Can You Take An Electrician Training Course Online?
October 18, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic forced many schools at every level to transition from in-person instruction to online. In some states, elementary-aged children all the way up to college-aged adults took classes from home for up to a year.
This was true not only of traditional schools, but vocational schools as well. Many training programs were forced to go online in 2020. Where possible, some trade schools like I-TAP took lab instruction outside as a way to maintain social distancing.
Today, most trade schools are back open, holding in-person classes. But those who are interested in attending a trade school may wonder if any programs are still being offered fully online.
To become an electrician, you must attend a federally or state-certified electrician training program. Only two California-certified programs currently offer online classes, though details are limited. (Keep in mind that California’s registry of state-approved programs offers few details about each program, and information may not be up to date. Contact the programs you are interested in to learn more about the availability of online classes.)
So, it may be possible to sign up and take online classes. But remember, for most programs, classroom instruction is only part of the curriculum.
You may still be required to attend in-person electrical lab sessions, and here is why.
The state of California requires that electrical trainee students earn at least 720 hours of training. The course you enroll in should cover topics such as electrical theory, motor control, national codes, and safety. At I-TAP, students in our 26-week electrical training program receive 900 total hours of instruction—320 hours of which are spent in the lab!
Hands-on lab training cannot be easily replicated in an online-only format. In a lab, you get to work with tools, run wires, climb ladders, and use cutting equipment. All of this prepares you for work on a real job site.
Electrician training programs in California that switched to online instruction did so due to the pandemic. Now that in-person instruction is allowed, online classes are not commonly offered. If you sign up for an online program, be sure to ask about in-person lab sessions. Online classes may only be offered for the classroom portion of the program. It is important to enroll in a program close enough to commute to if you need to attend lab sessions in person.
In-person trade school is also good in that it can help students form relationships that an online course may not allow.
Forming positive connections with teachers and fellow students can go a long way in helping you learn and grow. This is especially true in a lab environment, where teachers get to mentor students and even work alongside them.
It’s one thing to listen to a lecture and take notes—it’s another thing to apply what you have learned. Working in the lab means you get to practice what you are taught.
And the lab is really where you can get comfortable with teachers and other students. It can give you the chance to ask practical questions and learn from mistakes. And asking questions is an important skill. This is especially true—and almost expected—when you get your first job after completing an electrician training program. In fact, most supervisors like when you ask questions.
Getting to know your fellow students, teachers, and supervisors is a great way to learn! It’s also a good way to earn a positive reputation, and that can go a long way on the job. This is one of the reasons that trade school, and lab sessions in particular, are much better suited as in person. In-person classes are also indispensable when it comes to developing connections that can help you get a job and grow your career.
It would be difficult to complete a fully-online vocational training course. Unlike a traditional college, you need hands-on training, which you cannot get unless you work in a lab. Working in a lab gives you the chance to learn exactly what it will be like to work on a real jobsite.
If you want to become an electrician, contact I-TAP today. We can answer any questions you may have, and help you get started on your career!
Ready to learn a skilled trade and work on some of the most exciting commercial construction projects in California and beyond?
I-TAP is an electrical apprenticeship program that helps you find your passion, grow your skills, and place you in the perfect electrician job.