How to Become an Electrician in Westminster California
The initial step to becoming an electrical contractor or tradesman is finding an electrician trade school near Westminster CA. But with so many 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 examine. For instance, many students will begin by looking for schools that are close to their residence. After they have found a few that are within driving range, they will choose the one with the most affordable tuition. Even though location and cost are significant, they are not the only qualifications that need to be evaluated. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should influence your ultimate decision when selecting an electrician trade school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But to begin with, let’s review a little bit about being an electrician and the instructional choices that are offered.
Electrician Degree, Diploma and Certificate Options near Westminster CA
There are several approaches to receive electrician instruction in a trade or technical school near Westminster CA. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program, or earn an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are obtainable at some schools, but are not as prevalent as the other three options. Often these programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program, which are required by the majority of states in order to become licensed or if you wish to earn certification. Following are brief descriptions of the 3 most prevalent programs available.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually provided by California vocational and trade schools and require approximately a year to finish. They furnish a good foundation and are aimed towards students who would like to enter an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degrees require two years to complete and are provided by California community colleges, usually as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They offer a more extensive education while supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter into their apprenticeship program.
As previously mentioned, Bachelor’s Degree programs are offered at some California colleges, but are less preferred at four years than the other briefer programs. The majority of states mandate that an apprenticeship of no less than 2 years and in most cases four years be performed before licensing. Therefore, many students are anxious to begin their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not a component of their academic program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Guidelines
Electricians in Westminster CA can carry out a vast array of functions, including testing, installing and replacing electrical systems, and ensuring that the wiring in buildings and homes comply with code standards. After completing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to be licensed in the majority of municipalities and states. The length of apprenticeship varies by state, but generally about 4 to 5 years of prior experience is needed in order to take the licensing exam. The exams typically evaluate electrical theory and general knowledge, as well as understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also a voluntary method for an electrician to identify him or herself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications available vary by state and can be obtained in several specialties, such as cable splicing as an example. The certification procedure 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) and also the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s important that the electrician trade school that you select not only provides a solid academic foundation, but also helps prepare you for passing any certification and licensing exams that you may be required to pass in the future.
Attending Electrician Online Schools in Westminster CA
A possibility that you might have considered is enrolling in an online electrician program to earn a degree or a certificate. While online training programs are becoming more popular as a way of attending class without the need for travel, in this situation they are not completely internet based. Just about all electrician schools require partial attendance on-campus to get hands-on practical training. But since the rest of the classes may be accessed online, internet learning can be a more accommodating alternative for individuals that have limited time for schooling. And as an added benefit numerous online degree programs have a reduced tuition cost compared to their on campus counterparts. Travelling costs from Westminster CA are also minimized and a portion of the study materials may be accessed on line as well. Each of these benefits can make electrician online vocational schools more economical and accessible. And many are fully accredited, which we will address in our questions to ask checklist.
What to Ask Electrician Trade Schools
Now that you have decided to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to narrow down your training options. Because there are numerous electrician vocational and trade schools in the Westminster CA area, it’s imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The first two that we discussed were location and tuition expense. If you have an interest in earning an online degree, then that must be an option that your final school offers. And while all three qualifiers may be crucial when making your determination, there are other factors that must be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to research prior to choosing an electrical trade school.
Accreditation. A large number of electrician trade schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Make certain that the Westminster CA school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you get a superior education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states require that the electrician training program be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion and Placement Rates. Ask the electrician training programs you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It could also suggest that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It’s also important that the schools have higher 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 use 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 also that it has the network of contacts to help Westminster CA students secure apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of electrician trade programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrician businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with Westminster CA area electricians or electrical specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm 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, check with the electrical tech you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Westminster CA electrical contractor if they can give you some tips. Additionally keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Westminster residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Talk with a few of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Westminster CA, check that the programs you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Westminster CA?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Westminster CA area.
Westminster is a city in northern Orange County, California. It is known for a large number of Vietnamese refugees who immigrated to the city during the 1980s, settling largely in the area now officially named Little Saigon, and the city is unofficially known as the "capital" of overseas Vietnamese with 36,058 Vietnamese Americans and at 40.2% (2010), the highest municipal prevalence of Vietnamese Americans.
Westminster is landlocked and bordered by Seal Beach on the west, by Garden Grove on the north and east, and by Huntington Beach and Fountain Valley on the south. Santa Ana, the county seat of Orange County, is right next to Westminster on the east but is divided by a small part of Garden Grove.
Westminster was founded in 1870 by Rev. Lemuel Webber as a Presbyterian temperance colony. The name is derived from the Westminster Assembly of 1643, which established the basic tenets of the Presbyterian faith. During the early years of its history, farmers refused to harvest grapes since they associated grapes with alcohol.
Pick the Ideal Electrical Vocational School near Westminster CA
Picking the best electrician trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare between the training programs you are considering. It’s a must that any electrician tech school that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each program offers different options for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional electrician in Westminster CA.
Other Cool Cities in California
Business Results 1 - 10 of 2900