How to Become an Electrician in Guntersville Alabama
The first step to becoming an electrical tradesman or contractor is locating an electrician trade school near Guntersville AL. But with numerous vocational schools to pick from, just how do you undertake making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially since there are so many points to consider. For instance, many potential students will start by searching for schools that are close to their home. Once they have located some that are within commuting range, they will decide on the one with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important, they are not the only things that need to be examined. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should contribute toward your final decision when picking an electrician trade school. We will cover that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But to begin with, let’s talk a little bit about being an electrician and the training choices that are available.
Electrician Degree, Certificate and Diploma Options near Guntersville AL
There are three general ways to get electrician training in a technical or vocational school near Guntersville AL. You may choose a diploma or certificate program, or receive an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at some schools, but are not as prevalent as the first three alternatives. Frequently these programs are made available combined with an apprenticeship program, which are required by most states in order to be licensed or if you intend to become certified. Following are brief explanations of the 3 most common programs available.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually provided by Alabama technical and trade schools and take about a year to finish. They provide a good foundation and are geared towards students who would like to get into an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees take 2 years to complete and are offered by Alabama community colleges, typically as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They furnish a more extensive education while supplying the foundation that readies students to enter into their apprenticeship program.
As previously stated, Bachelor’s Degree programs are available at certain Alabama colleges, but are less preferred at four years than the other shorter programs. The majority of states mandate that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and in most cases four years be completed before licensing. Therefore, many students are anxious to commence their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not part of their academic program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Requirements
Electricians in Guntersville AL can undertake a multitude of services, including testing, installing and replacing electrical systems, and ensuring that the wiring in houses and buildings are up to code standards. After completing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to become licensed in the majority of states or municipalities. The period of apprenticeship varies by state, but usually about four to five years of experience is needed in order to take the licensing exam. The exams usually evaluate electrical theory and general knowledge, in addition to understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also a voluntary way for an electrician to differentiate him or herself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications offered differ by state and may be acquired in many specialties, including cable splicing as an example. The certification procedure in most cases includes 3 levels of competency:
- An experience requirement
- Passing a written exam
- Passing a practical exam
Examples of certifying agencies 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 select not only delivers a strong academic foundation, but also helps ready you for passing any certification and licensing examinations that you might need to take in the future.
Attending Electrician Programs Online in Guntersville AL
An option that you may have considered is choosing an online electrician school to earn a certificate or degree. Even though online training programs have become more prevalent as a means of attending class without the need for travel, in this situation they are not entirely internet based. Just about all electrician training programs require some attendance on-campus to receive hands-on practical training. But since the remainder of the classes can be attended online, distance learning might be a more convenient option for students that have minimal time for schooling. And as an added benefit numerous online training programs have a cheaper tuition cost compared to their on-campus counterparts. Commuting expenses from Guntersville AL are also minimized and a portion of the study materials may be available on line also. Each of these benefits can make electrician online vocational schools more economical and accessible. And many are fully accredited, which we will cover in our due diligence checklist.
Topics to Ask Electrician Trade Schools
Now that you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to focus your school options. Because there are numerous electrician vocational and trade schools in the Guntersville AL region, it’s important to have a checklist of criteria that each program must satisfy. The first 2 that we talked about were location and tuition expense. 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 crucial when making your selection, there are other variables that must be considered as well. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to assess before selecting an electrical tech school.
Accreditation. A large number of electrician vocational schools have attained 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 a specific program, such as electrical technology. Make certain that the Guntersville AL school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you acquire a quality education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, some 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 reviewing 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 indicate that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It may also mean that the instructors were not competent 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 more extensive list of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist Guntersville AL students acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of electrician trade programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrical contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with Guntersville AL area electricians or electrical professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment 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 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 specialist you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Guntersville AL electrical company if they can give you some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Guntersville residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with a few of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Guntersville AL, verify that the schools you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Guntersville AL?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Guntersville AL area.
Guntersville (previously known as Gunter's Ferry and later Gunter's Landing) is a city and the county seat of Marshall County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census, the population of the city was 8,197. Guntersville is located in a HUBZone as identified by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 42.4 square miles (109.9 km2), of which 25.4 square miles (65.8 km2) is land and 17.0 square miles (44.1 km2), or 40.14%, is water.
Guntersville is located at the southernmost point of the Tennessee River on Lake Guntersville, formed by the Guntersville Dam (built by the Tennessee Valley Authority). Geologically, the lake occupies a southern extension of Sequatchie Valley, which continues south as Browns Valley.
Choose the Right Electrician Tech School near Guntersville AL
Choosing the best electrical training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any electrician training program that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers unique options for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional electrician in Guntersville AL.
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