How to Become an Electrician in Leeds Alabama
The first step to learning to be an electrical contractor or tradesman is enrolling in an electrician trade school near Leeds AL. But with numerous vocational schools to choose from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the right one? Especially because there are so many variables to examine. For example, some students will commence by looking for schools that are close to their residence. After they have identified some that are within driving distance, they will pick the one with the lowest tuition. While location and cost are important, they are not the sole things that must be examined. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should contribute toward your final judgment when choosing an electrician school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this post. But to begin with, let’s review a little bit about being an electrician and the instructional choices that are offered.
Electrician Degree, Certificate and Diploma Options near Leeds AL
There are three general approaches to get electrician instruction in a vocational or trade school near Leeds AL. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program, or obtain an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at some schools, but are not as prevalent as the other three alternatives. Often these programs are made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship, which are mandated by most states in order to become licensed or if you want to become certified. Bellow are short descriptions of the three most typical programs available.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally provided by Alabama trade and technical schools and take about a year to finish. They furnish a solid foundation and are geared towards those who want to enter an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs take 2 years to finish and are offered by Alabama junior or community colleges, commonly as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They offer a more well-rounded education while providing the foundation that readies students to begin their apprenticeship program.
As previously stated, Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at certain Alabama institutions, but are less favored at four years than the other shorter programs. Most states require that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and more typically 4 years be performed prior to licensing. For that reason, most 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 Leeds AL can undertake a multitude of tasks, such as testing, installing and replacing electrical systems, and making sure that the wiring in buildings and homes comply with code standards. After completing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to become licensed in the majority of municipalities and states. The period of apprenticeship differs by state, but generally around four to five years of experience is called for before taking the licensing examination. The exams usually test electrical theory and general knowledge, as well as understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also a voluntary way for an electrician to identify him or herself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications available vary by state and can be obtained in many specialties, including cable splicing as an example. The certification procedure usually includes 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) along with the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s important that the electrician trade school that you pick not only delivers a solid educational foundation, but also helps prepare you for passing any licensing and certification exams that you might need to take in the future.
Attending Electrician Schools Online in Leeds AL
An option that you may have looked at is choosing an online electrician school to earn a degree or a certificate. Although online training programs are becoming more popular as a way of attending class without needing to travel, in this instance they are not totally internet based. Pretty much all electrician training programs require some attendance on-campus to obtain practical hands-on training. But since the rest of the classes can be attended online, internet learning might be a more practical alternative for students that have limited time for schooling. And as a bonus many online schools have a cheaper tuition cost compared to their on-campus alternatives. Travelling expenses from Leeds AL are also lessened and a portion of the study materials may be available online as well. Each of these advantages can make electrician online tech schools more economical and convenient. And a number are fully accredited, which we will cover in our questions to ask checklist.
Questions to Ask Electrician Tech Schools
When you have decided to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to narrow down your training options. Because there are numerous electrician tech and trade schools in the Leeds AL region, it’s important to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The first 2 that we talked about were location and tuition expense. If you have an interest in earning an degree online, then that needs to be a feature that your final school offers. And although all three qualifiers may be crucial when making your determination, there are additional factors that must be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to assess prior to enrolling in an electrical technical school.
Accreditation. Numerous electrician vocational programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive 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 sure that the Leeds AL school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it can assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of states mandate that the electrician training course be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion and Placement Rates. Ask the electrician schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate might signify that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It may also suggest that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist Leeds AL graduates obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of electrician training programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrical contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with Leeds AL area electricians or electrical specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the electrical specialist you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Leeds AL electrical contractor if they can provide some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Leeds home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in 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 personalized 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 large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to a few of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Leeds AL, check that the programs you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, 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 Leeds AL?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Leeds AL area.
Leeds is a tri-county municipality located in Jefferson, St. Clair, and Shelby counties in the State of Alabama and is an eastern suburb of Birmingham. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 11,773.
The War of 1812, geography, geology, and three cultures shaped the history of Leeds. Lying at the crossroads of desecrated ancient Native-American paths in the center of Alabama, Leeds drew European and African-American settlers to a land of fertile growing seasons and rich sources of coal and mineral ore. The early settlers built churches and schools with many remaining in Cedar Grove, Oak Ridge, Ohanafeefee and Mt. Pleasant. The principal survey of Leeds was entered into Jefferson County Map Book 10, page 21, in 1908. The settlement, dating to 1818 and incorporating on April 27, 1887 as "Leeds", has existed along the banks of the Little Cahaba River; beside an historic stagecoach route; and along two large railroads for the greater part of American History.
James Hamilton, a Scottish-Irish American veteran of the War of 1812 and first sheriff of Shelby County, settled in Cedar Grove in 1816. John Richard Ingram Pashal Stewart, a Cherokee English teacher and American veteran of the War of 1812, settled at Ohanafeefee Village c.1840. At Oak Ridge in 1820 or 1821, European settlers formed Shiloh Cumberland Presbyterian Church, the first CPC congregation in middle Alabama. By 1887, the original railroad pioneers included free African-American settlers who came to work at the Leeds cement plant and the Central of Georgia as the Georgia Pacific railroads. Some gravitated to historic Mt. Pleasant Church where a handful of freed slaves had founded Scott City, Hillard Holley, Ciscero Davis, Jeff Harris, and Bill Johnson started Leeds Negro/Primary School in 1921.
Pick the Ideal Electrical Trade School near Leeds AL
Choosing the ideal electrician training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare between the training programs you are considering. It’s a necessity that any electrician training program that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every training program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new career as a professional electrician in Leeds AL.
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