How to Pick the Best Plumbing Course near Albertville Alabama
The initial step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is enrolling in 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? Particularly because there are a number of variables to evaluate. For example, some students will commence by looking for schools that are close to their home. When they have found several that are within commuting range, they will choose the one with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are of importance, they are not the only things that must be examined. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifications should influence your final judgment when selecting a plumber trade school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this post. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training choices that are offered.
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.
Plumber Degree and Certificate 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.
Questions to Ask Plumbing Trade Schools
Once you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to focus your school options. Since there are so many plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Albertville AL area, it's essential to have a checklist of criteria that each school must meet. The first two that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. And although both qualifiers may be critical when making your selection, there are additional factors that must be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to research prior to choosing a plumber tech school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing trade programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, such as electrical technology. Make sure that the Albertville AL program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you acquire a superior education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, 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, another way of confirming that a vocational 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 regulates 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 or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate could signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It may also indicate that the instructors were not competent 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 more extensive list of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist students acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the Albertville AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? A large number of plumber training programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have referring relationships with local Albertville AL plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make certain that the campus facilities and the equipment 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, check with the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Albertville AL plumbing contracting company if they can provide 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, besides the added relocation costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you receive as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Talk to several of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Albertville AL and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Albertville AL, confirm that the programs you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Albertville Plumbing Vocational School
Picking the right plumbing 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 examine and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any plumbing training that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Every program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you choose is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Albertville AL.