How to Become an Electrician in Oxford Alabama
The first step to learning to be an electrical tradesman or contractor is enrolling in an electrician trade school near Oxford AL. But with so many vocational schools to select from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the best one? Especially because there are a number of points to examine. For instance, some students will begin by searching for schools that are close to their home. Once they have located some that are within commuting distance, they will pick the one with the least expensive tuition. Even though location and cost are important, they are not the sole factors that should be examined. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should influence your final decision when picking an electrician training school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let’s talk a little bit about becoming an electrician and the training options that are available.
Electrician Degree, Certificate and Diploma Options near Oxford AL
There are three general options to get electrician training in a trade or technical school near Oxford AL. You may choose 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 first three options. In many cases these programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program, which are required by the majority of states in order to be licensed or if you would like to earn certification. Bellow are brief descriptions of the 3 most typical programs offered.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by Alabama technical and trade schools and require about a year to finish. They provide a solid foundation and are aimed towards those who want to get into an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs involve two years to complete and are offered by Alabama community colleges, commonly 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 offered at certain Alabama colleges, but are less preferred at four years than the other shorter programs. Many states mandate that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and more typically 4 years be performed before licensing. Therefore, the majority of students are anxious to start their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not a component of their educational program.
Electrician License and Certification Requirements
Electricians in Oxford AL can undertake a wide range of tasks, including testing, installing and replacing electrical systems, and making sure 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 length of apprenticeship differs by state, but typically around four to five years of practical experience is called for before taking the licensing examination. The exams commonly test electrical theory and general knowledge, as well as understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also an optional way for an electrician to differentiate him or herself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications offered differ by state and can be acquired in numerous specializations, including cable splicing as an example. The certification process usually entails 3 levels of competency:
- 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 imperative that the electrician vocational school that you pick not only delivers a solid educational foundation, but also helps prep you for passing any licensing and certification exams that you may need to take in the future.
Attending Electrician Schools Online in Oxford AL
A possibility that you may have looked at is selecting an online electrician program to earn a certificate or degree. Although online schools are becoming more popular as a means of attending class without the need for travel, in this case they are not totally internet based. Virtually all electrician schools require some attendance on-campus to obtain hands-on practical training. But since the balance of the classes can be attended online, internet learning can be a more practical alternative for students that have minimal time for schooling. And as an added benefit numerous online schools have a lower tuition cost compared to their on campus competitors. Commuting expenses from Oxford AL are also lessened and a portion 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 many are fully accredited, which we will address in our due diligence checklist.
Points to Ask Electrician Trade Schools
Once you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to focus your training options. Because there are numerous electrician trade and vocational schools in the Oxford AL region, it’s important to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The first 2 that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. If you are interested in earning an degree online, then that needs to be an option that your chosen school offers. And even though all three qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are other variables that must be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to research before selecting an electrical vocational school.
Accreditation. Numerous electrician vocational programs have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Confirm that the Oxford AL program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you get an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some states require that the electrician training program be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion and Placement Rates. Ask the electrician schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate might suggest that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It could also indicate that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to utilize 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 field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist Oxford AL graduates acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous electrician training programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrical companies or trade unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with Oxford AL area electricians or electrical specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the electrical technician you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Oxford AL electrical company if they can provide some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Oxford residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with a few of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Oxford AL, verify that the programs you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Oxford AL?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Oxford AL area.
Oxford is a city in Calhoun and Talladega counties in the State of Alabama. The population was 21,348 at the 2010 census, an increase of 46.3% since the 2000 Census. Oxford is one of two principal cities of and included in the Anniston-Oxford Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Founded in the early 1850s, Oxford was the first city in Calhoun County to be incorporated, in 1852. The name "Oxford" was due to the presence of a narrow crossing of Chocolocco Creek that allowed farmers to ford cattle from one side of the creek to the other. Since 1970, Oxford has annexed large amounts of land to the south and west, including the communities of Coldwater and Bynum. In 1970, it was all in Calhoun County, but today it includes areas in Talladega County.
A smaller municipality, Hobson City, was once a part of Oxford. The area, then known as the Mooree Quarter, is one square mile, and is located north and west of Oxford, and south and west of Anniston. In the last years of the 19th century, according to tradition, in the course of political elections, a black man managed to be elected justice of the peace in Oxford. This being unacceptable to the city fathers, they appealed to the powers in the state capital, and an 'arrangement' was made. The city boundaries were redrawn, in similar fashion to a gerrymander, and the quarter was excluded, becoming a town unto itself. The new town became incorporated on August 16, 1899 as Hobson City, taking the name of a naval hero of the Spanish–American War. The intention was that the largely black population of this quarter would no longer skew the elections of the now almost exclusively white Oxford. Another result was the creation of only the second town in the United States (after Eatonville, Florida) with 100% black government, and an almost 100% black population (at least at first).
Select the Ideal Electrician Trade School near Oxford AL
Selecting the right electrician training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any electrician tech school that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every training program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional electrician in Oxford AL.
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