Wilmerding's most notable historic structure is the Westinghouse Air Brake Company General Office Building (1889–1890, rebuilt 1896), designed by Frederick J. Osterling and now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Pick the Ideal Electrician Trade School near Wilmerding PA
Selecting the right electrician trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are considering. It’s a necessity that any electrical training that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each training program offers unique options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you choose is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional electrician in Wilmerding PA.
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