Questions to Ask Plumbing Trade Schools
Once you have made a decision to obtain a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to narrow down your school options. Considering that there are so many plumbing tech and trade schools in the Auburn AL region, it's important to have a checklist of qualifications that each school must meet. The first two that we discussed were location and the cost of tuition. And even though both qualifiers may be crucial when making your decision, there are additional variables that must be taken into account also. Following is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to research prior to enrolling in a plumber technical school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing vocational programs have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They may acquire Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Make certain that the Auburn AL school and program are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you acquire a quality education, it can help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Also, a number of states require that the plumbing training program be accredited for it to qualify for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, an additional way of confirming that a trade 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 don’t know, 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 schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A low completion rate could signify that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It may also mean that the teachers were not qualified to instruct the students. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which can mean more contacts for the school to employ 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 field, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Auburn AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? A large number of plumber technical programs are taught in conjunction with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and trade programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing contractors or labor unions. Find out if the schools you are considering have referring relationships with local Auburn AL plumbers or plumbing companies. An apprenticeship not only provides a valuable experience by furnishing hands-on training, but it also provides employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area 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 working with in the field. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, check with the master plumber you are working with regarding what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Auburn AL plumbing company if they can provide some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to move, 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, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's desirable that you receive as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can monitor a few of the classes so that you can observe how large they are and witness first hand the interaction between teachers and students. Speak to some of the students and get their opinions relating to class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with some of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is in Auburn AL and what certifications or degrees they hold.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are assessing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you are only able to go to 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 certain that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.