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How to Find the Right Plumber Vocational School near Albertville Alabama

Albertville Alabama plumber replacing kitchen sink faucetThe first step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Albertville AL. But with so many vocational schools to select from, just how do you undertake making sure that you enroll in the right one? Especially because there are a number of factors to consider. For example, many students will commence by searching for schools that are close to their home. When they have identified a few that are within driving range, they will choose the one with the most affordable tuition. Even though cost and location are of importance, they are not the sole factors that must be evaluated. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifications should contribute toward your final judgment when selecting a plumbing trade school. We will discuss that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional options that are offered.

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.

Plumber Certificate and Degree 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 Trade Schools

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Now that you have decided to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to refine your training options. Considering that there are so many plumbing tech and trade schools in the Albertville AL area, it's important to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The first two that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And while both qualifiers may be critical when making your decision, there are other factors that need to be considered also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to analyze before choosing a plumber tech school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing vocational schools have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Verify that the Albertville AL program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you get an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, a number of states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, another way of confirming that a vocational school you’re reiewing 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 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate could indicate that students were unhappy with the course and dropped out. It could also suggest that the teachers were not competent to instruct 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 list of graduates, which can produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only validate that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to help graduates obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Albertville AL area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  A large number of plumber training programs are taught together with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing businesses or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Albertville AL plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing hands-on training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Albertville AL plumbing contractor if they can give you some tips.

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 enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Speak with several of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Albertville AL and what certifications or degrees they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Albertville AL, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Albertville Plumbing Vocational Schools

Enroll in the Best Albertville Plumbing Trade School

Picking the best plumber training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any plumber training program that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every training program offers unique options for certification also. Probably The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Albertville AL.