How to Select the Best Plumbing Training Course near Anniston Alabama
The first step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing trade school near Anniston AL. But with numerous technical schools to pick from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the right one? Particularly since there are a number of factors to evaluate. For instance, some students will commence by looking for schools that are nearby their home. Once they have identified some that are within driving distance, they will pick the one with the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are of importance, they are not the only qualifications that need to be examined. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifications should contribute toward your ultimate decision when selecting a plumbing trade school. We will discuss that checklist in more detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational options that are accessible.
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 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.
Plumbing Degree and Certificate OptionsThere 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 Training Schools
When you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to narrow down your school options. Since there are so many plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Anniston AL region, it's essential to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The initial 2 that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be crucial when making your decision, there are additional variables that need to be considered also. Below is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to research before choosing a plumber tech school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing technical schools have attained either a regional or a national accreditation. They may attain Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Confirm that the Anniston AL school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you receive an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Also, some states require that the plumbing training course be accredited in order to be approved for certification or licensing.
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 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 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 looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate could suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It could also suggest that the instructors 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 broader list of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Anniston AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Many plumber technical programs are taught along 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 labor unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have working relationships with local Anniston AL plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make sure that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be trained 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, check with the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Anniston AL plumbing company if they can provide some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Anniston AL residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important 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 instructors and students. Speak with some of the students and get their opinions regarding class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Anniston AL and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are evaluating are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Anniston AL, check that the schools you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, be sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Anniston Plumber Trade School
Choosing the right plumber training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are considering. It's a necessity that any plumber training that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every training program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Anniston AL.