How to Become an Electrician in Berkeley Illinois
The initial step to learning to be an electrical tradesman or contractor is finding an electrician trade school near Berkeley IL. But with numerous technical schools to pick from, just how do you tackle making sure that you enroll in the best one? Particularly since there are a number of variables to evaluate. For example, some prospective students will begin by searching for schools that are close to their residence. Once they have identified several that are within driving range, they will pick the one with the cheapest tuition. Even though location and cost are important, they are not the only factors that need to be evaluated. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifiers should contribute toward your ultimate decision when choosing an electrician school. We will discuss that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let’s talk a little bit about being an electrician and the educational options that are offered.
Electrician Certificate, Diploma and Degree Options near Berkeley IL
There are three general ways to get electrician training in a trade or technical school near Berkeley IL. You may enroll in a diploma or certificate program, or obtain an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are available at certain schools, but are not as prevalent as the other three options. In many cases these programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship, which are required by most states to be licensed or if you intend to become certified. Following are brief summaries of the three most prevalent programs offered.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are typically offered by Illinois technical and trade schools and require approximately a year to complete. They provide a good foundation and are aimed towards those who wish to get into an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs require 2 years to complete and are offered by Illinois community colleges, commonly as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They furnish a more extensive education while supplying the foundation that prepares students to join their apprenticeship program.
As previously mentioned, Bachelor’s Degrees are available at certain Illinois institutions, but are less favored at four years than the other shorter programs. The majority of states mandate that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and more typically four years be performed prior to licensing. Therefore, many students are anxious to start their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not a component of their academic program.
Electrician License and Certification Guidelines
Electricians in Berkeley IL can undertake a multitude of tasks, such as testing, installing and replacing electrical systems, and making sure that the wiring in buildings and homes are up to code standards. After finishing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to become licensed in most states or municipalities. The duration of apprenticeship varies by state, but normally around 4 to 5 years of prior experience is called for in order to take the licensing exam. The exams commonly evaluate general knowledge and electrical theory, along with knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also an optional means for an electrician to identify him or herself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications available vary by state and may be obtained in various specialties, including cable splicing as an example. The certification process in most cases entails 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 crucial that the electrician tech school that you enroll in not only provides a solid educational foundation, but also helps prep you for passing any certification and licensing examinations that you might need to take in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Online Schools in Berkeley IL
A possibility that you might have considered is selecting an online electrician school to earn a degree or a certificate. Although online schools are becoming more popular as a way of attending class without the need for travel, in this situation they are not completely 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 can be accessed online, distance learning might be a more accommodating option for individuals that have limited time for education. And as an added benefit numerous online degree programs have a cheaper tuition cost compared to their on campus alternatives. Commuting costs from Berkeley IL are also reduced and a portion of the study materials can be available on line as well. Each of these benefits can make electrician online trade schools more affordable and convenient. And a number are fully accredited, which we will cover in our questions to ask checklist.
Questions to Ask Electrician Vocational Schools
When you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to focus your school options. Considering that there are numerous electrician trade and vocational schools in the Berkeley IL region, it’s imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The first two that we discussed were location and tuition expense. If you are interested in earning an degree online, then that must be an option that your chosen school offers. And even though all three qualifiers may be crucial when making your selection, there are other variables that need to be taken into account as well. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to analyze before selecting an electrical vocational school.
Accreditation. A large number of electrician trade programs have attained 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 Berkeley IL school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you acquire a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states require that the electrician training course be accredited in order 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 of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It could also suggest that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which can produce 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 trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist Berkeley IL students secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Many electrician trade programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of electrical contractors or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with Berkeley IL area electricians or electrical contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also provides 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 in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the electrical technician you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Berkeley IL electrical contracting company if they can give you some pointers. Also bear in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Berkeley residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with a few of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to some of the instructors and find out 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 evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Berkeley IL, verify that the programs you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Berkeley IL?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Berkeley IL area.
Berkeley is on Cook County's western border, 14 miles west of the Chicago Loop. With Interstates 290 and 294 forming its western and part of its southern boundary, and the Union Pacific Railroad (formerly the Chicago & North Western) and the large Proviso Railyard (a classification yard) to the north, Berkeley has ready access to the metropolitan region. Yet the transportation corridors that make Berkeley accessible to distant places also serve to separate the village from its nearest neighbors, creating a small-town atmosphere.
Beginning in 1835 the area that was to become Berkeley was home to farmers, most of German and Dutch ancestry. Settling on farms that ranged from 40 to 160 acres, the Dutch tended to be truck farmers, while the Germans did general farming. This small group of farm families established a one-room school called Sunnyside in 1848. Now housed in a larger and newer building, Sunnyside Elementary School still operates today. A short distance west on St. Charles Road (which was completed in 1836), farmland was donated for what is now known as Old Settler's Cemetery.
The 1902 completion of the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin Railroad (interurban) gave the area its first passenger rail service at a stop called Berkeley. Subdivision in 1908 and again in 1914–1915 brought residential construction and new residents, many of whom were English, to the area. At the initiative of these newcomers, the village of Berkeley incorporated in 1924.
Choose the Right Electrician Technical School near Berkeley IL
Selecting the right electrician training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a must that any electrician training program that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional electrician in Berkeley IL.
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