How to Select the Best Electrician Technical School near Birmingham Alabama
The first step to becoming an electrical contractor or tradesman is locating an electrician trade school near Birmingham AL. But with numerous vocational schools to pick from, just how do you undertake making sure that you enroll in the right one? Particularly because there are so many points to consider. For example, some prospective students will begin by looking for schools that are nearby their home. When they have located some that are within commuting distance, they will choose the one with the cheapest tuition. Although location and cost are important, they are not the only factors that must be examined. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifiers should help mold your ultimate judgment when picking an electrician 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 becoming an electrician and the educational choices that are available.
Electrician Certificate, Diploma and Degree Programs
There are several ways to obtain electrician training in a trade or technical school near Birmingham AL. You may enroll in a diploma or certificate program, or obtain an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are offered at certain schools, but are not as common as the first three alternatives. In many cases these programs are made available combined with an apprenticeship, which are required by the majority of states in order to become licensed or if you would like to become certified. Following are brief descriptions of the 3 most prevalent programs offered.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by Alabama trade and technical schools and take about a year to finish. They provide a good foundation and are geared towards individuals who wish to enter an apprenticeship more quickly as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs involve two years to complete and are provided by Alabama community colleges, commonly as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They provide a more extensive education while providing the foundation that readies students to join their apprenticeship program.
As previously mentioned, Bachelor’s Degrees are accessible at certain Alabama institutions, but are less preferred at 4 years than the other shorter programs. Many states require that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and in most cases 4 years be carried out prior to licensing. Therefore, the majority of students are eager to commence their paid apprenticeship, especially if it’s not a component of their academic program.
Electrician License and Certification Guidelines
Electricians in Birmingham AL can perform a vast array of duties, including testing, installing and replacing electrical systems, and making sure that the wiring in buildings and homes comply with code standards. After finishing an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are mandated to become licensed in most municipalities and states. The duration of apprenticeship varies by state, but usually around 4 to 5 years of experience is needed before taking the licensing exam. The exams commonly test general knowledge and electrical theory, in addition to knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also a voluntary method for an electrician to identify her or himself as a skilled and experienced professional. The certifications offered vary by state and may be acquired in many specializations, such as cable splicing as an example. The certification procedure usually entails 3 levels of proficiency:
- 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 crucial that the electrician trade school that you enroll in not only delivers a solid academic foundation, but also helps prep you for passing any licensing and certification exams that you might need to pass in the future.
Enrolling in Electrician Training Classes Online
An option that you might have looked at is selecting an online electrician program to earn a certificate or degree. Even though online schools have become more prevalent as a means of attending class without the need for travel, in this situation they are not entirely internet based. Virtually all electrician training programs require partial attendance on-campus to obtain hands-on practical training. But since the remainder of the classes can be attended online, distance learning might be a more convenient option for students that have minimal time for education. And as a bonus numerous online schools have a cheaper tuition cost compared to their on campus counterparts. Travelling costs from Birmingham AL are also reduced and a portion of the study materials can be accessed on line also. Each of these benefits can make online electrician vocational schools more affordable and accessible. And a number are fully accredited, which we will deal with in our questions to ask checklist.
Points to Ask Electrician Vocational Schools
Now that you have made a decision to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to focus your school options. Because there are so many electrician vocational and trade schools in the Birmingham AL region, it’s essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The first 2 that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. If you are interested in earning an online degree, then that needs to be a feature that your final school offers. And even though all three qualifiers may be important when making your selection, there are other variables that must be considered also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to analyze before choosing an electrical tech school.
Accreditation. Many electrician trade programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school’s programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Confirm that the Birmingham AL program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you get a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, many states mandate that the electrician training program be accredited for it 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 percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate may signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It could also suggest that the teachers were not competent 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 graduates, 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help Birmingham AL graduates acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous electrician vocational programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of electrician contractors or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with Birmingham AL area electricians or electrical contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area electrician professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed 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 tech you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Birmingham AL electrical contracting company if they can give you some tips. Additionally bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Birmingham residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to a few of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the teachers and learn what their level of expertise 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 fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Birmingham AL, check that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Electrician Training Birmingham Alabama
Choosing the right electrician trade school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. You originally came to this website due to an interest in Electrician Training and wanting more information on the topic Electrical License Classes. But as we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare between the training programs you are reviewing. It’s a must that any electrical training that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses 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 satisfy your needs. Every training program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new trade as a professional electrician in Birmingham AL.
More Electric Locations in Alabama
Birmingham (/ˈbɜːrmɪŋhæm/ BUR-ming-ham) is a city in the north central region of the U.S. state of Alabama. With an estimated 2018 population of 209,880, it is the most populous city in Alabama. Birmingham is the seat of Jefferson County, Alabama's most populous and fifth largest county. As of 2018, the Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of 1,151,801, making it the most populous in Alabama and 49th-most populous in the United States. Birmingham serves as an important regional hub and is associated with the Deep South, Piedmont, and Appalachian regions of the nation.
Birmingham was founded in 1871, during the post-Civil War Reconstruction era, through the merger of three farm towns, most notably Elyton. The new city was named for Birmingham, England, the UK's second largest city and, at the time, a major industrial center. The Alabama city annexed smaller neighbors and developed as an industrial center, based on mining, the new iron and steel industry, and rail transport. Most of the original settlers who founded Birmingham were of English ancestry. The city was developed as a place where cheap, non-unionized immigrant labor (primarily Irish and Italian), along with African-American labor from rural Alabama, could work in the city's steel mills and blast furnaces, giving it a competitive advantage over unionized industrial cities in the Midwest and Northeast.:14
From its founding through the end of the 1960s, Birmingham was a primary industrial center of the southern United States. Its rapid growth from 1881 through 1920 earned it the nicknames "The Magic City" and "The Pittsburgh of the South". Its major industries were iron and steel production. Major components of the railroad industry, rails and railroad cars, were manufactured in Birmingham. Since the 1860s, the two primary hubs of railroading in the "Deep South" have been Birmingham and Atlanta. The economy diversified in the latter half of the 20th century. Banking, telecommunications, transportation, electrical power transmission, medical care, college education, and insurance have become major economic activities. Birmingham ranks as one of the largest banking centers in the U.S. Also, it is among the most important business centers in the Southeast.
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