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How to Choose the Right Plumber Training School near Anniston Alabama

Anniston Alabama plumbing contractor fixing kitchen sink faucetThe initial step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Anniston AL. But with so many vocational schools to choose from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the right one? Especially since there are so many factors to consider. For example, many potential students will begin by looking for schools that are nearby their home. Once they have identified some that are within commuting distance, they will select the one with the lowest tuition. Although location and cost are of importance, they are not the sole factors that should be evaluated. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifiers should influence your final judgment when picking a plumbing trade school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional choices that are available.

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 Anniston AL plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.

  • Apprentice. The majority of Anniston 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 Anniston 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 Anniston 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.

Things to Ask Plumber Tech Schools

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When you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to refine your training options. Since there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Anniston AL area, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The initial 2 that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And while both qualifiers may be crucial 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 research prior to choosing a plumber vocational school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing trade programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Make certain that the Anniston AL school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you obtain an excellent education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, many 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 determining if a vocational 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’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 Anniston 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It may also mean that the teachers were not competent 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 directory of alumni, which can produce more contacts for the school to employ 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 industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help graduates obtain apprenticeships or jobs in the Anniston AL area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Many plumber vocational programs are taught together 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 businesses or trade unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Anniston AL plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also furnishes employment opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make certain 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, consult with the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Anniston 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 driving distance of your Anniston AL home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you get as much individualized training as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak to several of the students and get their comments relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Anniston AL and what degrees or certifications they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Anniston 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 offers part-time enrollment. Additionally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.

Learn More About Anniston Plumbing Tech Schools

Enroll in the Best Anniston Plumbing Training School

Selecting the best plumber training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare among the training programs you are looking at. It's a necessity that any plumbing training that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each program offers different options for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you select is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Anniston AL.