How to Become an Electrician in Decatur Illinois
The first step to becoming an electrical tradesman or contractor is enrolling in an electrician trade school near Decatur IL. But with numerous technical schools to choose from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the best one? Particularly because there are a number of factors to consider. For example, many potential students will start by searching for schools that are nearby their residence. When they have identified a few that are within driving range, they will decide on the one with the least expensive tuition. While location and cost are important, they are not the only factors that should be considered. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifiers should influence your ultimate decision when selecting an electrician trade school. We will cover that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But to begin with, let’s talk a little bit about being an electrician and the training options that are offered.
Electrician Certificate, Diploma and Degree Options near Decatur IL
There are several approaches to get electrician training in a vocational or trade school near Decatur IL. You can enroll in a diploma or certificate program, or receive an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are available at certain schools, but are not as common as the first three alternatives. In many cases these programs are made available combined with an apprenticeship program, which are required by most states to become licensed or if you intend to become certified. Following are brief explanations of the three most prevalent programs available.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually provided by Illinois vocational and trade schools and require approximately a year to complete. They furnish a solid foundation and are geared towards those who would like to join an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees require 2 years to complete and are provided by Illinois junior or community colleges, typically as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They offer a more well-rounded education while supplying the foundation that prepares students to begin their apprenticeship program.
As earlier mentioned, Bachelor’s Degrees are available at certain Illinois institutions, but are less popular at 4 years than the other briefer programs. Many states mandate that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and more typically 4 years be performed prior to licensing. Because of that, most students are eager to start their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not a component of their educational program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Guidelines
Electricians in Decatur IL can perform a vast array of services, such as installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and making sure that the wiring in houses and buildings are up to code standards. After finishing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to be licensed in most states or municipalities. The period of apprenticeship differs by state, but typically about 4 to 5 years of practical experience is needed in order to take the licensing exam. The exams usually evaluate electrical theory and general knowledge, in addition to understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also a voluntary way for an electrician to distinguish him or herself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications offered differ by state and can be obtained in various specialties, such as cable splicing as an example. The certification process usually entails three levels of proficiency:
- An experience requirement
- Passing a written exam
- Passing a practical exam
Examples of certifying agencies 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 delivers a strong educational foundation, but also helps ready you for passing any certification and licensing exams that you may be required to pass in the future.
Attending Electrician Online Schools in Decatur IL
A possibility that you might have contemplated is selecting an online electrician school to earn a certificate or degree. Even though online training programs are becoming more accepted as a way of attending class without needing to travel, in this instance they are not completely internet based. Just about all electrician schools require some attendance on campus to get practical hands-on training. But since the balance of the classes may be attended online, internet learning might be a more convenient alternative for students that have minimal time for education. And as a bonus many online degree programs have a lower tuition cost compared to their on campus alternatives. Travelling costs from Decatur IL are also reduced and some of the study materials can be accessed online as well. Each of these benefits can make electrician online vocational schools more affordable and accessible. And a number are fully accredited, which we will address in our due diligence checklist.
What to Ask Electrician Tech Schools
When you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to refine your training options. Because there are so many electrician trade and vocational schools in the Decatur IL region, it’s imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The first two that we talked about were location and tuition expense. If you are interested in earning an degree online, then that needs to be an option that your chosen school offers. And although all three qualifiers may be crucial when making your selection, there are additional factors that must be considered also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess prior to selecting an electrical vocational school.
Accreditation. A large number of electrician vocational schools have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Confirm that the Decatur IL school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you acquire a quality education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of states mandate that the electrician training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion and Placement Rates. Ask the electrician schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate could indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It might also indicate that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It’s similarly essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist Decatur IL students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of electrician trade programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrician contractors or trade unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working partnerships with Decatur IL area electricians or electrical contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the electrical technician you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Decatur IL electrical contracting company if they can give you some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Decatur home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much personalized 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 see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to some of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of expertise 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 handle your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Decatur IL, check that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Decatur IL?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Decatur IL area.
Decatur /dəˈkeɪtər/ is the largest city and the county seat of Macon County in the U.S. state of Illinois. The city was founded in 1829 and is along the Sangamon River and Lake Decatur in Central Illinois. In 2016, the city's estimated population was 72,706.
The city is home of private Millikin University and public Richland Community College. Decatur has vast industrial and agricultural processing production, including the North American headquarters of agricultural conglomerate Archer Daniels Midland, international agribusiness Tate & Lyle's largest corn-processing plant, and the designing and manufacturing facilities for Caterpillar Inc.'s wheel-tractor scrapers, off-highway trucks, and large mining trucks.
Decatur is located at 39°51′6″N 88°56′39″W / 39.85167°N 88.94417°W / 39.85167; -88.94417 (39.851636, −88.944228). Decatur is three hours southwest of Chicago, 40 miles due east of Springfield, the state capital, and two hours northeast of St. Louis by car.
Enroll in the Right Electrician Tech School near Decatur IL
Selecting the right electrical training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare among the training programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any electrician tech school that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each training program provides unique options for certification as well. Probably The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional electrician in Decatur IL.
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