How to Become an Electrician in Whitehall Pennsylvania
The first step to becoming an electrical contractor or tradesman is locating an electrician trade school near Whitehall PA. But with so many technical schools to choose from, just how do you tackle making sure that you enroll in the right one? Particularly since there are so many points to examine. For instance, some students will start by searching for schools that are close to their residence. After they have located a few that are within commuting range, they will decide on the one with the cheapest tuition. Even though location and cost are significant, they are not the sole things that should be considered. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifications should contribute toward your final judgment when selecting an electrician training school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this article. But to begin with, let’s talk a little bit about becoming an electrician and the instructional options that are offered.
Electrician Certificate, Diploma and Degree Programs near Whitehall PA
There are several ways to receive electrician training in a vocational or trade school near Whitehall PA. You can select a certificate or diploma program, or obtain an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are available at certain schools, but are not as common as the other three alternatives. Frequently these programs are made available together with an apprenticeship program, which are required by the majority of states in order to be licensed or if you wish to become certified. Bellow are brief explanations of the 3 most typical programs available.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are typically offered by Pennsylvania vocational and trade schools and take approximately a year to complete. They furnish a solid foundation and are geared towards those who wish to get into an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs take 2 years to complete and are provided by Pennsylvania community colleges, commonly as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They offer a more extensive education while providing the foundation that readies students to join their apprenticeship program.
As earlier stated, Bachelor’s Degrees are available at certain Pennsylvania institutions, but are less favored at 4 years than the other shorter programs. Many states mandate that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and more typically 4 years be carried out prior to licensing. Therefore, most students are anxious to start their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not part of their educational program.
Electrician Certification and Licensing Guidelines
Electricians in Whitehall PA can undertake a wide range of tasks, including 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 the majority of municipalities and states. The period of apprenticeship differs by state, but usually about 4 to 5 years of prior experience is needed in order to take the licensing exam. The exams commonly assess electrical theory and general knowledge, along with knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Receiving certification is also a voluntary way for an electrician to identify her or himself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications available differ by state and may be obtained in numerous specialties, including cable splicing as an example. The certification process in most cases includes 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 select not only delivers a strong educational foundation, but also helps ready you for passing any certification and licensing examinations that you may be required to pass in the future.
Attending Electrician Programs Online in Whitehall PA
An alternative that you may have contemplated is enrolling in an electrician online program to earn a certificate or degree. While online training programs have become more accepted as a way of attending class without the need for travel, in this situation they are not entirely internet based. Virtually all electrician schools require partial attendance on-campus to get practical hands-on training. But since the rest of the classes can be accessed online, distance learning may be a more accommodating choice for students that have limited time for education. And as an added benefit numerous online degree programs have a reduced tuition cost compared to their traditional alternatives. Commuting costs from Whitehall PA are also minimized and some of the study materials may be accessed online also. Each of these benefits can make electrician online vocational schools more affordable and accessible. And many are fully accredited, which we will deal with in our questions to ask checklist.
Topics to Ask Electrician Technical Schools
When you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to refine your training options. Considering that there are so many electrician vocational and trade schools in the Whitehall PA area, it’s imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The first 2 that we talked about were location and tuition expense. If you have an interest in earning an online degree, then that must be an option that your chosen school offers. And although all three qualifiers may be crucial when making your determination, there are additional variables that must be considered as well. Following is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to assess before enrolling in an electrical trade school.
Accreditation. A large number of electrician trade schools have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Make sure that the Whitehall PA school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it can assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of states require 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 reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate might indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It might also suggest that the teachers were not qualified 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 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 will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help Whitehall PA students acquire apprenticeships or jobs.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of electrician trade programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of electrical companies or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with Whitehall PA area electricians or electrical contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the electrical specialist you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Whitehall PA electrical company if they can provide some suggestions. Additionally keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Whitehall residence. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk with some of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the instructors and find out what their level of expertise is and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Flexible Scheduling. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Whitehall PA, verify that the programs you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Attending an Electrician School near Whitehall PA?
Following is a little bit of background information about the Whitehall PA area.
Pick the Right Electrical Vocational School near Whitehall PA
Selecting the ideal electrical trade school will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any electrical tech school that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional electrician in Whitehall PA.
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