How to Become an Electrician in Wilkes Barre Pennsylvania
The first step to becoming an electrical contractor or tradesman is enrolling in an electrician trade school near Wilkes Barre PA. But with so many technical schools to pick from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the right one? Especially since there are a number of points to evaluate. For example, many potential students will start by searching for schools that are nearby their residence. After they have found several that are within driving distance, they will pick the one with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are of importance, they are not the sole things that should be evaluated. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifications should contribute toward your final decision when selecting an electrician trade school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this article. But to begin with, let’s review a little bit about being an electrician and the instructional choices that are available.
Electrician Degree, Certificate and Diploma Options near Wilkes Barre PA
There are multiple ways to obtain electrician training in a trade or technical school near Wilkes Barre PA. You can select a diploma or certificate program, or obtain an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are obtainable at a few schools, but are not as common as the first three options. Frequently these programs are made available together with an apprenticeship program, which are required by the majority of states in order to become licensed or if you want to earn certification. Following are short explanations of the 3 most prevalent programs offered.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally provided by Pennsylvania technical and trade schools and require approximately a year to finish. They provide a solid foundation and are geared towards students who would like to get into an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs involve 2 years to finish and are offered by Pennsylvania junior or community colleges, commonly as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They furnish a more comprehensive education while providing the foundation that prepares students to join their apprenticeship program.
As earlier mentioned, Bachelor’s Degree programs are available at some Pennsylvania institutions, 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 carried out prior to licensing. For that reason, many students are eager to start their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not a component of their academic program.
Electrician Licensing and Certification Guidelines
Electricians in Wilkes Barre PA can carry out a multitude of tasks, including installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and ensuring that the wiring in houses and buildings are up to code standards. After completing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are mandated to be licensed in the majority of municipalities and states. The duration of apprenticeship varies by state, but generally around 4 to 5 years of prior experience is called for before taking 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 means for an electrician to identify him or herself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications available differ by state and may be acquired in various specializations, including cable splicing as an example. The certification process usually involves three levels of competency:
- 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 tech school that you pick not only provides a strong academic foundation, but also helps prepare you for passing any licensing and certification exams that you might need to pass in the future.
Attending Electrician Schools Online in Wilkes Barre PA
An option that you might have looked at is selecting an electrician online program to earn a certificate or degree. Even though online training programs have become more prevalent 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 practical hands-on training. But since the remainder of the classes can be attended online, internet learning can be a more practical choice for individuals that have limited time for education. And as an added benefit numerous online schools have a cheaper tuition cost compared to their traditional counterparts. Travelling expenses from Wilkes Barre PA are also minimized and a portion of the study materials can be accessed online as well. All of these benefits can make online electrician tech schools more affordable and accessible. And many are fully accredited, which we will cover in our due diligence checklist.
Questions to Ask Electrician Technical Schools
When you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to refine your training options. Considering that there are so many electrician tech and trade schools in the Wilkes Barre PA region, it’s imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The initial 2 that we discussed were location and tuition expense. If you have an interest in earning an degree online, then that needs to be a feature that your final school offers. And although all three qualifiers may be crucial when making your determination, there are additional factors that must be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to analyze before selecting an electrical technical school.
Accreditation. Many electrician trade schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Confirm that the Wilkes Barre PA 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 ensure that you acquire an excellent education, it can help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states require that the electrician training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing.
High Completion and Placement Rates. Ask the electrician schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate may signify that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It may also mean that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s similarly imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which can result in 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 an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist Wilkes Barre PA students obtain apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. Most electrician training programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of electrical businesses or trade unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with Wilkes Barre PA area electricians or electrical companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the electrical tech you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Wilkes Barre PA electrical company if they can give you some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Wilkes Barre residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving 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 difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple 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 concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Wilkes Barre PA, verify that the programs you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Wilkes Barre PA?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Wilkes Barre PA area.
Wilkes-Barre (/ˈwɪlksˌbɛər/ or /-bɛəri/) is a city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the county seat of Luzerne County. It is one of the principal cities in the Scranton–Wilkes-Barre–Hazleton, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area. Located at the center of the Wyoming Valley, it is second in size to the nearby city of Scranton. The Scranton–Wilkes-Barre–Hazleton, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of 563,631 as of the 2010 Census, making it the fourth-largest metro/statistical area in the state of Pennsylvania. Wilkes-Barre and the surrounding Wyoming Valley are framed by the Pocono Mountains to the east, the Endless Mountains to the west, and the Lehigh Valley to the south. The Susquehanna River flows through the center of the valley and defines the northwestern border of the city.
Wilkes-Barre was founded in 1769 and formally incorporated in 1806. The city grew rapidly in the 19th century after the discovery of nearby coal reserves and the arrival of hundreds of thousands of immigrants who provided a labor force for the local mines. The coal mining fueled industrialization in the city, which reached the height of its prosperity in the first half of the 20th century. Its population peaked at more than 86,000. Following World War II, the city's economy declined due to the collapse of industry. The Knox Mine disaster accelerated this trend after large portions of the area's coal mines were flooded and could not be reopened. Today the city has a population of 40,569, making it the largest city in Luzerne County and the 13th-largest city in Pennsylvania.
In the early 18th century, the Wyoming Valley was inhabited by the Shawanese and Delaware Indian (Lenape) tribes. By 1769, John Durkee led the first recorded Europeans to the area. They established a frontier settlement named Wilkes-Barre after John Wilkes and Isaac Barré, two British members of Parliament who supported colonial America.
Choose the Right Electrician Trade School near Wilkes Barre PA
Choosing the ideal electrical trade school will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare among the training programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any electrical tech school that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should 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 type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Tour 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, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new career as a professional electrician in Wilkes Barre PA.
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