Electrical technicians are in high demand. To meet the need, some electrician training programs have started offering online classes for those who want to pursue a career as an electrician. Online learning is done over the internet, while traditional, in-person courses are offered in a real-life classroom setting. Online instruction gives students more flexibility to complete the necessary coursework, but most experts agree that traditional electrician training programs are better than remote learning – especially for trades that require hands-on experience, like an electrician. Below, we take a closer look at the differences between traditional electrician training programs and online classes for electrical technicians. One thing is for sure; hands-on training can not be duplicated with any other form of training.
Online training has vastly improved in recent years. When the pandemic forced many closures for the better part of 2020 and 2021, many electrician training courses began offering alternative online programs for students. Through real-time interaction, video and audio chat, students could go to class, study their lessons, turn in coursework, complete quizzes, and interact with instructors and fellow students without ever leaving their house.
The main draw of online coursework is convenience. The flexibility of online classes often opens the door for students to pursue a career as an electrical technician that might otherwise not be possible. Students can save time, money, and energy by not having to commute to class daily. Many students wanting their electrician certification are completing their training while working at another job. Online education allows students to complete assignments on their own timeframe, so they can set their own schedules. Another benefit is that students can take courses they are interested in without having to think about the challenges of going to a real school.
There are many educational advantages of being in a physical classroom for your electrician training. First, it’s important to have an instructor looking over your shoulder while you are learning. It’s easier to install an electrical system with a teacher by your side because they can answer questions, provide guidance, and show you tips and tricks in person. Even if you have an excellent video conferencing system, it can be difficult to show all the steps in a procedure without moving the camera around, so everything is seen (and heard) clearly.
To attend an electrician trade school, you start by first visiting the school and meet with an admissions representative. There, you will review the electrical training programs details, tour the facility, and get a chance to ask questions. It's also a good time to see all the gear and equipment you’ll be using during your training.
There are some differences between classroom training and online learning. Some schools offer a "hybrid" training program that combines online with in-person. For busy people this may be the best way to get the training you need. Ask the school if they provide this. if you’re looking at becoming a certified electrician. Here are a few of the pros and cons of online versus classroom training:
One disadvantage of online learning – especially for electrical technicians – is that students do not have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience. This is an essential part of the electrician learning and training process because the State of Texas requires an apprenticeship program for future electricians to learn how to do things outside of the classroom. If something goes wrong, students must figure out the best way to fix the problem – and they can do it because they have experienced electricians as mentors.
Online learning does not provide this necessary learning process for students in electrical engineering programs. Even with "apprentices and apprenticeships," you can't learn how to deal with broken wires, locate wires hidden behind walls, or spot a blown fuse or possible fire hazard by the burning smell in the air.
Another advantage of vocational schools is the trainer. Many are senior technicians with years of Master Electrician experience. Not only can they share valuable knowledge with you, but they may also have contacts or relationships that can lead to employment opportunities after you graduate. If you have any questions or need to speak, electrician training programs teachers are usually on campus during the week. Because online training courses are taught remotely, it can be difficult to have a one-on-one meeting with an instructor unless you plan.
Working face-to-face with an experienced educator provides an opportunity for better interaction. Conversing one-on-one with another person is often clearer and easier to understand than communicating via text or email.
Online participation provides teaching flexibility in a way that traditional learning often does not. Online training is often a viable option for people who work remotely or can't attend in-person workshops. Even though the course is somewhat structured, the employee can get the job done according to their time frame.
Courses and training programs are offered through online learning throughout the year. Specific face-to-face courses/training are usually only available in some regions of the country, and employees need to be able to attend. However, for online courses, it doesn't matter where the training takes place or where the employees live and work. Geographically dispersed remote workers can still receive the same training.
Classroom/face-to-face instruction ensures that every student learns online simultaneously. Personal training usually provides more structure and organization. In a classroom environment, students can connect in real-time. Individual training offers additional opportunities for group activities and interactive projects. People who learn more by collaborating with others may want to take as many traditional classes as possible.
Face-to-face interactions can also provide more networking opportunities. Chat rooms and other methods of online interaction are beneficial, but they are not the same as shaking hands or talking face-to-face. Everyone absorbs knowledge differently, and it's important to consider how employees like to learn.
The good news is that despite the proliferation of online electrician courses and classes, states like Texas have not changed their licensing requirements. The State of Texas requires specific hours in registered and approved apprenticeship programs. So, students can study from home, fit their work into their schedules, and earn a certificate or degree without the tedious commute to classes. However, these students still must undergo the required training and apprenticeships if they want to gain licensure, which means they enter the field and learn from those who have worked there for much longer.
Electrician training programs in the classroom can be more expensive than online programs, but many schools offer financial aid to support students. Many college students receive support through Pell Grants, loans, and scholarships from community partners and local organizations.
One of the most common paths to a successful career as an electrical technician is to attend a trade school in the city where you want to work. Local schools can have placement programs to help you enter the workforce immediately after graduation. If you choose an online school, find out where its headquarters are located. Also, ask if they offer job placement services after graduation. You don't want to spend weeks or months in electrical training progams and end up with no job offer.