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How to Select the Right Plumber Technical School near Alabaster Alabama

Alabaster Alabama plumbing contractor fixing sink faucetThe initial step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Alabaster AL. But with numerous vocational schools to choose from, just how do you undertake making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially because there are so many points to evaluate. For instance, some prospective students will begin by looking for schools that are close to their home. Once they have found several that are within commuting range, they will pick the one with the least expensive tuition. Although location and cost are important, they are not the sole factors that should be considered. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifiers should influence your final judgment when choosing a plumber trade school. We will talk about that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional options that are offered.

What is a Plumber?

Alabaster Alabama plumber repairing sink pipe

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 Options

There 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.

Questions to Ask Plumber Trade Schools

Alabaster Alabama plumbing contractor installing hot water heater

When you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to refine your training options. Because there are numerous plumbing tech and trade schools in the Alabaster AL area, it's essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The initial 2 that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be important 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 research prior to choosing a plumber technical school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing technical schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Verify that the Alabaster AL program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it may assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, some states require that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing or certification.

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 controlled and regulated by state agencies, such as the Alabama Department of Education.  If you’re not sure, 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 considering 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 suggest that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It might also signify that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to help students acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the Alabaster AL area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Numerous plumber trade programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing companies or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Alabaster AL plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be looking for. 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 commuting distance of your Alabaster AL home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you get as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to a few of the students and get their comments regarding 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 degrees or certifications they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Alabaster AL, check that the schools you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.

Get More Info About Alabaster Plumber Trade Schools

Enroll in the Best Alabaster Plumber Trade School

Choosing the ideal plumbing training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the training programs you are looking at. It's a necessity that any plumber training program that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you select is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Alabaster AL.