How to Become an Electrician in Bessemer Alabama
The first step to learning to be an electrical tradesman or contractor is enrolling in an electrician trade school near Bessemer AL. But with numerous technical schools to select from, just how do you tackle making sure that you enroll in the best one? Particularly since there are a number of points to consider. For instance, many students will begin by searching for schools that are nearby their home. Once they have identified a few that are within driving distance, they will pick the one with the least expensive tuition. Although location and cost are of importance, they are not the only qualifications that need to be evaluated. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifiers should influence your ultimate judgment when choosing an electrician school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let’s talk a little bit about being an electrician and the training options that are available.
Electrician Degree, Diploma and Certificate Programs near Bessemer AL
There are several ways to receive electrician instruction in a technical or vocational school near Bessemer AL. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program, or earn an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are obtainable at a few schools, but are not as common as the other three alternatives. Often these programs are offered together with an apprenticeship, which are required by the majority of states to become licensed or if you want to become certified. Following are short explanations of the three most prevalent programs offered.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually provided by Alabama trade and technical schools and take approximately a year to finish. They provide a solid foundation and are geared towards students who would like to join an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees involve two years to complete and are provided by Alabama junior or community colleges, typically as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They offer a more extensive education while providing the foundation that prepares students to enter into their apprenticeship program.
As earlier stated, Bachelor’s Degrees are accessible at certain Alabama institutions, but are less popular at four years than the other shorter programs. Many states mandate that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and in most cases four years be performed before licensing. Because of that, most students are eager to commence their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not a component of their academic program.
Electrician License and Certification Prerequisites
Electricians in Bessemer AL can perform a vast array of tasks, including installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and ensuring that the wiring in buildings and homes comply with code standards. After concluding an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are mandated to become licensed in the majority of states or municipalities. The duration of apprenticeship differs by state, but usually around four to five years of experience is called for in order to take the licensing examination. The exams commonly test general knowledge and electrical theory, in addition to understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also an optional way for an electrician to distinguish her or himself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications available differ by state and can be acquired in many specialties, such as cable splicing as an example. The certification process 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) and also the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s crucial that the electrician vocational school that you choose not only delivers a strong educational foundation, but also helps prepare you for passing any licensing and certification examinations that you may need to take in the future.
Attending Electrician Online Programs in Bessemer AL
A possibility that you may have looked at is enrolling in an electrician online school to earn a degree or a certificate. Even though online schools have become more popular as a means of attending class without the need for travel, in this instance they are not completely internet based. Virtually all electrician training programs require partial attendance on-campus to receive practical hands-on training. But since the rest of the classes may be accessed online, internet learning may be a more accommodating option for individuals that have limited time for schooling. And as an added benefit many online training programs have a lower tuition cost compared to their on campus alternatives. Driving expenses from Bessemer AL are also reduced and a portion of the study materials can be available online as well. Each of these advantages can make electrician online tech schools more affordable and convenient. And a number are fully accredited, which we will deal with in our due diligence checklist.
Things to Ask Electrician Trade Schools
When you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to focus your school options. Since there are so many electrician tech and trade schools in the Bessemer AL area, it’s imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The first 2 that we discussed were location and tuition expense. If you are interested in earning an online degree, then that needs to be a feature that your chosen school offers. And while all three qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are other variables that must be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess before enrolling in an electrical vocational school.
Accreditation. Many electrician trade programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Make certain that the Bessemer AL program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you obtain an excellent education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, many states mandate that the electrician training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion and Placement Rates. Ask the electrician training programs you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It could also indicate that the instructors 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 more extensive list of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to employ 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 also that it has the network of contacts to assist Bessemer AL grads obtain apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous electrician technical programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrician companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with Bessemer AL area electricians or electrical companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the electrical technician you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Bessemer AL electrical company if they can give you some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Bessemer home. Remember 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 important that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to a few of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Bessemer AL, confirm that the programs you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Bessemer AL?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Bessemer AL area.
Bessemer is a city southwest of Birmingham in Jefferson County, Alabama, United States. The population was 27,456 at the 2010 Census. It is within the Birmingham-Hoover, AL Metropolitan Statistical Area, of which Jefferson County is the center. It developed rapidly as an industrial city in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The town was founded in the postbellum era by the Bessemer Land and Improvement Company, named after Henry Bessemer and owned by coal magnate Henry F. DeBardeleben. He had inherited Daniel Pratt's investments. The mayor and councilmen voted to incorporate the city of Bessemer on September 9, 1887. Located 16 miles southwest of Birmingham, Bessemer grew rapidly and its promoters believed that it might overtake the other city in economic power.
Given the iron ore, coal and limestone deposits in the area, the city became a center of steelmaking from about 1890 through the 20th century. It attracted rural migrants from across the South, as well as European immigrants. By the 1950s, the city was majority African American in population.
Choose the Right Electrician Technical School near Bessemer AL
Choosing the right electrical training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors 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 reviewing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides unique options for certification also. Probably the best way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on some 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 proper training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional electrician in Bessemer AL.
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