How to Pick the Right Plumber Trade School near Alabaster Alabama
The initial 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 pick from, just how do you undertake making certain that you enroll in the right one? Particularly because there are a number of factors to examine. For instance, many potential students will start by searching for schools that are close to their home. Once they have found a few that are within driving range, they will choose the one with the lowest tuition. Even though cost and location are important, they are not the sole things that must be examined. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifiers should influence your final decision when choosing a plumbing trade school. We will talk about that checklist in more detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training choices that are available.
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.
Plumber 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.
What to Ask Plumbing Technical Schools
Now that you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to narrow down your school options. Since there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Alabaster AL region, it's essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must satisfy. The first 2 that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And while both qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are additional factors that must be considered also. Below is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to assess before choosing a plumber trade school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing vocational schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Make certain that the Alabaster AL program 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 a quality education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Also, some states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, another way of confirming that a vocational school you’re reiewing is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is typically controlled and regulated 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 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 looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate may indicate that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It might also signify that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which can result in more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help graduates secure apprenticeships or employment in the Alabaster AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Many plumber vocational programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing companies or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Alabaster AL plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Alabaster AL plumbing contractor if they can provide some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Alabaster AL home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to a few of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Alabaster AL and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Alabaster AL, verify that the programs you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Alabaster Plumbing Training School
Choosing the right plumbing trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any plumber tech school that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every training program provides unique options for certification as well. Probably The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Alabaster AL.