Home >> Alabama >> Athens >> Plumber Training


Request Free Info on Plumber Schools Athens AL 35611


How to Pick the Best Plumber Technical School near Athens Alabama

Athens Alabama plumbing contractor repairing kitchen faucetThe first step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Athens AL. But with so many technical schools to select from, just how do you go about making certain that you enroll in the best one? Particularly since there are so many factors to consider. For example, many students will start by searching for schools that are nearby their residence. Once they have identified several that are within commuting distance, they will pick the one with the lowest tuition. While location and cost are of importance, they are not the only factors that need to be considered. Also critical are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifiers should influence your final judgment when choosing a plumbing trade school. We will cover that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training options that are offered.

What is a Plumber?

Athens Alabama plumbing contractor fixing 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 Athens AL plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.

  • Apprentice. The majority of Athens 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 Athens 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 Options

There are several educational options available near Athens 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.

Questions to Ask Plumber Technical Schools

Athens Alabama plumbing contractor installing hot water heater

Now that you have made a decision to earn a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to narrow down your training options. Since there are numerous plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Athens AL area, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The initial 2 that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are other factors that must be considered as well. Following is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to assess prior to selecting a plumber vocational school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing vocational programs have received 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 relates to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Verify that the Athens AL school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, some states require that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to be approved for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  In addition to accreditation, an additional way of confirming that a vocational school you’re reiewing 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 is responsible for 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 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 training programs you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate could suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It may also mean that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Athens AL area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Many plumber trade programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and trade 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 referring relationships with local Athens AL plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying hands-on training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the regional plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be using on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Athens AL plumbing contracting company if they can provide some tips.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are willing to move, the school must be within driving distance of your Athens AL home. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor some of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to several of the students and get their opinions concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, talk with some of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Athens AL and what certifications or degrees they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are evaluating are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Athens AL, check that the schools you are comparing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.

Get More Info About Athens Plumbing Vocational Schools

Choose the Best Athens Plumber Training School

Picking the ideal plumbing training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are considering. It's a must that any plumber tech school that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every training program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Probably The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Athens AL.