How to Become an Electrician in Weston West Virginia
The initial step to learning to be an electrical contractor or tradesman is enrolling in an electrician trade school near Weston WV. But with numerous technical schools to select from, just how do you undertake making sure that you enroll in the best one? Especially because there are so many factors to examine. For example, some potential students will start by searching for schools that are nearby their home. Once they have identified several that are within commuting distance, they will select the one with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are important, they are not the only factors that must be evaluated. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should contribute toward your final decision when selecting an electrician training school. We will address that checklist in more detail later in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit about being an electrician and the educational options that are available.
Electrician Certificate, Diploma and Degree Options near Weston WV
There are several options to receive electrician instruction in a vocational or trade school near Weston WV. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program, or obtain an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are available at certain schools, but are not as prevalent as the first three alternatives. Frequently these programs are made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship, which are mandated by most states in order to be licensed or if you want to become certified. Following are brief summaries of the 3 most common programs available.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are typically offered by West Virginia vocational and trade schools and take about a year to finish. They provide a good foundation and are aimed towards students who wish to join an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees require 2 years to finish and are provided by West Virginia community colleges, typically as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They offer a more extensive education while providing the foundation that prepares students to enter into their apprenticeship program.
As previously mentioned, Bachelor’s Degrees are accessible at certain West Virginia colleges, but are less favored at four years than the other briefer programs. Most states mandate that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and in most cases 4 years be carried out before licensing. Because of that, many students are eager to begin their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not a component of their academic program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Prerequisites
Electricians in Weston WV can undertake a vast array of services, including installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and making sure that the wiring in houses and buildings are up to code standards. After concluding an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to become licensed in most states or municipalities. The period of apprenticeship varies by state, but normally around four to five years of experience is required in order to take the licensing exam. The exams commonly evaluate general knowledge and electrical theory, in addition to knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also an optional means for an electrician to identify her or himself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications offered differ by state and can be earned in several specialties, including cable splicing as an example. The certification process in most cases includes 3 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) along with the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s imperative that the electrician vocational school that you enroll in not only furnishes a solid educational foundation, but also helps ready you for passing any licensing and certification examinations that you might need to pass in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Schools Online in Weston WV
An option that you may have looked at is selecting an electrician online school to earn a degree or a certificate. Although online training programs are becoming more prevalent as a way of attending class without the need for travel, in this situation they are not completely internet based. Just about all electrician training programs require partial 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 convenient choice for individuals that have limited time for schooling. And as an added benefit many online degree programs have a reduced tuition cost compared to their on campus competitors. Commuting costs from Weston WV are also lessened and a portion of the study materials can be available online also. All of these benefits can make electrician online trade schools more affordable and accessible. And many are fully accredited, which we will cover in our due diligence checklist.
Points to Ask Electrician Training Schools
Now that you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to narrow down your training options. Considering that there are so many electrician tech and trade schools in the Weston WV region, it’s important to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The first 2 that we talked about 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 chosen school offers. And while all three qualifiers may be important when making your decision, there are other variables that must be taken into account 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 trade programs have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Verify that the Weston WV program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you get a superior education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, many states mandate that the electrician training course be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion and Placement Rates. Ask the electrician schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate might suggest that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It could also signify that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which can result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist Weston WV graduates secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most electrician trade programs are taught in conjunction 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 electrical companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with Weston WV area electricians or electrical professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the electrical technician you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Weston WV electrical contractor if they can give you some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Weston home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to a few of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few 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 can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Weston WV, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Weston WV?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Weston WV area.
Weston, West Virginia
Weston is a city in Lewis County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 4,110 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Lewis County, and home to the West Virginia Museum of American Glass and the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum.
Weston is the site of the former Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, a psychiatric hospital and National Historic Landmark which has been mostly vacant since its closure in 1994 upon its replacement by the nearby William R. Sharpe Jr. Hospital. Jackson's Mill, a childhood home of Stonewall Jackson, is approximately four miles (6 km) north of Weston; it has been operated as a 4-H facility since the 1920s and is also the site of conference center operated by the West Virginia University Extension Service. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Jackson's Mill State 4-H Camp Historic District.
Weston has two national historic districts: the Weston Downtown Historic District and Weston Downtown Residential Historic District. Other buildings on the National Register of Historic Places are the Jonathan M. Bennett House and the former Weston Colored School.
Find the Right Electrical Technical School near Weston WV
Selecting the right electrician training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare between the training programs you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any electrician training program that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world context, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Probably the best way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional electrician in Weston WV.
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