How to Become an Electrician in Huntington West Virginia
The initial step to becoming an electrical tradesman or contractor is enrolling in an electrician trade school near Huntington WV. But with numerous vocational schools to choose from, just how do you undertake making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially because there are a number of factors to consider. For example, some potential students will commence by looking for schools that are close to their home. When they have identified several that are within driving distance, they will decide on the one with the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are significant, they are not the sole qualifications that should be evaluated. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should influence your ultimate judgment when selecting an electrician school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this post. But to begin with, let’s talk a little bit about being an electrician and the educational options that are offered.
Electrician Diploma, Certificate and Degree Programs near Huntington WV
There are three general options to obtain electrician training in a vocational or trade school near Huntington WV. You can select a certificate or diploma program, or obtain an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are obtainable at a few schools, but are not as prevalent as the other three alternatives. In many cases these programs are offered together with an apprenticeship, which are mandated by most states to become licensed or if you want to become certified. Bellow are short summaries of the 3 most common programs available.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by West Virginia trade and technical schools and take about a year to complete. They provide a good foundation and are geared towards individuals who wish to get into an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs involve two years to complete and are offered by West Virginia community colleges, typically as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They offer a more well-rounded education while supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter into their apprenticeship program.
As earlier stated, Bachelor’s Degrees are accessible at some West Virginia colleges, but are less popular at four years than the other shorter programs. Many states mandate that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and in most cases 4 years be completed before licensing. For that reason, most students are eager to begin their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not a component of their educational program.
Electrician License and Certification Criteria
Electricians in Huntington WV can perform a multitude of functions, such as testing, installing and replacing electrical systems, and ensuring that the wiring in buildings and homes comply with code standards. After concluding an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are mandated to become licensed in most states or municipalities. The duration of apprenticeship differs by state, but typically about four to five years of experience is required in order to take the licensing examination. The exams commonly evaluate electrical theory and general knowledge, along with knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also an optional method for an electrician to distinguish her or himself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications available vary by state and can be obtained in various specialties, such as 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 organizations 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 trade school that you pick not only delivers a solid academic foundation, but also helps ready you for passing any certification and licensing examinations that you may be required to take in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Online Programs in Huntington WV
An alternative that you might have considered 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 the need for travel, in this situation they are not entirely internet based. Virtually all electrician schools require some attendance on campus to obtain practical hands-on training. But since the rest of the classes may be accessed online, internet learning might be a more practical alternative for students that have limited time for education. And as an added benefit many online training programs have a lower tuition cost compared to their on-campus competitors. Commuting expenses from Huntington WV are also minimized and a portion of the study materials can be accessed on line also. All of these advantages can make online electrician trade schools more economical and accessible. And a number are fully accredited, which we will discuss in our due diligence checklist.
Things to Ask Electrician Trade Schools
When you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to refine your training options. Since there are so many electrician vocational and trade schools in the Huntington WV area, it’s imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The initial two that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. If you are interested in earning an degree online, then that must be an option that your final school offers. And although all three qualifiers may be crucial when making your decision, there are other variables that must be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to research prior to enrolling in an electrical trade school.
Accreditation. Numerous electrician trade schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Verify that the Huntington WV school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states require that the electrician training course be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion and Placement Rates. Ask the electrician training programs you are reviewing 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 may signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It may also suggest that the teachers 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 more extensive directory of alumni, which may result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to help Huntington WV grads secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most electrician training programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrician contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with Huntington WV area electricians or electrical professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable 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 school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the electrical technician you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Huntington WV electrical contracting company if they can give you some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Huntington residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much one-on-one training 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 to a few of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Huntington WV, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out 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 Huntington WV?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Huntington WV area.
Huntington, West Virginia
Huntington is a city in Cabell County and Wayne County  in the U.S. state of West Virginia. It is the county seat of Cabell County, and largest city in the Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH Metropolitan Statistical Area, sometimes referred to as the Tri-State Area. A historic and bustling city of commerce and heavy industry, Huntington has long-flourished due to its ideal location on the Ohio River at the mouth of the Guyandotte River. It is home to the Port of Huntington Tri-State, the second busiest inland port in the United States.
Surrounded by extensive natural resources, the industrial sector is based in coal, oil, chemicals and steel all of which support Huntington's diversified economy. The city is a vital rail-to-river transfer point for the marine transportation industry. Also, it is considered a scenic locale in the western foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. This location was selected by Collis Potter Huntington as ideal for the western terminus of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway, the predecessor of what would become CSX Transportation which still operates CSX Transportation-Huntington Division in the city to date.
The railroad founded Huntington as one of the nation's first planned communities to facilitate the railroad and other transportation-related industries at the railway's western terminus. Developing fast after the railroad's completion in 1871, the site was previously a collection of agricultural homesteads, and is eponymously named for the railroad company's founder Collis Potter Huntington. The first identifiable permanent settlement, Holderby's Landing, was founded in 1775 in the Colony of Virginia. With the exception of the neighborhoods of Westmoreland and Spring Valley, most of the city is in Cabell County.
Find the Right Electrician Tech School near Huntington WV
Choosing the right electrician training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the training programs you are considering. It’s a must that any electrical training that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world context, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every program offers unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional electrician in Huntington WV.
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