How to Select the Best Plumbing Trade School near Alabaster Alabama
The first step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is locating a plumbing trade school near Alabaster AL. But with numerous technical schools to select from, just how do you tackle making sure that you enroll in the right one? Especially because there are so many factors to consider. For instance, many prospective students will start by searching for schools that are close to their home. Once they have located some that are within driving range, they will decide on the one with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are of importance, they are not the sole factors that need to be examined. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should help mold your ultimate judgment when picking a plumber training school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training 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 Degree and Certificate 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.
Things to Ask Plumbing Vocational Schools
Once you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to focus your training options. Because there are so many plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Alabaster AL region, it's imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The initial 2 that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be critical when making your decision, there are additional factors that must be considered also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to assess before selecting a plumber tech school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing technical programs have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Confirm that the Alabaster AL program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you acquire a superior education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to qualify for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, an additional way of confirming that a trade school you’re reiewing is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is usually controlled and regulated 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 training programs you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate may signify that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It might also indicate that the instructors were not qualified 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 broader list of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to help students acquire apprenticeships or employment in the Alabaster AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? A large number of plumber technical 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 contractors or labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Alabaster AL plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Alabaster AL plumbing company if they can give you 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, in addition to relocation costs there may be higher 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 sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with a few of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Alabaster AL and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Alabaster AL, confirm that the programs you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.
Get More Info About Alabaster Plumbing Vocational Schools
Enroll in the Best Alabaster Plumbing Trade School
Choosing the ideal plumbing trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are looking at. It's a must that any plumber training program that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every training program offers unique options for certification also. Probably The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you select is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Alabaster AL.