How to Become an Electrician in Eau Claire Wisconsin
The first step to becoming an electrical tradesman or contractor is finding an electrician trade school near Eau Claire WI. But with so many technical schools to select from, just how do you go about making certain that you enroll in the right one? Especially because there are so many points to examine. For example, some prospective students will commence by looking for schools that are close to their home. Once they have found some that are within driving range, they will choose the one with the cheapest tuition. Even though location and cost are of importance, they are not the only factors that need to be considered. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should contribute toward your ultimate judgment when selecting an electrician training school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this article. But first, let’s review a little bit about becoming an electrician and the instructional options that are available.
Electrician Degree, Certificate and Diploma Programs near Eau Claire WI
There are three general options to obtain electrician instruction in a technical or vocational school near Eau Claire WI. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program, or obtain an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are available at certain schools, but are not as common as the first three alternatives. Often these programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program, which are mandated by the majority of states to be licensed or if you would like to earn certification. Following are short summaries of the three most common programs available.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are typically provided by Wisconsin vocational and trade schools and take approximately a year to complete. They provide a good foundation and are aimed towards those who want to get into an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees involve two years to complete and are offered by Wisconsin community colleges, typically as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They furnish a more well-rounded education while supplying the foundation that readies students to enter into their apprenticeship program.
As earlier mentioned, Bachelor’s Degree programs are offered at certain Wisconsin colleges, but are less favored at 4 years than the other briefer programs. Most states require that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and more typically 4 years be completed before licensing. For that reason, many students are anxious to begin their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not part of their academic program.
Electrician Certification and Licensing Guidelines
Electricians in Eau Claire WI can undertake a vast array of functions, including installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and making sure 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 varies by state, but usually around four to five years of experience is needed before taking the licensing exam. The exams usually assess electrical theory and general knowledge, as well as understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also an optional means for an electrician to identify him or herself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications offered vary by state and may be acquired in many specialties, including cable splicing as an example. The certification process usually involves 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) and also 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 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 Training Classes Online in Eau Claire WI
A possibility that you may have looked at is enrolling in an online electrician program to earn a certificate or degree. Even though online schools have become more prevalent as a way of attending class without the need for travel, in this situation they are not entirely internet based. Just about all electrician training programs require partial attendance on campus to receive hands-on practical training. But since the balance of the classes can be attended online, internet learning can be a more accommodating option for students that have limited time for schooling. And as an added benefit many online degree programs have a cheaper tuition cost compared to their on campus counterparts. Driving expenses from Eau Claire WI are also reduced and a portion of the study materials can be accessed on line also. Each of these advantages can make online electrician trade schools more economical and convenient. And many are fully accredited, which we will address in our due diligence checklist.
Topics to Ask Electrician Tech Schools
Now that you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to focus your training options. Because there are numerous electrician vocational and trade schools in the Eau Claire WI region, it’s important to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The initial 2 that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. If you are interested in earning an degree online, then that needs to be an option that your chosen school offers. And although all three qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are other factors that need to be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to research before selecting an electrical vocational school.
Accreditation. Numerous electrician trade schools have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Make certain that the Eau Claire WI program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you acquire an excellent education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, many states require that the electrician training course be accredited in order 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 could indicate that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It might also mean that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to help Eau Claire WI graduates secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most electrician trade programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of electrician companies or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with Eau Claire WI area electricians or electrical professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the electrical specialist you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Eau Claire WI electrical contracting company if they can provide some pointers. Also bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Eau Claire home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Speak to some of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Eau Claire WI, check that the programs you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make 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 due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Eau Claire WI?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Eau Claire WI area.
Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Eau Claire (/oʊˈklɛər/) is a city in Chippewa and Eau Claire counties in the west-central part of the U.S. state of Wisconsin. Located almost entirely in Eau Claire County, for which it is the county seat, the city had a population of 65,883 at the 2010 census, making it the state's ninth-largest city. Eau Claire is the principal city of the Eau Claire, Wisconsin Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is a part of the Eau Claire-Menomonie Combined Statistical Area.
Eau Claire took its name from Eau Claire County. "Eau Claire" is the singular form of the original French name, "Eaux Claires", meaning "Clear Waters", for the Eau Claire River. According to local legend, the river was so named because early French explorers journeying down the rain-muddied Chippewa River, happened upon the Eau Claire River, excitedly exclaiming "Voici l'eau claire!" ("Here [is] clear water!"), the city motto, which appears on the city seal.
Eau Claire is located at 44°49′N 91°30′W / 44.817°N 91.500°W / 44.817; -91.500, (44.8146, −91.4927) approximately 90 miles (145 km) east of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. The city is located on the northern fringes of the Driftless Zone.
Select the Right Electrician Technical School near Eau Claire WI
Choosing the right electrician training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the training programs you are considering. It’s a must that any electrician tech school that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every training program provides unique options for certification as well. Probably The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional electrician in Eau Claire WI.
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