How to Become an Electrician in Los Gatos California
The first step to learning to be an electrical tradesman or contractor is enrolling in an electrician trade school near Los Gatos CA. But with so many technical schools to select from, just how do you tackle making certain that you enroll in the best one? Particularly since there are so many factors to evaluate. For instance, some students will start by searching for schools that are nearby their residence. Once they have located several that are within driving range, they will choose the one with the cheapest tuition. Even though cost and location are of importance, they are not the sole factors that need to be evaluated. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should influence your ultimate judgment when picking an electrician school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this post. But to begin with, let’s review a little bit about being an electrician and the training options that are accessible.
Electrician Degree, Diploma and Certificate Options near Los Gatos CA
There are three general options to receive electrician instruction in a vocational or trade school near Los Gatos CA. You may choose a certificate or diploma program, or obtain an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are obtainable at certain schools, but are not as prevalent as the other three options. In many cases these programs are made available together with an apprenticeship, which are mandated by most states in order to become licensed or if you intend to become certified. Bellow are brief explanations of the three most prevalent programs offered.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally provided by California trade and technical schools and take about a year to complete. They provide a good foundation and are geared towards students who wish to enter an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees require 2 years to complete and are offered by California junior or community colleges, typically as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They furnish a more comprehensive education while providing the foundation that readies students to begin their apprenticeship program.
As previously mentioned, Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at certain California institutions, but are less popular at four years than the other shorter programs. The majority of states require that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and more typically four years be carried out before licensing. For that reason, most students are anxious to start their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not a component of their academic program.
Electrician Certification and Licensing Requirements
Electricians in Los Gatos CA can perform a multitude of functions, including testing, installing and replacing electrical systems, and ensuring 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 period of apprenticeship varies by state, but generally around four to five years of practical experience is required in order to take the licensing examination. The exams usually assess general knowledge and electrical theory, along with knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also a voluntary method for an electrician to distinguish her or himself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications available vary by state and can be earned in several specialties, such as cable splicing as an example. The certification process in most cases includes three 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 important that the electrician tech school that you enroll in not only furnishes a strong educational foundation, but also helps prep you for passing any licensing and certification examinations that you may be required to take in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Training Classes Online in Los Gatos CA
An option that you may have contemplated is choosing an electrician online program to earn a degree or a certificate. Even though online training programs have become more accepted as a way of attending class without the need for travel, in this situation they are not totally internet based. Virtually all electrician schools require some attendance on campus to get hands-on practical training. But since the remainder of the classes may be attended online, internet learning may be a more practical alternative for students that have limited time for schooling. And as an added benefit numerous online training programs have a reduced tuition cost compared to their on campus competitors. Commuting costs from Los Gatos CA are also reduced and some of the study materials may be available on line as well. All of these advantages can make online electrician vocational schools more economical and accessible. And a number are fully accredited, which we will deal with in our due diligence checklist.
Things to Ask Electrician Technical Schools
Once you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to focus your training options. Since there are numerous electrician tech and trade schools in the Los Gatos CA area, it’s important to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The initial 2 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 an option that your final school offers. And while all three qualifiers may be important when making your decision, there are other factors that need to be considered also. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess before choosing an electrical tech school.
Accreditation. Many electrician trade schools have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Verify that the Los Gatos CA school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, 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 training programs you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate may suggest that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It could also mean that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which can result in more contacts for the school to utilize 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 help Los Gatos CA grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of electrician technical 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 within their network of electrician contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with Los Gatos CA area electricians or electrical professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure 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, consult with the electrical specialist you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Los Gatos CA electrical company if they can provide some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Los Gatos residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with some of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Los Gatos CA, verify that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Los Gatos CA?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Los Gatos CA area.
Los Gatos, California
Los Gatos /lɒs ˈɡɑːtəs/ (Spanish for "The Cats") is an incorporated town in Santa Clara County, California, United States. The population is 30,391 according to the 2013 United States Census Bureau. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Los Gatos is ranked the 33rd wealthiest city in the United States. It is located in the San Francisco Bay Area at the southwest corner of San Jose in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Los Gatos is part of Silicon Valley, with several high technology companies maintaining a presence there. Most notably, streaming and content creator, Netflix is headquartered in Los Gatos and has developed a large presence in the area.
Los Gatos is Spanish for "the cats." The name derives from the 1839 Alta California land-grant that encompassed the area, which was called La Rinconada de Los Gatos, ("Cat's Corner"), where "the cats" refers to the cougars and bobcats that are indigenous to the foothills in which the town is located. The name has been anglicized to /lɔːs ˈɡætəs/ lawss-GAT-əs, although one also hears pronunciations truer to the original Spanish, /loʊsˈɡɑːtoʊs/ lohss-GAH-tohss.
The town's founding dates to the mid-1850s with the building of a flour operation, Forbes Mill, by James Alexander Forbes along Los Gatos Creek. The mill's two-story stone storage annex has been preserved as a museum just off of Main Street.
Pick the Ideal Electrical Technical School near Los Gatos CA
Selecting the ideal electrical trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any electrical training program that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each training program provides different options for certification also. Probably the best way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional electrician in Los Gatos CA.
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