How to Become an Electrician in Westtown Pennsylvania
The initial step to learning to be an electrical contractor or tradesman is locating an electrician trade school near Westtown PA. But with numerous vocational schools to select from, just how do you undertake making certain that you enroll in the best one? Particularly because there are so many points to examine. For instance, many prospective students will begin by looking for schools that are close to their residence. After they have identified a few that are within driving distance, they will pick the one with the least expensive tuition. Although location and cost are of importance, they are not the only things that need to be considered. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should help mold your ultimate judgment when selecting an electrician training school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let’s talk a little bit about becoming an electrician and the educational options that are accessible.
Electrician Degree, Diploma and Certificate Programs near Westtown PA
There are three general ways to obtain electrician instruction in a technical or vocational school near Westtown PA. You may enroll in a certificate or diploma program, or obtain an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at certain schools, but are not as prevalent as the first three alternatives. Frequently these programs are offered together with an apprenticeship program, which are mandated by the majority of states in order to become licensed or if you intend to earn certification. Following are brief summaries of the 3 most common programs offered.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by Pennsylvania technical and trade schools and require approximately a year to finish. They provide a good foundation and are geared towards students who would like to enter an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs require 2 years to complete and are provided by Pennsylvania junior or community colleges, typically as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They offer a more comprehensive education while providing the foundation that prepares students to enter into their apprenticeship program.
As earlier stated, Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at some Pennsylvania institutions, but are less popular at 4 years than the other shorter programs. The majority of states mandate that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and more typically four years be carried out before licensing. Because of that, the majority of students are eager to start their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not a component of their educational program.
Electrician License and Certification Criteria
Electricians in Westtown PA can perform a multitude of services, including installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and making sure that the wiring in houses and buildings comply with code standards. After completing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are mandated to become licensed in the majority of municipalities and states. The duration of apprenticeship varies by state, but commonly about 4 to 5 years of practical experience is required before taking the licensing examination. The exams typically assess electrical theory and general knowledge, as well as knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also an optional means for an electrician to differentiate her or himself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications offered vary by state and can be acquired in several specialties, such as cable splicing as an example. The certification process usually involves 3 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) along with the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s imperative that the electrician tech school that you select not only delivers a strong academic foundation, but also helps prep you for passing any certification and licensing examinations that you might need to pass in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Online Programs in Westtown PA
An alternative that you might have looked at is selecting an online electrician school to earn a degree or a certificate. While online schools have become more prevalent as a way of attending class without needing to travel, in this instance they are not totally internet based. Pretty much all electrician schools require partial attendance on campus to get practical hands-on training. But since the remainder of the classes can be accessed online, distance learning may be a more convenient option for individuals that have limited time for schooling. And as a bonus many online schools have a reduced tuition cost compared to their on campus alternatives. Driving costs from Westtown PA are also lessened and a portion of the study materials can be accessed on line also. Each of these benefits can make electrician online vocational schools more economical and accessible. And a number are fully accredited, which we will cover in our due diligence checklist.
Things to Ask Electrician Technical Schools
Once you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to refine your school options. Since there are so many electrician tech and trade schools in the Westtown PA area, it’s imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The first 2 that we talked about were location and tuition expense. If you have an interest in earning an degree online, then that must be a feature that your final school offers. And while all three qualifiers may be crucial when making your selection, there are other factors that need to be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to assess before enrolling in an electrical trade school.
Accreditation. A large number of electrician vocational schools have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Verify that the Westtown PA school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you acquire an excellent education, it can help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states mandate that the electrician training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing.
High Completion and Placement Rates. Ask the electrician training programs you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate might suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It may also indicate that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which can mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help Westtown PA grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of electrician technical programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of electrical companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with Westtown PA area electricians or electrical specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to build 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 working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the electrical technician you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Westtown PA electrical company if they can give you some pointers. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Westtown home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to some of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Westtown PA, check that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, 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 Westtown PA?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Westtown PA area.
Westtown is a Quaker school affiliated with the Friends General Conference branch of the Religious Society of Friends. All students are required to attend Meeting for Worship together with adults in the community who voluntarily attend (boarding students are required to attend Westtown Monthly Meeting on Sundays as well). Westtown uses the traditional Quaker practice of coming to unity in making some high-level decisions.
Westtown School first opened in May 1799. It was founded by Philadelphia Quakers who raised the money to build a boarding school and purchased land a full day’s carriage ride from Philadelphia—where they could provide a “guarded education in a healthy environment" away from the secular influences of the city. For many years, Westtown was nearly self-sufficient, with the campus providing raw materials used in the construction of its buildings and food for the people who lived and worked at the school.
Boys and girls had separate classes until about 1870. Boys learned useful skills such as woodshop, surveying, and bookkeeping, and girls had classes like sewing. However, Westtown eventually recognized that students of both genders should know basic academic subjects such as reading, penmanship, grammar, mathematics, geography, and science.
Find the Right Electrical Technical School near Westtown PA
Picking the best electrical trade school will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any electrical training that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each training program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you choose is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new trade as a professional electrician in Westtown PA.
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