How to Become an Electrician in Beckley West Virginia
The initial step to becoming an electrical contractor or tradesman is locating an electrician trade school near Beckley WV. But with so many vocational schools to pick from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially because there are a number of points to consider. For example, some potential students will start by looking for schools that are close to their home. When they have found some that are within driving distance, they will pick the one with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are important, they are not the sole qualifications that need to be evaluated. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should contribute toward your ultimate decision when choosing an electrician training school. We will talk about that checklist in more detail later in this article. But first, let’s review a little bit about becoming an electrician and the instructional choices that are accessible.
Electrician Degree, Certificate and Diploma Options near Beckley WV
There are multiple ways to obtain electrician training in a vocational or trade school near Beckley WV. You may enroll in a certificate or diploma program, or earn an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are obtainable at certain schools, but are not as prevalent as the other three alternatives. Frequently these programs are made available together with an apprenticeship program, which are mandated by the majority of states to become licensed or if you would like to become certified. Following are short descriptions of the three most prevalent programs available.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally provided by West Virginia vocational and trade schools and require about a year to finish. They furnish a solid foundation and are aimed towards those who wish to join an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees involve two years to complete and are offered by West Virginia community colleges, typically as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They provide a more well-rounded education while supplying the foundation that readies students to enter into their apprenticeship program.
As earlier mentioned, Bachelor’s Degrees are available at some West Virginia colleges, but are less preferred at 4 years than the other shorter programs. Most states mandate that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and in most cases four years be performed prior to licensing. Therefore, the majority of students are anxious to start their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not part of their educational program.
Electrician License and Certification Requirements
Electricians in Beckley WV can undertake a vast array of tasks, such as testing, installing and replacing electrical systems, and making sure that the wiring in buildings and homes are up to code standards. After completing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to become licensed in most states or municipalities. The duration of apprenticeship varies by state, but usually around 4 to 5 years of experience is called for before taking the licensing examination. The exams typically evaluate electrical theory and general knowledge, along with understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also a voluntary way for an electrician to differentiate him or herself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications available vary by state and may be earned in various specialties, such as cable splicing as an example. The certification procedure usually involves three levels of proficiency:
- 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 pick not only provides a solid academic foundation, but also helps prepare you for passing any licensing and certification examinations that you might need to pass in the future.
Attending Electrician Online Training Classes in Beckley WV
An option that you may have considered is choosing an online electrician school to earn a degree or a certificate. While online training programs are becoming more prevalent as a way of attending class without the need for travel, in this case they are not completely internet based. Pretty much all electrician training programs require partial attendance on campus to get practical hands-on training. But since the rest of the classes can be attended online, internet learning might be a more practical choice for students that have limited time for schooling. And as an added benefit numerous online schools have a reduced tuition cost compared to their traditional competitors. Driving costs from Beckley WV are also lessened and some of the study materials can be accessed online also. Each of these advantages can make electrician online trade schools more economical and convenient. And a number are fully accredited, which we will cover in our due diligence checklist.
What to Ask Electrician Vocational Schools
Now that you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to focus your training options. Considering that there are so many electrician vocational and trade schools in the Beckley WV area, it’s important to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The first two that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. If you are interested in earning an degree online, then that must be a feature that your final school offers. And even though all three qualifiers may be critical when making your decision, there are other variables that must be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to analyze before enrolling in an electrical vocational school.
Accreditation. Numerous electrician technical programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Confirm that the Beckley WV school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you receive a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, many states require that the electrician training program be accredited for it 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate might indicate that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It might also signify that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which can result in more contacts for the school to employ 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 industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist Beckley WV students obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of electrician vocational programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrical contractors or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with Beckley WV area electricians or electrical professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain 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, check with the electrical specialist you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Beckley WV electrical company if they can give you some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Beckley home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with several of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Beckley WV, check that the programs you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Beckley WV?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Beckley WV area.
Beckley, West Virginia
Beckley is a city in and the county seat of Raleigh County, West Virginia, United States. It was founded on April 4, 1838. Beckley was named in honor of John James Beckley, who was the first Clerk of the House of Representatives and the first Librarian of Congress. It was founded by his son Alfred Beckley (US Army general and Confederate militia commander, born in Washington, D.C.). The current mayor is Rob Rappold.
Although founded in 1838, Beckley existed only on paper at that time, "Alfred Beckley said he "was frequently jeered and laughed at for his Paper Town..." Early in its history, the town was known as Beckley, Raleigh Court House, and, occasionally, Beckleyville. The town was originally located in Fayette County, Virginia. In 1850 the act of the Virginia legislature creating Raleigh County named Beckley the county seat. The city is sometimes called the "Smokeless Coal Capital", "The City of Champions" and the "Gateway To Southern West Virginia." Beckley had the first "community antenna" television system in the United States, a forerunner of cable television.
During the presidential primaries of 1960, the vehicles of rivals John F. Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey stopped at the same streetcorner in Beckley. Recognizing each other, the two men got out and chatted briefly.
Select the Ideal Electrical Trade School near Beckley WV
Selecting the best electrical training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare between the training programs you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any electrical training program that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world context, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides unique options for certification also. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional electrician in Beckley WV.
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