How to Find the Right Plumber Technical School near Auburn Alabama
The first step to becoming a plumbing contractor or tradesman is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Auburn AL. But with so many technical schools to pick from, just how do you undertake making sure that you enroll in the best one? Especially because there are a number of factors to examine. For example, some students will commence by searching for schools that are nearby their residence. Once they have identified some that are within driving range, they will decide on the one with the cheapest tuition. Even though location and cost are significant, they are not the only things that should be evaluated. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their job placement and graduation rates. These and additional qualifications should contribute toward your final judgment when selecting a plumbing 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 educational 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 Certificate and Degree ProgramsThere 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 Plumber Trade Schools
Once you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to focus your school options. Because there are numerous plumbing vocational and trade schools in the Auburn AL area, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The first two that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are other factors that need to be considered as well. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifications that you will need to assess 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 may receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Make sure that the Auburn AL school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, many states require that the plumbing training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, an additional 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 don’t know, ask the school which state agency regulates 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 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 considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and finish the program. A low completion rate could signify that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It could also mean that the instructors were not qualified to train 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 produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help students acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the Auburn AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Numerous plumber training programs are taught in conjunction with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating vocational and technical programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside their network of plumbing companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are reviewing have referring relationships with local Auburn AL plumbers or plumbing contractors. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by furnishing practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make sure that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with in the field. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Auburn AL plumbing contracting company if they can give you some tips.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are able to relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Auburn AL residence. Take note that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you get as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on some of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with some of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, speak with a few of the teachers and find out what their level of experience is in Auburn AL and what certifications or degrees they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Auburn AL, confirm that the schools you are comparing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select permits part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Auburn Plumbing Trade School
Selecting the best plumber trade school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are looking at. It's a necessity that any plumber training that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should 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 in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each training program offers unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Auburn AL.