How to Become an Electrician in Columbiana Alabama
The first step to becoming an electrical contractor or tradesman is finding an electrician trade school near Columbiana AL. But with numerous vocational schools to choose from, just how do you tackle making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly since there are a number of points to examine. For instance, some prospective students will commence by looking for schools that are close to their residence. After they have located some that are within commuting range, they will choose the one with the lowest tuition. Even though cost and location are important, they are not the only factors that should be evaluated. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifiers should influence your final judgment when selecting an electrician school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this post. But to begin with, let’s talk a little bit about being an electrician and the educational choices that are offered.
Electrician Certificate, Diploma and Degree Programs near Columbiana AL
There are several ways to get electrician instruction in a vocational or trade school near Columbiana AL. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program, or receive an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are obtainable at some schools, but are not as common as the other three alternatives. In many cases these programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program, which are required by most states to become licensed or if you want to become certified. Bellow are short summaries of the three most typical programs available.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally provided by Alabama trade and technical schools and take approximately a year to finish. They furnish a good foundation and are aimed towards students who wish to enter an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees involve two years to finish and are provided by Alabama junior or community colleges, usually as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They furnish a more comprehensive education while supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter into their apprenticeship program.
As earlier stated, Bachelor’s Degree programs are available at some Alabama institutions, but are less popular at four years than the other briefer programs. The majority of states mandate that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and in most cases 4 years be completed prior to licensing. For that reason, most students are eager to begin their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not part of their educational program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Requirements
Electricians in Columbiana AL can carry out a wide range of duties, such as installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and ensuring that the wiring in buildings and homes are up to code standards. After completing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to become licensed in most municipalities and states. The period of apprenticeship varies by state, but usually about four to five years of experience is called for in order to take the licensing examination. The exams commonly test electrical theory and general knowledge, as well as understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also an optional way for an electrician to distinguish her or himself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications available vary by state and may be acquired in numerous specializations, including cable splicing as an example. The certification process in most cases involves 3 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) along with the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s important that the electrician tech school that you choose not only furnishes a strong academic foundation, but also helps ready you for passing any certification and licensing examinations that you might be required to take in the future.
Attending Electrician Online Schools in Columbiana AL
An option that you might have looked at is enrolling in an electrician online school to earn a certificate or degree. Although online training programs have become more prevalent as a way of attending class without needing to travel, in this case they are not entirely internet based. Pretty much all electrician schools require partial attendance on campus to get hands-on practical training. But since the remainder of the classes can be accessed online, internet learning might be a more accommodating choice for individuals that have limited time for education. And as a bonus many online training programs have a lower tuition cost compared to their traditional alternatives. Driving costs from Columbiana AL are also reduced and a portion of the study materials may be accessed on line as well. All of these benefits can make online electrician vocational schools more economical and accessible. And a number are fully accredited, which we will deal with in our due diligence checklist.
Things to Ask Electrician Trade Schools
Now that you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to focus your school options. Considering that there are so many electrician tech and trade schools in the Columbiana AL area, it’s imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The first 2 that we talked about were location and tuition expense. 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 critical when making your determination, there are additional variables that must be considered also. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to analyze before selecting an electrical technical school.
Accreditation. Many electrician vocational programs have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Make certain that the Columbiana AL program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, a number of states mandate that the electrician training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion and Placement Rates. Ask the electrician schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate might signify that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It may also signify that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive 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 will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist Columbiana AL students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous electrician training programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrical businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with Columbiana AL 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 build relationships in the local electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the electrical tech you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Columbiana AL electrical contractor if they can give you some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Columbiana home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with some of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Columbiana AL, check that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Columbiana AL?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Columbiana AL area.
Columbiana, originally called Columbia, was selected as the county seat of Shelby County in 1826 over rivals Calera and Montevallo. After the selection as the county seat, Columbiana celebrated by drilling holes in a large pine tree and packing it with gunpowder. The tree was blown up and the sound could be heard for miles. Later in 1826, the courthouse was moved to an old school building in Columbiana.
An act of the Alabama Legislature officially changed the name of Shelby County’s county seat to Columbiana on January 13, 1832. Columbiana was incorporated on December 5, 1837 with corporate limits one-quarter of a mile in each direction from the public square.
In 1854, the decision was made to build a larger courthouse at the south end of “Silk Stocking Road”, now Main Street. From 1854 to 1908 several additions and changes were made to the courthouse. During the American Civil War, Columbiana was connected to the nearby town of Shelby by the Shelby Iron Company Railroad, which connected the Shelby Iron Works to the Alabama and Tennessee River Railroad. The Iron Works supplied iron to the C.B. Churchill and Company foundry, which moved to Columbiana in 1862 after the fall of Corinth, Mississippi. The Churchill foundry made eight and ten pound shot, eight and ten pound shells, and shells for Blakely rifles. The C.B. Churchill and Company foundry, Shelby Iron Works and the railroad were destroyed by Union forces on March 31, 1865, as part of Wilson's Raid.
Pick the Ideal Electrical Trade School near Columbiana AL
Choosing the right electrical training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any electrical training that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world context, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. 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 right one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional electrician in Columbiana AL.
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