How to Become an Electrician in Flatwoods West Virginia
The initial step to becoming an electrical contractor or tradesman is finding an electrician trade school near Flatwoods WV. But with so many vocational schools to choose from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the right one? Especially since there are a number of variables to evaluate. For example, many prospective students will begin by looking for schools that are nearby their home. When they have located some that are within commuting distance, they will choose the one with the least expensive tuition. While cost and location are significant, they are not the only factors that must be considered. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should influence your ultimate judgment when picking an electrician training school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this post. But to begin with, let’s talk a little bit about becoming an electrician and the training options that are available.
Electrician Degree, Certificate and Diploma Options near Flatwoods WV
There are several approaches to get electrician instruction in a technical or vocational school near Flatwoods WV. You can choose a certificate or diploma program, or receive an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at certain schools, but are not as prevalent as the first three options. In many cases these programs are made available together with an apprenticeship program, which are required by most states to be licensed or if you want to become certified. Following are brief explanations of the 3 most common programs available.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally provided by West Virginia vocational and trade schools and require about a year to complete. They provide a good foundation and are aimed towards students who would like to join an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs require two years to finish and are provided by West Virginia community colleges, commonly as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They offer a more comprehensive education while providing the foundation that readies students to begin their apprenticeship program.
As previously mentioned, Bachelor’s Degrees are available at some West Virginia colleges, but are less popular at 4 years than the other shorter programs. Many states mandate that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and more typically four years be performed prior to licensing. For that reason, many students are anxious to begin their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not part of their academic program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Requirements
Electricians in Flatwoods WV can carry out a vast array of services, such as installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and ensuring that the wiring in buildings and homes are up to code standards. After completing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to be licensed in most municipalities and states. The length of apprenticeship differs by state, but typically around four to five years of experience is required in order to take the licensing examination. The exams typically evaluate electrical theory and general knowledge, as well as knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also a voluntary way for an electrician to differentiate her or himself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications offered vary by state and can be acquired in several specialties, such as cable splicing as an example. The certification process in most cases entails 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) as well as the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s crucial that the electrician tech school that you choose not only provides a strong educational foundation, but also helps prepare you for passing any licensing and certification exams that you might be required to pass in the future.
Attending Electrician Training Classes Online in Flatwoods WV
An option that you might have considered is choosing an online electrician school to earn a degree or a certificate. Even though online training programs are becoming more popular as a way of attending class without needing to travel, in this instance they are not completely internet based. Pretty much all electrician training programs require some attendance on campus to receive practical hands-on training. But since the rest of the classes may be accessed online, internet learning can be a more practical alternative for students that have limited time for education. And as an added benefit many online schools have a cheaper tuition cost compared to their traditional counterparts. Driving expenses from Flatwoods WV are also reduced and a portion of the study materials can be accessed on line also. All of these advantages can make electrician online tech schools more affordable and accessible. And many are fully accredited, which we will address in our due diligence checklist.
Questions to Ask Electrician Technical Schools
When you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to narrow down your training options. Considering that there are so many electrician tech and trade schools in the Flatwoods WV area, it’s essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The first two that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. If you have an interest in earning an online degree, then that must be a feature that your final school offers. And while all three qualifiers may be critical when making your selection, there are additional factors that need to be considered as well. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to analyze before enrolling in an electrical trade school.
Accreditation. A large number of electrician trade programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Verify that the Flatwoods WV program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states require that the electrician training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion and Placement Rates. Ask the electrician schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate might indicate that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It could also mean that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help Flatwoods WV students obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many electrician trade programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of electrical companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with Flatwoods WV area electricians or electrical specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm 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 currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the electrical tech you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Flatwoods WV electrical contractor if they can give you some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Flatwoods home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with a few of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Flatwoods WV, check that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, 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, sickness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Flatwoods WV?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Flatwoods WV area.
Flatwoods, West Virginia
Although first incorporated in 1902, maps show the existence of Flatwoods as a town in 1873, and a church was established by a pastor named John Clark at the community there as early as 1830. The West Virginia and Pittsburgh Railroad extended a branch through Flatwoods in the late 1800s. Later, the line was taken over by Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and Flatwoods was a halfway point on the B&O Railroad's Clarksburg-Richwood branch, approximately 62.6 miles from the Clarksburg terminal, and 59.1 miles from the Richwood terminal. The town also served as the origin of West Virginia & Pittsburgh Railroad's Sutton Branch.
Flatwoods is located at 38°43′17″N 80°39′11″W / 38.721374°N 80.652957°W / 38.721374; -80.652957 (38.721374, -80.652957). According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.66 square miles (1.71 km2), all of it land.
As of the census of 2010, there were 277 people, 109 households, and 74 families residing in the town. The population density was 419.7 inhabitants per square mile (162.0/km2). There were 127 housing units at an average density of 192.4 per square mile (74.3/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 99.3% White, 0.4% Asian, and 0.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.7% of the population.
Pick the Right Electrical Technical School near Flatwoods WV
Choosing the right electrical training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any electrician training program that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best means 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. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional electrician in Flatwoods WV.
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