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How to Enroll in the Right Plumber School near Anniston Alabama

Anniston Alabama plumbing contractor installing sink faucetThe initial step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is finding a plumbing trade school near Anniston AL. But with so many technical schools to pick from, just how do you go about making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly because there are so many factors to evaluate. For instance, some students will start by searching for schools that are close to their residence. After they have found some that are within driving distance, they will decide on the one with the most affordable tuition. Even though cost and location are important, they are not the sole factors that need to be examined. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifications should contribute toward your final judgment when selecting a plumber trade school. We will discuss that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional choices that are accessible.

What is a Plumber?

Anniston Alabama plumbing contractor repairing water pipe

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 Degree and Certificate 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.

What to Ask Plumber Trade Schools

Anniston Alabama plumber replacing water heater

Once you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to focus your school options. Since there are numerous plumbing tech and trade schools in the Anniston AL area, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The first 2 that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be crucial when making your decision, there are other variables that need to be considered as well. Following is a checklist of those added qualifications that you will need to assess prior to choosing a plumber trade school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing trade schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Make certain that the Anniston AL school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it can assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of states require that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to qualify for certification or licensing.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, another way of confirming that a trade school you’re considering is reputable is by making sure 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 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 schools you are reviewing 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 may signify that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It could also indicate that the teachers were not competent to instruct the students. It's similarly essential that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive directory of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist grads secure apprenticeships or employment in the Anniston AL area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Numerous plumber trade programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing companies or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Anniston AL plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Anniston AL plumbing contracting company if they can give you some suggestions.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are able to move, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Anniston AL residence. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you get as much personalized 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 large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to some of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to some of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Anniston AL and what certifications or degrees they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Anniston AL, confirm that the programs you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, find out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family issues.

Find Out More About Anniston Plumbing Training Schools

Pick the Right Anniston Plumbing Trade School

Selecting the right plumbing training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are looking at. It's a must that any plumbing training that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Anniston AL.