How to Enroll in the Right Electrician Vocational School near Washington Virginia
The first step to becoming an electrical contractor or tradesman is enrolling in an electrician trade school near Washington VA. But with so many vocational schools to choose from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the best one? Particularly since there are a number of points to evaluate. For example, many students will start by looking for schools that are close to their residence. When they have identified several that are within driving range, they will decide on the one with the least expensive tuition. Although cost and location are significant, they are not the sole factors that should be examined. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should help mold your ultimate decision when choosing an electrician training school. We will address that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But first, let’s review a little bit about being an electrician and the training choices that are available.
Electrician Certificate, Diploma and Degree Options
There are several options to receive electrician instruction in a vocational or trade school near Washington VA. You may choose a diploma or certificate program, or obtain an Associate Degree. Bachelor’s Degrees are obtainable at some schools, but are not as prevalent as the first three alternatives. Often these programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program, which are required by most states in order to be licensed or if you want to earn certification. Following are brief explanations of the three most typical programs available.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by Virginia technical and trade schools and take approximately a year to complete. They provide a good foundation and are aimed towards those who wish to join an apprenticeship faster as a journeyman electrician.
- Associate Degree Programs involve two years to complete and are provided by Virginia community colleges, commonly as an Associate Degree in Electrical Technology. They provide a more extensive education while supplying the foundation that readies students to enter into their apprenticeship program.
As previously stated, Bachelor’s Degrees are accessible at certain Virginia institutions, but are less favored at four years than the other shorter programs. The majority of states require that an apprenticeship of at least 2 years and more typically 4 years be performed before licensing. For that reason, many students are eager to begin their paid apprenticeship, particularly if it’s not part of their academic program.
Electrician Certification and Licensing Requirements
Electricians in Washington VA can carry out a multitude of duties, such as installing, replacing and testing electrical systems, and ensuring that the wiring in buildings and homes are up to code standards. After concluding an apprenticeship, journeyman electricians are required to be licensed in the majority of states or municipalities. The period of apprenticeship varies by state, but normally around four to five years of prior experience is required before taking the licensing exam. The exams typically evaluate general knowledge and electrical theory, as well as knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Obtaining certification is also a voluntary method for an electrician to identify her or himself as a experienced and skilled professional. The certifications offered vary by state and may be acquired in many specializations, such as cable splicing as an example. The certification procedure 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) as well as the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). It’s imperative that the electrician vocational school that you choose not only delivers a solid educational foundation, but also helps prep you for passing any licensing and certification examinations that you might be required to take in the future.
Attending Electrician Online Programs
A possibility that you may have contemplated is enrolling in an electrician online program to earn a degree or a certificate. While online schools have become more accepted as a way of attending class without needing to travel, in this case they are not completely internet based. Pretty much all electrician training programs require partial attendance on-campus to receive hands-on practical training. But since the rest of the classes can be attended online, distance learning can be a more practical alternative for individuals that have minimal time for schooling. And as an added benefit numerous online degree programs have a reduced tuition cost compared to their on-campus alternatives. Commuting expenses from Washington VA are also lessened and a portion of the study materials may be accessed online also. Each of these advantages can make online electrician vocational schools more economical and convenient. And a number are fully accredited, which we will cover in our due diligence checklist.
Things to Ask Electrician Tech Schools
When you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to narrow down your school options. Considering that there are numerous electrician tech and trade schools in the Washington VA region, it’s essential to have a checklist of criteria that each program must satisfy. The first two that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. If you are interested in earning an online degree, then that needs to be an option that your chosen school offers. And even though all three qualifiers may be critical when making your decision, there are other factors that must be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to assess prior to choosing an electrical technical school.
Accreditation. A large number of electrician technical schools have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Verify that the Washington VA school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, many states mandate that the electrician training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion and Placement Rates. Ask the electrician training programs you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It might also indicate that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It’s also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist Washington VA students secure apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of electrician technical programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of electrician contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with Washington VA 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 certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the electrical tech you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Washington VA electrical contractor if they can give you some tips. Also bear in mind that unless you can move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Washington residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s important that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to a few of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Washington VA, check that the programs you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family issues.
Electrician Programs Washington Virginia
Choosing the right electrical training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. You originally came to this website due to an interest in Electrician Programs and wanting more information on the topic How To Become An Electrical Technician. 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 prerequisite that any electrician tech school that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each program offers different options 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 teachers and students. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you select is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new career as a professional electrician in Washington VA.
More Electric Locations in Virginia
Washington is the county seat of Rappahannock County, Virginia, United States. The site of this town was surveyed by George Washington in July 1749. It was the first of what would be many American places to be named for the future first president. Its population was just 135 people at the 2010 census, down from 183 in the 2000 census. It is nicknamed Little Washington to avoid confusion with Washington, D.C., which is only 70 miles (110 km) to the east.
The Town of Washington was formerly the location of a trading post utilized by frontier families and members of the resident Manahoac tribe. All of the territory in and around the current town was under the ownership of Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron. In 1748, Lord Fairfax met a 16-year-old George Washington, a distant relative of his. Being impressed by his character, Fairfax employed Washington to survey his lands west of the Blue Ridge Mountains. On July 24, 1749, the town layout as it appears today was surveyed and platted by Washington with the assistance of his chainmen, John Lonem and Edward Corder, as part of his service to Fairfax. The village was officially established as a Town by the Virginia General Assembly on December 14, 1795 when it gained the requisite population of 200. Records from an 1835 gazetteer state that the town contained one academy, fifty-five dwellings, four mercantile stores, two taverns, one house of worship, twenty-seven trade shops, and two large flour mills.
During the Civil War, a home on the town's Main Street served as a Confederate Hospital. In the late 19th century when rail became the main method of trade, the main east-west railway route at the time was constructed north of town through the accessible Thoroughfare Gap. Washington was relatively unaffected by the Industrial Age and thus the current town is quite similar to the one of 150 years ago. By the start of the 20th century, the population reached three hundred, supporting businesses such as three garages and a barber shop. However, since then, the population has declined to less than 200.
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