How to Become an Electrician in Lakeside California
The first step to becoming an electrical contractor or tradesman is enrolling in an electrician trade school near Lakeside CA. But with so many technical schools to pick from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the right one? Particularly because there are a number of variables to evaluate. For example, many students will commence by looking for schools that are nearby their residence. Once they have found several that are within driving distance, they will choose the one with the least expensive tuition. Even though location and cost are important, they are not the sole qualifications that should be examined. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifiers should help mold your ultimate decision when picking an electrician training school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit about becoming an electrician and the educational options that are accessible.
Electrician Diploma, Certificate and Degree Options near Lakeside CA
There are multiple options to receive electrician training in a vocational or trade school near Lakeside CA. You can select 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 other three alternatives. Frequently these programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship, which are mandated by the majority of states in order to become licensed or if you wish to earn certification. Following are brief explanations of the 3 most typical programs available.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are typically provided by California trade and technical schools and require about a year to complete. They furnish a good foundation and are aimed towards those who would like to enter an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs involve two years to finish and are provided by California junior or community colleges, typically as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They furnish a more well-rounded education while providing the foundation that prepares students to enter into their apprenticeship program.
As earlier mentioned, Bachelor’s Degrees are available at some California institutions, but are less favored at 4 years than the other shorter programs. Most states mandate that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and in most cases four years be performed before licensing. For that reason, many students are anxious to commence their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not a component of their academic program.
Electrician License and Certification Requirements
Electricians in Lakeside CA can undertake a wide range of tasks, such as testing, installing and replacing electrical systems, and ensuring that the wiring in buildings and homes are up to code standards. After concluding an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to become licensed in most states or municipalities. The period of apprenticeship differs by state, but generally around 4 to 5 years of practical experience is required in order to take the licensing examination. The exams typically test general knowledge and electrical theory, in addition to knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also an optional means for an electrician to identify her or himself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications available vary by state and may be acquired in several specialties, such as cable splicing as an example. The certification process in most cases includes 3 levels of proficiency:
- 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 imperative that the electrician trade school that you pick not only provides a solid educational foundation, but also helps prep you for passing any licensing and certification exams that you may need to pass in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Programs Online in Lakeside CA
An option that you may have looked at is choosing an online electrician school to earn a certificate or degree. Although online schools are becoming more popular as a way of attending class without needing to travel, in this case they are not completely internet based. Just about all electrician schools require partial attendance on-campus to receive practical hands-on training. But since the remainder of the classes can be attended online, internet learning may be a more convenient option for students that have minimal time for education. And as a bonus numerous online training programs have a reduced tuition cost compared to their traditional alternatives. Driving expenses from Lakeside CA are also minimized and a portion of the study materials can be available online as well. All of these benefits can make electrician online trade schools more economical and accessible. And a number are fully accredited, which we will discuss in our due diligence checklist.
What to Ask Electrician Technical Schools
Once you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to focus your training options. Because there are so many electrician tech and trade schools in the Lakeside CA region, it’s important to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The first two that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. If you are interested in earning an degree online, then that needs to be a feature that your final school offers. And although all three qualifiers may be critical when making your decision, there are additional variables that need to be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to analyze before choosing an electrical vocational school.
Accreditation. Numerous electrician trade schools have earned 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 certain that the Lakeside CA school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you acquire an excellent education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, some states mandate that the electrician training course be accredited in order 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 percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate may signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It could also mean that the teachers were not qualified 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 broader list of alumni, which can result in 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 industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist Lakeside CA students obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of electrician training programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of electrical businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with Lakeside CA area electricians or electrical specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the electrical technician you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Lakeside CA electrical contractor if they can give you some pointers. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Lakeside residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with several of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Lakeside CA, verify that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, check 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 Lakeside CA?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Lakeside CA area.
Lakeside was founded in 1886 when 6,600 acres of land surrounding the naturally occurring Lindo Lake were purchased by the El Cajon Valley Land Company, who immediately began to promote the new land as a town and built an 80-room Victorian-style inn, the Lakeside Hotel, at a cost of $50,000 (approximately $1,220,000 today). Three years later, in 1889, Lakeside became connected to the railroad system, and small businesses began to spring up, firmly establishing Lakeside as a bustling community. In 1904, John H. Gay bought the Lakeside Hotel and fenced off the park surrounding Lindo Lake, claiming both as part of his estate. He then proceeded to construct an automobile and horse racetrack around the lake, which became famous when Barney Oldfield set a new land speed record when visiting for the track's opening in 1907. The inn and racetrack became a popular gathering place for millionaires and celebrities and consistently drew large crowds by train to watch the races held there, but both were demolished per Gay's wishes at his death in 1920.
Lakeside has long held a reputation as a "cowboy town" and "rodeo town," due to the rural setting, the prevalence of ranches and the abundant horse ownership in the area, as well as hosting an 8-acre (32,000 m2) permanent rodeo facility, the Lakeside Rodeo Grounds. The venue is manned and maintained by the El Capitan Stadium Association, an all-volunteer group who aims to assist and support the youth of Lakeside by donating all proceeds from facility rentals to local sports and service, as well as education grants. Notable rodeos include the PRCA-sanctioned Lakeside Rodeo, part of their California circuit and usually occurring on the last weekend in April, regularly drawing over 20,000 observers to the arena, as well as the Lakeside Optimists' Bulls Only Rodeo in July.
Many social and service groups are very active in Lakeside including VFW, Elks, Optimist, Soroptimist, 4-H, FFA, Boys and Girls Club, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps, youth soccer, baseball and football leagues, and the Cactus Park BMX track. The U.S. Navy maintains two large housing sites for military dependents in the town.
Choose the Ideal Electrician Technical School near Lakeside CA
Picking the best electrician training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any electrical training that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world context, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every training program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you select is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the final result will be a new trade as a professional electrician in Lakeside CA.
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