How to Pick the Best Plumber Course near Auburn Alabama
The initial step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is locating a plumbing trade school near Auburn AL. But with so many technical schools to select from, just how do you approach making sure that you enroll in the best one? Particularly since there are so many points to consider. For example, some prospective students will commence by searching for schools that are nearby their home. After they have identified a few that are within driving range, they will decide on the one with the most affordable tuition. Even though cost and location are significant, they are not the only qualifications that should be evaluated. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifiers should help mold your final judgment when choosing a plumbing trade school. We will talk about that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training options that are accessible.
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 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.
What to Ask Plumbing Tech Schools
Once you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to narrow down your training options. Considering that there are numerous plumbing tech and trade schools in the Auburn AL area, it's important to have a checklist of criteria that each program must meet. The initial 2 that we mentioned were location and tuition expense. And while both qualifiers may be crucial when making your selection, there are other variables that need to be taken into account also. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess prior to choosing a plumber trade school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing technical programs have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, for example electrical technology. Make certain that the Auburn AL program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, some states mandate that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to qualify for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, another way of determining if a vocational school you’re reiewing is reputable is by making sure 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 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 schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage or portion of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate may indicate that students were unhappy with the program and quit. It may also indicate that the teachers 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 more extensive list of graduates, which may result in more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to help graduates acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the Auburn AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Numerous plumber trade programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade 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 considering have referring relationships with local Auburn AL plumbers or plumbing professionals. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to establish 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 state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Auburn AL plumbing contracting company if they can provide some tips.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within driving distance of your Auburn AL residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you get as much individualized 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 observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and instructors. Talk with a few of the students and get their feedback concerning 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 schools you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Auburn AL, confirm that the programs you are comparing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family issues.
Learn More About Auburn Plumbing Tech Schools
Pick the Best Auburn Plumbing Vocational School
Choosing the best plumbing 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 a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare among the training programs you are considering. It's a must that any plumber tech school that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides unique options for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you pick is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Auburn AL.