How to Become an Electrician in Tuscumbia Alabama
The initial step to becoming an electrical contractor or tradesman is enrolling in an electrician trade school near Tuscumbia AL. But with so many technical schools to select from, just how do you undertake making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially since there are so many variables to examine. For example, some prospective students will begin by searching for schools that are close to their residence. When they have located several that are within commuting distance, they will decide on the one with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are of importance, they are not the sole qualifications that must be considered. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and other 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 options that are offered.
Electrician Degree, Diploma and Certificate Options near Tuscumbia AL
There are multiple approaches to get electrician training in a vocational or trade school near Tuscumbia AL. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program, or obtain an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are available at some schools, but are not as prevalent as the first three alternatives. In many cases these programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship, which are mandated by the majority of states to become licensed or if you intend to become certified. Bellow are brief descriptions of the 3 most prevalent programs offered.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by Alabama trade and technical schools and require about a year to complete. They furnish a solid foundation and are geared towards individuals who would like to enter an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs require 2 years to finish and are offered by Alabama community colleges, typically as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They provide a more extensive education while providing the foundation that prepares students to join their apprenticeship program.
As previously mentioned, Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at some Alabama institutions, but are less favored at 4 years than the other shorter programs. The majority of states mandate that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and in most cases 4 years be performed prior to licensing. Because of that, the majority of students are anxious to begin their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not part of their academic program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Criteria
Electricians in Tuscumbia AL can undertake a multitude of functions, including installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and ensuring that the wiring in buildings and homes are up to code standards. After finishing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are mandated to become licensed in the majority of states or municipalities. The duration of apprenticeship differs by state, but normally around 4 to 5 years of prior experience is required before taking the licensing examination. The exams typically evaluate electrical theory and general knowledge, in addition to knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also a voluntary means for an electrician to differentiate her or himself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications offered vary by state and may be earned in various specializations, such as cable splicing as an example. The certification procedure usually includes 3 levels of competency:
- An experience requirement
- Passing a written exam
- Passing a practical exam
Examples of certifying organizations 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 choose not only delivers a strong educational foundation, but also helps prep you for passing any licensing and certification examinations that you might be required to take in the future.
Attending Electrician Programs Online in Tuscumbia AL
A possibility that you might have contemplated is enrolling in an electrician online program to earn a degree or a certificate. While online training programs have become more prevalent as a way of attending class without needing to travel, in this situation they are not entirely internet based. Virtually all electrician schools require partial attendance on campus to receive hands-on practical training. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended online, distance learning can be a more convenient choice for individuals that have minimal time for education. And as an added benefit many online training programs have a reduced tuition cost compared to their on-campus competitors. Travelling expenses from Tuscumbia AL are also reduced and a portion of the study materials can be available online as well. Each of these benefits can make online electrician tech schools more economical and accessible. And many are fully accredited, which we will discuss in our due diligence checklist.
Topics to Ask Electrician Vocational Schools
Now that you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to focus your school options. Considering that there are so many electrician tech and trade schools in the Tuscumbia AL area, it’s essential to have a checklist of criteria that each school must satisfy. The first two that we discussed were location and tuition expense. If you have an interest in earning an degree online, then that must be a feature that your final school offers. And while all three qualifiers may be crucial when making your decision, there are other factors that need to be considered as well. Following is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to assess prior to choosing an electrical trade school.
Accreditation. Many electrician technical schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Make sure that the Tuscumbia AL program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you acquire a superior education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states require that the electrician training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion and Placement Rates. Ask the electrician schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate might indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It may also suggest that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which can mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist Tuscumbia AL grads secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most electrician technical programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of electrician companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with Tuscumbia AL area electricians or electrical contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the electrical technician you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Tuscumbia AL electrical contractor if they can give you some pointers. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Tuscumbia residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk to several of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Tuscumbia AL, confirm that the programs you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Tuscumbia AL?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Tuscumbia AL area.
Tuscumbia was the hometown of Helen Keller (Ivy Green) and much of the city is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Tuscumbia Historic District. The city serves as the location for the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.
Tuscumbia had its beginnings when the Michael Dixon family arrived about 1816. They traded with Chief Tucumseh for the Tuscumbia Valley and built their home at the head of the big spring. From these humble dwellings quickly developed a village known as the Big Spring Community. The men of the community requested that the state legislature incorporate them as a city. The town was incorporated in 1820 as Ococoposa and is one of Alabama's oldest towns. In 1821, its name was changed to Big Spring and on December 22, 1822, to Tuscumbia, after the Chief Rainmaker of the Chickasaws.
Although shoals on the nearby Tennessee River made the river nearly impassable, a federal highway completed in 1820 provided the area with good access to markets. Tuscumbia soon became the center for agriculture in northern Alabama. A line to the town on the Tuscumbia, Courtland and Decatur Railroad was completed in 1832, and by 1850 Tuscumbia was a major railroad hub for train traffic throughout the South.
Pick the Ideal Electrical Trade School near Tuscumbia AL
Choosing the best electrician training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any electrical training program that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional electrician in Tuscumbia AL.
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