How to Pick the Right Plumber Training near Auburn Alabama
The initial step to learning to be a plumbing contractor or tradesman is finding a plumbing trade school near Auburn AL. But with so many vocational schools to pick from, just how do you go about making certain that you enroll in the best one? Particularly because there are a number of variables to consider. For instance, many potential students will commence by looking for schools that are nearby their home. After they have located a few that are within commuting distance, they will decide on the one with the most affordable tuition. Although location and cost are of importance, they are not the only qualifications that must be evaluated. Also important are the accreditation and reputations of the schools, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and additional qualifiers should contribute toward your final decision when choosing a plumber training school. We will cover that checklist in greater detail later in this post. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the educational choices 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.
Plumber 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.
Questions to Ask Plumbing Trade Schools
Now that 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 region, it's essential to have a checklist of criteria that each program must satisfy. The initial 2 that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And although both qualifiers may be crucial when making your selection, there are additional variables that must be taken into account also. Below is a checklist of those added qualifiers that you will need to research prior to enrolling in a plumber tech school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing trade schools have received either a regional or a national accreditation. They can acquire Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, such as electrical technology. Confirm that the Auburn AL program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping guarantee that you acquire a quality education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, some states mandate that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to qualify for certification or licensing.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? Along with accreditation, an additional way of determining if a trade school you’re reiewing 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 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 training programs you are considering what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the percentage of students who enroll in and complete the program. A lower completion rate might indicate that students were dissatisfied with the course and quit. It may also signify that the instructors were not competent to instruct the students. It's similarly important that the schools have higher job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of alumni, which may produce more contacts for the school to use for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate will not only validate that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist grads acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the Auburn AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Most plumber training programs are taught in conjunction 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 companies or labor unions. Check if the schools you are considering have working partnerships with local Auburn AL plumbers or plumbing specialists. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also supplies job opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Confirm that the campus facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are state-of-the-art and what you will be working with on the job. If you are presently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working under regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Auburn AL plumbing company if they can provide some suggestions.
Where is the School Located? Unless you can relocate, the school needs to be within commuting distance of your Auburn AL residence. Remember 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 desirable that you get as much personalized training as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Talk to several of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with a few of the instructors and learn what their level of experience is in Auburn AL and what degrees or certifications they have earned.
Is the Class Schedule Convenient? Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are assessing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to attend classes at night or on weekends near Auburn AL, check that the programs you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, be sure that the school you select allows part-time enrollment. Additionally, ask what the protocol is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Auburn Plumbing Trade School
Picking the right plumbing training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare between the training programs you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any plumber tech school that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their own equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world context, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every program provides different options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, you can become a professional plumber in Auburn AL.