How to Become an Electrician in Troy Alabama
The initial step to learning to be an electrical contractor or tradesman is locating an electrician trade school near Troy AL. But with so many vocational schools to select from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the best one? Particularly since there are so many points to examine. For instance, some potential students will start by looking for schools that are close to their residence. When they have identified a few that are within driving range, they will select the one with the least expensive tuition. While location and cost are of importance, they are not the only things that should be considered. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should help mold your ultimate judgment when picking an electrician trade school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit about being an electrician and the training options that are accessible.
Electrician Degree, Certificate and Diploma Options near Troy AL
There are multiple approaches to receive electrician instruction in a technical or vocational school near Troy AL. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program, or receive an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are available at certain schools, but are not as common as the first three alternatives. In many cases these programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship, which are required by the majority of states in order to become licensed or if you want to become certified. Following are short explanations of the three most prevalent programs offered.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are typically provided by Alabama trade and technical schools and take about a year to finish. They furnish a good foundation and are geared towards those who would like to enter an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees require two years to finish and are provided by Alabama community colleges, commonly as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They offer a more extensive education while providing the foundation that readies students to enter into their apprenticeship program.
As previously stated, Bachelor’s Degrees are available at some Alabama institutions, but are less popular at four years than the other briefer programs. Many states mandate that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and in most cases 4 years be carried out prior to licensing. Therefore, many students are anxious to commence their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not a component of their academic program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Prerequisites
Electricians in Troy AL can carry out a multitude of tasks, such as installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and ensuring that the wiring in buildings and homes are up to code standards. After finishing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to be licensed in most states or municipalities. The length of apprenticeship varies by state, but generally about 4 to 5 years of prior experience is required in order to take the licensing exam. The exams usually evaluate electrical theory and general knowledge, as well as understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also a voluntary way for an electrician to identify him or herself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications available differ by state and can be earned in numerous specialties, including cable splicing as an example. The certification procedure usually involves 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) and also the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s important that the electrician trade school that you choose not only delivers a strong educational foundation, but also helps ready you for passing any certification and licensing examinations that you may need to pass in the future.
Attending Electrician Schools Online in Troy AL
An option that you may have considered is choosing an online electrician school to earn a certificate or degree. Even though online training programs have become more popular as a means of attending class without the need for travel, in this instance they are not entirely internet based. Pretty much all electrician schools require partial attendance on-campus to receive hands-on practical training. But since the balance of the classes can be accessed online, distance learning may be a more convenient alternative for individuals that have limited time for schooling. And as a bonus numerous online degree programs have a cheaper tuition cost compared to their on campus competitors. Driving expenses from Troy AL are also minimized and some of the study materials can be available on line also. All of these advantages can make online electrician tech schools more economical and accessible. And a number are fully accredited, which we will discuss in our due diligence checklist.
Points to Ask Electrician Training Schools
When you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to focus your training options. Considering that there are numerous electrician trade and vocational schools in the Troy AL region, it’s imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The initial two that we mentioned 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 important when making your determination, there are other factors that must be considered as well. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess before selecting an electrical technical school.
Accreditation. A large number of electrician technical programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Confirm that the Troy AL school and program 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 get a quality education, it may assist 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 be approved for licensing.
High Completion and Placement Rates. Ask the electrician training programs you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate might signify that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It could also signify that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which can result in 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 an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to help Troy AL graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many electrician technical programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of electrical contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with Troy AL area electricians or electrical contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed 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 tech you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Troy AL electrical company if they can give you some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Troy home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much personalized training 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 students and teachers. Talk with a few of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Troy AL, confirm that the programs you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Troy AL?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Troy AL area.
Between the years of 1763 and 1783, the area where Troy sits was part of the colony of British West Florida. After 1783 the region fell under the jurisdiction of the newly created United States of America.
As of the 2010 census, the population was 18,033. The 2016 estimated population was 19,191. The City of Troy is considered one of the fastest growing cities in Alabama. Troy is a college town and is home to Troy University, the third-largest university in total enrollment in the state of Alabama.
For many centuries, the area in and around Troy was settled by different tribes of Native Americans, but became primarily known for its Muskogee Creek presence. Most Creek tribes lived along rivers or streams at that time. Near the Troy area, many Native Americans settled around the Conecuh River and the Pea River.
Enroll in the Right Electrical Technical School near Troy AL
Selecting the right electrical trade school will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any electrical training that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every training program offers different options for certification also. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you select is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new trade as a professional electrician in Troy AL.
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