How to Become an Electrician in Selma Alabama
The first step to learning to be an electrical tradesman or contractor is locating an electrician trade school near Selma AL. But with numerous technical schools to select from, just how do you go about making certain that you enroll in the right one? Particularly since there are a number of variables to consider. For example, some students will commence by looking for schools that are close to their home. When they have located a few that are within driving range, they will pick the one with the least expensive tuition. Although cost and location are of importance, they are not the sole factors that must be examined. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should contribute toward your ultimate judgment when selecting an electrician school. We will address that checklist in more detail later in this article. But to begin with, let’s talk a little bit about becoming an electrician and the educational options that are available.
Electrician Diploma, Certificate and Degree Options near Selma AL
There are several approaches to receive electrician training in a technical or vocational school near Selma AL. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program, or receive an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are available at some schools, but are not as prevalent as the other three alternatives. In many cases these programs are offered together with an apprenticeship program, which are mandated by the majority of states to become licensed or if you want to earn certification. Following are brief explanations of the 3 most prevalent programs offered.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are typically offered by Alabama technical and trade schools and take approximately a year to finish. They provide a solid foundation and are geared towards individuals who would like to join an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs take two years to complete and are offered by Alabama junior or community colleges, usually as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They furnish a more extensive education while providing the foundation that prepares students to join their apprenticeship program.
As previously mentioned, Bachelor’s Degrees are accessible at some Alabama institutions, but are less preferred at 4 years than the other briefer programs. The majority of states mandate that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and in most cases 4 years be completed before licensing. For that reason, the majority of students are eager to commence their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not part of their educational program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Requirements
Electricians in Selma AL can carry out a vast array of tasks, such as installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and making sure that the wiring in houses and buildings are up to code standards. After concluding an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are mandated to become licensed in most municipalities and states. The length of apprenticeship varies by state, but normally around 4 to 5 years of practical experience is called for before taking the licensing exam. The exams typically test general knowledge and electrical theory, as well as knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also a voluntary way for an electrician to differentiate her or himself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications available differ by state and can be obtained in numerous specialties, including cable splicing as an example. The certification procedure in most cases involves 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 solid educational foundation, but also helps prepare you for passing any licensing and certification exams that you might be required to take in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Online Schools in Selma AL
An option that you might have considered is enrolling in an electrician online program to earn a degree or a certificate. While online training programs are becoming more prevalent as a means of attending class without needing to travel, in this instance they are not completely internet based. Pretty much all electrician training programs require partial attendance on campus to get hands-on practical training. But since the remainder of the classes can be accessed online, distance learning might be a more accommodating choice for students that have limited time for schooling. And as a bonus many online degree programs have a lower tuition cost compared to their traditional counterparts. Driving expenses from Selma AL are also reduced and some of the study materials may be accessed online also. All of these benefits can make online electrician trade schools more economical and convenient. And many are fully accredited, which we will cover in our due diligence checklist.
Things to Ask Electrician Training Schools
Once you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to focus your school options. Because there are so many electrician tech and trade schools in the Selma AL region, it’s important to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The initial 2 that we talked about 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 crucial when making your determination, there are additional factors that must be considered as well. Following is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to research prior to choosing an electrical trade school.
Accreditation. Numerous electrician vocational schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Verify that the Selma AL school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you receive an excellent education, it can help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, many 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 looking at 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 may suggest that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It may also suggest that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which may result in more contacts for the school to use 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 field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist Selma AL students obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most electrician trade programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of electrical contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with Selma AL area electricians or electrical companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local 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 working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the electrical specialist you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Selma AL electrical contractor if they can give you some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Selma home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with a few of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Selma AL, confirm that the programs you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Selma AL?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Selma AL area.
Selma is a city in and the county seat of Dallas County, in the Black Belt region of south central Alabama and extending to the west. Located on the banks of the Alabama River, the city has a population of 20,756 as of the 2010 census.
The city is best known for the 1960s Selma Voting Rights Movement and the Selma to Montgomery marches, beginning with "Bloody Sunday" in March 1965 and ending with 25,000 people entering Montgomery at the end of the last march to press for voting rights. This activism generated national attention to social justice and that summer, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed by Congress to authorize federal oversight and enforcement of constitutional rights of all citizens.
It had been a trading center and market town during the years of King Cotton in the South. It was also an important armaments manufacturing and iron shipbuilding center during the Civil War, surrounded by miles of earthen fortifications. The Confederate forces were defeated during the Battle of Selma.
Select the Right Electrical Technical School near Selma AL
Picking the best electrical training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the training programs you are considering. It’s a must that any electrician tech school that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides unique options for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you select is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional electrician in Selma AL.
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