How to Become an Electrician in Rainbow City Alabama
The first step to becoming an electrical contractor or tradesman is locating an electrician trade school near Rainbow City AL. But with so many vocational schools to select from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the best one? Especially because there are a number of factors to examine. For instance, some potential students will begin by looking for schools that are close to their residence. After they have located a few that are within commuting range, they will select the one with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are important, they are not the only things that should be evaluated. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should influence your final decision when selecting an electrician training school. We will discuss that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But to begin with, let’s talk a little bit about becoming an electrician and the training choices that are accessible.
Electrician Degree, Diploma and Certificate Options near Rainbow City AL
There are several ways to receive electrician training in a trade or technical school near Rainbow City AL. You can select a certificate or diploma program, or obtain an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are obtainable at some schools, but are not as prevalent as the first three options. Frequently these programs are made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program, which are mandated by the majority of states to become licensed or if you would like to earn certification. Following are brief summaries of the three most common programs available.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually provided by Alabama technical and trade schools and require about a year to complete. They furnish a good foundation and are geared towards individuals who wish to join an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs take two 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 providing the foundation that prepares students to join their apprenticeship program.
As earlier stated, Bachelor’s Degree programs are accessible at certain Alabama colleges, but are less preferred at 4 years than the other briefer programs. Most states mandate that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and more typically four years be completed before licensing. Therefore, most students are eager to start their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not part of their academic program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Prerequisites
Electricians in Rainbow City AL can perform a vast array of services, including installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and making sure that the wiring in buildings and homes comply with 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 generally about four to five years of experience is required in order to take the licensing exam. The exams usually test general knowledge and electrical theory, as well as knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also a voluntary means for an electrician to differentiate her or himself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications offered differ by state and may be obtained in several specialties, including cable splicing as an example. The certification process in most cases entails three 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) along with the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s important that the electrician trade school that you pick not only delivers a solid academic 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 Schools Online in Rainbow City AL
A possibility that you might have contemplated is choosing an electrician online program to earn a certificate or degree. While online training programs are becoming more popular as a means of attending class without the need for travel, in this case they are not completely internet based. Virtually all electrician schools require some attendance on campus to obtain hands-on practical training. But since the rest of the classes can be accessed online, distance learning may be a more accommodating option for students that have minimal time for schooling. And as a bonus numerous online schools have a cheaper tuition cost compared to their on-campus counterparts. Travelling costs from Rainbow City AL are also reduced and a portion of the study materials may be available online also. Each of these advantages can make electrician online tech schools more economical and convenient. And a number are fully accredited, which we will discuss in our due diligence checklist.
Topics to Ask Electrician Training Schools
Once you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to narrow down your training options. Because there are so many electrician trade and vocational schools in the Rainbow City AL area, it’s important to have a checklist of criteria that each school must satisfy. The first 2 that we talked about were location and tuition expense. If you are interested in earning an online degree, then that must be a feature that your chosen school offers. And while all three qualifiers may be crucial when making your selection, there are additional factors that must be considered also. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess before selecting an electrical tech school.
Accreditation. Numerous electrician technical programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Verify that the Rainbow City AL school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain an excellent education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable 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 schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate may signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It might also suggest 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 directory of graduates, which can result in more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to help Rainbow City AL graduates acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous electrician trade programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrician contractors or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with Rainbow City AL area electricians or electrical companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently 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 Rainbow City AL electrical company if they can provide some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within driving distance of your Rainbow City residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk with several of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees 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 attend classes at night or on weekends near Rainbow City AL, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Rainbow City AL?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Rainbow City AL area.
Rainbow City, Alabama
This city was named after U.S. Highway 411, called Rainbow Drive, which runs through the middle of the city. Some of the older citizens say it was named after the US 42nd Infantry Division, known as the "Rainbow Division".
As early as 1818, families from the Carolinas and Georgia began to migrate to the area and homestead land near the Coosa River. Hernando de Soto's troops were the first visitors to the area in 1540, and today a bridge stands where the Pensacola Trading Path crossed the Coosa River. A paved highway now traces the trail that was cut from Nashville to Horseshoe Bend by Andrew Jackson on his way to fight the Creek Native Americans in what is now known as the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.
Originally called "Coosa Bend", the area was later called "Morgan's Cross Road". It was located at the intersection of the Gadsden-Ashville Road and Gilbert's Ferry Road. The land was passed from Edmond Jones to his son Clayton, who never married. When he died, the land passed to his sister, Luvica Morgan, who was also the wife of William Morgan.
Pick the Right Electrician Technical School near Rainbow City AL
Selecting the right electrical training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have covered 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 tech school that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each program provides different possibilities for certification also. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new trade as a professional electrician in Rainbow City AL.
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