How to Become an Electrician in Morgantown West Virginia
The initial step to learning to be an electrical contractor or tradesman is enrolling in an electrician trade school near Morgantown WV. But with numerous technical schools to choose from, just how do you undertake making sure that you enroll in the right one? Particularly since there are so many points to consider. For example, many students will start by searching for schools that are nearby their home. Once they have located several that are within commuting range, they will pick the one with the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are important, they are not the only things that must be considered. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should contribute toward your ultimate judgment when selecting an electrician training school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit about becoming an electrician and the training choices that are offered.
Electrician Degree, Diploma and Certificate Options near Morgantown WV
There are multiple approaches to obtain electrician training in a trade or technical school near Morgantown WV. You may enroll in a diploma or certificate program, or earn an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at a few schools, but are not as common as the other three alternatives. In many cases these programs are offered together with an apprenticeship, which are mandated by the majority of states in order to become licensed or if you want to earn certification. Following are short summaries of the three most typical programs available.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by West Virginia vocational and trade schools and take approximately a year to complete. They furnish a good foundation and are geared towards individuals who want to get into an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees involve two years to finish and are offered by West Virginia junior or community colleges, commonly as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They provide a more extensive education while providing the foundation that readies students to join their apprenticeship program.
As previously mentioned, Bachelor’s Degree programs are accessible at some West Virginia colleges, but are less popular 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 begin their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not a component of their educational program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Guidelines
Electricians in Morgantown WV can perform a wide range of services, such as installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and ensuring that the wiring in houses and buildings comply with code standards. After concluding an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to become licensed in most municipalities and states. The period of apprenticeship differs by state, but typically about four to five years of experience is needed in order to take the licensing examination. The exams typically assess general knowledge and electrical theory, in addition to knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also an optional means for an electrician to distinguish him or herself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications available vary by state and may be obtained in numerous specialties, including cable splicing as an example. The certification process usually includes 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) along with the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s crucial that the electrician vocational school that you enroll in not only provides a strong educational foundation, but also helps prep you for passing any certification and licensing examinations that you may need to pass in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Online Training Classes in Morgantown WV
An option that you might have considered is choosing an online electrician school to earn a degree or a certificate. While online training programs have become more prevalent as a means of attending class without needing to travel, in this instance they are not entirely 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 may be a more accommodating option for individuals that have limited time for schooling. And as a bonus numerous online schools have a cheaper tuition cost compared to their on campus alternatives. Travelling expenses from Morgantown WV are also lessened and some of the study materials can be accessed on line also. All of these benefits can make electrician online vocational schools more economical and convenient. And a number are fully accredited, which we will deal with in our questions to ask checklist.
What to Ask Electrician Training Schools
Now that you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to narrow down your training options. Because there are numerous electrician vocational and trade schools in the Morgantown WV region, it’s important to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The initial 2 that we talked about were location and tuition expense. If you have an interest in earning an online degree, then that needs to be an option that your chosen school offers. And even though all three qualifiers may be critical when making your decision, there are other variables that need to be taken into account as well. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to analyze prior to selecting an electrical trade school.
Accreditation. A large number of electrician technical schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Make certain that the Morgantown WV school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you acquire a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, many 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 of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate might indicate that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It may also mean that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which may mean 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 trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to help Morgantown WV students secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many electrician training programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrical contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with Morgantown WV area electricians or electrical contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the electrical tech you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Morgantown WV electrical contractor if they can provide some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Morgantown home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with a few of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Morgantown WV, check that the schools you are comparing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Morgantown WV?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Morgantown WV area.
Morgantown, West Virginia
Morgantown is a city in and the county seat of Monongalia County, West Virginia, situated along the banks of the Monongahela River. It is known as the home of West Virginia University and the Morgantown Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system. With a permanent population of 31,073 per the 2015 U.S. Census estimates, Morgantown is the largest city in North-Central West Virginia. The Morgantown metropolitan area has a population of 138,176.
Morgantown is closely tied to the Anglo-French struggle for this territory. Until the Treaty of Paris in 1763, what is now known as Morgantown was greatly contested by settlers and Native Americans, and by the British and the French. The treaty decided the issue in favor of the British, but Indian fighting continued almost to the beginning of the American Revolution.
Zackquill Morgan, son of Morgan Morgan, and his brother David entered the area of Virginia that would become Morgantown in about 1767, although others such as Thomas Decker are recorded as attempting settlements in the area earlier or at about the same time. As well, several forts were built in the area during this time: Fort Pierpont near the Cheat River, in 1769; Fort Coburn, near Dorsey's Knob, in 1770. Fort Morgan, at the present site of Morgantown, in 1772; Fort Dinwiddie, north several miles at Stewartstown, in 1772; Fort Martin, several miles north on the Monongahela River, in 1773; Fort Burris in the present-day Suncrest area of Morgantown, in 1774; and Fort Kern in the present-day Greenmont area of Morgantown, in 1774, in addition to other, smaller forts.
Select the Right Electrical Tech School near Morgantown WV
Choosing the right electrical trade school will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare between the training programs you are reviewing. It’s a must that any electrical training that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides unique options for certification as well. Probably the best approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new career as a professional electrician in Morgantown WV.
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