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New Spanish-Language Program at FTC will Help Fill Gap in Skilled Electrician Shortage

Posted on December 18th, 2017 by Florida Technical College

By Diane Sears Like the rest of the United States, Central Florida is experiencing a shortage of skilled electricians – a situation that is made more complicated by a steady and growing number of construction projects in the region. Almost two years ago, Florida Technical College began offering a special program to train people to be electrician helpers, who can work their way up to becoming licensed electricians. Recently, the college put even more emphasis on the program by announcing it will offer a version of its curriculum completely in Spanish, partly to accommodate workers who are relocating from Puerto Rico and Latin American countries. “With the devastation in Puerto Rico right now, we anticipate that in the next few months or years you’re going to get a lot of people leaving the island, and they will be looking for new skills,” said Robert Cruz, who oversees the program as the lead electrical instructor. Cruz pointed out that the opportunities are greater today than they were 25 years ago when he started his career. He became a union electrician in New Jersey and has a master’s degree in education from William Paterson University. But electricians don’t have to earn academic degrees to be highly successful in their field, he remarked. In FTC’s program, students attend four to five hours a day, depending on the coursework they are completing, four days a week. They learn basic wiring, pipe bending, motor controls, and other skills. Graduates have found full-time jobs as electrical helpers. They are working on everything from fire and security systems to power substations. According to Cruz, there simply are not enough electrical workers to go around. “You can’t drive two miles in Orlando or Kissimmee without seeing some kind of construction,” he said. “Employers are looking for qualified personnel, and that demand can’t be filled without adding new workers to the job force. Many job sites are short-handed.” In the annual State of the Industry survey Klein Tools released in April 2017, nearly 7 of every 10 electricians who responded indicated they are concerned about the skills gap in the U.S. labor market. Nearly 95 percent said they think more should be done to promote skilled trades as a career option for young people. The results were from a survey of 600 electricians, including 40 percent union members and 60 percent nonunion workers. More results are available at www.kleintools.com/2017survey1. A Florida Trend magazine article published online in November titled, “Bridging Talent Gap, Growing Opportunities in Florida Through Apprenticeships”, reported that statewide, there are more than 232,000 jobs available. Some positions are going unfilled because of the skills gap, according to the magazine.* The Spanish-language electrical program will be offered at the FTC’s Kissimmee and Pembroke Pines campuses, where 75 to 80 percent of the students coming through the program speak Spanish as their first language. Cruz hired a Spanish-speaking instructor and arranged for textbooks and other classroom materials to be translated from English. The electrical program is also offered in English in three FTC campuses: Kissimmee, Pembroke Pines and DeLand. Each class can have up to 25 students. Cruz pointed out that many of the applicants are just coming out of high schools, but others are looking for a career change or a way to increase their earning potential. “It’s a life-changing experience,” Cruz said. *Dennard, M. (2017, November 27). Bridging talent gap, growing opportunities in Florida through apprenticeships. Florida Tred. Retrieved from http://www.floridatrend.com/print/article/23484 Program Availability varies by campus. Important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended our programs available at www.ftccollege.edu/disclosures.html    

Top 25 Technical terms to Know before Starting Electrician Training

Posted on July 29th, 2016 by Florida Technical College

Electrician training is hands-on work, but it also requires some academic and book knowledge. To prepare for your electrician education, it’s a great idea to get a head start on learning the important terms electricians need to use on the job. This list will get you started with 25 important electrical terms. The number of jobs for electricians is growing every day and getting into this line of work is a smart move. All you need to get on the path to becoming a professional electrician is the right education. As you get ready to start an electrician training program, you’re probably eager to learn your new trade right now. If you haven’t started your program yet, you can get started by learning some of the more common technical terms that electricians use regularly. By learning some of these terms now, you’ll make a good impression on your instructors and let them know you are serious about electrical trade school. Getting a head start may also erase some of the anxiety you may feel over starting something new. Being prepared now means you will be ready to go on day one of classes.   Basic Electrical Circuit Terms Starting with the basics, electrician training means you will be learning all about electric circuits. A circuit is a path that a current of electrons flows through. Here are some of the related terms you’ll want to know. Alternating Current (AC). This is a type of current that reverses direction with a regular pattern, usually several times per second. Direct Current (DC). A direct current is a current that only flows in one direction through a circuit. You won’t work much with DC current in electrical trade schools, as most modern circuits are AC. A fuse is a device that is used to interrupt the current in a circuit for reasons of safety. When the current in the circuit gets too high, a strip of wire in the fuse melts and breaks the circuit. The fuse has to be replaced to get current going through the circuit again. Also referred to the Earth, the ground is a reference point. Voltage is measured with respect to the ground. The term also refers to the return path that electric current takes. When a circuit is grounded it protects people from dangerous levels of current and voltage. In electrician training, you will work with many loads. A load is anything that uses up electrical energy. Lights, motors, and transformers are just a few examples. A circuit that has become overloaded is dangerous. Overload refers to the use of equipment in a circuit that exceeds its capacity and creates more current than the circuit can handle safely. Eventually, an overload will lead to overheating and damage to the circuit and components. Parallel Circuit. In a parallel circuit, current can flow through multiple, parallel paths. Full voltage goes to each load connected in the circuit. Series Circuit. In a series circuit, there is only one path for electrical current. With loads connected in series, the amount of voltage through each one is different. Short Circuit. A short circuit is a fault in a circuit that causes current to take a different path. This sometimes causes damage, but certainly wastes energy and is usually caused by poor insulation of the circuit.   Electrician Training Tools When you start your classes in trade school, electrician tools will be important for hands-on learning. It helps to know what some of these are before the first day, so you won’t feel lost.  An ammeter is a tool that measures the amount of current in a circuit. With a traditional ammeter, current is measured by placing the ammeter in series in a circuit, which necessarily interrupts the circuit. A clamp-on style ammeter can be used without disrupting the circuit. A conductor is anything that will allow electrical current to flow through it. Metals are materials that conduct well and are considered conductors, which is why circuits are made of metal wires. Aluminum and copper are most commonly used. Digital Multimeter. Your most useful tool in electrician training will be the all-purpose multimeter. This is a tool that can do it all: measure current, capacitance, resistance, voltage, frequency, and temperature. A generator changes mechanical energy into electrical energy. They come in many different forms, but basically generators run nearly all power grids by providing the electrical energy we all use. An insulator is the opposite of a conductor. It resists the flow of current. In electrical work it is used to protect circuits, to keep the current contained within the circuit, and to protect people from electric shocks. This is a device made of a coil of conductive metal wire. When current is sent through the coil it becomes magnetic.   Electrical Units and Measurements  Electrician training comes with math and calculations, but they are mostly simple. It becomes especially easy to understand the math behind electrical work and circuits when you understand the measurements and units. Current and Amperes. Current is the flow of electrons through a circuit and the amount of current in a circuit is measured in units of amperes, or amps for short. This is why the tool for measuring current is called an ammeter. Capacitance and Farads. A capacitor is something you will use often in electrical trade school. It is a circuit element that holds electrical charge and capacitance is a measurement of how much charge it can hold. This is measured in units called farads. Power and Watts. Another measurement you will learn about in electrician training is power. Electrical power is a measurement how fast electrical energy can be transferred through a circuit. The basic unit for measuring power is the watt, but kilowatt is used more often. Resistance and Ohms. Different materials resist electrical current to varying degrees and resistance is a measurement of that. Insulators have higher resistances than conductors. An ohm is the basic unit of measurement for resistance. Voltage and Volts.… Continue Reading Top 25 Technical terms to Know before Starting Electrician Training

Is Electrician School Necessary for Becoming a Certified Electrician?

Posted on May 24th, 2016 by Florida Technical College

Becoming an certified electrician is a smart choice. Careers in this field are growing fast and the median annual salary for electricians is $51,889. You can eventually earn even more than that, but you can’t just get a job as an electrician tomorrow. You have to have the right skills, training, and certification. Florida Technical College’s Electrical Diploma Program is an electrician school that can help get you there, but you might be wondering if school is actually necessary for a career in this trade. How Electricians Get Certified Certification requirements for working as an electrician vary by state. In some states you can get there by attending an electrician school, while in others you only need to apprentice with an electrician and pass the certification exam. Education credits are required in some areas and not in others. In some states you can be licensed to work as an electrician by a local municipality, but can only work in that city. To be an electrician in Florida, you must pass a national licensing examination. By passing that test you can practice anywhere in the state. As is the case in some other states, individual municipalities in Florida may also offer licensing exams, which allow you to work only in that city. Florida electricians have to return occasionally to electrician school for continuing education requirements and to renew their licenses. This helps to keep technicians up to date on changing laws and codes as well as new technologies. How to Pass the Certification Test In order to pass any electrician certification or licensing exam, you must have a certain level of knowledge about electrical systems and the skills and tools associated with the trade. Although it is possible to learn in other ways, it isn’t easy to get that knowledge without a formal education. If you have already apprenticed with an electrician, for instance, you may be prepared to pass an exam without going through a training program. If you don’t have the benefit of an apprenticeship experience, your best bet is to go to a school that will give you the basic skills and knowledge of electrical work. You don’t have to go to a four-year university or earn a degree, though. You can learn through a trade program, like FTC’s electrical diploma program, which takes much less time. Expect to finish the program in about nine months, as compared to the years it takes to earn a degree in most subjects. Why Choose an Electrician School to become a Certified Electrician ? While there are some strict requirements for working as an electrician, there is also room for figuring out how you want to get there. The most important thing is that you learn the skills and knowledge you need to start you out on a career path as an electrician and that puts you in a position to pass the certification exam. Once you have passed the exam, you can be assured that you will be able to find work or an apprenticeship that will set you off on your path to an electrical career. An electrician school, like the diploma program at FTC is a great choice for getting onto that path because it covers all the basic information you need. You’ll learn basic safety skills, how to use the tools of the trade, all about circuits, and electrical mathematics. The program covers reading blueprints and design drawings, installation of new systems, using testing equipment, lighting, cable systems, and advanced skill used in specific settings. You will also get a combination of classroom learning and hands-on experience to put you in a position to succeed and to be prepared for entry-level positions. Instead of just learning through a book, you will actually be able to try out the tools and skills you’ll be using on the job. Perhaps the best reason to choose the trade program at FTC is that it is a convenient and fast way to get through electrician school and to meet your career goals. Instead of trying to pass a certification exam on your own, you get the support and education that will put you in the best possible position and within a reasonable time frame. You can earn your diploma in as little as nine months of class and lab work, and you can do it on your schedule. Take courses at the times that work for you, so you can study around your current job and family obligations, and take more than nine months if you need that extra time. For more information about how you can enroll in electrician school and learn a skilled trade, contact FTC and find out all about the Electrical Diploma Program.