How to Become an Electrician in Valley Alabama
The initial step to learning to be an electrical contractor or tradesman is locating an electrician trade school near Valley AL. But with so many vocational schools to pick from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the right one? Particularly since there are a number of points to consider. For example, many students will begin by searching for schools that are nearby their home. When they have found a few that are within commuting distance, they will select the one with the most affordable tuition. Even though cost and location are of importance, they are not the sole qualifications that need to be evaluated. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should contribute toward your final judgment when picking an electrician trade school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this post. But to begin with, let’s review a little bit about becoming an electrician and the educational options that are accessible.
Electrician Certificate, Diploma and Degree Programs near Valley AL
There are several ways to obtain electrician instruction in a trade or technical school near Valley AL. You may enroll in a certificate or diploma program, or earn an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are available at certain schools, but are not as common as the first three alternatives. Frequently these programs are made available combined with an apprenticeship, which are mandated by the majority of states in order to be licensed or if you would like to earn certification. Following are short summaries of the three most typical programs available.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are typically offered by Alabama technical and trade schools and require about a year to complete. They furnish a good foundation and are aimed towards students who wish to join an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees involve 2 years to complete and are provided by Alabama community colleges, usually as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They furnish a more well-rounded education while providing the foundation that prepares students to begin their apprenticeship program.
As earlier mentioned, Bachelor’s Degree programs are accessible at some Alabama institutions, but are less favored at four years than the other shorter programs. Most states require that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and more typically 4 years be performed before licensing. Therefore, most students are eager to begin their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not a component of their academic program.
Electrician License and Certification Guidelines
Electricians in Valley AL can undertake a wide range of functions, such as installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and ensuring 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 municipalities and states. The period of apprenticeship differs by state, but usually around four to five years of experience is required in order to take the licensing exam. The exams typically assess electrical theory and general knowledge, along with knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also an optional method for an electrician to differentiate him or herself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications offered vary by state and can be acquired in numerous specializations, including cable splicing as an example. The certification process in most cases includes three 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 important that the electrician vocational school that you enroll in not only furnishes a solid academic foundation, but also helps prepare you for passing any certification and licensing exams that you may be required to pass in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Programs Online in Valley AL
An option that you might have considered is selecting an electrician online school to earn a degree or a certificate. Even though online training programs have become more popular as a way of attending class without the need for travel, in this situation they are not totally internet based. Virtually all electrician training programs require some attendance on-campus to obtain hands-on practical training. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended online, internet learning may be a more convenient alternative for students that have minimal time for education. And as a bonus many online degree programs have a reduced tuition cost compared to their on-campus counterparts. Commuting costs from Valley AL are also reduced and a portion of the study materials may be accessed on line also. All of these benefits can make electrician online vocational schools more affordable and convenient. And many are fully accredited, which we will discuss in our due diligence checklist.
Things to Ask Electrician Vocational Schools
When you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to focus your school options. Because there are numerous electrician vocational and trade schools in the Valley AL area, it’s essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The initial 2 that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. If you are interested in earning an degree online, then that must be a feature that your chosen school offers. And although all three qualifiers may be crucial when making your selection, there are other factors that need to be considered also. Below is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to assess prior to selecting an electrical vocational school.
Accreditation. Many electrician vocational schools have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Verify that the Valley AL school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you acquire an excellent education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, some states require that the electrician training program be accredited for it 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 portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate could indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It could also suggest that the instructors 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 directory of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help Valley AL students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of electrician technical programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of electrical businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working relationships with Valley AL area electricians or electrical specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus 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 presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the electrical specialist you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Valley AL electrical contractor if they can provide some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Valley home. Remember 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 receive as much one-on-one 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 witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak to a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, 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 programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Valley AL, verify that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Valley AL?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Valley AL area.
Chambers County, Alabama
Chambers County is a county of the U.S. state of Alabama. As of the 2010 census the population was 34,215. Its county seat is Lafayette. Its name is in honor of Henry H. Chambers, who served as a United States Senator from Alabama.
Chambers County joined its four mill cities to make the city of Valley (which is now the largest city). Valley is rapidly increasing in size and located between Montgomery, Alabama and Atlanta, Georgia.
As of the census of 2010, there were 34,215 people, 13,933 households, and 9,391 families residing in the county. The population density was 57 people per square mile (22/km2). There were 17,004 housing units at an average density of 28 per square mile (11/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 58.8% White (non-Hispanic), 38.7% Black or African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0.6% from other races, and 1.1% from two or more races. 1.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Choose the Ideal Electrical Tech School near Valley AL
Picking the best electrical training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a necessity that any electrical training program that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every program offers unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you select is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional electrician in Valley AL.
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