How to Select the Right Electrician Technical School near Opelika Alabama
The initial step to learning to be an electrical tradesman or contractor is enrolling in an electrician trade school near Opelika AL. But with numerous vocational schools to pick from, just how do you tackle making sure that you enroll in the right one? Particularly since there are a number of points to evaluate. For instance, some students will begin by searching for schools that are nearby their residence. When they have identified some that are within commuting range, they will pick the one with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are of importance, they are not the only things that need to be examined. 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 decision when picking an electrician trade school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let’s talk a little bit about being an electrician and the instructional choices that are offered.
Electrician Degree, Diploma and Certificate Programs
There are three general options to obtain electrician training in a trade or technical school near Opelika AL. You may choose a diploma or certificate program, or earn an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at certain schools, but are not as prevalent as the other three alternatives. In many cases 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 wish to become certified. Bellow are short summaries of the three most typical programs offered.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by Alabama vocational and trade schools and take about a year to complete. They provide a solid foundation and are geared towards students who wish to get into an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs involve 2 years to finish and are provided by Alabama junior or community colleges, commonly as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They offer a more well-rounded education while supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter into their apprenticeship program.
As earlier stated, Bachelor’s Degree programs are offered at some Alabama colleges, but are less favored at 4 years than the other briefer programs. Most states require that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and more typically four years be completed prior to licensing. For that reason, the majority of students are eager to begin their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not part of their academic program.
Electrician Certification and Licensing Prerequisites
Electricians in Opelika AL can carry out a vast array of duties, including installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and making sure that the wiring in buildings and homes comply with code standards. After completing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are mandated to become licensed in most municipalities and states. The length of apprenticeship varies by state, but normally about 4 to 5 years of experience is required in order to take the licensing examination. The exams usually test general knowledge and electrical theory, in addition to understanding of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also a voluntary means for an electrician to differentiate him or herself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications offered differ by state and can be obtained in various specializations, including cable splicing as an example. The certification procedure in most cases includes 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) and also the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s imperative that the electrician trade school that you select not only furnishes a solid academic foundation, but also helps prepare you for passing any certification and licensing exams that you might need to pass in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Schools Online
An option that you might have considered is enrolling in an online electrician program to earn a degree or a certificate. Although online schools are becoming more accepted as a way of attending class without the need for travel, in this instance they are not entirely internet based. Just about all electrician training programs require some attendance on-campus to receive practical hands-on training. But since the rest of the classes may be accessed online, internet learning may be a more practical option for individuals that have limited time for schooling. And as a bonus many online degree programs have a reduced tuition cost compared to their traditional counterparts. Commuting expenses from Opelika AL are also lessened and some of the study materials can be available online as well. All of these benefits can make online electrician trade schools more economical and accessible. And many are fully accredited, which we will address in our questions to ask checklist.
Topics to Ask Electrician Tech Schools
Once you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to focus your training options. Considering that there are so many electrician trade and vocational schools in the Opelika AL area, it’s important to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The initial two that we discussed were location and tuition expense. If you have an interest in earning an online degree, then that needs to be an option that your final school offers. And although all three qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are additional variables that must be considered also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to research before enrolling in an electrical trade school.
Accreditation. Many electrician technical schools have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Make sure that the Opelika AL school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping make certain that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states mandate that the electrician training course 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 percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate may indicate that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It could also signify that the instructors 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 more extensive list of alumni, which may result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help Opelika AL graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous electrician technical programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of electrical businesses or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working relationships with Opelika AL area electricians or electrical specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the electrical specialist you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Opelika AL electrical contracting company if they can provide some suggestions. Also keep in mind that unless you can move, the school must be within driving distance of your Opelika home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you get as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to some of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience 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 Opelika AL, check that the schools you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Electrical Training Programs Opelika Alabama
Choosing the ideal electrical training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. You originally came to this website due to an interest in Electrical Training Programs and wanting more information on the topic Study Electrician. But as we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any electrical training that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration 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 training program provides different possibilities for certification also. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional electrician in Opelika AL.
More Electric Locations in Alabama
Opelika (pronounced /ˌoʊpəˈlaɪkə/ OH-pə-LY-kə) is a city in and the county seat of Lee County in the east central part of the State of Alabama. It is a principal city of the Auburn-Opelika Metropolitan Area. According to the 2013 Census Estimate, the population of Opelika was 28,635. The Auburn-Opelika, AL MSA with a population of 150,933 which, along with the Columbus, Georgia metropolitan area and Macon County, Alabama, comprises the Greater Columbus, Georgia, a region home to 501,649 residents.
The first white settlers in the area now known as Opelika arrived in the late 1830s and established a community called Lebanon. After the removal of the native Creek (Muscogee) peoples by federal troops in 1836-37, the area became known as "Opelika." This word taken from the Muskogee language means "large swamp".
In 1848, the Montgomery and West Point Railroad Company extended a rail line from Montgomery, Alabama, to Opelika, and in 1851, completed a connection to West Point, Georgia, thus connecting Opelika with Atlanta, Georgia. This line was the only direct rail route between New Orleans and the Eastern Seaboard. It rapidly became one of the primary trade lines for shipments of raw cotton from Southern plantations to the North. The Montgomery and West Point was soon joined by a rail connection to Columbus, Georgia, in 1855, and a connection to Birmingham, Alabama, in 1869. Almost overnight, Opelika became a regional hub for commerce.
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