How to Become an Electrician in Cullman Alabama
The initial step to becoming an electrical tradesman or contractor is finding an electrician trade school near Cullman AL. But with so many vocational schools to select from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the right one? Particularly since there are so many factors to examine. For instance, many prospective students will begin by looking for schools that are close to their home. Once they have located several that are within commuting range, they will pick the one with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are of importance, they are not the only things that should be examined. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifications should contribute toward your ultimate decision when selecting an electrician trade school. We will cover that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let’s talk a little bit about becoming an electrician and the educational choices that are available.
Electrician Degree, Diploma and Certificate Programs near Cullman AL
There are several ways to receive electrician instruction in a vocational or trade school near Cullman AL. You may select a certificate or diploma program, or receive an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at certain schools, but are not as common as the other three options. Frequently these programs are made available together with an apprenticeship program, which are required by most states to become licensed or if you would like to earn certification. Bellow are short explanations of the 3 most common programs available.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are typically provided by Alabama vocational and trade schools and take about a year to finish. They furnish a solid foundation and are geared towards those who wish to join an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees require 2 years to complete and are offered by Alabama junior or community colleges, usually as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They provide a more well-rounded education while providing the foundation that readies students to enter into their apprenticeship program.
As earlier stated, Bachelor’s Degree programs are available at certain Alabama colleges, but are less preferred at 4 years than the other shorter programs. Many states mandate that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and in most cases 4 years be completed before licensing. Because of that, the majority of students are eager to commence their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not a component of their educational program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Prerequisites
Electricians in Cullman AL can undertake a vast array of tasks, including testing, installing and replacing electrical systems, and ensuring that the wiring in buildings and homes comply with code standards. After finishing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are mandated to be licensed in the majority of municipalities and states. The duration of apprenticeship varies by state, but normally about four to five years of experience is required in order to take the licensing examination. The exams commonly test electrical theory and general knowledge, along with understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also a voluntary means for an electrician to identify him or herself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications offered vary by state and can be obtained in many specializations, such as cable splicing as an example. The certification process usually 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) as well as the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s important that the electrician tech school that you select not only provides a solid educational foundation, but also helps prepare you for passing any licensing and certification examinations that you might need to take in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Online Schools in Cullman AL
A possibility that you may have looked at is selecting an electrician online program to earn a certificate or degree. While online schools are becoming more accepted as a means of attending class without needing to travel, in this instance they are not totally internet based. Virtually all electrician training programs require partial attendance on campus to obtain practical hands-on training. But since the rest of the classes may be accessed online, distance learning can be a more convenient alternative for individuals that have minimal time for education. And as a bonus numerous online degree programs have a cheaper tuition cost compared to their on-campus alternatives. Driving expenses from Cullman AL are also reduced and some of the study materials can be available online as well. All of these benefits can make online electrician tech schools more affordable and accessible. And a number are fully accredited, which we will cover in our due diligence checklist.
What to Ask Electrician Training Schools
Once you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to refine your school options. Considering that there are so many electrician trade and vocational schools in the Cullman AL region, it’s important to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The initial 2 that we discussed were location and tuition expense. If you have an interest in earning an online degree, then that needs to be an option that your chosen school offers. And although all three qualifiers may be important when making your decision, there are additional variables that need to be taken into account also. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess before choosing an electrical tech school.
Accreditation. Numerous electrician technical schools have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Make sure that the Cullman AL school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of states require that the electrician training course be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion and Placement Rates. Ask the electrician schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate may signify that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It might also suggest that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which can mean 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 trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help Cullman AL grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most electrician trade programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of electrician businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with Cullman AL area electricians or electrical contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the electrical technician you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Cullman AL electrical contracting company if they can provide some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Cullman home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with a few of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Cullman AL, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. 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 policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Cullman AL?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Cullman AL area.
Cullman is a city in and the county seat of Cullman County, Alabama, United States. It is located along Interstate 65, about 50 miles (80 km) north of Birmingham and about 55 miles (89 km) south of Huntsville. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 14,775, with an estimated population of 15,385 in 2017.
In the time before European settlement, the area that today includes Cullman was originally in the territory of the Cherokee Nation. The region was traversed by a trail known as the Black Warrior's Path, which led from the Tennessee River near the present location of Florence, Alabama, to a point on the Black Warrior River south of Cullman. This trail figured significantly in Cherokee history, and it featured prominently in the American Indian Wars prior to the establishment of the state of Alabama and the relocation of several American Indian tribes, including the Creek people westward along the Trail of Tears. During the Creek War in 1813, General Andrew Jackson of the U.S. Army dispatched a contingent of troops down the trail, one of which included the frontiersman Davy Crockett.
In the 1820s and the 1830s, two toll roads were built linking the Tennessee Valley to present-day Birmingham. In 1822, Abraham Stout was given a charter by the Alabama Legislature to open and turnpike a road beginning from Gandy's Cove in Morgan County to the ghost town of Baltimore on the Mulberry Fork near Colony. The road passed near present-day Vinemont through Cullman, Good Hope, and down the current Interstate 65 corridor to the Mulberry Fork. The road was later extended to Elyton (Birmingham) in 1827. It then became known as Stout's Road. Mace Thomas Payne Brindley was given a charter in 1833 to turnpike two roads, one running between Blount Springs to Somerville by way of his homestead in present-day Simcoe, and the second road passing west of Hanceville and east of Downtown Cullman to join Stout's Road north of the city. What later became the Brindley Turnpike became an extension of Stout's Road to Decatur. Cullman later became located between the juncture of the two roads, and they predated the corridor of U.S. Route 31.
Find the Right Electrical Tech School near Cullman AL
Picking the ideal electrician training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any electrical tech school that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every program provides different options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the final result will be a new career as a professional electrician in Cullman AL.
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