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How to Enroll in the Best Plumbing Training Course near Albertville Alabama

Albertville Alabama plumber repairing kitchen faucetThe initial step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Albertville AL. But with so many vocational schools to choose from, just how do you go about making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly because there are a number of variables to examine. For instance, many students will start by searching for schools that are close to their home. Once they have located a few that are within commuting range, they will pick the one with the lowest tuition. Even though location and cost are important, they are not the sole factors that should be considered. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifiers should influence your final decision when picking a plumbing trade school. We will address that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional choices that are available.

What is a Plumber?

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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 Albertville AL plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.

  • Apprentice. The majority of Albertville 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 Albertville 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 Programs

There are several educational options available near Albertville 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 Plumber Technical Schools

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Once you have decided to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to refine your training options. Considering that there are so many plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Albertville AL area, it's essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The initial two that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be critical when making your determination, there are other variables that need to be considered also. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to research before selecting a plumber tech school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing technical schools have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Make sure that the Albertville AL program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping guarantee that you get an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to be approved for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to accreditation, another way of determining if a vocational school you’re considering is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed.  Licensing is typically 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 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 Albertville 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate could indicate that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It might also signify that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It's also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which can produce 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 a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist grads acquire apprenticeships or employment in the Albertville AL area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Numerous plumber technical programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing contractors or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring partnerships with local Albertville AL plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing practical 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 campus 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 presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Albertville 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 Albertville AL residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation 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 training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak with some of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Albertville 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 handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Albertville AL, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.

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Pick the Right Albertville Plumbing Trade School

Choosing the ideal plumber training program 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 things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are looking at. It's a prerequisite that any plumber tech school that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every training program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Albertville AL.