How to Become an Electrician in Chico California
The first step to learning to be an electrical tradesman or contractor is finding an electrician trade school near Chico CA. But with so many technical schools to pick from, just how do you undertake making certain that you enroll in the best one? Especially because there are a number of factors to consider. For instance, some students will begin by looking for schools that are close to their residence. When they have found several that are within commuting distance, they will pick the one with the lowest tuition. Even though location and cost are of importance, they are not the sole qualifications that should be evaluated. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should help mold your ultimate judgment when selecting an electrician school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this post. But to begin with, let’s talk a little bit about being an electrician and the instructional choices that are offered.
Electrician Degree, Diploma and Certificate Programs near Chico CA
There are three general options to get electrician instruction in a vocational or trade school near Chico CA. You can choose a certificate or diploma program, or obtain an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are obtainable at some schools, but are not as common as the first three alternatives. Often these programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program, which are required by the majority of states in order to be licensed or if you intend to become certified. Following are short summaries of the 3 most typical programs available.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by California vocational and trade schools and require about a year to finish. They furnish a good foundation and are aimed towards students who would like to enter an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs take two years to complete and are offered by California junior or community colleges, usually as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They offer a more comprehensive education while providing the foundation that prepares students to begin their apprenticeship program.
As earlier stated, Bachelor’s Degree programs are offered at some California institutions, but are less preferred at four years than the other shorter programs. The majority of states require that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and in most cases 4 years be carried out prior to licensing. Therefore, most students are anxious to begin their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not part of their academic program.
Electrician Certification and Licensing Criteria
Electricians in Chico CA can perform a wide range of services, such as installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and making sure that the wiring in buildings and homes are up to code standards. After completing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to be licensed in the majority of municipalities and states. The duration of apprenticeship varies by state, but typically around 4 to 5 years of experience is needed before taking the licensing exam. The exams usually assess general knowledge and electrical theory, along with understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also an optional way for an electrician to identify her or himself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications available differ by state and may be acquired in various specializations, such as cable splicing as an example. The certification procedure usually 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 tech school that you choose not only furnishes a solid academic foundation, but also helps ready you for passing any certification and licensing exams that you might be required to take in the future.
Attending Electrician Online Training Classes in Chico CA
An alternative that you may have looked at is choosing 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 needing to travel, in this case they are not totally internet based. Virtually all electrician training programs require partial attendance on-campus to obtain practical hands-on training. But since the balance of the classes may be attended online, internet learning can be a more practical alternative for individuals that have limited time for education. And as an added benefit numerous online training programs have a reduced tuition cost compared to their on campus counterparts. Travelling costs from Chico CA are also minimized and a portion of the study materials may be accessed on line as well. All of these advantages can make online electrician trade schools more affordable and accessible. And a number are fully accredited, which we will address in our due diligence checklist.
Topics to Ask Electrician Tech Schools
Now that you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to narrow down your school options. Because there are so many electrician vocational and trade schools in the Chico CA area, it’s essential to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The initial 2 that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. If you are interested in earning an online degree, then that needs to be an option that your chosen school offers. And while all three qualifiers may be crucial when making your determination, there are other factors that need to be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to assess prior to selecting an electrical tech school.
Accreditation. A large number of electrician trade programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Verify that the Chico CA school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you receive a quality education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states mandate that the electrician training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion and Placement Rates. Ask the electrician schools you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate might indicate that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It could also suggest that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist Chico CA students obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of electrician training 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 electrician contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have working relationships with Chico CA area electricians or electrical professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools 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 specialist you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Chico CA electrical contracting company if they can give you some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Chico residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Talk with a few of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Chico CA, check that the programs you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Chico CA?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Chico CA area.
Chico is the most populous city in Butte County, California, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 86,187, reflecting an increase of 26,233 from the 59,954 counted in the 2000 Census. The city is a cultural, economic, and educational center of the northern Sacramento Valley and home to both California State University, Chico and Bidwell Park, the country's 26th largest municipal park and the 13th largest municipally-owned park. Bidwell Park makes up over 17% of the city.
Other cities in close proximity to the Chico Metropolitan Area (population 212,000) include Paradise and Oroville, while local towns and villages (unincorporated areas) include Durham, Cohasset, Dayton, Nord, and Forest Ranch. The Chico Metropolitan Area is the 14th largest Metropolitan Statistical Area in California.
The original inhabitants of the area now known as Chico were the Mechoopda Maidu Native Americans. The City of Chico was founded in 1860 by John Bidwell, a member of one of the first wagon trains to reach California in 1843. During the American Civil War, Camp Bidwell (named for John Bidwell, by then a Brigadier General of the California Militia), was established a mile outside Chico, by Lt. Col. A. E. Hooker with a company of cavalry and two of infantry, on August 26, 1863.
Find the Ideal Electrician Trade School near Chico CA
Picking the best electrician training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any electrical training that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers different options for certification also. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the final result will be a new trade as a professional electrician in Chico CA.
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