How to Become an Electrician in Wexford Pennsylvania
The first step to becoming an electrical tradesman or contractor is finding an electrician trade school near Wexford PA. But with numerous technical schools to choose from, just how do you undertake making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially since there are so many factors to consider. For example, many potential students will commence by searching for schools that are nearby their residence. After they have located some that are within commuting distance, they will pick the one with the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are important, they are not the only things that should be considered. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should help mold your final judgment when picking an electrician training school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this post. But to begin with, let’s talk a little bit about becoming an electrician and the instructional choices that are accessible.
Electrician Certificate, Diploma and Degree Programs near Wexford PA
There are three general approaches to receive electrician training in a vocational or trade school near Wexford PA. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program, or obtain an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are available at certain schools, but are not as prevalent as the other three alternatives. Frequently these programs are made available combined with an apprenticeship, which are required by the majority of states to be licensed or if you want to earn certification. Bellow are short explanations of the three most common programs available.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally provided by Pennsylvania trade and technical schools and take approximately a year to finish. They furnish a good foundation and are geared towards students who would like to get into an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees require 2 years to finish and are provided by Pennsylvania junior or community colleges, commonly as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They provide a more well-rounded education while providing the foundation that prepares students to enter into their apprenticeship program.
As earlier mentioned, Bachelor’s Degree programs are offered at some Pennsylvania institutions, but are less preferred at 4 years than the other briefer programs. Many states require that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and more typically four years be completed before licensing. Because of that, many students are eager to commence their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not part of their educational program.
Electrician Certification and Licensing Prerequisites
Electricians in Wexford PA can perform a vast array of services, such as testing, installing and replacing electrical systems, and ensuring that the wiring in houses and buildings comply with code standards. After completing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are mandated to be licensed in most municipalities and states. The duration of apprenticeship differs by state, but normally about four to five years of practical experience is required in order to take the licensing exam. The exams typically assess electrical theory and general knowledge, in addition to knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also a voluntary means for an electrician to identify her or himself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications available vary by state and may be earned in numerous specializations, such as cable splicing as an example. The certification process usually involves 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 trade school that you choose not only delivers a strong educational foundation, but also helps ready you for passing any certification and licensing exams that you may be required to take in the future.
Attending Electrician Training Classes Online in Wexford PA
An option that you might have considered is enrolling in an online electrician program to earn a certificate or degree. Even though online training programs are becoming more accepted as a way of attending class without the need for travel, in this situation they are not entirely internet based. Just about all electrician training programs require partial attendance on-campus to obtain hands-on practical training. But since the rest of the classes can be accessed online, internet learning might be a more convenient choice for students that have limited time for schooling. And as an added benefit many online schools have a reduced tuition cost compared to their traditional alternatives. Driving costs from Wexford PA are also minimized and some of the study materials can be accessed online also. All of these benefits can make electrician online vocational schools more affordable and convenient. And a number are fully accredited, which we will address in our questions to ask checklist.
Points to Ask Electrician Technical Schools
When you have decided to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to narrow down your school options. Since there are so many electrician tech and trade schools in the Wexford PA region, it’s important to have a checklist of criteria that each program must satisfy. The initial 2 that we talked about were location and tuition expense. If you are interested in earning an online degree, then that must be a feature that your final school offers. And while all three qualifiers may be crucial when making your determination, there are other variables that must be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to research prior to choosing an electrical vocational school.
Accreditation. A large number of electrician technical programs have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Make sure that the Wexford PA program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it can assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, a number of states require that the electrician training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion and Placement Rates. Ask the electrician training programs you are considering 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 could signify that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It might also mean that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to employ 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 industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to help Wexford PA graduates secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous electrician trade programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrician companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with Wexford PA area electricians or electrical professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the electrical technician you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Wexford PA electrical contractor if they can provide some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Wexford residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may 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 observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to several of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Wexford PA, confirm that the programs you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Wexford PA?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Wexford PA area.
Wexford is an unincorporated community in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States. The area known as Wexford is split among multiple municipalities, including Franklin Park, McCandless Township, Pine Township, and Marshall Township. It is named after County Wexford in Ireland.
Home to many upper-middle-class people, Wexford's commercial landscape is dominated by a mixture of corporate chains, car dealerships, and a number of local small businesses, giving this small town much diversity. Wexford concentrated on the main thoroughfare of the "Wexford Flats", U.S. Route 19. It is also home to what is considered to be one of the top high schools in Pennsylvania, North Allegheny Senior High School. Other schools in the area are Pine-Richland High School, Marshall Middle School, Wexford Elementary School and Vincentian Academy.
It was ranked the twenty-eighth best place to live by Money magazine in 2005, despite it being essentially a postal zip code and a general descriptor of a section of the suburban Pittsburgh metropolitan area, not a municipality of any type. The presence of North Allegheny Senior High School, a large, well funded public high school, the numerous businesses, and a number of churches along the "Wexford Flats" gives the area a more distinct community identity than simply an otherwise unremarkable suburb in the Greater Pittsburgh Area. Adjacent to Wexford is North Park and North Park lake. This area is a great asset to the community featuring many hiking/biking trails, 5-mile paved running path around the lake, many pavilions for outdoor events, outdoor ice rink, golf course, dog parks, many playgrounds, a C.O.P.E. course, and local restaurants and shops. The lake underwent construction, including dredging and refinishing shore lines, between 2009 and 2012.
Pick the Right Electrician Technical School near Wexford PA
Choosing the best electrician trade school will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the training programs you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any electrician training that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each training program provides different options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you select is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new career as a professional electrician in Wexford PA.
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