How to Become an Electrician in West Memphis Arkansas
The initial step to learning to be an electrical tradesman or contractor is locating an electrician trade school near West Memphis AR. But with so many vocational schools to select from, just how do you go about making certain that you enroll in the best one? Particularly since there are a number of factors to evaluate. For instance, some students will commence by looking for schools that are close to their residence. Once they have located a few that are within commuting range, they will select the one with the most affordable tuition. Even though cost and location are important, they are not the sole qualifications that must be considered. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifiers should help mold your final judgment when choosing an electrician trade school. We will talk about that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let’s talk a little bit about being an electrician and the training options that are offered.
Electrician Degree, Diploma and Certificate Programs near West Memphis AR
There are several approaches to receive electrician training in a trade or technical school near West Memphis AR. You may select 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 options. Often these programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship, which are mandated by most states in order to be licensed or if you wish to become certified. Bellow are short explanations of the 3 most common programs available.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually provided by Arkansas vocational and trade schools and take approximately a year to finish. They furnish a good foundation and are geared towards individuals who want to get into an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs involve 2 years to complete and are offered by Arkansas community colleges, usually as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They provide a more extensive education while providing the foundation that readies students to enter into their apprenticeship program.
As previously mentioned, Bachelor’s Degrees are available at some Arkansas institutions, but are less popular at 4 years than the other briefer programs. Most states require that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and more typically four years be performed before licensing. Therefore, most students are eager to begin their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not part of their educational program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Criteria
Electricians in West Memphis AR can carry out a multitude of services, including installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and ensuring that the wiring in houses and buildings are up to code standards. After finishing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are mandated to be licensed in most states or municipalities. The duration 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 commonly test electrical theory and general knowledge, along with knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also an optional method for an electrician to differentiate him or herself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications available differ by state and may be acquired in numerous 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 agencies include the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (NJATC) as well as the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s imperative that the electrician vocational school that you enroll in not only furnishes a solid educational foundation, but also helps ready you for passing any certification and licensing exams that you might be required to take in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Training Classes Online in West Memphis AR
An alternative that you may have looked at is enrolling in an electrician online school to earn a degree or a certificate. Although online training programs have become more prevalent as a means 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 obtain practical hands-on training. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended online, internet learning can be a more accommodating choice for students that have limited time for education. And as a bonus numerous online degree programs have a lower tuition cost compared to their on-campus counterparts. Commuting costs from West Memphis AR are also reduced and a portion of the study materials may be available online as well. All of these benefits can make online electrician vocational schools more economical and convenient. And a number are fully accredited, which we will deal with in our due diligence checklist.
Things to Ask Electrician Tech Schools
Now that you have decided to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to refine your school options. Because there are so many electrician tech and trade schools in the West Memphis AR region, it’s essential to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The first 2 that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. If you have an interest in earning an online degree, then that needs to be an option that your final school offers. And while 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 additional qualifiers that you will need to assess prior to enrolling in an electrical trade school.
Accreditation. Numerous electrician technical programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Make sure that the West Memphis AR program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you acquire an excellent education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, many states require that the electrician training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion and Placement Rates. Ask the electrician training programs you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate may indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It may also suggest that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist West Memphis AR grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many electrician trade programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of electrician companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with West Memphis AR area electricians or electrical companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain 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 currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the electrical specialist you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local West Memphis AR electrical contractor if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your West Memphis residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with a few of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the teachers and find out what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near West Memphis AR, check that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near West Memphis AR?
Following is a little bit of background information about the West Memphis AR area.
West Memphis, Arkansas
West Memphis is the largest city in Crittenden County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 26,245 at the 2010 census, ranking it as the state's 18th largest city, behind Bella Vista. It is part of the Memphis metropolitan area, and is located directly across the Mississippi River from Memphis.
Native Americans lived in the Mississippi River Valley for at least 10,000 years, although much of the evidence of their presence has been buried or destroyed. The Indians of the Mississippian Period were the last native inhabitants of the West Memphis area. Mound City Road, located within the eastern portion of the West Memphis city limits, has a marker indicating that the villages of Aquixo (Aquijo) or Pacaha were in the area. Several mounds are still visible.
Explorers from both Spain and France visited the area near West Memphis. Among those explorers were Hernando de Soto and his men from Spain and Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet from France. By the time French hunters and explorers entered the region, the Mississippian towns and other settlements had been abandoned. The original site of West Memphis came from Spanish land grants issued during the 1790s. Grants were given to Benjamin Fooy, John Henry Fooy, and Isaac Fooy in the Hopefield (Crittenden County) area and to William McKenney in the Bridgeport-West Memphis area.
Choose the Right Electrical Tech School near West Memphis AR
Picking the right electrical trade school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a must that any electrician training program that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every training program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end result will be a new career as a professional electrician in West Memphis AR.
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