How to Become an Electrician in Petersburg West Virginia
The initial step to learning to be an electrical tradesman or contractor is locating an electrician trade school near Petersburg WV. But with so many vocational schools to select from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the best one? Especially because there are so many factors to examine. For example, some students will start by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. After they have identified a few that are within driving distance, they will decide on the one with the least expensive tuition. While location and cost are important, they are not the sole things that should be examined. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should influence your final decision when choosing an electrician trade school. We will address that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let’s talk a little bit about being an electrician and the instructional choices that are accessible.
Electrician Diploma, Certificate and Degree Options near Petersburg WV
There are multiple options to receive electrician instruction in a vocational or trade school near Petersburg WV. You may choose a diploma or certificate program, or receive an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at some schools, but are not as prevalent as the other three options. Frequently these programs are offered together with an apprenticeship, which are required by most states to become licensed or if you would like to become certified. Following are short summaries of the three most prevalent programs available.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually provided by West Virginia technical and trade schools and require approximately a year to finish. They furnish a solid foundation and are aimed towards students who wish to enter an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs take 2 years to finish and are provided by West Virginia community colleges, usually as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They furnish a more extensive education while supplying the foundation that readies students to enter into their apprenticeship program.
As previously mentioned, Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at certain West Virginia institutions, but are less favored at four years than the other shorter programs. Most states mandate that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and in most cases 4 years be carried out prior to licensing. Therefore, most students are anxious to commence their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not a component of their academic program.
Electrician Certification and Licensing Requirements
Electricians in Petersburg WV can undertake a wide range 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 finishing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to be licensed in the majority of states or municipalities. The length of apprenticeship differs by state, but commonly about four to five years of practical experience is called for before taking the licensing examination. The exams typically evaluate electrical theory and general knowledge, as well as understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also an optional way for an electrician to differentiate her or himself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications available differ by state and may be acquired in various specializations, such as cable splicing as an example. The certification procedure in most cases entails 3 levels of competency:
- 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 imperative that the electrician tech school that you enroll in not only furnishes a solid educational foundation, but also helps prepare you for passing any licensing and certification examinations that you might be required to take in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Schools Online in Petersburg WV
An option that you may have considered is choosing an online electrician program to earn a certificate or degree. While online training programs are becoming more popular as a way 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 obtain practical hands-on training. But since the remainder of the classes can be attended online, distance learning might be a more practical choice for students that have minimal time for schooling. And as an added benefit many online training programs have a lower tuition cost compared to their on-campus alternatives. Driving expenses from Petersburg WV are also minimized and some of the study materials can be available online as well. All of these benefits can make electrician online trade schools more affordable and convenient. And a number are fully accredited, which we will address in our due diligence checklist.
Points to Ask Electrician Training Schools
When you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to focus your school options. Considering that there are so many electrician vocational and trade schools in the Petersburg WV area, it’s important to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The initial two that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. If you have an interest in earning an online degree, then that must be an option that your chosen school offers. And even though all three qualifiers may be critical when making your decision, there are additional variables that must be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess prior to enrolling in an electrical vocational school.
Accreditation. Many electrician trade schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Make sure that the Petersburg WV school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states mandate that the electrician training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion and Placement Rates. Ask the electrician training programs you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate could signify that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It may also indicate that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to utilize 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 assist Petersburg WV grads obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous electrician trade 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 inside their network of electrical businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with Petersburg WV area electricians or electrical professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the electrical technician you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Petersburg WV electrical company if they can give you some suggestions. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Petersburg residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Talk with some of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
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 go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Petersburg WV, confirm that the programs you are comparing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Petersburg WV?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Petersburg WV area.
Petersburg, West Virginia
The climate in this area has mild differences between highs and lows, and there is adequate rainfall year-round. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Petersburg has a marine west coast climate, abbreviated "Cfb" on climate maps.
As of the census of 2010, there were 2,467 people, 1,113 households, and 614 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,522.8 inhabitants per square mile (588.0/km2). There were 1,310 housing units at an average density of 808.6 per square mile (312.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.3% White, 2.0% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 2.0% from other races, and 1.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.4% of the population.
There were 1,113 households of which 24.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.6% were married couples living together, 12.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 44.8% were non-families. 38.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.11 and the average family size was 2.77.
Find the Ideal Electrical Technical School near Petersburg WV
Selecting the ideal electrician trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any electrical training program that you are examining 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 instruction needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every program provides different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your short 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 training program you select is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new trade as a professional electrician in Petersburg WV.
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