How to Enroll in the Best Plumber Training School near Alabaster Alabama
The first step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Alabaster AL. But with so many vocational schools to choose from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially because there are a number of factors to evaluate. For instance, many students will begin by looking for schools that are close to their home. After they have located a few that are within driving range, they will select the one with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are important, they are not the only factors that must be considered. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifiers should contribute toward your ultimate decision when selecting a plumber training school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional choices that are offered.
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 Plumbing Technical Schools
When you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to refine your training options. Considering that there are so many plumbing tech and trade schools in the Alabaster AL region, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The initial 2 that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be critical when making your decision, there are other variables that must be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to analyze before choosing a plumber trade school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing technical schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Make sure that the Alabaster AL school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you acquire a quality education, it can help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of states require that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to qualify for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, another way of confirming that a vocational school you’re considering 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 is responsible for its licensing and then verify 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 training programs you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A lower completion rate may indicate that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It may also mean that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It's similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which can mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist grads secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Alabaster AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? A large number of plumber training programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Alabaster AL plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Alabaster AL plumbing company if they can provide some tips.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can move, the school must be within driving distance of your Alabaster AL home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with a few of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Alabaster AL and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Alabaster AL, check that the programs you are comparing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Alabaster Plumber Vocational School
Selecting the best plumbing trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are looking at. It's a necessity that any plumbing tech school that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each program offers different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Alabaster AL.