How to Become an Electrician in Lafayette California
The first step to learning to be an electrical contractor or tradesman is finding an electrician trade school near Lafayette CA. But with numerous vocational schools to select 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 examine. For example, some prospective students will commence by looking for schools that are close to their residence. When they have found a few that are within driving distance, they will pick the one with the least expensive tuition. Even though cost and location are of importance, they are not the only things that should be examined. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should help mold your ultimate decision when choosing an electrician trade school. We will talk about that checklist in more detail later in this post. But to begin with, let’s talk a little bit about becoming an electrician and the educational options that are offered.
Electrician Certificate, Diploma and Degree Options near Lafayette CA
There are several approaches to get electrician instruction in a trade or technical school near Lafayette CA. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program, or receive an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at a few schools, but are not as common as the first three options. In many cases these programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program, which are required by most states in order to become licensed or if you intend to become certified. Bellow are brief descriptions of the 3 most typical programs available.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are typically provided by California vocational and trade schools and require approximately a year to finish. They provide a good foundation and are aimed towards individuals who want to enter an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees involve 2 years to complete and are provided by California community colleges, usually as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They offer a more well-rounded education while providing the foundation that prepares students to join their apprenticeship program.
As earlier stated, Bachelor’s Degree programs are accessible at some California institutions, but are less popular at 4 years than the other briefer programs. Many states mandate that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and more typically 4 years be performed before licensing. Therefore, most students are eager to start their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not a component of their academic program.
Electrician License and Certification Prerequisites
Electricians in Lafayette CA can undertake a vast array of tasks, such as installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and making sure 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 length of apprenticeship differs by state, but commonly about 4 to 5 years of practical experience is required in order to take the licensing examination. The exams commonly evaluate electrical theory and general knowledge, as well as 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 earned in many specialties, such as 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) along with the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s important that the electrician vocational school that you select not only provides a strong educational foundation, but also helps prepare you for passing any licensing and certification examinations that you might need to pass in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Programs Online in Lafayette CA
An option that you may have contemplated is choosing an online electrician program to earn a certificate or degree. Even though online schools have become more accepted as a means of attending class without the need for travel, in this situation they are not completely internet based. Pretty much all electrician training programs require partial attendance on-campus to receive hands-on practical training. But since the remainder of the classes can be accessed online, internet learning may be a more accommodating option for students that have minimal time for schooling. And as a bonus many online degree programs have a lower tuition cost compared to their on-campus counterparts. Travelling expenses from Lafayette CA are also reduced and a portion of the study materials can be available online also. Each of these advantages can make online electrician trade schools more economical and convenient. And many are fully accredited, which we will address in our due diligence checklist.
Questions to Ask Electrician Vocational Schools
When you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to refine your school options. Considering that there are numerous electrician tech and trade schools in the Lafayette CA area, it’s imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The initial 2 that we talked about were location and tuition expense. If you have an interest in earning an online degree, then that must be a feature that your chosen school offers. And while all three qualifiers may be crucial when making your decision, there are additional factors that need to be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to research prior to selecting an electrical vocational school.
Accreditation. Many electrician vocational programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Verify that the Lafayette CA school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you acquire a superior education, it can assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of 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 looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate might indicate that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It might also signify that the teachers were not qualified 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 broader list of graduates, which may mean 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 a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist Lafayette CA grads secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous electrician training programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrician businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with Lafayette CA area electricians or electrical companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional 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 using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the electrical technician you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Lafayette CA electrical company if they can give you some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Lafayette home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to several of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Lafayette CA, verify that the programs you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Lafayette CA?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Lafayette CA area.
Lafayette (formerly, La Fayette) is a city in Contra Costa County, California, United States. As of 2011, the city's population was estimated to be 24,285. It was named after the Marquis de La Fayette, a French military hero of the American Revolutionary War. Today Lafayette is known for its pastoral rolling hills, good schools, and wealthy inhabitants. In 2016, the median household income in Lafayette was over $140,000, more than twice the statewide average and about two and half times the national median.
Before the colonization of the region by Spain, Lafayette and its vicinity were inhabited by the Saclan tribe of the indigenous Bay Miwok. Ohlone also populated some of the areas along Lafayette Creek. The indigenous inhabitants' first contact with Europeans was in the late 18th century with the founding of Catholic missions in the region. These initial contacts developed into conflict, with years of armed struggle, including a battle on what is currently Lafayette soil in 1797 between the Saclan and the Spanish, and eventually resulting in the subjugation of the native population.
Most of what is currently Lafayette was given as a Mexican land grant, Rancho Acalanes to Candelario Valencia in 1834. The name Acalanes seems to have come from the name of a native village in the area, Ahala-n.
Select the Right Electrician Tech School near Lafayette CA
Choosing the right electrical trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any electrician training program that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each training program provides different options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you pick is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional electrician in Lafayette CA.
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