How to Pick the Best Plumbing Technical School near Auburn Alabama
The initial step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Auburn AL. But with so many vocational schools to select from, just how do you undertake making certain that you enroll in the ideal one? Particularly because there are a number of points to consider. For instance, some potential students will start by searching for schools that are nearby their home. Once they have found a few that are within commuting range, they will decide on the one with the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are of importance, they are not the sole factors that must be considered. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifiers should contribute toward your ultimate decision when choosing a plumber training school. We will cover 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 training options that are available.
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 Auburn AL plumber will typically advance through three phases during their professional career.
- Apprentice. The majority of Auburn 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 Auburn 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 Auburn 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.
Points to Ask Plumber Trade Schools
Now that you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to refine your school options. Considering that there are so many plumbing trade and vocational schools in the Auburn AL area, it's imperative to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The initial two that we mentioned were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are other variables that need to be taken into account as well. Below is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess before choosing a plumber tech school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? Numerous plumbing trade programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Make sure that the Auburn 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 obtain a quality education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Also, some states mandate 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 confirming that a vocational school you’re considering is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is typically 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 Auburn 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 lower completion rate could suggest that students were dissatisfied with the course and dropped out. It could also signify 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 directory of graduates, which may produce 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 trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist grads obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Auburn AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Numerous plumber vocational programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing companies or trade unions. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have referring partnerships with local Auburn AL plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm that the school facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date 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 looking for. Otherwise, ask a local Auburn AL plumbing company if they can provide some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Auburn AL home. Take note that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you get as much one-on-one instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can monitor a couple of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and experience the interaction between students and teachers. Talk with a few of the students and get their feedback regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with some of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Auburn AL and what certifications or degrees they hold.
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 are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Auburn AL, confirm that the schools you are comparing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Auburn Plumber Vocational School
Selecting the ideal plumber training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare between the training programs you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any plumber training that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each training program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Auburn AL.