How to Become an Electrician in Elkins West Virginia
The first step to becoming an electrical contractor or tradesman is locating an electrician trade school near Elkins WV. But with numerous technical schools to choose from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the best one? Particularly since there are so many variables to consider. For instance, many potential students will commence by looking for schools that are nearby their home. After they have identified a few that are within commuting range, they will decide on the one with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are of importance, they are not the only factors that need to be evaluated. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifiers should influence your ultimate decision when picking an electrician trade school. We will cover that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But to begin with, let’s talk a little bit about becoming an electrician and the instructional choices that are accessible.
Electrician Degree, Diploma and Certificate Programs near Elkins WV
There are multiple options to get electrician training in a technical or vocational school near Elkins WV. You may select a certificate or diploma program, or receive an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at a few schools, but are not as common as the first three options. Frequently these programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship, which are required by the majority of states in order to be licensed or if you intend to become certified. Following are short summaries of the three most typical programs available.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are typically provided by West Virginia trade and technical schools and take about a year to complete. They provide a good foundation and are geared towards students who want to join an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs involve 2 years to finish and are offered by West Virginia junior or community colleges, commonly as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They offer a more well-rounded education while supplying the foundation that prepares students to join their apprenticeship program.
As previously mentioned, Bachelor’s Degrees are available 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 more typically 4 years be carried out before licensing. Because of that, many students are eager to commence their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not part of their educational program.
Electrician Certification and Licensing Prerequisites
Electricians in Elkins WV can undertake a wide range of duties, such as testing, installing and replacing electrical systems, and making sure that the wiring in buildings and homes are up to code standards. After concluding an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to be licensed in most municipalities and states. The length of apprenticeship varies by state, but normally around four to five years of practical experience is required in order to take the licensing examination. The exams commonly test electrical theory and general knowledge, along with understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also a voluntary method for an electrician to identify her or himself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications available vary by state and can be earned in several specializations, including cable splicing as an example. The certification procedure in most cases 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 trade school that you enroll in not only provides a solid educational foundation, but also helps prep you for passing any certification and licensing exams that you might be required to pass in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Programs Online in Elkins WV
An alternative that you might have looked at is choosing an online electrician school to earn a certificate or degree. Even though online training programs are becoming more accepted as a means of attending class without needing to travel, in this situation they are not totally internet based. Virtually all electrician schools require some attendance on campus to receive practical hands-on training. But since the balance of the classes can be attended online, internet learning might be a more convenient alternative for students that have minimal time for education. And as an added benefit many online training programs have a cheaper tuition cost compared to their on campus counterparts. Travelling expenses from Elkins WV are also reduced and some of the study materials can be accessed on line as well. All of these benefits can make electrician online tech schools more affordable and accessible. And many are fully accredited, which we will address in our due diligence checklist.
Things to Ask Electrician Technical Schools
Once you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to narrow down your training options. Because there are so many electrician trade and vocational schools in the Elkins WV region, it’s imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The initial two that we discussed were location and tuition expense. If you are interested in earning an online degree, then that must be an option that your final school offers. And even though all three qualifiers may be critical when making your determination, there are other factors that need to be considered also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to research before selecting an electrical trade school.
Accreditation. Numerous electrician technical schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Confirm that the Elkins WV program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it can help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of states mandate that the electrician training course be accredited for it to be approved 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 finish the program. A low completion rate might indicate that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It might also signify that the teachers were not competent to train 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 graduates, which can mean 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 an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist Elkins WV graduates secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of electrician training programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of electrical contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with Elkins WV area electricians or electrical contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the electrical specialist you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Elkins WV electrical contractor if they can give you some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Elkins residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Elkins WV, verify that the programs you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Elkins WV?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Elkins WV area.
Elkins, West Virginia
Elkins is a city in Randolph County, West Virginia, USA. The community was incorporated in 1890 and named in honor of Stephen Benton Elkins (1841–1911), a U.S. Senator from West Virginia. The population was 7,094 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Randolph County. Elkins is home to Davis and Elkins College and to the Mountain State Forest Festival, held in early October every year.[not verified in body]
Before its major development, the area that would become Elkins was known as Leadsville, and was the site of a few scattered homesteads – a place where the local farmers' corn crop was loaded onto boats and floated down the Tygart Valley River. The City of Elkins was developed by U.S. Senators Henry Gassaway Davis (1823–1916) and Stephen Benton Elkins (1841–1911) – and named for the latter – in 1890. (Elkins was Davis' son-in-law.) The two founders developed railroad lines, coal mines, and timbering businesses. Together, they built the West Virginia Central and Pittsburgh Railway into Elkins in 1889, opening a vast territory to industrial development by the late 1890s. After an intense political "war" with nearby Beverly, where the new county courthouse building was burned down in 1897 under suspicious circumstances, Elkins became the county seat in 1899. This was resolved, however, only after multiple referenda, court judgments, and the mobilization of armed bands in both towns. In the end, bloodshed was averted.
In 1904 the new Randolph County Courthouse – designed in the Richardsonian Romanesque style – was completed in Elkins. As the railroad (merged into the Western Maryland Railway in 1905) expanded, Elkins experienced the luxury of passenger train service. In 1930, 18 passenger trains were arriving and leaving Elkins daily. All passenger service was discontinued in 1958.
Pick the Right Electrician Vocational School near Elkins WV
Picking the best electrical training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any electrician tech school that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every training program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to monitor 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 result will be a new occupation as a professional electrician in Elkins WV.
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