How to Become an Electrician in Williamsport Pennsylvania
The initial step to becoming an electrical tradesman or contractor is finding an electrician trade school near Williamsport PA. But with numerous vocational schools to choose from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly because there are so many variables to consider. For example, some students will begin by looking for schools that are nearby their home. After they have identified some that are within commuting range, they will pick the one with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important, they are not the only factors that must be considered. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifications should help mold your ultimate decision when selecting an electrician trade school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let’s review a little bit about becoming an electrician and the educational options that are offered.
Electrician Degree, Diploma and Certificate Programs near Williamsport PA
There are multiple approaches to get electrician instruction in a technical or vocational school near Williamsport PA. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program, or obtain an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are obtainable at some schools, but are not as common as the other three options. In many cases these programs are made available together with an apprenticeship, which are required by the majority of states to be licensed or if you want to earn certification. Bellow are brief explanations of the three most prevalent programs offered.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are typically offered by Pennsylvania trade and technical schools and require about a year to finish. They furnish a solid foundation and are geared towards individuals who wish to get into an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs require two years to complete and are offered by Pennsylvania junior or community colleges, usually as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They offer a more comprehensive education while supplying the foundation that prepares students to join their apprenticeship program.
As earlier mentioned, Bachelor’s Degree programs are offered at some Pennsylvania colleges, but are less favored at 4 years than the other shorter programs. The majority of states mandate that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and more typically four years be carried out prior to licensing. Therefore, most students are eager to commence their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not a component of their educational program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Prerequisites
Electricians in Williamsport PA can undertake a vast array of duties, such as testing, installing and replacing electrical systems, and making sure that the wiring in houses and buildings are up to code standards. After completing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are mandated to become licensed in most municipalities and states. The period of apprenticeship differs by state, but normally around 4 to 5 years of prior experience is needed in order to take the licensing examination. The exams commonly test electrical theory and general knowledge, along with knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also an optional means for an electrician to identify him or herself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications offered differ by state and may be earned in many specialties, including cable splicing as an example. The certification process usually entails 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) along with the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s imperative that the electrician tech school that you select not only delivers a solid educational foundation, but also helps ready you for passing any certification and licensing exams that you might be required to take in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Schools Online in Williamsport PA
A possibility that you might have contemplated is choosing an online electrician program to earn a certificate or degree. Even though online training programs are becoming more popular as a way of attending class without the need for travel, in this instance they are not entirely internet based. Pretty much all electrician schools require some attendance on campus to get hands-on practical training. But since the rest of the classes can be accessed online, internet learning might be a more accommodating choice for individuals that have limited time for education. And as a bonus numerous online schools have a cheaper tuition cost compared to their traditional alternatives. Travelling expenses from Williamsport PA are also reduced and a portion of the study materials can be available on line also. Each of these advantages can make electrician online trade schools more affordable and accessible. And a number are fully accredited, which we will address in our due diligence checklist.
Questions to Ask Electrician Training Schools
When you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to narrow down your school options. Considering that there are numerous electrician trade and vocational schools in the Williamsport PA region, it’s imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The initial 2 that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. If you have an interest in earning an degree online, then that needs to be a feature that your final school offers. And while all three qualifiers may be critical when making your decision, there are other variables that need to be taken into account as well. Following is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to assess prior to selecting an electrical tech school.
Accreditation. A large number of electrician technical programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Make sure that the Williamsport PA program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you acquire a quality education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, a number of states require that the electrician training program be accredited in order 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 percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate may indicate that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It may also signify that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which may produce 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 field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist Williamsport PA graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous 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 electrical companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with Williamsport 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 form relationships in the local electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment 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, consult with the electrical technician you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Williamsport PA electrical company if they can give you some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Williamsport home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to several of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Williamsport PA, confirm that the programs you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Williamsport PA?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Williamsport PA area.
Williamsport, officially The City of Williamsport, is a city in and the county seat of Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, United States. In 2009, the population was estimated at 29,304. It is the principal city of the Williamsport, Pennsylvania Metropolitan Statistical Area, which has a population of about 117,000.
The city is the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Central Pennsylvania. It is 131 miles (211 km) from Philadelphia, 166 miles (267 km) from Pittsburgh and 67 miles (108 km) from state capital Harrisburg. The city is renowned for its sports, arts scene and food.
Williamsport was settled by Americans late in the 18th century, and the town began to prosper due to its lumber industry. By the early 20th century, the town reached the height of its prosperity and the population has since declined by about a third from its peak of around 45,000 in 1950.
Enroll in the Right Electrician Vocational School near Williamsport PA
Choosing the right electrical training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare among the training programs you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any electrical training program that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every program provides unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you choose is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new trade as a professional electrician in Williamsport PA.
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