How to Become an Electrician in Weirton West Virginia
The first step to learning to be an electrical contractor or tradesman is enrolling in an electrician trade school near Weirton WV. But with numerous technical schools to pick from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially because there are so many points to consider. For example, many students will begin by searching for schools that are close to their home. After they have located some that are within commuting distance, they will select the one with the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are important, they are not the sole things that should be considered. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should help mold your final decision 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 choices that are accessible.
Electrician Diploma, Certificate and Degree Options near Weirton WV
There are several approaches to receive electrician instruction in a trade or technical school near Weirton WV. You may choose a certificate or diploma program, or obtain an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are available at some schools, but are not as prevalent as the other three alternatives. In many cases these programs are made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program, which are mandated by most states to become licensed or if you wish to become certified. Following are short explanations of the three most prevalent programs offered.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually provided by West Virginia technical and trade schools and take about a year to complete. They furnish a good foundation and are geared towards students who wish to enter an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs require 2 years to finish and are provided by West Virginia community colleges, typically as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They furnish a more well-rounded education while providing the foundation that prepares students to enter into their apprenticeship program.
As previously stated, Bachelor’s Degree programs are offered at some West Virginia institutions, but are less favored at four years than the other briefer programs. Most states mandate that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and in most cases four years be performed prior to licensing. For that reason, many students are eager to commence their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not a component of their educational program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Criteria
Electricians in Weirton WV can undertake a vast array of duties, such as installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and making sure that the wiring in buildings and homes comply with code standards. After finishing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to be licensed in most municipalities and states. The duration of apprenticeship varies by state, but typically about 4 to 5 years of experience is required before taking the licensing exam. 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 way for an electrician to identify him or herself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications available vary by state and can be earned in several specializations, including cable splicing as an example. The certification process usually entails 3 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) as well as the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s important that the electrician vocational school that you pick not only furnishes a solid educational foundation, but also helps ready you for passing any certification and licensing exams that you might be required to take in the future.
Attending Electrician Online Training Classes in Weirton WV
A possibility that you may have considered is enrolling in an online electrician program to earn a degree or a certificate. While online schools have become more accepted as a way of attending class without the need for travel, in this case they are not entirely internet based. Pretty much all electrician training programs require partial attendance on-campus to get practical hands-on training. But since the rest of the classes can be attended online, distance learning can be a more practical alternative for individuals that have minimal time for schooling. And as a bonus many online training programs have a cheaper tuition cost compared to their traditional alternatives. Commuting expenses from Weirton WV are also reduced and some of the study materials may be available on line also. Each of these benefits can make online electrician tech schools more affordable and convenient. And many are fully accredited, which we will address in our due diligence checklist.
Questions to Ask Electrician Training Schools
Once you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to narrow down your training options. Considering that there are numerous electrician tech and trade schools in the Weirton WV region, it’s essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must satisfy. The initial 2 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 final school offers. And while all three qualifiers may be important when making your selection, there are additional variables that must be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess before enrolling in an electrical tech school.
Accreditation. A large number of electrician technical programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain 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 Weirton WV program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it can assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of states mandate that the electrician training program be accredited for it to qualify 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 of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate could indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It could also indicate that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to help Weirton WV students obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous electrician training programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of electrical contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with Weirton WV area electricians or electrical contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the electrical technician you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Weirton WV electrical contracting company if they can provide some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Weirton home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Speak with some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Weirton WV, check that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Weirton WV?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Weirton WV area.
Weirton, West Virginia
Weirton (pron. WEER-ton) is a city in Brooke and Hancock counties in the U.S. state of West Virginia. Located primarily in Hancock County, the city lies in the northern portions of the state's Northern Panhandle region. As of the 2010 census, the city's population was 19,746. Weirton is a principal city of the Weirton–Steubenville, WV-OH Metropolitan Statistical Area, which had a 2010 population of 124,454 residents. Additionally, Weirton is part of Greater Pittsburgh, the 20th largest combined statistical area in the United States with a 2016 estimated population of 2,635,228.
The small village called Holliday's Cove lanes — which is now most of downtown Weirton — was founded in 1793. (It eventually lost the apostrophe.) In 1909, Ernest T. Weir arrived from neighboring Pittsburgh and built a steel mill later known as Weirton Steel Corporation just north of Holliday's Cove. An unincorporated settlement called Weirton grew up around the mill that, by 1940, was said to be the largest unincorporated city in the United States. By then Hollidays Cove and two other outlying areas, Weirton Heights and Marland Heights, which as their names suggest were on hilltops or ridges surrounding the "Weir–Cove" area, had also incorporated.
Hollidays Cove Fort was a Revolutionary War fortification constructed in 1774 by soldiers from Ft. Pitt. It was located in what is now downtown Weirton, along Harmons Creek (named for Harmon Greathouse), about three miles from its mouth on the Ohio River. It was commanded by Colonel Andrew Van Swearingen (1741–1793) and later by his son-in-law, Captain Samuel Brady (1756–1795), the famous leader of Brady's Rangers. In 1779, over 28 militia were garrisoned at Hollidays Cove. Two years earlier, Colonel Van Swearingen led a dozen soldiers by longboat down the Ohio to help rescue the inhabitants of Ft. Henry in Wheeling in a siege by the British and Indian tribes in 1777. That mission was memorialized in a WPA-era mural painted on the wall of the Cove Post Office by Charles S. Chapman (1879–1962). The mural features Col. John Bilderback, who later gained infamy as the leader of the massacre of the Moravian Indians in Gnadenhutten in 1782.
Pick the Ideal Electrical Trade School near Weirton WV
Picking the right electrical trade school will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any electrician training program that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each program offers unique options for certification also. Probably the best way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional electrician in Weirton WV.
Other Cool Cities in West Virginia
Business Results 1 - 10 of 23