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How to Find the Best Plumbing Training School near Albertville Alabama

Albertville Alabama plumber replacing kitchen sink faucetThe first step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing trade school near Albertville AL. But with so many vocational schools to choose from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the right one? Particularly since there are a number of factors to examine. For instance, some students will commence 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 most affordable tuition. Even though location and cost are significant, they are not the sole factors that should be evaluated. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifications should influence your final judgment when choosing a plumber 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 educational options that are available.

Becoming 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.

Plumber Degree and Certificate Options

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.

Topics to Ask Plumber Vocational Schools

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Now that you have decided to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to refine your school options. Because there are so many plumbing tech and trade schools in the Albertville AL region, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must satisfy. The first two that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be crucial when making your selection, there are other variables that must be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to research before choosing a plumber vocational school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing trade schools have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Make sure that the Albertville AL program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you get a superior education, it can assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, some states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to be approved for certification or licensing.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to 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 typically controlled and regulated by state agencies, such as the Alabama Department of Education.  If you’re not sure, 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 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 training programs you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate may suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It might also mean that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It's also imperative that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of alumni, which can mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or employment in the Albertville AL area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  A large number of plumber trade programs are taught along with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Albertville AL plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make sure that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Albertville AL plumbing contracting company if they can provide 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. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with some of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few 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 can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Albertville AL, verify that the schools you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.

Get More Info About Albertville Plumbing Vocational Schools

Enroll in the Best Albertville Plumber Training School

Selecting the right plumbing trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare among the training programs you are considering. It's a necessity that any plumber tech school that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every program offers unique options for certification also. Perhaps the best approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the teachers 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 school you pick is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Albertville AL.