How to Become an Electrician in Fairmont West Virginia
The initial step to becoming an electrical tradesman or contractor is finding an electrician trade school near Fairmont WV. But with numerous vocational schools to select from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the best one? Particularly because there are a number of points to evaluate. For instance, many students will start by searching for schools that are close to their residence. When they have located a few that are within commuting range, they will decide on the one with the most affordable tuition. Even though location and cost are important, they are not the only factors that need to be evaluated. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should contribute toward your final judgment when choosing an electrician trade school. We will address that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But to begin with, let’s review a little bit about becoming an electrician and the training options that are available.
Electrician Degree, Diploma and Certificate Options near Fairmont WV
There are three general options to receive electrician training in a trade or technical school near Fairmont WV. You may select a certificate or diploma program, or earn an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are obtainable at a few schools, but are not as common as the first three options. Frequently these programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship, which are required by the majority of states in order to be licensed or if you intend to earn certification. Bellow are short summaries of the 3 most typical programs available.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are typically offered by West Virginia technical and trade schools and require about a year to finish. They furnish a solid foundation and are geared towards those who wish to join an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees involve 2 years to finish and are provided by West Virginia community colleges, usually as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They provide a more comprehensive education while providing the foundation that prepares students to begin their apprenticeship program.
As earlier stated, Bachelor’s Degrees are accessible at some West Virginia institutions, but are less favored at 4 years than the other briefer programs. Many states require that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and more typically 4 years be completed before licensing. For that reason, most students are anxious to commence their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not part of their educational program.
Electrician Certification and Licensing Guidelines
Electricians in Fairmont WV can undertake a vast array of services, including testing, installing and replacing electrical systems, and ensuring that the wiring in houses and buildings are up to code standards. After concluding an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are mandated to be licensed in the majority of municipalities and states. The period of apprenticeship varies by state, but usually around 4 to 5 years of practical experience is needed before taking the licensing exam. The exams typically assess electrical theory and general knowledge, in addition to understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also a voluntary method for an electrician to distinguish him or herself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications available differ by state and can be acquired in many specializations, including cable splicing as an example. The certification process in most cases entails 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) and also the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s important that the electrician tech school that you select not only delivers a solid educational foundation, but also helps ready you for passing any licensing and certification exams that you might be required to pass in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Online Schools in Fairmont WV
An option that you may have considered is selecting an electrician online program to earn a degree or a certificate. While online training programs are becoming more popular as a way of attending class without the need for travel, in this case they are not entirely internet based. Just about all electrician schools require partial attendance on-campus to get hands-on practical training. But since the rest of the classes may be accessed online, distance learning can be a more convenient choice for students that have limited time for education. And as a bonus many online training programs have a lower tuition cost compared to their traditional competitors. Driving costs from Fairmont WV are also minimized and some of the study materials can be accessed on line also. Each of these advantages can make electrician online tech schools more affordable and convenient. And a number are fully accredited, which we will deal with in our questions to ask checklist.
What to Ask Electrician Trade Schools
Once 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 vocational and trade schools in the Fairmont WV area, it’s essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The first two that we talked about 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 chosen school offers. And although all three qualifiers may be crucial when making your selection, there are other factors that must be considered as well. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to analyze prior to selecting an electrical trade school.
Accreditation. A large number of electrician vocational programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Make sure that the Fairmont WV program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it may assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states mandate that the electrician training course be accredited in order to be approved 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate may suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It might also signify that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist Fairmont WV students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most electrician training programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of electrical companies or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with Fairmont WV area electricians or electrical specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed 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 technician you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Fairmont WV electrical company if they can give you some pointers. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Fairmont home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to a few of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Fairmont WV, confirm that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, ask 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 Fairmont WV?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Fairmont WV area.
Fairmont, West Virginia
Prior to the founding of Fairmont, the land that would become Marion County was part of Monongalia and Harrison County. In the 1700s, the earliest development of this area consisted of subsistence farming settlements. In 1789, Boaz Fleming, a Revolutionary War veteran, migrated to this area and purchased a 254-acre farm from Jonathan Bozarth. Oral history indicates that in 1808, Fleming made his annual trek to Clarksburg to pay his brother's Harrison County taxes. While in Clarksburg, Fleming attended a social gathering that included his cousin, Dolley Madison, wife of President James Madison. Fleming complained to Mrs. Madison about having to travel over a hundred miles each year from his home to pay his Monongalia County taxes and his brother's Harrison County taxes. Mrs. Madison supposedly suggested that he create his own county to save him all that travel. In 1814, Fleming circulated a petition to do precisely that, naming the proposed county Madison County, in honor of Dolley and James Madison.
Milford (now Rivesville) was the only town within the borders of Fleming's proposed county, so Fleming decided to make Milford the seat of Madison County. However, Milford's citizens preferred to remain part of Monongalia County. As a result, Fleming's petition failed to gain sufficient support to be presented to the Virginia General Assembly. Fleming then focused on creating a new town near his farm, which was located on the west side of the Monongahela River. In 1817, Fleming's sons—William and David—began to clear land on part of their father's farm to make way for the new town; this part of the farm would later become downtown Fairmont. In 1819, a road was built from Clarksburg to Morgantown. Fleming's new town was about halfway between the two cities, making it a good resting point. The town was incorporated as Middletown on January 19, 1820. It is unknown if the town was called Middletown because of its location midway between Clarksburg and Morgantown or because Fleming's first wife, Elizabeth Hutchinson, was originally from Middletown, Delaware.
The current borders of Marion County were established in 1842, and Middletown was named the county's seat. At that time, William Haymond, Jr. suggested that the town's name be changed to Fairmont because the town had a beautiful overlook of the Monongahela River, giving it a "fair mount." The Borough of Fairmont was incorporated in 1843 by the Virginia General Assembly.
Pick the Right Electrician Vocational School near Fairmont WV
Choosing the ideal electrician trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are considering. It’s a necessity that any electrical training program that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides unique options for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new trade as a professional electrician in Fairmont WV.
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