How to Enroll in the Right Plumber Training Course near Alabaster Alabama
The initial step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing trade school near Alabaster AL. But with numerous vocational schools to pick from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the best one? Especially since there are so many variables to examine. For example, some prospective students will start by looking for schools that are close to their residence. Once they have identified some that are within driving distance, they will pick the one with the lowest tuition. While location and cost are significant, they are not the sole factors that must be examined. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should contribute toward your final judgment when selecting a plumber training school. We will address that checklist in more detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional choices that are accessible.
Becoming a Plumber
Almost everyone at one time or another has needed the services of a professional plumber. It may have been due to a leaky faucet or perhaps a hot water heater needed to be replaced. Plumbers provide a valuable service for the maintenance of both commercial and residential buildings. They are skilled tradesmen who are trained in the installation, repair and replacement of plumbing systems. These systems include pipes, plumbing fixtures, water based heating and cooling, sewage removal and sprinklers. A local Alabaster AL plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Alabaster AL plumbers begin their careers as an Apprentice. Apprenticeships are often completed in tandem with a formalized plumbing training program. Apprentices are typically paid but unlicensed and work under the guidance of a licensed plumber during working hours and attend plumber training classes at night. The second phase of their career begins once the apprenticeship and the training program have been completed.
- Journeyman Plumber. Once the apprenticeship has been completed as well as any required training program, application for Journeyman Plumber licensing can be made. Most often licensing is controlled by the state but can be managed more locally at the county or city level. A Journeyman license will only be issued after all requirements have been met, including a passing score on the licensing exam. Even though a Journeyman is more knowledgeable and experienced than an Apprentice, they generally must continue to be supervised, in this case by a Master Plumber.
- Master Plumber. After attaining the necessary work experience and completing any additional educational requirements, the Journeyman can apply to become a Master Plumber. Once again a passing score must be achieved on the licensing exam before a license will be issued. There are several benefits to advancing to the Master Plumber level, including earnings at the highest pay level, unsupervised working conditions, and the ability to start and own a business. Master Plumbers may also hire and supervise both Journeymen and Apprentices.
As a technical field requiring a high level of skill and competence, plumbing can take years of both training and experience to master. As a consequence, the best opportunity for success for a new Apprentice in Alabaster AL is to enroll in a plumbing technology program that will provide the comprehensive quality training needed to embark on this challenging career.
Plumbing Certificate and Degree ProgramsThere are several educational options available near Alabaster AL to receive the necessary training to begin your career as a plumber. As far as the schools offering programs, you can enroll in a trade, technical or vocational school as well as a local community college. The programs offered will vary, but in general the shortest is the certificate program which will focus on the fundamentals and generally take about a year to complete. An Associate Degree will take 2 years to complete and will provide a more comprehensive education. There are some colleges that do offer a Bachelor Degree in plumbing technology, which are 4 year programs and much broader in nature. When choosing a school and program, naturally the completion time and the cost will be important factors. Tuition can vary significantly among the various schools and colleges and for some private schools can be quite expensive. State schools and community colleges typically offer their programs at the lower end of the tuition scale. However, when making your comparisons, keep in mind that many schools offer financial aid and even scholarships to help offset some of the financial burden. So be sure to find out what is available for each school and program before making your final decision.
Topics to Ask Plumber Training Schools
Once you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to refine your school options. Since there are numerous plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Alabaster AL area, it's imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The first 2 that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And while both qualifiers may be crucial when making your selection, there are additional variables that need to be considered also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to research before selecting a plumber trade school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing technical programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Make sure that the Alabaster AL school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you acquire an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, a number of states require that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to be approved for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, an additional way of confirming that a vocational school you’re reiewing is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is usually regulated and controlled by state agencies, such as the Alabama Department of Education. If you don’t know, ask the school which state agency regulates its licensing and then check to ensure that it’s up to date.
How Long has the School been in Business? Another means of determining the quality of a technical school is to find out how long it’s been in business. The longer a school has been in operation, the more likely that its programs are highly rated and regarded. Conversely, schools that are not well regarded or that provide low quality training generally don’t stand the test of time. However, keep in mind that even the best of Alabaster AL schools had to start from their first day of operation, so only use it as one of several qualifications for each school you are considering.
What are the School’s Completion and Placement Rates? Ask the plumbing schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate could indicate that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It could also mean that the instructors were not competent 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 more extensive list of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Alabaster AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Many plumber training programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing businesses or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Alabaster AL plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Alabaster AL plumbing contracting company if they can give you some tips.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Alabaster AL residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to some of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Alabaster AL and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Alabaster AL, 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 permits part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Find Out More About Alabaster Plumber Vocational Schools
Choose the Right Alabaster Plumber Trade School
Selecting the best plumbing trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the training programs you are considering. It's a must that any plumbing training that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world context, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each training program offers different options for certification as well. Probably the best approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Alabaster AL.