How to Become an Electrician in Richwood West Virginia
The first step to becoming an electrical contractor or tradesman is enrolling in an electrician trade school near Richwood WV. But with numerous vocational schools to pick from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the best one? Particularly since there are so many variables to consider. For instance, some students will begin by searching for schools that are close to their home. When they have identified several that are within commuting range, they will select the one with the cheapest tuition. Even though cost and location are important, they are not the only factors that need to be evaluated. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should influence your final judgment when picking an electrician school. We will address 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 instructional options that are offered.
Electrician Degree, Certificate and Diploma Options near Richwood WV
There are multiple approaches to get electrician training in a vocational or trade school near Richwood WV. You may enroll in a diploma or certificate program, or obtain an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are obtainable at certain schools, but are not as prevalent as the first three alternatives. In many cases these programs are offered together with an apprenticeship program, which are mandated by the majority of states in order to be licensed or if you intend to become certified. Following are short descriptions of the three most prevalent programs available.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by West Virginia technical and trade schools and require approximately a year to complete. They furnish a solid foundation and are geared towards those who would like to enter an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees take two years to complete and are offered by West Virginia community colleges, commonly as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They provide a more comprehensive education while providing the foundation that readies students to begin their apprenticeship program.
As previously stated, Bachelor’s Degree programs are available at certain West Virginia institutions, but are less favored at four years than the other shorter programs. Many states mandate that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and more typically 4 years be performed prior to licensing. For that reason, most students are anxious to commence their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not part of their educational program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Prerequisites
Electricians in Richwood WV can carry out a wide range 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 be licensed in most municipalities and states. The duration of apprenticeship varies by state, but generally around 4 to 5 years of practical experience is required before taking the licensing examination. The exams usually assess general knowledge and electrical theory, as well as knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also a voluntary way for an electrician to differentiate her or himself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications offered differ by state and can be obtained in several specializations, including cable splicing as an example. The certification process in most cases involves 3 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 important that the electrician trade school that you pick not only delivers a strong educational foundation, but also helps prep you for passing any certification and licensing exams that you may need to pass in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Schools Online in Richwood WV
A possibility that you may have contemplated is enrolling in an electrician online program to earn a certificate or degree. Although online training programs are becoming more accepted as a way of attending class without the need for travel, in this situation they are not completely internet based. Pretty much all electrician schools require partial attendance on-campus to obtain hands-on practical training. But since the balance of the classes may be attended online, internet learning can be a more convenient alternative for individuals that have minimal time for education. And as a bonus numerous online schools have a reduced tuition cost compared to their on campus competitors. Travelling costs from Richwood WV are also minimized and some of the study materials can be accessed on line also. All of these advantages can make online electrician tech schools more affordable and accessible. And a number are fully accredited, which we will deal with in our questions to ask checklist.
Topics to Ask Electrician Training 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 numerous electrician trade and vocational schools in the Richwood WV area, it’s important to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The initial 2 that we discussed were location and tuition expense. If you are interested in earning an degree online, then that needs to be an option that your chosen school offers. And even though all three qualifiers may be critical when making your selection, there are other factors that must be taken into account as well. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to research prior to selecting an electrical vocational school.
Accreditation. A large number of electrician trade programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Make sure that the Richwood WV program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you obtain an excellent education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states mandate that the electrician training program be accredited for it to be approved 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 finish the program. A lower completion rate may signify that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It may also mean that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to help Richwood WV students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous electrician technical programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrical businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with Richwood WV area electricians or electrical specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the electrical tech you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Richwood WV electrical contracting company if they can provide some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Richwood home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with several of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise 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 meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Richwood WV, verify that the programs you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Richwood WV?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Richwood WV area.
Richwood, West Virginia
Richwood is a city in Nicholas County, West Virginia, United States. In 2010, the census showed Richwood with a population of 2,051. During the 19th and early 20th century Richwood was a booming coal and lumber town. Richwood has a very rich history, including the formation of the Cherry River Navy civic organization to draw attention to issues important to the community. Richwood has also became known statewide as the "Ramp Capital of the World". Each year, in April, the city hosts a large festival that draws visitors from around the country.
The area surrounding the forks of the Cherry River has been populated since the late 1700s. During the 19th century, the area was a sparsely settled semi-wilderness of homesteads and subsistence farms. This changed in 1898 when a railroad was extended into the area, then known as Cherry Tree Bottoms. In 1901, the town was incorporated with its present name referencing the abundant hardwood forests in the area. Soon, the area possessed a large sawmill and the world's largest clothespin factory.
The town was once home to several large businesses and industries. In addition to the sawmill and the clothespin factory, there were other factories that produced wood-based products such as axe-handles and paper. Coal also came into the industry picture during Richwood's boom-era during pre-Depression years. Banking was a white-collar industry that succeeded in the city with the large companies investing into the city's financial corporations. Once the large factories closed or relocated, many of the people followed. The final hit was when the coal industry took a downward turn and most of the local coal mines ceased operation.
Enroll in the Right Electrician Technical School near Richwood WV
Choosing the ideal electrical trade school will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the training programs you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any electrical training that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every program offers different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you choose is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional electrician in Richwood WV.
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