How to Find the Right Plumbing Tech School near Anniston Alabama
The initial step to learning to be a plumbing tradesman or contractor is finding a plumbing trade school near Anniston AL. But with so many vocational schools to pick from, just how do you tackle making certain that you enroll in the right one? Particularly because there are a number of factors to consider. For instance, many potential students will start by searching for schools that are close to their residence. Once they have found several that are within commuting distance, they will choose the one with the least expensive tuition. Even though location and cost are significant, they are not the sole things that should be considered. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, along with their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifications should contribute toward your ultimate decision when selecting a plumbing training school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this post. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the instructional choices that are offered.
What is 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 Vocational Schools
Now that you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to focus your training options. Because there are numerous plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Anniston AL area, it's important to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The first two that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be important when making your selection, there are other 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 enrolling in a plumber trade school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Many plumbing technical schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They may earn Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for instance electrical technology. Make certain that the Anniston AL program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, some states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to be approved for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, another way of determining if a trade school you’re reiewing is reputable is by checking that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is typically controlled and regulated by state agencies, such as the Alabama Department of Education. If you don’t know, 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 schools you are looking at what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the program. A lower completion rate may signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It could also mean 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 broader list of alumni, which may mean more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only confirm 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 Anniston AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Numerous plumber trade programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing businesses or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have working partnerships with local Anniston AL plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using in the field. If you are already 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 give you some tips.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can move, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Anniston AL residence. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you receive as much one-on-one training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Talk with some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Anniston AL and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Anniston AL, check that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Anniston Plumber Trade School
Picking the ideal plumbing training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It's a must that any plumbing training that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers unique options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Anniston AL.