How to Become an Electrician in Madison Alabama
The first step to becoming an electrical tradesman or contractor is finding an electrician trade school near Madison AL. But with numerous technical schools to pick from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the best one? Particularly because there are so many factors to consider. For instance, some potential students will start by looking for schools that are close to their home. After they have located a few that are within commuting distance, they will select the one with the cheapest tuition. Even though cost and location are important, they are not the only factors that must be considered. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should help mold your final judgment when selecting an electrician school. We will address that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let’s review a little bit about being an electrician and the instructional choices that are accessible.
Electrician Certificate, Diploma and Degree Options near Madison AL
There are several ways to receive electrician instruction in a vocational or trade school near Madison AL. You may enroll in a certificate or diploma program, or receive an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are available 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 required by most states in order to become licensed or if you intend to become certified. Following are brief summaries of the three most prevalent programs offered.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by Alabama technical and trade schools and take approximately a year to finish. They furnish a solid foundation and are aimed towards students who wish to get into an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs involve 2 years to finish and are offered by Alabama community colleges, typically as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They offer a more extensive education while supplying the foundation that readies students to join their apprenticeship program.
As previously mentioned, Bachelor’s Degree programs are available at some Alabama institutions, but are less popular at four years than the other briefer programs. Many states require that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and in most cases four years be completed prior to licensing. Because of that, the majority of students are anxious to commence their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not a component of their educational program.
Electrician License and Certification Criteria
Electricians in Madison AL can undertake a multitude of services, such as installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and making sure that the wiring in houses and buildings are up to code standards. After concluding an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are mandated to become licensed in most states or municipalities. The length of apprenticeship varies by state, but generally around 4 to 5 years of practical experience is required before taking the licensing examination. The exams typically assess general knowledge and electrical theory, along with knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also a voluntary way for an electrician to differentiate him or herself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications offered differ by state and can be obtained in several specializations, including cable splicing as an example. The certification process in most cases includes three levels of proficiency:
- 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 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 may be required to pass in the future.
Attending Electrician Programs Online in Madison AL
A possibility that you may have looked at is enrolling in an electrician online school to earn a degree or a certificate. While online schools have become more prevalent as a means 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 obtain practical hands-on training. But since the remainder of the classes can be attended online, internet learning can be a more accommodating option for individuals that have limited time for education. And as a bonus numerous online degree programs have a lower tuition cost compared to their traditional competitors. Travelling costs from Madison AL are also minimized and some of the study materials can be available on line as well. All of these benefits can make online electrician tech schools more affordable and convenient. And many are fully accredited, which we will cover in our questions to ask checklist.
Points to Ask Electrician Technical Schools
Now that you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to refine your training options. Because there are so many electrician trade and vocational schools in the Madison AL region, it’s imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must satisfy. The first two that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. If you are interested 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 determination, there are additional factors that need to be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to analyze before selecting an electrical trade school.
Accreditation. Numerous electrician technical schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Confirm that the Madison AL program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, 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 percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate could suggest that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It may also suggest that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to use 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 additionally that it has the network of contacts to help Madison AL graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most electrician vocational 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 inside their network of electrician contractors or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with Madison AL area electricians or electrical professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the electrical specialist you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Madison AL electrical contracting company if they can give you some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Madison residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Talk with a few of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Madison AL, check that the programs you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Madison AL?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Madison AL area.
Madison County, Alabama
Madison County is a county of the U.S. state of Alabama. As of the 2010 Census, the population was 334,811, making it the third-most populous county in Alabama. Its county seat is Huntsville. The county is named in honor of James Madison, fourth President of the United States and the first President to visit the state of Alabama. Madison County covers parts of the former Decatur County.
Madison County was established on December 13, 1808 by the governor of the Mississippi Territory. It is recognized as the "birthplace" of Alabama, which was founded there on December 14, 1819. For much of the county's history, the economy revolved mainly around agriculture. Madison County was one of the largest cotton-producing counties in the state, and textile mills operated around the county.
This changed when a group of German rocket scientists, led by Wernher von Braun, came to Redstone Arsenal in 1950. They developed, among others, the Redstone rocket, which was modified to launch the first two Americans into space. Tens of thousands of jobs came to the area as a result of the Space Race, and the population of Madison County rose from 72,903 in 1950 to an estimated 2015 population of 353,089.
Choose the Right Electrician Trade School near Madison AL
Picking the best electrician training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a must 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 instruction needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new trade as a professional electrician in Madison AL.
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