How to Become an Electrician in Williamson West Virginia
The first step to learning to be an electrical tradesman or contractor is locating an electrician trade school near Williamson WV. But with numerous vocational schools to select from, just how do you tackle making sure that you enroll in the right one? Especially since there are a number of points to evaluate. For instance, some students will begin by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. Once they have found a few that are within commuting distance, they will select the one with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are of importance, they are not the sole qualifications that must be examined. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should contribute toward your final decision when selecting an electrician school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this article. But to begin with, let’s talk a little bit about being an electrician and the instructional options that are available.
Electrician Degree, Diploma and Certificate Options near Williamson WV
There are several options to get electrician instruction in a vocational or trade school near Williamson WV. You may enroll in a diploma or certificate program, or obtain an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are available at some schools, but are not as prevalent as the first three alternatives. Frequently these programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship, which are required by the majority of states in order to become licensed or if you intend to become certified. Following are brief summaries of the 3 most common programs available.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by West Virginia trade and technical schools and take about a year to finish. They furnish a good foundation and are geared towards students who would like to join an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees take 2 years to finish and are provided by West Virginia community colleges, typically as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They provide a more comprehensive education while providing the foundation that readies students to begin their apprenticeship program.
As earlier stated, Bachelor’s Degree programs are available at certain West Virginia institutions, but are less popular at 4 years than the other shorter programs. Most states require that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and more typically 4 years be completed prior to licensing. Therefore, most students are anxious to commence their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not a component of their educational program.
Electrician License and Certification Prerequisites
Electricians in Williamson WV can undertake a multitude of tasks, including testing, installing and replacing electrical systems, and ensuring that the wiring in houses and buildings are up to code standards. After finishing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to be licensed in the majority of municipalities and states. The duration of apprenticeship varies by state, but generally about four to five years of experience is called for in order to take the licensing exam. The exams usually evaluate electrical theory and general knowledge, along with understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also a voluntary means for an electrician to distinguish her or himself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications offered differ by state and can be obtained in numerous 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 agencies include the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (NJATC) along with the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s crucial that the electrician vocational school that you choose not only delivers a solid educational foundation, but also helps prep you for passing any licensing and certification examinations that you might need to pass in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Online Programs in Williamson WV
A possibility that you might have contemplated is choosing an online electrician school to earn a degree or a certificate. While online schools have become more accepted as a way of attending class without the need for travel, in this instance they are not completely internet based. Just about all electrician schools require partial attendance on-campus to receive practical hands-on training. But since the balance of the classes may be attended online, distance learning may be a more practical option for individuals that have limited time for schooling. And as a bonus numerous online degree programs have a cheaper tuition cost compared to their on campus counterparts. Commuting costs from Williamson WV are also minimized and some of the study materials may be accessed on line as well. All of these benefits can make online electrician tech schools more economical and convenient. And a number are fully accredited, which we will discuss in our due diligence checklist.
Questions to Ask Electrician Trade Schools
When you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to focus your school options. Considering that there are numerous electrician tech and trade schools in the Williamson WV area, it’s important to have a checklist of criteria that each program must satisfy. The initial two that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. If you have an interest in earning an online degree, then that must be a feature that your final school offers. And although all three qualifiers may be important when making your decision, there are other factors that must be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to analyze before choosing an electrical vocational school.
Accreditation. Many electrician vocational schools have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Make certain that the Williamson WV program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some states require 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 or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate could indicate that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It might also suggest that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to utilize 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 industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist Williamson WV students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous electrician training programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of electrician businesses or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with Williamson WV area electricians or electrical professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish 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 working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the electrical specialist you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Williamson WV electrical contractor if they can provide some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Williamson home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak to a few of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Williamson WV, confirm that the programs you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Williamson WV?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Williamson WV area.
Williamson, West Virginia
Williamson is a city in Mingo County, West Virginia, United States, along the Tug Fork River. The population was 3,191 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Mingo County, and is the county's largest and most populous city. Williamson is home to Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College. The Tug Fork River separates Williamson from South Williamson, Kentucky.
Williamson is the site of a large rail yard built by the former Norfolk and Western Railroad (now Norfolk Southern Railway), which was built to service the many coal mines of the region. The city is protected by a floodwall, completed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1991 in response to devastating floods along the Tug Fork River in 1977 and again in 1984. The wall incorporates floodgates along major access points which, when locked, form a solid barrier against floodwaters. There have only been two uses of the gates thus far: the first occurring in 2002 during a major flood in the region, and the second occurring in 2003, when only two lower lying gates were closed in anticipation of rising water levels.
Williamson was incorporated in 1892. Most historians believe that Williamson was named in honor of Wallace J. Williamson. He owned the land where Williamson now stands, earned a fortune in real estate investments in the area, and founded the city's first bank and its first hotel. Others claim that the city was named for Wallace's father, Benjamin F. Williamson. He owned most of the land in the region before dividing it among his sons.
Enroll in the Ideal Electrical Vocational School near Williamson WV
Picking the best electrician trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are many 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 that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every training program offers different options for certification also. Probably The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you select is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end result will be a new trade as a professional electrician in Williamson WV.
Other Cool Cities in West Virginia