How to Find the Best Plumber Vocational School near Albertville Alabama
The initial step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is finding a plumbing trade school near Albertville AL. But with numerous technical schools to select from, just how do you approach making certain that you enroll in the right one? Particularly because there are so many points to examine. For example, some students will commence by searching for schools that are close to their home. When they have found several that are within commuting range, they will decide on the one with the lowest tuition. Even though cost and location are of importance, they are not the only things that must be evaluated. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifiers should influence your final decision when picking a plumbing training school. We will talk about that checklist in more detail later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional options that are accessible.
Becoming 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 Degree and Certificate 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.
What to Ask Plumber Vocational Schools
Now that you have decided to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to focus your school options. Since there are numerous plumbing tech and trade schools in the Albertville AL area, it's important to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The first 2 that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And while both qualifiers may be crucial when making your selection, there are additional factors that need to be taken into account as well. Following is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to analyze prior to choosing a plumber technical school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing technical schools have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Make certain that the Albertville AL school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you acquire a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, many states mandate 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 checking that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is usually regulated and controlled by state agencies, such as the Alabama Department of Education. If you don’t know, ask the school which state agency regulates 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 looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate may signify that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It could also mean that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It's similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to use 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 students secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Albertville AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? A large number of plumber trade programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Albertville AL plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the area plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Albertville AL plumbing company if they can give you some suggestions.
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 attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you get as much individualized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between students and instructors. Speak with several of the students and get their comments concerning class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Albertville AL and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing 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 programs you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Best Albertville Plumber Training School
Picking the ideal plumbing training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare between the training programs you are reviewing. It's a must that any plumber training program that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every training program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Albertville AL.