How to Become an Electrician in Anniston Alabama
The first step to becoming an electrical tradesman or contractor is enrolling in an electrician trade school near Anniston AL. But with numerous vocational schools to pick from, just how do you undertake making sure that you enroll in the best one? Especially since there are so many factors to consider. For instance, many potential students will start by searching for schools that are nearby their residence. When they have found a few that are within commuting distance, they will decide on the one with the least expensive tuition. While location and cost are important, they are not the sole qualifications that must be examined. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, 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 greater detail later in this post. But first, let’s review a little bit about becoming an electrician and the educational choices that are available.
Electrician Degree, Certificate and Diploma Programs near Anniston AL
There are multiple options to obtain electrician instruction in a technical or vocational school near Anniston AL. You may select a diploma or certificate program, or obtain an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are available at a few schools, but are not as prevalent as the other three options. Frequently these programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program, which are required by the majority of states to be licensed or if you would like to become certified. Following are short explanations of the 3 most prevalent programs available.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are typically offered by Alabama vocational and trade schools and take about a year to complete. They furnish a solid foundation and are aimed towards students who want to get into an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs involve 2 years to complete and are offered by Alabama junior or community colleges, commonly as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They provide a more extensive education while providing the foundation that readies students to begin their apprenticeship program.
As earlier stated, Bachelor’s Degree programs are accessible at some Alabama institutions, but are less popular at four 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 prior to licensing. For that reason, the majority of students are eager to start their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not part of their academic program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Requirements
Electricians in Anniston AL can perform a multitude of tasks, such as installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and ensuring that the wiring in buildings and homes comply with code standards. After completing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to be licensed in most states or municipalities. The duration of apprenticeship differs by state, but usually around 4 to 5 years of experience is needed in order to take the licensing exam. The exams usually assess electrical theory and general knowledge, as well as knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also an optional means for an electrician to identify him or herself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications available vary by state and may be earned in several specializations, including cable splicing as an example. The certification process usually involves 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) and also the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s crucial that the electrician trade school that you choose not only delivers a solid academic foundation, but also helps ready you for passing any licensing and certification exams that you might be required to pass in the future.
Attending Electrician Online Schools in Anniston AL
An option that you may have contemplated is selecting an online electrician program to earn a degree or a certificate. While 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. Just about all electrician training programs require some attendance on-campus to obtain practical hands-on training. But since the balance of the classes can be accessed online, internet learning can be a more accommodating alternative for individuals that have limited time for schooling. And as an added benefit many online degree programs have a lower tuition cost compared to their on campus competitors. Driving costs from Anniston AL are also reduced and some of the study materials may be available on line also. Each of these advantages can make online electrician vocational schools more affordable and convenient. And many are fully accredited, which we will discuss in our due diligence checklist.
Topics to Ask Electrician Vocational Schools
When you have decided to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to focus your school options. Since there are so many electrician vocational and trade schools in the Anniston AL area, it’s essential to have a checklist of criteria that each school must satisfy. The initial 2 that we talked about were location and tuition expense. If you are interested in earning an online degree, then that must be an option that your chosen school offers. And even though all three qualifiers may be critical when making your decision, there are additional factors that need to be considered as well. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to assess prior to choosing an electrical vocational school.
Accreditation. Many electrician technical programs have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire 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. Make sure that the Anniston AL school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you receive a superior education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many states mandate that the electrician training program be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion and Placement Rates. Ask the electrician training programs you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate might signify that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It may also mean that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s also important 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 use 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 field, but also that it has the network of contacts to help Anniston AL students obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most electrician trade programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of electrician businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with Anniston AL area electricians or electrical specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure 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 already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the electrical tech you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Anniston AL electrical company if they can give you some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within commuting distance of your Anniston home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak to several of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the teachers and find out 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 assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Anniston AL, verify that the programs you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers 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 Anniston AL?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Anniston AL area.
Anniston is a city in Calhoun County in the state of Alabama. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 23,106. According to 2013 Census estimates, the city had a population of 22,666. The city is the county seat of Calhoun County and one of two urban centers/principal cities of and included in the Anniston-Oxford Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Though the surrounding area was settled much earlier, the mineral resources in the area of Anniston were not exploited until the Civil War. The Confederate States of America then operated an iron furnace near present-day downtown Anniston, until it was finally destroyed by raiding Union cavalry in early 1865. Later, cast iron for sewer systems became the focus of Anniston's industrial output. Cast iron pipe, also called soil pipe, was popular until the advent of plastic pipe in the 1960s.
In 1872, the Woodstock Iron Company, organized by Samuel Noble and Union Gen. Daniel Tyler, rebuilt the furnace on a much larger scale, as well as started a planned community named Woodstock but later renamed "Annie's Town" for Annie Scott Tyler, wife of railroad president Alfred L. Tyler. This was soon changed to Anniston. Anniston was chartered as a town in 1873.
Choose the Ideal Electrical Technical School near Anniston AL
Choosing the best electrical trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a necessity that any electrical training program that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every program offers unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you pick is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional electrician in Anniston AL.
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