How to Become an Electrician in Central Arizona
The initial step to becoming an electrical contractor or tradesman is enrolling in an electrician trade school near Central AZ. But with numerous technical schools to pick from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the right one? Particularly because there are a number of points to consider. For instance, many students will commence by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. After they have located several that are within commuting range, they will select the one with the least expensive tuition. Even though cost and location are important, they are not the sole factors that need to be examined. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should help mold your final judgment when picking an electrician trade school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit about being an electrician and the educational options that are available.
Electrician Degree, Diploma and Certificate Programs near Central AZ
There are several options to obtain electrician instruction in a vocational or trade school near Central AZ. You may select a certificate or diploma program, or receive an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at some schools, but are not as prevalent as the first three options. Often these programs are made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program, which are required by the majority of states to become licensed or if you want to become certified. Following are short descriptions of the three most prevalent programs offered.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually provided by Arizona technical and trade schools and require approximately a year to finish. They furnish a good foundation and are geared towards those who wish to enter an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees take two years to complete and are provided by Arizona junior or community colleges, usually as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They furnish a more extensive education while supplying the foundation that prepares students to begin their apprenticeship program.
As earlier mentioned, Bachelor’s Degree programs are accessible at some Arizona colleges, but are less preferred at four years than the other shorter programs. Many states mandate that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and in most cases four years be carried out before licensing. Because of that, many students are anxious to begin their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not a component of their educational program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Guidelines
Electricians in Central AZ can undertake a wide range 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 completing 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 about four to five years of experience is called for in order to take the licensing exam. The exams commonly test general knowledge and electrical theory, along with understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also a voluntary way for an electrician to identify her or himself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications offered differ by state and may be obtained in several specializations, including 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) as well as the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s crucial that the electrician tech school that you choose not only provides a solid educational foundation, but also helps prep you for passing any licensing and certification examinations that you may be required to pass in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Online Schools in Central AZ
An alternative that you may have contemplated is selecting an electrician online school to earn a certificate or degree. While online training programs have become more prevalent as a way of attending class without the need for travel, in this instance they are not entirely internet based. Virtually all electrician training programs require some attendance on campus to obtain hands-on practical training. But since the balance of the classes may be accessed online, distance 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 cheaper tuition cost compared to their traditional competitors. Travelling costs from Central AZ are also reduced and some of the study materials can be accessed on line as well. Each of these advantages can make online electrician vocational schools more affordable and accessible. And many are fully accredited, which we will address in our due diligence checklist.
Questions to Ask Electrician Technical Schools
When you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to narrow down your school options. Since there are numerous electrician tech and trade schools in the Central AZ region, it’s imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must satisfy. The first 2 that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. If you have an interest in earning an degree online, then that must be a feature that your chosen school offers. And even though all three qualifiers may be crucial when making your determination, there are other factors that must be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess before choosing an electrical vocational school.
Accreditation. A large number of electrician vocational schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Verify that the Central AZ school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states require that the electrician training program be accredited for it to qualify 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 course. A lower completion rate may indicate that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It might also mean that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to help Central AZ grads secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most electrician technical programs are taught together 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 businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with Central AZ area electricians or electrical specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the electrical specialist you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Central AZ electrical contractor if they can give you some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Central residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with some of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Central AZ, check that the schools you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Central AZ?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Central AZ area.
Central is at 32°52′13″N 109°47′35″W / 32.87028°N 109.79306°W / 32.87028; -109.79306, at an elevation of approximately 2900 feet above sea level. From this location just south of the Gila River within the Upper Gila Valley, Mount Graham of the Pinaleño (Pinaleno Mountains) range dominates the southern skyline.
Central was first homesteaded by the Cluff family in 1880. The Cluffs extended the Central Canal to their lands on the eastern side of Central. Later settlers extended the canal west and north. In 1883 construction began on a one-room white rock building to be used as a church meeting house and school house. By 1884 twenty families, including Cluff, Norton, Shurtz, Bigler, and Webster households resided in Central. In 1978 the streets were named after these early Mormon pioneers. In December 1883 the Central Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was organized and Joseph Cluff was ordained the first bishop. A new red brick church was built in 1885. It was the first regular meeting house built in this part of Arizona and was also the first home of the LDS Academy from December 1890 to May 1891. A plaque east of Hwy 70 on Central Road commemorates the original home of the St. Joseph Stake Academy that later moved to Thatcher and became Eastern Arizona College.
In 1894, LDS Church historian Andrew Jensen reported on the Central Ward: "Thirty-five families or 178 souls, constitute the Mormon population, and there are only two other families in the district. Central excels in point of large orchards, extensive alfalfa fields and good grain. The meeting house is the only public building in the settlement, in which there is also a small store and a post office. There are a number of fine and comfortable private residences, built mostly of brick and adobe."
Enroll in the Right Electrical Vocational School near Central AZ
Selecting the ideal electrician training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a must that any electrical training that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every training program offers unique options for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new trade as a professional electrician in Central AZ.
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