How to Enroll in the Right Plumbing Training School near Albertville Alabama
The initial step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Albertville AL. But with so many vocational schools to choose from, just how do you go about making certain that you enroll in the best one? Especially because there are so many factors to examine. For instance, many potential students will start by looking for schools that are nearby their home. Once they have found a few that are within driving distance, they will decide on the one with the most affordable tuition. Although cost and location are significant, they are not the only qualifications that need to be examined. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifiers should help mold your ultimate judgment when choosing a plumbing trade school. We will cover that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional options that are offered.
What is 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 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 Certificate and Degree OptionsThere 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.
Topics to Ask Plumber Training Schools
Once you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to focus your school options. Because there are so many plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Albertville AL region, it's essential to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The initial two that we talked about were location and the cost of tuition. And while both qualifiers may be important when making your decision, there are other factors that must be taken into account also. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to assess prior to enrolling in a plumber trade school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing vocational schools have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance electrical technology. Verify that the Albertville AL program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it can assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Additionally, some states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to be approved for certification or licensing.
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 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 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 percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate might signify that students were disappointed with the course and dropped out. It could also signify that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which may mean 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 an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to help students acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the Albertville AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Many plumber vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Albertville AL plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using 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 looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Albertville AL plumbing company if they can give you some tips.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are able to relocate, 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 higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Albertville AL and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Albertville AL, verify that the schools you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.
Pick the Best Albertville Plumbing Vocational School
Picking the ideal plumber training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the training programs you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing training program that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides different options for certification also. Probably The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Albertville AL.