How to Become an Electrician in Gardendale Alabama
The initial step to becoming an electrical tradesman or contractor is locating an electrician trade school near Gardendale AL. But with so many vocational schools to pick from, just how do you undertake making sure that you enroll in the right one? Particularly because there are a number of points to consider. For instance, some potential students will begin by searching for schools that are close to their home. After they have found a few that are within driving range, they will select the one with the least expensive tuition. Although location and cost are of importance, they are not the sole factors that need to be examined. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should contribute toward your final decision when selecting an electrician training school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But to begin with, let’s review a little bit about becoming an electrician and the educational options that are accessible.
Electrician Diploma, Certificate and Degree Programs near Gardendale AL
There are multiple ways to obtain electrician training in a technical or vocational school near Gardendale AL. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program, or receive an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are obtainable at a few schools, but are not as prevalent as the other three options. In many cases these programs are offered together with an apprenticeship, which are mandated by most states to be licensed or if you intend to become certified. Bellow are brief explanations of the three most typical programs offered.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by Alabama vocational and trade schools and take approximately a year to finish. They furnish a solid foundation and are aimed towards individuals who would like to enter an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs require 2 years to complete and are provided by Alabama community colleges, typically as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They offer a more extensive education while supplying the foundation that prepares students to join their apprenticeship program.
As earlier mentioned, Bachelor’s Degree programs are offered at some Alabama colleges, but are less preferred at 4 years than the other shorter programs. Most states mandate that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and more typically four years be carried out prior to licensing. Because of that, most students are eager to start their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not a component of their educational program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Requirements
Electricians in Gardendale AL can carry out a multitude of tasks, including installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and making sure that the wiring in buildings and homes are up to code standards. After completing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are mandated to become licensed in most municipalities and states. The duration of apprenticeship varies by state, but normally around 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 knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also a voluntary means for an electrician to identify her or himself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications offered vary by state and can be earned in various specialties, including cable splicing as an example. The certification procedure usually entails 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) as well as the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s crucial that the electrician vocational school that you pick not only furnishes a strong educational foundation, but also helps ready you for passing any licensing and certification examinations that you might need to pass in the future.
Attending Electrician Programs Online in Gardendale AL
An alternative that you may have considered is enrolling in an online electrician school to earn a certificate or degree. Although online training programs are becoming more prevalent as a way of attending class without needing to travel, in this situation they are not totally internet based. Pretty much all electrician training programs require partial attendance on campus to receive hands-on practical training. But since the rest of the classes may be attended online, distance learning may be a more convenient alternative for individuals that have limited time for schooling. And as an added benefit numerous online training programs have a lower tuition cost compared to their on campus competitors. Driving expenses from Gardendale AL are also minimized and a portion of the study materials can be available online also. Each of these benefits can make online electrician trade schools more economical and convenient. And many are fully accredited, which we will discuss in our due diligence checklist.
What to Ask Electrician Training Schools
When you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to focus your training options. Since there are numerous electrician vocational and trade schools in the Gardendale AL region, it’s imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The initial two 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 final school offers. And even though all three qualifiers may be important when making your decision, there are other factors that need to be considered also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to analyze prior to choosing an electrical tech school.
Accreditation. Many electrician trade schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may 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. Make sure that the Gardendale AL program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you receive an excellent education, it can help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, some states require that the electrician training course 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate might suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It might also indicate that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which may produce 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 additionally that it has the network of contacts to help Gardendale AL grads acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most electrician trade programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of electrical companies or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with Gardendale AL area electricians or electrical specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently 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 Gardendale AL electrical company if they can provide some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Gardendale home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with some of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Gardendale AL, confirm that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Gardendale AL?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Gardendale AL area.
A large farm settlement near the area today known as Gardendale was settled around 1825. Some years later, other settlers began to move into the community commonly known as Jugtown, a name given to the area based on the presence of a large jug and churn factory that operated in the area. Some years later, Hettie Thomason Cargo, a school teacher, would lead a campaign to change the name of the community. In 1906, the name Gardendale was selected, and in 1955, the City of Gardendale was officially incorporated. Today, with more than 13,000 residents (estimated), the city of Gardendale has grown to include more than 400 businesses, 4 schools, and 24 churches.
In 1996, the Olympic torch run passed through the city during the weeks leading up to the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta. Before Interstate 65 was constructed, the main route between Nashville, Tennessee and Birmingham, Alabama was U.S. Route 31. Prior to being built as a four-lane road, U.S. 31 was a twisting two-lane road that is still largely visible today. From the north end of Gardendale, it is now Snow Rogers Road, North Road, Moncrief Road, and then Main Street southward through the city to the Fultondale city limit where it becomes Stouts Road. In the fall of 2008, new signs were placed along the original route of Stouts Road through Gardendale denoting its historical significance as a stagecoach route between Tennessee and Birmingham during the 19th century. The first traffic signals in the city were located along U.S. 31 at Tarrant Road, Fieldstown Road, and Moncrief Road as well as Tarrant Road at Pineywood Road. A new signal at the intersection of Fieldstown Road and Main Street near city hall replaced a blinking signal shortly thereafter. Fieldstown Road was a narrow two lane road from U.S. 31 westward until Interstate 65 was built and then Fieldstown Road was re-routed onto the new road in the mid-1980s. An abundance of traffic signals have been erected in the city since those early days. In approximately 1970, the city installed street lights along U.S. 31 from the Fultondale city limits northward to the Moncrief Road intersection. The technology at that time was for blue vapor lights. Today, nearly 40 years later those same blue vapor lights still exist with some being replaced with the more modern bulbs near major intersections. Since 1980, Gardendale has annexed considerable amounts of land on the north, east, and west sides. Much of the eastern area is uninhabited. The western annexation is centered along Fieldstown Road. Most of the newest residential development has been in this area and along Shady Grove Road south of Fieldstown Road. The northern annexation has centered along US 31 and extends nearly 2 miles (3.2 km) farther north than 1980. The city has a working historical society, established January 23, 2006, that is working to record the history of the Gardendale area. They have a museum that is open to the public on Saturday mornings each week. It contains a variety of photographs, documents, and other historical memorabilia from Gardendale.
Gardendale is located at 33°39′36″N 86°48′46″W / 33.66000°N 86.81278°W / 33.66000; -86.81278 (33.6601033, -86.8127702). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.0 square miles (47 km2), all land. However, with the recent annexation of several thousand acres from the community of Mt. Olive and other unincorporated areas, the city now has an estimated total area of around 25.0 square miles (65 km2). Gardendale is situated along one of the three major transportation corridors from the Midwest to the Gulf Coast (I-75, I-65, I-55). A tremendous volume of freight (via rail and truck) passes through or near Gardendale.
Choose the Ideal Electrical Trade School near Gardendale AL
Picking the ideal electrical trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare between the training programs you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any electrical training program that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you choose is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the final result will be a new career as a professional electrician in Gardendale AL.
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