How to Become an Electrician in Northport Alabama
The first step to learning to be an electrical tradesman or contractor is enrolling in an electrician trade school near Northport AL. But with so many technical schools to choose from, just how do you tackle making certain that you enroll in the right one? Particularly because there are a number of points to examine. For example, some potential students will commence by looking for schools that are nearby their home. Once they have found some that are within driving distance, they will select the one with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important, they are not the only factors that should be examined. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should help mold your ultimate decision when selecting an electrician school. We will address that checklist in more detail later in this article. But to begin with, let’s talk a little bit about becoming an electrician and the instructional choices that are accessible.
Electrician Certificate, Diploma and Degree Programs near Northport AL
There are multiple options to obtain electrician instruction in a trade or technical school near Northport AL. You may select a diploma or certificate program, or obtain an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are available at some schools, but are not as prevalent as the other three options. Often these programs are made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program, which are mandated by the majority of states in order to be licensed or if you would like to earn certification. Following are short explanations of the 3 most prevalent programs offered.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by Alabama vocational and trade schools and take approximately a year to finish. They provide a good foundation and are aimed towards those who wish to join an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees take 2 years to finish and are provided by Alabama junior or community colleges, typically as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They provide a more extensive education while providing the foundation that readies students to join their apprenticeship program.
As earlier mentioned, Bachelor’s Degree programs are offered at certain Alabama institutions, but are less popular at four years than the other shorter programs. Most states mandate that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and more typically four years be carried out prior to licensing. Because of that, the majority of students are anxious to commence their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not part of their academic program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Guidelines
Electricians in Northport AL can carry out a vast array of services, including installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and ensuring that the wiring in houses and buildings are up to code standards. After completing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to become licensed in the majority of municipalities and states. The duration of apprenticeship varies by state, but usually around four to five years of prior experience is called for in order to take the licensing exam. The exams typically test general knowledge and electrical theory, in addition to understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also a voluntary means for an electrician to differentiate him or herself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications offered vary by state and can be acquired in many specialties, including cable splicing as an example. The certification procedure 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) and also the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s imperative that the electrician vocational school that you select not only furnishes a solid educational foundation, but also helps prepare you for passing any certification and licensing examinations that you may be required to pass in the future.
Attending Electrician Online Training Classes in Northport AL
A possibility that you might have looked at is enrolling in an online electrician school to earn a degree or a certificate. Although online schools have become more accepted as a means of attending class without the need for travel, in this case they are not totally internet based. Just about all electrician training programs require some attendance on-campus to obtain practical hands-on training. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended online, distance learning might be a more accommodating choice for individuals that have minimal time for education. And as an added benefit numerous online training programs have a lower tuition cost compared to their traditional counterparts. Driving expenses from Northport AL are also lessened and some of the study materials can be available online as well. All of these benefits can make electrician online vocational schools more economical and accessible. And a number are fully accredited, which we will deal with in our due diligence checklist.
Questions to Ask Electrician Trade Schools
When you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to narrow down your training options. Because there are so many electrician vocational and trade schools in the Northport AL region, it’s essential to have a checklist of criteria that each program must satisfy. The first 2 that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. If you are interested in earning an online degree, then that needs to be a feature that your chosen school offers. And while all three qualifiers may be critical when making your determination, there are additional factors that must be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to research prior to selecting an electrical vocational school.
Accreditation. A large number of electrician trade programs have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Make sure that the Northport AL program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, some states mandate that the electrician training program be accredited in order 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 of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate might signify that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It may also mean that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist Northport AL grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most electrician trade programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrical contractors or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working relationships with Northport AL area electricians or electrical companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the electrical tech you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Northport AL electrical company if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Northport home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may 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 larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to several of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Northport AL, check that the schools you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Northport AL?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Northport AL area.
Northport is a city in Tuscaloosa County in the west central part of the State of Alabama. Located on the Black Warrior River across from downtown Tuscaloosa, it is currently the 21st largest city in Alabama with an estimated population of 24,497 in 2013. It incorporated in 1871. It is part of the Tuscaloosa Metropolitan Statistical Area.
As Northport is adjacent to the larger city of Tuscaloosa, many residents work in Tuscaloosa or other parts of Tuscaloosa County. Although the two cities share a land boundary, much of their boundary (and historically all of the boundary) is the Black Warrior River.
As of the census of 2000, there were 19,435 people, 7,844 households, and 5,255 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,328.3 people per square mile (512.9/km²). There were 8,509 housing units at an average density of 581.6 per square mile (224.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 71.11% White, 26.03% Black or African American, 0.19% Native American, 0.80% Asian, 0.15% Pacific Islander, 1.02% from other races, and 0.70% from two or more races. 1.92% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Pick the Ideal Electrical Tech School near Northport AL
Choosing the ideal electrical training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any electrical tech school that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every training program offers unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional electrician in Northport AL.
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