How to Become an Electrician in West Helena Arkansas
The initial step to becoming an electrical contractor or tradesman is finding an electrician trade school near West Helena AR. But with so many technical schools to pick from, just how do you undertake making certain that you enroll in the best one? Particularly because there are a number of variables to examine. For example, some prospective students will begin by looking for schools that are close to their home. When they have identified some that are within driving range, they will pick the one with the cheapest tuition. Even though cost and location are important, they are not the sole qualifications that must be evaluated. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifications should influence your final judgment when selecting an electrician trade school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let’s review a little bit about being an electrician and the training options that are accessible.
Electrician Degree, Certificate and Diploma Programs near West Helena AR
There are three general ways to get electrician training in a vocational or trade school near West Helena AR. You may select a certificate or diploma program, or earn an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are obtainable at certain schools, but are not as common as the first three alternatives. Frequently these programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship, which are mandated by most states to become licensed or if you want to become certified. Following are short explanations of the 3 most common programs offered.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally provided by Arkansas trade and technical schools and require approximately a year to finish. They provide a solid foundation and are geared towards students who would like to get into an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees require 2 years to complete and are offered by Arkansas community colleges, typically as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They offer a more well-rounded education while supplying the foundation that readies students to begin their apprenticeship program.
As previously mentioned, Bachelor’s Degrees are accessible at some Arkansas colleges, but are less popular at 4 years than the other briefer programs. The majority of states require that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and in most cases 4 years be completed before licensing. Therefore, many students are anxious to start their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not part of their academic program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Prerequisites
Electricians in West Helena AR can perform a multitude of services, such as installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and making sure that the wiring in houses and buildings comply with code standards. After completing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to become licensed in most municipalities and states. The period of apprenticeship differs by state, but usually around 4 to 5 years of prior experience is called for before taking the licensing examination. The exams typically test general knowledge and electrical theory, along with knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also an optional means for an electrician to identify her or himself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications offered vary by state and may be acquired in many specializations, such as cable splicing as an example. The certification procedure usually involves three 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) along with the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s crucial that the electrician tech school that you select not only delivers a solid educational foundation, but also helps ready you for passing any licensing and certification examinations that you might need to pass in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Training Classes Online in West Helena AR
A possibility that you might have contemplated is selecting an online electrician program to earn a degree or a certificate. Even though online schools are becoming more prevalent as a means of attending class without the need for travel, in this instance they are not completely internet based. Just about all electrician training programs require some attendance on-campus to receive practical hands-on training. But since the balance of the classes can be accessed online, distance learning might be a more accommodating choice for students that have limited time for education. And as an added benefit numerous online training programs have a reduced tuition cost compared to their on-campus competitors. Driving costs from West Helena AR are also minimized and some of the study materials may be accessed online as well. All of these advantages 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 Training Schools
Once you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to refine your training options. Since there are so many electrician vocational and trade schools in the West Helena AR area, it’s essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The first 2 that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. If you are interested in earning an degree online, then that needs to be an option that your chosen school offers. And even though all three qualifiers may be crucial when making your decision, there are additional factors that need to be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to research prior to enrolling in an electrical technical school.
Accreditation. A large number of electrician trade schools have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Confirm that the West Helena AR program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you acquire an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states mandate that the electrician training program be accredited in order to qualify 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 percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate might signify that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It may also mean that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive 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 will not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist West Helena AR grads obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of electrician training programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrician companies or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with West Helena AR area electricians or electrical contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the electrical tech you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local West Helena AR electrical company if they can give you some pointers. Also bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your West Helena residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be higher tuition charges 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 see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Talk with several of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near West Helena AR, confirm that the programs you are comparing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, 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 West Helena AR?
Following is a little bit of background information about the West Helena AR area.
Helena–West Helena, Arkansas
Helena–West Helena is the county seat of and the largest city within Phillips County, Arkansas, United States. The current city was consolidated, effective January 1, 2006, from the two Arkansas cities of Helena and West Helena. Helena is sited on lowlands between the Mississippi River and the eastern side of Crowley's Ridge. West Helena is located on the western side of Crowley's Ridge, a geographic anomaly in the typically flat Arkansas Delta. The Helena Bridge, one of Arkansas' four Mississippi River bridges, carries U.S. Route 49 across to Mississippi. The combined population of the two cities was 15,012 at the 2000 census and at the 2010 census, the official population was 12,282.
The municipality traces its historical roots to the founding of the port town of Helena on the Mississippi River by European Americans in 1833. As the county seat, Helena was the center of a prosperous cotton plantation region in the antebellum years. Helena was occupied by the Union Army early in the American Civil War. The city was the site of the Battle of Helena fought in 1863. Confederate forces unsuccessfully tried to expel Union forces from Helena in order to help relieve pressure on the strategic river town of Vicksburg, Mississippi. Later in the year, Helena served as the launching point for the Union Army in the capture of Little Rock, the state capital.
A thriving blues community developed here in the 1940s and 1950s as rural musicians relocated for city jobs. Mechanization had reduced the need for farm workers. The city continued to grow until the closing of the Mohawk Rubber Company, a subsidiary of Yokohama Rubber Company, in the 1970s. Unemployment surged shortly after.
Pick the Right Electrician Technical School near West Helena AR
Choosing the right electrician training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any electrician training program that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional electrician in West Helena AR.
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