How to Select the Best Plumber Trade School near Albertville Alabama
The first step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is finding a plumbing trade school near Albertville AL. But with numerous technical schools to choose from, just how do you tackle making certain that you enroll in the right one? Especially since there are so many variables to examine. For example, many prospective students will begin by searching for schools that are close to their home. Once they have identified a few that are within driving range, they will decide on the one with the most affordable tuition. Even though cost and location are important, they are not the sole things that need to be examined. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should influence your final judgment when choosing a plumbing trade school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training choices 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.
Plumbing Certificate and Degree OptionsThere 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 Technical Schools
Once you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to narrow down your training options. Because there are numerous plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Albertville AL region, it's essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The first two that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are other factors that must be considered as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to research prior to enrolling in a plumber tech school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing vocational programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, 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 approved accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you receive a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, a number of states require that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to qualify for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, an additional way of determining if a trade school you’re reiewing is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is typically regulated and controlled 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 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 reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate may signify that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It could also signify that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which may mean 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 a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to help graduates secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Albertville AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Many plumber vocational programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing businesses or trade unions. Check if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Albertville AL plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Albertville AL plumbing company if they can give you some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to 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 increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can observe how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Talk to some of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with 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? Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Albertville AL, confirm that the schools you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Albertville Plumber Trade School
Selecting the right plumber training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare between the training programs you are looking at. It's a must that any plumber training program that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each training program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Albertville AL.