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How to Find the Right Plumbing Trade School near Albertville Alabama

Albertville Alabama plumbing contractor replacing sink faucetThe first step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Albertville AL. But with numerous vocational schools to select from, just how do you go about making certain that you enroll in the best one? Especially since there are so many variables to evaluate. For instance, some potential students will begin 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 cheapest tuition. While cost and location are significant, they are not the only factors that must be examined. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should help mold your final decision when selecting a plumbing training school. We will discuss 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 choices 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.

Plumbing Certificate and Degree 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.

Questions to Ask Plumbing Vocational Schools

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Now that you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to narrow down your school options. Because there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Albertville AL area, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The initial 2 that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be critical when making your selection, there are additional factors that need to be taken into account as well. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to research prior to selecting a plumber vocational school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing vocational programs have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Make certain that the Albertville 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 obtain a quality education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Also, many states require that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to be approved for certification or licensing.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to accreditation, another way of determining if a trade school you’re reiewing 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 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 training programs you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate may suggest that students were disappointed with the program and quit. It could also signify that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It's similarly important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which can mean more contacts for the school to employ 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 industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to help students acquire apprenticeships or employment in the Albertville AL area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  A large number of plumber training programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating technical and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing contractors or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Albertville AL plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also furnishes job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the local plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Albertville AL plumbing contracting company if they can give you some suggestions.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you can move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Albertville AL residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk to some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Albertville AL and what degrees or certifications they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Albertville AL, verify that the programs you are comparing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.

Learn More About Albertville Plumbing Vocational Schools

Choose the Right Albertville Plumber Training School

Picking the ideal plumber trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any plumber tech school that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Albertville AL.