How to Become an Electrician in Ashland Alabama
The initial step to learning to be an electrical tradesman or contractor is enrolling in an electrician trade school near Ashland AL. But with so many vocational schools to pick from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the best one? Particularly because there are a number of points to consider. For example, many prospective students will begin by looking for schools that are nearby their home. After they have located some that are within driving range, they will select the one with the least expensive tuition. Although cost and location are of importance, they are not the only qualifications that must be evaluated. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifications should contribute toward your ultimate decision when picking an electrician training school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this article. But to begin with, let’s review a little bit about becoming an electrician and the educational options that are offered.
Electrician Degree, Certificate and Diploma Programs near Ashland AL
There are several ways to receive electrician instruction in a vocational or trade school near Ashland AL. You may choose a certificate or diploma program, or receive an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are obtainable at some schools, but are not as common as the first three alternatives. Frequently these programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship, which are required by the majority of states in order to become licensed or if you would like to earn certification. Following are brief summaries of the three most common programs offered.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by Alabama technical and trade schools and require about a year to complete. They furnish a solid foundation and are geared towards students who wish to get into an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees involve two years to complete and are offered by Alabama junior or community colleges, usually as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They furnish a more extensive education while supplying the foundation that readies students to enter into their apprenticeship program.
As previously mentioned, Bachelor’s Degrees are available at certain Alabama colleges, but are less preferred at four years than the other briefer programs. The majority of states require that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and in most cases four years be completed before licensing. Because of that, most students are eager to start their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not part of their academic program.
Electrician Certification and Licensing Prerequisites
Electricians in Ashland AL can carry out a vast array of duties, including installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and making sure that the wiring in houses and buildings are up to code standards. After finishing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to become licensed in most municipalities and states. The duration of apprenticeship differs by state, but commonly about four to five years of prior experience is required in order to take the licensing exam. The exams usually assess electrical theory and general knowledge, in addition to understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also a voluntary method for an electrician to distinguish him or herself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications offered differ by state and may be obtained in numerous specialties, including cable splicing as an example. The certification procedure 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 tech school that you choose not only furnishes a strong educational foundation, but also helps prep you for passing any certification and licensing exams that you might need to pass in the future.
Attending Electrician Training Classes Online in Ashland AL
An option that you may have looked at is choosing an electrician online program to earn a certificate or degree. Even though online training programs have become more prevalent as a means of attending class without the need for travel, in this instance they are not completely internet based. Just about all electrician schools require partial attendance on-campus to get hands-on practical training. But since the balance of the classes may be attended online, internet learning may be a more accommodating option for individuals that have minimal time for schooling. And as a bonus many online schools have a lower tuition cost compared to their on-campus competitors. Commuting expenses from Ashland AL are also reduced and some of the study materials can be accessed on line as well. All of these benefits can make electrician online trade schools more affordable and accessible. And many are fully accredited, which we will deal with in our due diligence checklist.
What to Ask Electrician Trade Schools
When you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to focus your training options. Because there are so many electrician vocational and trade schools in the Ashland AL region, it’s essential to have a checklist of criteria that each program must satisfy. The initial two that we discussed were location and tuition expense. If you are interested in earning an degree online, then that must be a feature that your final school offers. And while all three qualifiers may be crucial when making your determination, there are other factors that need to be considered also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to analyze prior to choosing an electrical vocational school.
Accreditation. Numerous electrician technical programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Make sure that the Ashland 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 guarantee that you acquire a quality education, it can assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, a number of states require that the electrician training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing.
High Completion and Placement Rates. Ask the electrician schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate could signify that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It could also indicate that the teachers were not competent 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 produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist Ashland AL grads secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous 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 electrical contractors or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with Ashland AL area electricians or electrical companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the electrical technician you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Ashland AL electrical contracting company if they can provide some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Ashland home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk with several of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees 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 in the evening or on weekends near Ashland AL, verify that the programs you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Ashland AL?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Ashland AL area.
Clay County was formed by an act of the Alabama General Assembly on December 7, 1866. Less than a year later, Ashland was established as the county seat on land donated by Hollingsworth Watts for the construction of a courthouse. Ashland was incorporated in 1871 and was named for 19th century statesman Henry Clay's Kentucky estate home.
During the early years, the town grew very rapidly. The town continued to grow with the opening of Alabama's first graphite mine in 1899. When World War I ended, the market for graphite dropped drastically, thus ending the town's growth phase.
The 1930s brought the Great Depression and boll weevil to Ashland that destroyed the cotton industry. Farmers were forced to abandon what had been the community's major industry. Timber, poultry, and cabinet making became the dominant industries by the beginning of the 21st century.
Select the Ideal Electrician Trade School near Ashland AL
Choosing the right electrical trade school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It’s a must that any electrician tech school that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every program provides different possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you select is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional electrician in Ashland AL.
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