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Things to Ask Plumbing Vocational Schools

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Now that you have decided to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to narrow down your school options. Because there are so many plumbing tech and trade schools in the Athens AL region, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must meet. The initial two that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. And while both qualifiers may be critical when making your determination, there are other factors that need to be taken into account as well. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to research prior to choosing a plumber tech school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  A large number of plumbing vocational schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can attain 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 Athens AL program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you get a quality education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, some states require that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to be approved for certification or licensing.

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 regulated and controlled by state agencies, such as the Alabama Department of Education.  If you’re not sure, ask the school which state agency is responsible for 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 Athens 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 percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the course. A lower completion rate may suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It may also mean that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of alumni, which can mean 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 a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of contacts to help students acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the Athens AL area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Numerous plumber training programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating technical and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing contractors or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Athens AL plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to build relationships in the local plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Make certain that the school facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date 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 Athens AL plumbing contractor if they can give you some tips.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Athens AL home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's desirable that you receive as much individualized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between instructors and students. Talk with some of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak to a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Athens AL and what degrees or certifications they hold.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you are only able to attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Athens AL, check that the programs you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.

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