How to Pick the Right Plumbing Training School near Auburn Alabama
The initial step to becoming a plumbing tradesman or contractor is finding a plumbing trade school near Auburn AL. But with numerous technical schools to select from, just how do you tackle making sure that you enroll in the ideal one? Especially because there are a number of factors to evaluate. For instance, many potential students will begin by looking for schools that are nearby their home. When they have identified a few that are within commuting distance, they will choose the one with the cheapest tuition. Even though location and cost are important, they are not the sole things that should be examined. Also critical are the reputations of the schools, their accreditation, as well as their graduation and job placement rates. These and other qualifications should influence your final decision when selecting a plumber training school. We will cover that checklist in more detail later in this article. But first, let's review a little bit about becoming a plumber and the training 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.
Plumbing Certificate and Degree 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 Trade Schools
Now that you have made a decision to earn 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 region, it's imperative to have a checklist of qualifications that each program must satisfy. The initial 2 that we discussed were location and tuition expense. And even though both qualifiers may be important when making your determination, there are additional factors that must be considered also. Following is a checklist of those additional qualifiers that you will need to research prior to selecting a plumber tech school.
Is the Plumbing School Accredited? A large number of plumbing trade programs have earned either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which involves the school's programs as a whole, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to an individual program, for example electrical technology. Confirm that the Auburn AL program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for instance the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Additionally, many states require that the plumbing training program be accredited in order to qualify for licensing or certification.
Is the Plumbing School Licensed? In addition to accreditation, an additional way of determining if a trade school you’re reiewing is reputable is by making sure that it’s properly licensed. Licensing is usually regulated and controlled 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 may signify that students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. It might also signify that the instructors were not qualified to instruct the students. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a more extensive list of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to employ 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 help students acquire apprenticeships or jobs in the Auburn AL area.
Are Apprenticeship Programs Sponsored? Many plumber trade programs are taught along with an internship or an apprenticeship program. Those participating trade and vocational programs will help place you in an apprenticeship program inside 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 companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a valuable experience by supplying practical training, but it also supplies employment opportunities and helps to establish relationships in the area plumbing professional community.
Are there Modern Facilities? Make sure that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be using on the job. If you are currently in an internship or an apprenticeship, consult with the master plumber you are working with concerning what you should be expecting. Otherwise, ask a local Auburn AL plumbing contractor if they can give you some pointers.
Where is the School Located? Unless you are willing to relocate, the school must 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 might be higher tuition charges compared to in-state residents.
Are there Smaller Classes? It's important that you get as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be challenging in bigger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of the classes so that you can see how large they are and experience the interaction between teachers and students. Speak with a few of the students and get their comments regarding class sizes and instruction. Last, talk with some 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 schools you are assessing are flexible enough to handle your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Auburn AL, check that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Auburn Plumber Vocational School
Choosing the right plumbing trade school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare between the training programs you are considering. It's a necessity that any plumber tech school that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their personal equipment to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each training program offers unique options for certification also. Probably The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can become a professional plumber in Auburn AL.