How to Become an Electrician in Columbus Wisconsin
The first step to learning to be an electrical tradesman or contractor is locating an electrician trade school near Columbus WI. But with numerous vocational schools to choose from, just how do you go about making certain that you enroll in the right one? Particularly since there are so many factors to evaluate. For example, many prospective students will begin by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. When they have identified several that are within driving distance, they will choose the one with the most affordable tuition. Even though cost and location are important, they are not the only factors that should be examined. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional 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 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 Columbus WI
There are three general approaches to receive electrician training in a technical or vocational school near Columbus WI. You may choose a diploma or certificate program, or earn an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are available at certain schools, but are not as prevalent as the first three alternatives. Often these programs are made available combined with an apprenticeship program, which are mandated by most states in order to be licensed or if you wish to earn certification. Following are short descriptions of the three most typical programs available.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by Wisconsin technical and trade schools and require approximately a year to finish. They furnish a solid foundation and are aimed towards individuals who want to enter an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees require 2 years to finish and are offered by Wisconsin community colleges, usually as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They provide a more well-rounded education while providing the foundation that readies students to begin their apprenticeship program.
As previously mentioned, Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at some Wisconsin institutions, but are less preferred at 4 years than the other shorter programs. Many states require that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and in most cases four years be performed prior to licensing. Therefore, most students are anxious to start their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not part of their educational program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Prerequisites
Electricians in Columbus WI can undertake a vast array of services, including installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and ensuring that the wiring in buildings and homes are up to code standards. After completing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are mandated to be licensed in the majority of states or municipalities. The period of apprenticeship differs by state, but normally about four to five years of prior experience is required in order to take the licensing examination. The exams commonly evaluate general knowledge and electrical theory, along with knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also a voluntary way for an electrician to differentiate him or herself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications available vary by state and may be acquired in various specialties, such as 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 organizations include the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (NJATC) as well as the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s crucial that the electrician trade school that you select not only provides a strong academic foundation, but also helps ready you for passing any certification and licensing exams that you may be required to pass in the future.
Attending Electrician Online Programs in Columbus WI
An option that you might have contemplated is enrolling in an online electrician program to earn a certificate or degree. Even though online schools are becoming more prevalent as a way of attending class without the need for travel, in this instance they are not completely internet based. Just about all electrician schools require some attendance on campus to obtain practical hands-on training. But since the remainder of the classes can be accessed online, distance learning may be a more practical alternative for students that have limited time for schooling. And as an added benefit many online schools have a cheaper tuition cost compared to their traditional counterparts. Travelling expenses from Columbus WI are also minimized and some of the study materials may be available on line as well. All of these advantages can make online electrician trade schools more economical and accessible. And many are fully accredited, which we will deal with in our questions to ask checklist.
Things to Ask Electrician Trade Schools
Now that you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to refine your training options. Since there are so many electrician vocational and trade schools in the Columbus WI area, it’s imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The first two that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. If you have an interest in earning an online degree, then that needs to be a feature that your final school offers. And even though all three qualifiers may be crucial when making your decision, there are additional factors that must be considered as well. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess before choosing an electrical vocational school.
Accreditation. Numerous electrician trade programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Make certain that the Columbus WI program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, many states require that the electrician training course be accredited for it to qualify 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 complete the program. A low completion rate could suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It could also mean that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which can result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist Columbus WI students obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most electrician vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrical businesses or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with Columbus WI area electricians or electrical companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. 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. Otherwise, ask a local Columbus WI electrical contracting company if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Columbus home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with several of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the instructors and learn 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 evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Columbus WI, check that the schools you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Columbus WI?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Columbus WI area.
Columbus is a city in Columbia (mostly) and Dodge Counties in the south-central part of the U.S. state of Wisconsin. The population was 4,991 at the 2010 census. All of this population resided in the Columbia County portion of the city. Columbus is located about 28 miles (45 km) northeast of Madison on the Crawfish River. It is part of the Madison Metropolitan Statistical Area. Nearly all of the city is located within the town of Columbus in Columbia County, though a small portion lies within the town of Elba in Dodge County.
H. A. Whitney, a Yankee peddler from Vermont, moved to Columbus in 1845 and constructed the first wood frame store building in the community on the land where the Whitney now stands. The building served as a combination store/tavern/rooming house and post office, with Whitney as the first postmaster. In 1857, the building burned down and was replaced by the current Whitney Hotel in 1858. This cream brick, Italianate-style hotel's third floor ballroom was heated by six wood-burning stoves. The local newspaper reported on a ball there in 1863, "if you ever hear of a ball by Fuller, ask no questions, but go at once, and enjoy yourselves, and for one night forget the 'fear of the draft'".
During the 1880s, The Whitney hosted traveling health practitioners whose expertise ranged from "delivering a 40-foot long tape worm" to a local couple to curing piles. Near the turn of the 20th century, the ballroom was turned into an apartment, and from then on served as commercial, professional, and apartment space.
Pick the Right Electrician Technical School near Columbus WI
Choosing the best electrical trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare between the training programs you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any electrician training that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Probably The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the final result will be a new trade as a professional electrician in Columbus WI.
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