How to Pick the Right Plumbing Training School near Albertville Alabama
The initial step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Albertville AL. But with numerous technical schools to select from, just how do you go about making certain that you enroll in the right one? Especially because there are a number of variables to evaluate. For example, many prospective students will begin by searching for schools that are close to their home. When they have identified several that are within driving distance, they will pick the one with the cheapest tuition. Even though cost and location are of importance, they are not the sole factors that must be examined. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should influence your ultimate decision when choosing a plumber training school. We will talk about that checklist in more detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training 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.
Plumber Certificate and Degree ProgramsThere 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 Plumber Vocational Schools
Now that you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to refine your school options. Considering that there are so many plumbing tech and trade schools in the Albertville AL region, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The initial 2 that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be critical when making your decision, there are additional factors that need to be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to assess prior to selecting a plumber vocational school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing vocational programs have received 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 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 organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Additionally, some states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to be approved for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, an additional 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 don’t know, 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 training programs you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate could indicate that students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. It may also indicate that the instructors were not qualified to train the students. It's also essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which may 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 an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist graduates obtain apprenticeships or jobs in the Albertville AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Numerous plumber training 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 within their network of plumbing businesses or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Albertville AL plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also provides job 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 trained on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Albertville AL plumbing company if they can give you some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within commuting distance of your Albertville AL home. Remember that if you decide to attend 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 receive as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor 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 a few of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak to a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Albertville AL and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Albertville AL, confirm that the programs you are comparing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Best Albertville Plumber Trade School
Choosing the right plumbing training program 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 factors that you will need to examine and compare between the training programs you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing tech school that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world context, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every training program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Albertville AL.