How to Become an Electrician in Lancaster California
The first step to learning to be an electrical contractor or tradesman is finding an electrician trade school near Lancaster CA. But with numerous vocational schools to select from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly because there are so many points to consider. For instance, some students will start by searching for schools that are nearby their residence. When they have identified a few that are within commuting distance, they will decide on the one with the least expensive tuition. While cost and location are of importance, they are not the only things that need to be evaluated. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should contribute toward your ultimate decision when selecting an electrician trade school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this article. But first, let’s review a little bit about becoming an electrician and the instructional choices that are available.
Electrician Degree, Certificate and Diploma Options near Lancaster CA
There are multiple options to get electrician instruction in a trade or technical school near Lancaster CA. You may enroll in a certificate or diploma program, or obtain an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are available at certain schools, but are not as prevalent as the other three alternatives. In many cases these programs are offered together with an apprenticeship program, which are mandated by most states in order to become licensed or if you want to earn certification. Following are brief summaries of the three most prevalent programs offered.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally provided by California vocational and trade schools and take about a year to complete. They furnish a solid foundation and are aimed towards students who want to enter an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs take 2 years to complete and are offered by California junior or community colleges, commonly as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They furnish a more well-rounded education while supplying the foundation that readies students to join their apprenticeship program.
As earlier mentioned, Bachelor’s Degree programs are available at some California colleges, but are less preferred at four years than the other shorter programs. Most states require that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and more typically 4 years be completed before licensing. For that reason, most students are eager to start their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not part of their academic program.
Electrician License and Certification Guidelines
Electricians in Lancaster CA can perform a multitude of duties, such as testing, installing and replacing electrical systems, and making sure that the wiring in buildings and homes are up to code standards. After concluding an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to be licensed in most municipalities and states. The length of apprenticeship differs by state, but usually about four to five years of practical experience is needed in order to take the licensing examination. The exams typically evaluate electrical theory and general knowledge, as well as understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also an optional means for an electrician to differentiate him or herself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications available differ by state and may be earned in several specialties, including 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 organizations include the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (NJATC) as well as the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s crucial that the electrician vocational school that you choose not only delivers a solid educational foundation, but also helps prep you for passing any licensing and certification examinations that you may be required to pass in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Schools Online in Lancaster CA
An alternative that you might have considered is enrolling in an electrician online school to earn a degree or a certificate. Although online training programs are becoming more popular as a means of attending class without the need for travel, in this case they are not entirely internet based. Pretty much all electrician schools require some attendance on campus to obtain hands-on practical training. But since the rest of the classes may be accessed online, internet learning might be a more practical alternative for students that have limited time for education. And as a bonus numerous online degree programs have a reduced tuition cost compared to their on campus counterparts. Travelling expenses from Lancaster CA are also reduced and some of the study materials may be accessed online also. All of these advantages can make electrician online tech schools more economical and accessible. And a number are fully accredited, which we will discuss in our questions to ask checklist.
Things to Ask Electrician Training Schools
Once you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to focus your school options. Considering that there are so many electrician vocational and trade schools in the Lancaster CA area, it’s imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each program must satisfy. The first 2 that we discussed were location and tuition expense. If you are interested in earning an online degree, then that must be a feature that your chosen school offers. And even though all three qualifiers may be critical when making your decision, there are additional variables that must be considered also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to assess before choosing an electrical vocational school.
Accreditation. Many electrician trade programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Confirm that the Lancaster CA school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you obtain a superior education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, some states require that the electrician training course 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 of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate might signify that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It could also indicate that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist Lancaster CA students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many electrician technical programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrician businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with Lancaster CA area electricians or electrical companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are already 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 Lancaster CA electrical contractor if they can give you some suggestions. Also bear in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Lancaster residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger 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 teachers and students. Speak to some of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Lancaster CA, check that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, ask 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 Lancaster CA?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Lancaster CA area.
Lancaster /ˈlæn.kæstər/ is a charter city in northern Los Angeles County, in the Antelope Valley of the western Mojave Desert in Southern California. As of 2013, Lancaster was the 31st largest city in California. Lancaster is part of a twin city complex with its southern neighbor Palmdale and together they are the principal cities within the Antelope Valley region.
Lancaster is located approximately 61 miles (98 km) north (by highway) of downtown Los Angeles, near the Kern County line. It is separated from the Los Angeles Basin by the San Gabriel Mountains to the south, and from Bakersfield and the San Joaquin Valley by the Tehachapi Mountains to the north. The population of Lancaster grew from 37,000 at the time of its incorporation in 1977 to over 156,000 in 2010. According to the Greater Antelope Valley Economic Alliance report of 2015, Lancaster has a population of 168,049.
The area where Lancaster is now located, known as the Antelope Valley, was originally home to the Paiute Indians. Lancaster's origins as a settlement start with the Southern Pacific Railroad, which is believed to first use the name Lancaster, where a station house, locomotive watering facilities and section gang housing were built when the railroad laid track through the town's future location. In 1876 the Southern Pacific completed the line through the Antelope Valley, linking San Francisco and Los Angeles. The origin of Lancaster's name is unclear, attributed variously to the surname of a railroad station clerk, the moniker given by railroad officials, or the former Pennsylvania home (Lancaster, Pennsylvania) of unknown settlers. Train service brought passengers through the water-stop-turned-community, which, with the help of promotional literature, attracted new settlers. The person credited with formally developing the town is Moses Langley Wicks, who in 1884 bought property from the railroad for $2.50 per acre, mapped out a town with streets and lots, and by September was advertising 160-acre tracts of land for $6 an acre. The following year, the Lancaster News started publication, making it the first weekly newspaper in the Antelope Valley. By 1890, Lancaster was bustling and booming, and thanks to adequate rainfall, farmers planted and sold thousands of acres of wheat and barley.
Find the Right Electrical Trade School near Lancaster CA
Choosing the right electrician trade school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a must that any electrical training that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each training program provides unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new career as a professional electrician in Lancaster CA.
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