How to Become an Electrician in Williamstown Pennsylvania
The initial step to learning to be an electrical tradesman or contractor is locating an electrician trade school near Williamstown PA. But with so many vocational schools to select from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the right one? Especially because there are a number of points to examine. For instance, many prospective students will start by looking for schools that are close to their residence. Once they have located a few that are within commuting distance, they will choose the one with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are significant, they are not the only things that must be considered. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifications should contribute toward your final judgment when choosing an electrician school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let’s review a little bit about being an electrician and the instructional choices that are available.
Electrician Certificate, Diploma and Degree Options near Williamstown PA
There are multiple ways to get electrician instruction in a trade or technical school near Williamstown PA. You may select a diploma or certificate program, or receive an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are available at some schools, but are not as common as the other three alternatives. Often these programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship, which are required by the majority of states to be licensed or if you intend to become certified. Bellow are short descriptions of the three most common programs available.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by Pennsylvania trade and technical schools and take about a year to finish. They provide a good foundation and are aimed towards students who wish to join an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs require 2 years to finish and are offered by Pennsylvania junior or community colleges, commonly as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They provide a more extensive education while providing the foundation that prepares students to join their apprenticeship program.
As earlier stated, Bachelor’s Degrees are available at some Pennsylvania colleges, but are less popular at 4 years than the other shorter programs. The majority of states mandate that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and in most cases 4 years be completed before licensing. Because of that, most students are anxious to start their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not part of their academic program.
Electrician Certification and Licensing Criteria
Electricians in Williamstown PA can carry out a wide range of functions, 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 mandated to be licensed in the majority of municipalities and states. The length of apprenticeship varies by state, but normally about four to five years of practical experience is needed in order to take the licensing exam. The exams commonly evaluate electrical theory and general knowledge, in addition to knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also an optional method for an electrician to identify her or himself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications available differ by state and can be obtained in many specializations, including cable splicing as an example. The certification procedure usually involves 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) 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 academic foundation, but also helps ready you for passing any licensing and certification examinations that you may need to take in the future.
Attending Electrician Programs Online in Williamstown PA
A possibility that you might have contemplated is enrolling in an online electrician school 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 totally internet based. Just about all electrician training programs require partial attendance on-campus to receive hands-on practical training. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended online, internet learning can be a more convenient option for students that have minimal time for education. And as a bonus many online training programs have a reduced tuition cost compared to their on campus counterparts. Commuting costs from Williamstown PA are also lessened and a portion of the study materials can be available on line as well. All of these benefits can make online electrician tech schools more affordable and accessible. And a number are fully accredited, which we will deal with in our questions to ask checklist.
Questions to Ask Electrician Trade Schools
Now that you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to narrow down your school options. Considering that there are so many electrician tech and trade schools in the Williamstown PA region, it’s imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The initial 2 that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. If you have an interest in earning an online degree, then that must be an option that your final school offers. And even though all three qualifiers may be important when making your selection, there are additional factors that need to be considered also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to analyze prior to selecting an electrical trade school.
Accreditation. Numerous electrician trade schools have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Make certain that the Williamstown PA school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you acquire an excellent education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, some states require that the electrician training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion and Placement Rates. Ask the electrician training programs you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It may also suggest that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which can result in more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help Williamstown PA graduates acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many electrician trade programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrical contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with Williamstown PA area electricians or electrical contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the electrical specialist you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Williamstown PA electrical company if they can provide some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Williamstown home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to several of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the instructors and learn 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 assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Williamstown PA, verify that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Williamstown PA?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Williamstown PA area.
Williamstown is a borough in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, United States, 38 miles (61 km) northeast of Harrisburg. Formerly, anthracite coal mines were here, as well as hosiery mills. The population was 1,387 at the 2010 census.
Williamstown is located in northeastern Dauphin County at 40°34′52″N 76°37′6″W / 40.58111°N 76.61833°W / 40.58111; -76.61833 (40.581075, -76.618296). It is in the valley of Wiconisco Creek, between Big Lick Mountain to the north and Peters Mountain to the south. U.S. Route 209 passes to the south of the borough, leading northeast 24 miles (39 km) to Pottsville and west 11 miles (18 km) to Elizabethville.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,433 people, 611 households, and 406 families residing in the borough. The population density was 5,692.2 people per square mile (2,213.1/km²). There were 716 housing units at an average density of 2,844.1 per square mile (1,105.8/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 99.02% White, 0.14% African American, 0.07% Native American, 0.21% Asian, 0.07% from other races, and 0.49% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.35% of the population.
Choose the Ideal Electrician Tech School near Williamstown PA
Selecting the ideal electrical trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any electrical tech school that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every program offers different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional electrician in Williamstown PA.
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