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How to Choose the Best Plumber Training School near Albertville Alabama

Albertville Alabama plumbing contractor installing kitchen 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 tackle making certain that you enroll in the right one? Especially because there are so many factors to consider. For example, many students will start by looking for schools that are nearby their home. Once they have located some that are within driving range, they will pick the one with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant, they are not the sole factors that should be examined. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should help mold 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 talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational choices that are accessible.

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 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.

Questions to Ask Plumbing Training Schools

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Once you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to focus your training options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Albertville AL area, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The initial 2 that we talked about 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 additional qualifications that you will need to analyze prior to choosing a plumber technical school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Numerous plumbing trade programs have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Verify that the Albertville AL program is 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 acquire an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Additionally, 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 determining if a trade school you’re considering is reputable is by checking 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 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 signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It may also suggest that the teachers were not qualified to train the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list 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 validate that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to help grads secure apprenticeships or employment in the Albertville AL area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Most plumber technical 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 within their network of plumbing companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working relationships with local Albertville AL plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the local plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools 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, check with the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, 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 commuting distance of your Albertville AL home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be higher 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 monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with some of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some of the teachers 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?  Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Albertville AL, confirm that the programs you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.

Learn More About Albertville Plumbing Trade Schools

Enroll in the Best Albertville Plumber Vocational School

Picking the right plumber trade school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It's a must that any plumbing training program that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every training program provides unique options for certification as well. Probably the best approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Albertville AL.