How to Become an Electrician in Princeton West Virginia
The initial step to learning to be an electrical tradesman or contractor is finding an electrician trade school near Princeton WV. But with numerous technical schools to choose from, just how do you go about making certain that you enroll in the right one? Especially since there are a number of points to evaluate. For instance, many prospective students will start by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. Once they have identified a few that are within commuting distance, they will pick the one with the least expensive tuition. Even though location and cost are important, they are not the only things that must be examined. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should help mold your final judgment when choosing an electrician school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this article. But to begin with, let’s review a little bit about being an electrician and the educational options that are offered.
Electrician Diploma, Certificate and Degree Options near Princeton WV
There are three general ways to get electrician training in a vocational or trade school near Princeton WV. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program, or earn an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are obtainable at some schools, but are not as common as the other three options. Often these programs are made available combined with an apprenticeship, which are required by the majority of states in order to be licensed or if you would like to become certified. Bellow are brief descriptions of the three most prevalent programs available.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are typically provided by West Virginia trade and technical schools and take approximately a year to complete. They provide a good foundation and are geared towards individuals who want to get into an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs take 2 years to complete and are provided by West Virginia junior or community colleges, usually as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They offer a more extensive education while providing the foundation that prepares students to join their apprenticeship program.
As previously stated, Bachelor’s Degree programs are available at some West Virginia colleges, but are less favored at four years than the other briefer programs. The majority of states mandate that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and more typically 4 years be completed before licensing. Therefore, most students are anxious to commence their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not part of their academic program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Criteria
Electricians in Princeton WV can undertake a multitude of functions, including installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and ensuring that the wiring in buildings and homes comply with code standards. After concluding an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to be licensed in the majority of municipalities and states. The length of apprenticeship differs by state, but normally around four to five years of prior experience is called for in order to take the licensing exam. The exams usually test general knowledge and electrical theory, in addition to knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also an optional means for an electrician to differentiate him or herself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications offered differ by state and can be acquired in several specialties, such as cable splicing as an example. The certification procedure in most cases includes 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) along with the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s crucial that the electrician vocational school that you choose not only furnishes a solid educational foundation, but also helps ready you for passing any certification and licensing examinations that you may be required to pass in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Online Training Classes in Princeton WV
A possibility that you may have looked at is choosing an online electrician school to earn a certificate or degree. Even though online training programs have become more prevalent as a way of attending class without the need for travel, in this instance they are not totally internet based. Pretty much all electrician training programs require partial attendance on-campus to get hands-on practical training. But since the remainder of the classes can be accessed online, distance learning may be a more practical option for individuals that have minimal time for education. And as an added benefit numerous online training programs have a cheaper tuition cost compared to their on-campus competitors. Travelling expenses from Princeton WV are also minimized and a portion of the study materials may be available online as well. All of these advantages can make electrician online vocational schools more affordable and convenient. And many are fully accredited, which we will discuss in our due diligence checklist.
What to Ask Electrician Vocational Schools
When you have decided to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to refine your school options. Because there are numerous electrician vocational and trade schools in the Princeton WV region, it’s imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The initial two that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. If you are interested in earning an degree online, then that must be a feature that your chosen school offers. And even though all three qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are additional variables that must be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to analyze before choosing an electrical trade school.
Accreditation. A large number of electrician technical programs have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Make sure that the Princeton WV school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you acquire an excellent education, it can assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, a number of states require that the electrician training program be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion and Placement Rates. Ask the electrician schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate could indicate that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It could also signify that the teachers were not qualified to train 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 list of graduates, which can 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 assist Princeton WV grads secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of electrician training programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of electrical companies or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with Princeton WV area electricians or electrical companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school 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 presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the electrical specialist you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Princeton WV electrical company if they can provide some pointers. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Princeton residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much personalized 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 big they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to some of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Princeton WV, verify that the programs you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, check 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 Princeton WV?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Princeton WV area.
Princeton, West Virginia
Princeton, often referred to as the "Jewel of the South," is a city in and the county seat of Mercer County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 6,432 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Bluefield, WV-VA micropolitan area which has a population of 107,342. The town hosts the Princeton Rays baseball club of the Appalachian League.
In southern West Virginia, in the late 19th century, coal mining and transportation by the emerging technology of the railroads combined to form a new industry. Much of the region's bituminous coal was sent northwest to the Great Lakes, or northeast to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad's coal piers at Baltimore, or to the world's greatest ice-free port of Hampton Roads in eastern Virginia.
The Chesapeake and Ohio Railway's coal piers were located at Newport News. Across the harbor, the Norfolk and Western Railway's coal piers were located on the Elizabeth River in Norfolk. The eastern-bound coal transported by the C&O and the N&W railroads was highly valued for local use and for steam-powered ships, notably those of the U.S. Navy. Loaded into large ships called colliers, the West Virginia "smokeless coal" was sent in coast-wise shipping to the Northeastern U.S. points such as New York City and New England, as well as exported to other countries worldwide.
Pick the Right Electrical Trade School near Princeton WV
Picking the best electrical trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare among the training programs you are considering. It’s a must that any electrical tech school that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new trade as a professional electrician in Princeton WV.
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