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How to Find the Best Plumbing Training Course near Auburn Alabama

Auburn Alabama plumber fixing sink faucetThe first step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is enrolling in a plumbing trade school near Auburn AL. But with numerous vocational schools to select from, just how do you undertake making certain that you enroll in the right one? Particularly because there are a number of factors to evaluate. For instance, some students will begin by searching for schools that are nearby their home. Once they have found some that are within driving range, they will choose the one with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are of importance, they are not the only things that should be examined. Also important are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, in addition to their job placement and graduation rates. These and other qualifiers should influence your final judgment when picking a plumber trade school. We will address that checklist in greater detail later in this article. But to begin with, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational options that are available.

What is a Plumber?

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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.

Plumber Certificate and Degree Programs

There 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.

Topics to Ask Plumber Tech Schools

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Once you have made a decision to obtain a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to focus 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 qualifications that each school must meet. The first two that we talked about were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be crucial when making your selection, there are other variables that must be taken into account as well. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to analyze before selecting a plumber tech school.

Is the Plumbing School Accredited?  Many plumbing technical programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They may receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which relates to a specific 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 guarantee that you get an excellent education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited programs. Furthermore, many states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to be approved for licensing or certification.

Is the Plumbing School Licensed?  Along with accreditation, another way of determining if a vocational school you’re considering is reputable is by checking 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 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 of students who enroll in and complete the course. A low completion rate may indicate that students were unhappy with the course and quit. It may also indicate that the teachers were not competent to train the students. It's also important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader list of graduates, which may mean more contacts for the school to utilize for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help graduates secure apprenticeships or jobs in the Auburn AL area.

Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored?  Many plumber vocational programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of plumbing businesses or trade unions. Find out if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Auburn AL plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only provides a rewarding experience by providing practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area plumbing professional community.

Are there Modern Facilities?  Confirm that the campus facilities and the tools 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, consult with the master plumber you are working under concerning what you should be looking for. If not, ask a local Auburn AL plumbing contractor if they can provide some pointers.

Where is the School Located?  Unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Auburn AL home. Remember that if you decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides the added relocation costs there may be increased tuition charges compared to in-state residents.

Are there Smaller Classes?  It's important that you receive as much individualized 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 big they are and witness first hand the interaction between instructors and students. Speak with several of the students and get their feedback concerning class sizes and instruction. Finally, speak with a few of the instructors and find out what their level of experience is in Auburn AL and what degrees or certifications they have earned.

Is the Class Schedule Convenient?  Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Auburn AL, verify that the programs you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Finally, check out what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.

Learn More About Auburn Plumbing Training Schools

Enroll in the Best Auburn Plumbing Trade School

Choosing the right plumbing training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare among the training programs you are reviewing. It's a must that any plumbing training that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their own equipment to train with. Classroom education needs to provide 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 duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each training program offers unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Auburn AL.