How to Become an Electrician in Menomonie Wisconsin
The initial step to becoming an electrical tradesman or contractor is enrolling in an electrician trade school near Menomonie WI. But with so many vocational schools to select from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the right one? Particularly since there are so many variables to consider. For instance, many students will begin by searching for schools that are close to their home. After they have identified several that are within driving range, they will decide on the one with the least expensive tuition. While location and cost are important, they are not the only things that need to be evaluated. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should influence your ultimate decision when selecting an electrician school. We will discuss that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit about becoming an electrician and the training options that are accessible.
Electrician Degree, Diploma and Certificate Programs near Menomonie WI
There are several approaches to receive electrician instruction in a vocational or trade school near Menomonie WI. You can select a certificate or diploma program, or earn an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are available at some schools, but are not as prevalent as the other three options. Often these programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship, which are required by most states in order to be licensed or if you wish to earn certification. Bellow are short explanations of the 3 most typical programs available.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by Wisconsin trade and technical schools and take approximately a year to finish. They furnish a good foundation and are aimed towards students who wish to get into an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs involve two years to complete and are provided by Wisconsin community colleges, commonly as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They furnish a more comprehensive education while providing the foundation that prepares students to join their apprenticeship program.
As earlier mentioned, Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at some Wisconsin institutions, but are less preferred 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 before licensing. For that reason, most students are eager to start their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not part of their educational program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Criteria
Electricians in Menomonie WI can perform a wide range 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 completing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are mandated to be licensed in most states or municipalities. The duration of apprenticeship differs by state, but typically about four to five years of prior experience is required before taking the licensing examination. The exams typically evaluate general knowledge and electrical theory, in addition to knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also an optional way for an electrician to identify her or himself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications available vary by state and can be earned in various specializations, including cable splicing as an example. The certification process in most cases entails three 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 imperative that the electrician tech school that you choose not only provides a strong academic foundation, but also helps prepare you for passing any licensing and certification examinations that you may need to take in the future.
Attending Electrician Schools Online in Menomonie WI
An alternative that you might have contemplated is selecting an electrician online school to earn a degree or a certificate. While online training programs have become more prevalent as a way of attending class without the need for travel, in this case they are not completely internet based. Just about all electrician training programs require partial attendance on-campus to get practical hands-on training. But since the remainder of the classes can be attended online, distance learning may be a more accommodating alternative for students that have limited time for schooling. And as a bonus many online degree programs have a cheaper tuition cost compared to their traditional alternatives. Travelling costs from Menomonie WI are also lessened and a portion of the study materials may be accessed on line also. Each of these benefits can make electrician online trade schools more affordable and convenient. And a number are fully accredited, which we will cover in our due diligence checklist.
Things to Ask Electrician Technical Schools
Once you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to refine your school options. Since there are numerous electrician vocational and trade schools in the Menomonie WI region, it’s important to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The first 2 that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. If you are interested in earning an online degree, then that must be a feature that your final school offers. And even though all three qualifiers may be critical when making your determination, there are additional variables that need to be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to assess prior to choosing an electrical vocational school.
Accreditation. Many electrician trade programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Make certain that the Menomonie WI school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you get a superior education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, many states mandate 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 percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate may signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It may also suggest that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which can 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 a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist Menomonie WI grads acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of electrician trade programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrical companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have referring partnerships with Menomonie WI area electricians or electrical contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the electrical technician you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Menomonie WI electrical contracting company if they can give you some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Menomonie residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to a few 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 hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Menomonie WI, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Menomonie WI?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Menomonie WI area.
Named for the historic Native American tribe, the Menominee, inhabitants who pre-dated the state, the city forms the core of the United States Census Bureau's Menomonie Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Dunn County (2010 population: 43,857). The Menomonie MSA and the Eau Claire–Chippewa Falls metropolitan area, to the east, form the Census Bureau's Eau Claire-Menomonie Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area.
The earliest known residents of the area were people from the Trempealeau Hopewell Culture of the Middle Woodland Period (1-400 AD). Evidence from their culture includes a mound from the Wakanda Mounds Group in Wakanda Park, along the western shore of Lake Menomin. Most of these mounds are thought to be from Effigy Mound cultures from this time period. Artifacts from the Late Woodland Period (400-1000 AD) have also been uncovered. It is theorized that agricultural villages supported the population during summer months, transitioning to hunting and gathering from fall through spring. The next known population group is the Santee Dakota in the 1600s and 1700s, who engaged in conflicts with the Ojibwe people, who migrated west as refugees. Armed with European weapons, the Ojibwe pushed westward, eventually winning at the Battle of Kathio in 1770. The two tribes continued their warfare, eventually signing the 1825 First Treaty of Prairie du Chien, which made a border between the two just north of Menomonie, with the Dakota claiming the southern lands.
The lumber industry brought Menomonie permanent settlement and economic prosperity in the 1800s. The Wisconsin Milling Company set up shop at the confluence of Wilson Creek and the Red Cedar River, which was purchased by Hardin Perkins, backing fur traders James H. Lockwood and Joseph Rolette in 1822 and subsequently washed away by a sudden overflow in the river. Working with Indian Agent General Street, Perkins, Lockwood and Rolette began a legal battle over the authority of the local Native American people to grant permissions of this sort, exchanging land for payment of blankets, beads, whiskey, and other merchandise to Chief Wabashaw and the other Ojibwe chiefs. In 1830 they received permission from the federal government to rebuild their lumber operation. This was the first permanent settlement on the land that became the city of Menomonie.
Pick the Ideal Electrician Vocational School near Menomonie WI
Selecting the ideal electrician trade school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a must that any electrician training that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student should 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. Courses vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain 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 result will be a new trade as a professional electrician in Menomonie WI.
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